Jodensavanne (jewish-savanne) Suriname
About 50 km south of the capital Paramaribo, high on the banks of the Suriname River,are the ruins of Jewish savanna (Jodensavanne), an ancient Jewish settlement, founded in 1653 under the leadership of Lord Francis Willoughby Parnham, at that time the center of our plantation economy.
Around 1640, the first Jews settled at the Cassipora creek. They had fled from Spain for prosecution by the Inquisition and began the construction of sugarcane plantations on which they also held slaves. At 1650, a second group of Jews, this time from England. A third group, led by David Cohen Nassy, came from Mauritsstad (Brazil) to Suriname. They originally fled from Spain to Dutch Brazil and founded plantations together with the Dutch at the invitation of Governor Johan Maurits. When the Dutch territory was conquered by the Portuguese in 1654, a large part of the Jews fled the area. Some settled in Cayenne (current French Guiana) and Guadeloupe, and others in Suriname. Possibly they lived near Torarica. When the French conquered the Dutch in 1664 Cayenne, many Jews from that area also settled in Suriname.
To attract more planters, the Jewish community in Suriname received freedom of religion on August 17, 1665, possibly also the right to establish a synagogue and a school. When Abraham Crijnssen conquered Suriname in 1667 on the English, he disregarded the rights of the Jews.
After the Peace of Breda in 1667, in which Surinam became the final Dutch area, the Jews in Suriname in 1669 officially received permission to establish their own community with a synagogue and a cemetery. The new agricultural colony, a few kilometers from Cassipora, was later named Jodensavanne. In 1685 a stone synagogue was built which was named Berachah VeShalom ('Blessing and Peace'). In 1691 Jan van Scharphuysen granted Jodensavanne the statutory status of settlement, but returned a decision by his predecessor Cornelis van Aerssen. They had given permission to the planters to release their slaves on Saturday and to work on Sundays instead. In 1694, the community in Jodensavanne counted about 570 souls who had more than 40 plantations and about 9,000 slaves working on these plantations.
In the eighteenth century, the bloom of the community around Jodensavanne reached a peak. Many were joined by a Freemasonry lodge. In 1832, Jodensavanne was destroyed almost entirely by fire. It had already been largely abandoned; The inhabitants were drawn to Paramaribo.
World War Two
During the Second World War, a barracks camp was built, Kamp Jodensavanne, which was taken into service in September 1942 until July 15, 1946. Here, 146 were housed as unremittingly identified interns who came from Dutch India, predominantly members of the Indian NSB and Some Germans living at the outbreak of the war in India, mainly members of the NSDAP.
After the war
After the TRIS had abolished the area in 1967, architect Tjin A Djie developed a plan for the management of Jodensavanne in 1971. On 11 October of that year, the Jodensavanne Foundation (SJS) was founded. Two years later (1973) the site was cleaned. The remains of the synagogue were protected, and a visitor center was built. However, during the Interior War, the area could not be managed because it was in dispute. The remains disappeared again under the jungle. In 1999, the area was shuffled again.
After the Interior War, the Jodensavanne Foundation was rebuilt and was led by Guido Robles until 2009. The foundation conserves and maintains Jodensavanne, which has been designated as National Monument since 2009 and protected by law. The management takes place in close cooperation with the native village of Redi Doti, located a short distance from the monuments. Both Jodensavanne and the Cassipora cemetery are accessible to visitors.
Jodensavanne has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1999. The site has a special universal value for humanity. It is the only place in the Americas where 17th century Jews have had an autonomous settlement, in which freedom of religion, jurisprudence and even their own militia were present. In addition, the cemeteries are located in the rainforest of Suriname of unrivaled class and well preserved. The current board has prepared the nomination for world heritage site.