seventeenth century persecuted Jews could live in Suriname in safety.
Among the settlements established by Jewish refugees was Joden Savanna
or Jewish Savanna. In 1639 Portuguese Jews settled there, then in 1652
a group of English Jews settled on Cassapoera Creek. By 1657 a large
group of Portuguese Jews arrived, and in 1662 and 1670 more English
Jews arrived. More Protuguese Jews came in 1675.
In 1832 much of the village was destroyed by fire and
the resident began to move away. Ironically, Joden Savanna became an
internment camp for Dutch Nazis from 1942 to 1945. The internees
worked at clearing the old settlement and uncovering Jewish
tombstones. Four hundred thrity-six tombstones were uncovered;
fifty-nine of them were readable. In 1937 after years of dispute the
site reverted to the government. Many other efforts at restoration
have been attempted, without much success. In 1971 the Jodensavanna
Foundation was established with government assistance, some
restoration was completed and a small museum was opened, but burned
The map is one of three stamps issued in 1968 to
commemorate the toleration enjoyed by Jews in Surinam. The design is
based on the Nieuwe Kaart van Suriname vertonende stromen en land
streken van Suriname, Comowini, Cottica en Marawini, published by
Joachim Ottens (1663-1719) at Amsterdam in 1685, Joods Dorp or Jew’s Town was the major
settlement, with farms surrounding it on both sides of the Suriname
This Dutch manuscript map of Suriname
provides information from the brief period of English control from
1651 to 1667. This is one of the few cartographic records of Jewish
settlement in that region; in 1665 the community was permitted to
build a synagogue, a privilege not usually accorded to Jews in the
English possessions. Its location is shown near the center of the map.
February 20, 2002
The Hebrew text at the bottom of the stamp is from Joshua 24:2, "Long
ago your ancestors lived beyond the Euphrates."