In honour of the Jewish Pedlar or Smous – see Graaf Reinet KehilaLink
My article about the Shanghai KehilaLink has been published in the April 2016 edition of Shemot, the publication of the JGS of Great Britain.
My interest in family history started in 1992, after my cousin wrote seven ancestors’ names down on a scrap piece of paper.
I have had many genealogical success stories since then. This is due to my often unorthodox, multi focused approach, described by my daughter in law as “tangential”!
In 2011 I visited Eastern Europe for the first time. My heritage travels have taken me back four additional times. I have visited Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Poland, Hungary, Germany, the Czech Republic and Turkey.
I started writing KehilaLinks in 2011, the first being for Orla, near Bialystok in Poland in 2011.
What is a KehilaLink:
JewishGen KehilaLinks (formerly “ShtetLinks”) is a project facilitating web pages commemorating the places where Jews have lived. KehilaLinks provides the opportunity for anyone with an interest in a place to create web pages about that community. These web pages may contain information, pictures, databases, and links to other sources providing data about that place.
Kehila קהילה [Hebrew] n. (pl. kehilot קהילות): Jewish Community. It is used to refer to a Jewish community, anywhere in the world.
Sites are hosted by JewishGen, the world’s largest Jewish genealogical organisation, an affiliate of the Jewish Heritage Museum in New York City. JewishGen provides amateur and professional genealogists with the tools to research their Jewish family history and heritage.
People are invited to send in their own stories, photos and memoirs. There is no cost in participating in a KehilaLink and it is a great way to share one’s family history
My list has grown to 63 websites with 3 more in the pipeline.
The full list and links are available at
The Shanghai KehilaLink
Ironically, the one place I have not been to is Shanghai! Yet, I have been drawn to it by its connection to the Jewish people and especially because of the story of Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese consul in Kovno, the capital of Lithuania during WWII. Against his government’s wishes, Sugihara issued transit visas to Jews, enabling them to get to Shanghai, and therefore saved many lives. The story only surfaced in the 1970s. See Rabbi Levi Wolff of Sydney Central Synagogue:
Sugihara also appears on several of my other KehilaLinks: Mir in Belarus, Kedainiai in Lithuania, and Sydney and Melbourne in Australia.
Four New South African KehilaLinks
This week we went live with:
Please visit the sites. If you have connections to these towns or cities, please contact me.
There are already some interesting contributions:
Read about the tribute to the Jewish pedlar (smous) from Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft
Photos of the Wertheim family from Amanda Katz Jermyn: Read Amanda’s story:
Amanda’s grandfather’s uncle, Hermann Wertheim, his wife Mathilde, and children Julius, Max, Fanny and Fritz who lived in Graaff-Reinett. It was taken in about 1892
The general store, Wille & Wertheim, formerly Baumann Bros., where Amanda’s grandfather, August Katz came to work for his uncle Hermann Wertheim.
August Katz, Amanda’s grandfather, in his British Boer War uniform
Grave of Fritz Wertheim, son of Mathilde and Hermann Wertheim. Hermann was a brother of Amanda’s great-grandmother, Mathilde Wertheim.