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Author Topic: The Jewish Presence in Trinidad & Tobago  (Read 5698 times)

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Offline Controversial

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The Jewish Presence in Trinidad & Tobago
« on: July 23, 2012, 08:24:28 AM »
I will be doing some research on the Jewish families in Trinidad and Tobago. In that research there was also a synagogue that was operational in T&T before, I am not sure if it is still in operation.

My grandfather was a Jewish businessman from Suriname that migrated to T&T, he had a few Jewish friends that resided in T&T as well, one being Samuel Oslack who also owned and operated a business in T&T.

I have also found out that a lot of the Portugese diaspora in the Caribbean are sephardic in origin, however I will have to do my research.

Anyone with any information, add away. I will be adding to this thread and other topics over the coming months.
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truetrini

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Re: The Jewish Presence in Trinidad & Tobago
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2012, 08:51:36 PM »
There was never a Jewish synagogue in T&T

Offline Deeks

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Re: The Jewish Presence in Trinidad & Tobago
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2012, 09:38:32 PM »
I have read a couple things about the Jewish diaspora in TT. I read that there is a synagogue in Koblentz Gardens. That area was probably populated by German Jews. I also read that there are a number of Jewish graves in either the St. James and/or Laperouse cemetary. There was a store on Frederick street by the name of Stetcher's. The owner Hans was a German Jew and I read that he used to maintain the Jewish graves.  As we all should know that a lot of Spanish people were converted Jews. catholics by day, Jew by night. I think the jewel store, Y De Lima were Jews. I know Suriname, Curacao have Jews and synagogues.

I also read that during the WWII Jews who were escaping to South America and to Palestine were sheltered in Carera Island before moving on. Those who syayed in TT were called the calypso jews because they were involved in calyspso music during the Yankee stint in Chag. That is what I read in some article. Check this websites about Jewish-Spanish names.
http://bethaderech.com/sefardic-genealogy-genealogia/sephardic-surnames/

truetrini

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Re: The Jewish Presence in Trinidad & Tobago
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2012, 10:25:54 PM »
I take that back there was a kinda synagogue in a house on Duke Street....Not exactly a building set up as a temple but a house which doubled as a community center and a temple. Religious artifacts were moved to Barbados in The 1970's to ensure their safety. Currently the Torah scroll resides at Congregation Dorshei Emet in Montreal.   There is no synagogue now

Hans and his family still reside in T&T, store in West Mall.

Bet Olam is the Jewish section of a cemetery in Mucurapo Road.


Anyway there is already a thread about Jews in T&T...I am getting a list of 700 Jews that lived in T&T during the 30's to 50's

Most Jews came from Portugal or Curacao
http://www.socawarriors.net/forum/index.php?topic=41147.0

Offline Controversial

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Re: The Jewish Presence in Trinidad & Tobago
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2012, 11:39:04 AM »
I take that back there was a kinda synagogue in a house on Duke Street....Not exactly a building set up as a temple but a house which doubled as a community center and a temple. Religious artifacts were moved to Barbados in The 1970's to ensure their safety. Currently the Torah scroll resides at Congregation Dorshei Emet in Montreal.   There is no synagogue now

Hans and his family still reside in T&T, store in West Mall.

Bet Olam is the Jewish section of a cemetery in Mucurapo Road.


Anyway there is already a thread about Jews in T&T...I am getting a list of 700 Jews that lived in T&T during the 30's to 50's

Most Jews came from Portugal or Curacao
http://www.socawarriors.net/forum/index.php?topic=41147.0

my apologies, you can merge this thread with your previous thread breds, i didn't know you had already started a thread on jewish families in trinidad and tobago :beermug:

speaking of curacao, my grandfather has family there that my parents visited before i was born, also aruba as well. I believe my grandfather was one of the only jews from suriname in TT at that time.
Down with "The HERD" aka "The Sorority Row"

Offline Controversial

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Re: The Jewish Presence in Trinidad & Tobago
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2012, 03:44:55 PM »
Down with "The HERD" aka "The Sorority Row"

Offline JRtheWriter

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Re: The Jewish Presence in Trinidad & Tobago
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2012, 09:40:49 PM »
I'm Trini and Jewish but I live in the States (Atlanta, GA to be exact)  I'll ask my grandparents if we still have family there (my moms side is strict trini my dad's is the jewish)

Offline Controversial

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Re: The Jewish Presence in Trinidad & Tobago
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2012, 06:13:46 AM »
I'm Trini and Jewish but I live in the States (Atlanta, GA to be exact)  I'll ask my grandparents if we still have family there (my moms side is strict trini my dad's is the jewish)

interesting, my grandfather was a surinamese jew that moved to trini and had a few friends in trini that were also jewish.our family name isn't jewish bc my grandfather carried his mother's maiden name, and his mother was paternally irish/black/native with a italian jewish mother which meant she was also jewish. had we carried my great grandfather's name, people would have known my grandfather was jewish without knowing him personally.

however my grandfather wasn't sephardic, he was ashkenazi jewish... most in trini were sephardic jews from my knowledge
Down with "The HERD" aka "The Sorority Row"

Offline Tallman

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Jewish exodus after 1970 Black Power unrest
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2012, 04:53:47 PM »
Jewish exodus after 1970 Black Power unrest
By Louis B Homer (T&T Express)


Trinidad's 18th-century immigration allowed migrants to enter the island to develop its agricultural potential under the Cedula of Population.

The Cedula, which was created by Grenada-born Roume de St Laurent, went into effect in 1783. It gave grants of lands to Europeans and people from the smaller islands of the Caribbean.

When the Cedula ended, there were others who came to Trinidad in search of better opportunities or to escape turmoil in their country.

One such group of migrants who arrived in Trinidad was Jewish nationals from the Dutch island of Curacao. They came during the 18th century. They came to be known as the "Calypso Shtetl" or Calypso Jews.

On arrival, they settled mostly in the capital city of Port of Spain, where they established themselves as businesspeople. In order to carry on their cultural and religious practices, they had rented a house on Duke Street for use as a synagogue and community centre.

Another group came as refugees during World War II. They were fleeing the wrath of German leader Adolf Hitler, who had conquered Austria and other countries in Europe.

In Romania, as many as 14,000 Jews were killed by Romanian citizens, police and military officials. By December 1941, Hitler had almost completely exterminated Jews in several areas.

During the Holocaust, a few refugees from Western Europe landed in Trinidad and spent many years in refugee camps before they were released. New arrivals later settled in houses rented by a Jewish Aid Society in Port of Spain.

Hans Stecher, a refugee from Austria who came to Trinidad at age 14, recalled that an internment camp was constructed on the outskirts of Port of Spain in neighbourhoods that were later to become Federation and Ellerslie Parks.

He said, "The area was surrounded with barbed wire. Refugees had to report daily to the nearest police station. They were banned from driving cars and riding bicycles, and were under curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Children were allowed to travel overseas to study, but only a few returned after they graduated. Some were sent to kibbutz, where they lived as one community.

"Initially the kibbutz was used for training students in agriculture, but they later expanded the curriculum to include training in high-tech enterprises.

In Trinidad, the Jews became part of the national community, but during the 1970s, when the nation's political and social stability was threatened by a wave of Black Power demonstrations, many minorities left. One such group was the Jews.

Fearing for their safety, the majority left en masse to Canada and the United States, taking with them their Jewish artefacts and precious personal collections. Some of these items were taken to Barbados for safekeeping.

Among the artefacts were copies of hand-written Torah Scrolls, religious documents which comprised the five books of Moses. After the exodus, the number of families then stood at approximately 35, with the majority being businesspeople who had large investments in the country.

Since the 1970 exodus, the Jewish presence in Trinidad became almost invisible. A conservative estimate would not exceed ten families. What remains of their early presence in Trinidad are 64 well-kept tombs at Mucurapo Cemetery called Bet Olam.

One of the tombs contains the ashes of Carol Stecher, a cousin of Hans, who died in a concentration camp in Austria. Trinidad-born Sheila Stecher, formerly of San Fernando, and members of the Schwartz family are interred at Bet Olam.

In Scarborough, Tobago, there are two tombs in which the Isaac couple were interred.

Apart from Bet Olam, there is a housing development at Diego Martin named New Yalta, which owes its existence to a Jewish woman named Mrs Averboukh.

On completion of the development, she named all the streets and avenues after Jewish heroes who had fought for the freedom of Jews. Albert Einstein Avenue, Sinai Avenue, Benjamin Avenue, Theodore Herzi Drive, and Golda Meir Gardens are some of the street names at New Yalta.

In the field of administration, there is Nathaniel Nathan, a former chief justice of Jewish descent who had served from 1900 to 1903.

Unknown to many, the insignia of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service is of Jewish origin. It was given to the police force by former English-born police commissioner Colonel Arthur S Mavrogordato, who had served in Palestine as Commissioner of Police in 1921.

After the war, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier and transferred to Trinidad, where he made his home until his death in 1964.

In Palestine, he had seen the Magen David symbol and was impressed by the design. He introduced it as the police force symbol.

At first it was a white star against a blue background. The hummingbird was later added to give the insignia a local flavour.

This makes Trinidad and Tobago unique in that its police service does not have the national coat of arms as the official symbol.

This country's relationship with Israel was always cordial.

In 1964, then-prime minister Dr Eric Williams visited that country and held discussions with its prime minister, Golda Meir.

In 2005, Prime Minister Patrick Manning made an official visit to Israel and renewed diplomatic ties with that country. He had also arranged to adopt some of the development features of that country.

Trinidad and Tobago does not have a resident Israeli ambassador. Diplomatic matters are dealt with by the Israeli ambassador who is resident in Caracas, Venezuela.
The Conquering Lion of Judah shall break every chain.

Offline fari

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Re: The Jewish Presence in Trinidad & Tobago
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2012, 05:53:53 PM »
i always wondered about the TTPS symbol...thanks for sharing