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The South African Jewish Museum’s digital archive is hosted on a separate website that can be found at


Here you will find an online archive that captures the rich history of South African Jewry. Thousands of photographs, films, voice recordings, videos and documents have been gathered from Jewish families around southern Africa. The content of our digital archive will inspire memories of Jewish life, culture and heritage in South Africa. The  website is based on specialist archival software that is able to be perpetually updated and therefore always available for future generations. Our aim is to make this digital archive an indispensable resource for anyone interested in South African Jewish history.


If you would like to add your own family archives to the SAJM Digital Archives please email:


Why is it important to have a digital archive?

As the stories of people and communities develop, the volume of physical space needed to store items becomes untenable, which is why digital archives have become increasingly pivotal. They enable us to preserve pieces of history that might otherwise be lost, to connect our community online, and to take care of our memories. Thousands of South African Jews now live in other countries and have taken their stories with them. This archive is an online platform to preserve the legacy of the SA Jewish community. The South African Jewish Museum makes you this promise. We will maintain this digital collection for the future generations of people who wish to know of their forebears and trace their roots in South Africa.


The SAJM Digital Archive is part of a larger project that seeks to secure southern African Jewish history and culture.  The Jewish Living Archive is a collaboration between the Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Cape Town and the SAJM. It incorporates the Kaplan Centre’s physical archive of items with historical significance to Jewish history in South Africa, the SAJM’s collection of artefacts and our digital archive collection.

Our beginning as the Jewish Digital Archive Project (JDAP)

The digital collection began ten years ago as the Jewish Digital Archive Project (JDAP) which focused on the social and familial history of the Jewish community in South Africa. The brainchild of Romi Kaplan, JDAP started in 2011 at The Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies at The University of Cape Town (UCT). The aim of the project was to convert to digital format items such as photographs, films and documents from families’ histories. The first collection to be converted was that of Romi’s father, Mendel Kaplan, a renowned philanthropist and the founder of both the Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies at UCT and the South African Jewish Museum. A prominent member of the South African Jewish community, Mendel Kaplan had an abiding interest in Jewish history and deep love for his community. Over the ensuing decade the archive expanded enormously to document thousands of personal and family narratives. JDAP has now been incorporated into the larger SAJM Archive to include archival collections of a number of South African Jewish communal organisations and congregations.


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Tel: +27 21 465-1546


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