History of the Jews in Zambia

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The Jews in Zambia were always a small community with a notable role in Zambian history.[1][2]


Stanley Fischer was born into a Jewish family in what is now Zambia.

Many Jews came to Zambia (previously called Northern Rhodesia) in order to achieve economic prosperity, first settling in Livingstone and Broken Hill.[1] Some of the first Jews in Zambia were prominent in the cattle production and copper mining businesses.[1][3] Livingstone already had a permanent Jewish congregation of 38 members by 1905, with the first Jewish wedding in Zambia taking place in 1910.[1] Later on, many Zambian Jews achieved great success in the ranching industry and in the iron foundries.[1][3] 110 Jews lived in Zambia (with a majority of them living in Livingstone and Lusaka) in 1921, and this population increased over the next couple of decades.[1] Some Jewish refugees came to Zambia before[2] and after the Holocaust, with the Jewish population of Zambia peaking at 1,000[2] to 1,200 in the mid-1950s (by which point "the center of Jewish life had shifted to Lusaka, the copperbelt center of the country").[1] Many Jews left Zambia and immigrated to other countries in the 1960s, with only 600 Jews remaining in Zambia in 1968.[1] Jews were active and prominent in Zambian politics before Zambia [became independent in 1964.[1] The Council for Zambia Jewry was created in Lusaka in 1978 "to oversee Jewish communal activities."[1] Previously, Zambian Jewry had come under the aegis of the [4] This council also "provides assistance to political refugees and the poverty-stricken with medical and financial aid."[1] Only about thirty-five Jews currently live in Zambia, with almost all of them living in Lusaka.[1] The Zambian Jewish community did not have a rabbi for several years by this point in time.[1] One of the more notable Zambian Jews is Simon Zukas, "who played a key role in Zambia's struggle for independence from Britain in the 1950s, and went on to be a government minister after independence."[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Zambia: Virtual Jewish History Tour". Jewishvirtuallibrary.org. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  2. ^ a b c d "The forgotten story of Zambia's Jewish settlers". CNN.com. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  3. ^ a b "Zambia". World Jewish Congress. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  4. ^ Jewish Communities of the World, Anthony Lerman, Springer, 1989, page 197