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BERGTHEIL, JONAS:

Pioneer of Natal, South Africa; born in England about 1815; died 1902; emigrated to South Africa about 1844, at a time when the resources of the country were scarcely known, and the mode of living extremely primitive. Settling among the Boers as a farmer, Bergtheil was treated by them with religious tolerance. He served in their government as a member of the Legislative Council from 1855 for eleven years, being four times reelected and resigning office only on his return to England in 1866. During a visit to England in 1847, he advocated, unsuccessfully, emigration to the Cape; then, passing to Germany, his arguments were more successful, and he took with him forty families, who founded a settlement in "New Germany," which trained some excellent colonists. Bergtheil was a large landowner in Cape Colony, possessing at one time nearly 200,000 acres, when land was estimated at the rate of threepence an acre.

Returning to England in 1866, Bergtheil identified himself with the communal institutions in London, serving as warden of the Bayswater Synagogue and as president of the Bayswater Jewish schools, retiring from the latter in 1900.

Bibliography:
  • Jewish Chronicle, Sept. 7, 1900.
J. G. L.
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