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 SURINAME  surinameAFDELINGEN - suriname Geschiedenis - - SAMENVATTINGEN

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Book source: (1) De Architektuur van Suriname, C.L. Temminck Groll, A.R.H. Tjin A. Djie, De Walburg Pers/Zutphen. ISBN 9060114418 (2) Bouwkunst in Suriname, Ir. J.L. Volders, Kerstens & Co, Paramaribo, 1973

Subject: [History, Tourism] Jodensavanne


In the middle of 17th century Jewish Portugese colonists/refugees from Brazil obtained permission from the English authorities to settle along the Suriname River. In 1639 the first group went to Torarica (no longer there), but after 1660 a settlement was started near Jodensavanne. A brick (imported from England) synagogue was built in 1685. The ruins represent the oldest remnants of a synagogue in the western hemisphere. The village was of rectangular shape with the synagogue as its center. In 1785 there was a 100 year celebration which was attended by 1600 people (1300 came from Paramaribo). There were only 20 families living here but more and more people moved to the city. The village and cemetery were cleared in 1905 and again in 1943-46 (by German POWs). There was a big fire in 1832 and after the fire the village was almost deserted.

East of the synagogue and a few km upstream near the Cassipoera Kreek is another Jewish cemetery with many grave stones in Hebrew. Many of the grave stones here have not been studied as it dates back to 1661 and is completely covered by jungle.

The synagogue at Jodensavanne received the name of Beracha Ve Shalom while the one in Paramaribo had the name of Neve Shalom and Sedek Ve Shalom. Surinamese names such as Pereira, De Silva, Nassy, De La Parra came from Portugese Jewish ancestors. Literature also indicates that the Portugese Jewish settlers and Dutch Jewish settlers went separate ways. In 1700 there were 3 times as many Jewish residents than Christians.

Met dank aan Albert Buys

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