Origin of the word 'Peruvian' to describe jewws on the doamond nad goldfields #southafrica #general


I am wondering is anyone knows the origin of the term 'Peruvian' used by other Jews and those outside the community to describe in a derogatory way some of the Jews newly arrived on the diamond of goldfields in South Africa at the turn of the last century 1870 – 1930? Some have suggested it was short for a ‘Polish and Russian Union – a club that originated in Kimberley. But I don’t know of any refence to such a club or union. Has anyone any ideas?

Geraldine Auerbach

Shirley Holton

My parents - in the North of England - used the term to describe in a derogatory way Jews whose doings they thought were old fashioned, uneducated  - from 'der haim'. Where the derivation is I don't know.

Shirley Holton
London, England


The term "Peruvian" was also used in Glasgow Scotland. My father (arrived from Ukraine in 1923) was initially referred to as "Peruvian" by my mother's family (she was third generation), until they became engaged and married. 

Leslie Kelman

Arlene Beare

Jews from Eastern Europe who came after the German immigration to SA formed a club called in Yiddish the Palisher and Russisher Verein (unsure of spelling) abbreviated to PARUV,. They were then caller Peruvniks which was a derogatory term and anglicised to Peruvian.  I was aware of this but checked and found this online-
Peruvian or Peruvnik..originated in Kimberley during the Diamond Rush Days...The Jews from Eastern Europe were looked down upon by English and German Jews. The Polish and Russian Jews were of course excluded from the Kimberley club so they formed their own club which they called Polish And Russian Union. The acronym is Paru, which was and still is an expression of contempt and an assertion of superiority on the part of those using the word.’ (D. Schrire, Letter, 2 May 1989). 
Arlene Beare UK

Dorfman (born Birzai Lithuania then Riga)  Scher/Blum(born Pandelys Lithuania then Riga) Berman (born Lygumai Lithuania then Jekabpils Latvia
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