Port Elizabeth of Yore: Jews Make their Mark

Despite being a small proportion of the town’s population, the Jewish community has always been prominent in Port Elizabeth mainly due to their business and commercial acumen, but they also played a prominent role in civic affairs.

It is fair to say that everybody either had a Jewish school mate, friend, or neighbour. In the case of the McCleland’s it was the Siesel’s who had escaped from Nazi Germany in the early 1930s. Arriving in Port Elizabeth with nothing but a suitcase, Mr Siesel opened a trading operation catering for the black population. The Siesel’s were our neighbours across the road in Mowbray Street, Newton Park. 

Main picture: Western Road Synagogue used primarily by Jews of German and British extraction

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Adolf Schauder aka “The Father of Housing”

Adolph Schauder is one of a number of residents who have played a pivotal role in Port Elizabeth’s development but foremost amongst the Jewish community’s contribution was Adolph Schauder who, despite being an immigrant, was instrumental in the provision of housing for its underclass and poor population. More pertinently, what drove this man to see the world through the lens of the needs of the indigent and the needy thereby marking him as the most significant of PE’s Jewish mayors?

Main picture: Councillor Adolph Schauder turning the first sod of the slum eradication scheme at New Brighton on the 21st November 1937

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