Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Paris Maru Disaster-When Humanity confronts Bigotry

That evening, Monday 15th January 1934, was not going to be a good one for the ship from Osaka, Japan en route to Cape Town. Nor would it be for the newly-arrived destitute Jews from Nazi German. An angry south-easter was gusting as this steamer left the protection of the recently completed Charl Malan Quay at 19:00. Unlike the days of the sailing ships, when the wind from this direction could be a death sentence for ships at anchor in the bay, the conversion to steam had long since tamed that menace. After exiting the harbour and  entering the choppy waters of the Bay, the ship veered to starboard and headed for Cape Recife to meet its fate.

In effect the call by the Grey Shirts in the Feathermarket Hall to block the emigration of Jews to the Union, would constitute a death sentence to Jews trapped within the warped bigoted anti-Semitic world of Nazi Germany.

Main picture: The swansong of the Japanese merchantman, The Paris Maru

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: J.C. Chase Recalls the Town’s Development to 1848

Like his father-in-law, Frederick Korsten, John Centlivres Chase also had a profound influence on the development of the Eastern Province, and especially Port Elizabeth.  

From the formal establishment of Port Elizabeth in 1820 by Sir Rufane Donkin, the nascent town experienced unprecedented growth for the following 50 years. For the first half century after 1820, this development is sparsely documented due to the paucity of official documents or even a newspaper. 

The 1848 edition of the Eastern Province Directory and Almanac carried an article entitled “Algoa Bay and Port Elizabeth” by J.C. Chase. Clearly enamoured with its progress and prospects, he elaborates and enthuses over the development of the late starter, Port Elizabeth. This article represents one of the few original sources of information about those formative years. The article forms the basis of this chapter and is largely verbatim.

Main picture: Paddle Steamer Phoenix

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