Menu JTA Search

Jews in Scuth Africa Join in Celebrations Marking 80th Birthday of Field Marshal Smuts

Jews throughout South Africa today joined in celebrating the 80th birthday of the famous South African statesman, Jan Christian Smuts, who has always denounced and combatted all manifestations of anti-Semitism in this country.

Field Marshal Smuts fought fearlessly in 1930 against the quota bill restricting Jewish immigration to South Africa. During the Hitler years he vigorously denounced Nazism and its disciples in South Africa.

As Premier of South Africa in 1948, he was among the first heads of government to recognize the proclamation of Israel’s statehood. In November of last year he made a special trip to London to be the guest speaker at President Weizmann’s seventy-fifth anniversary dinner.

Field Marshal Smuts’ unswerving support of the Zionist movement dates from World War I when he was one of the architects of the Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate. His activities in behalf of the Zionist cause included intercession with the British Government against the Passfield White Paper which he termed a breach of the Mandate. In Israel a settlement was named Ramat Yochanan in his honor.

NEXT STORY