Jodensavanne - Jew's Savannah
About 50 km upstream of Paramaribo lie the ruins of Jodensavanne (Jew’s savannah), on a high bank of the river Suriname. Around 1640 the first (Sefardic) jews settled here, fleeing the Spanish Inquisition. They mainly established sugar plantations in the region. Ten years later a second group of jews came to Suriname, now from England. A third group came from Brazil (Mauritsstad) after 1654, after the Dutch lost that region to the Portugese.
The official permission to found an own community came in 1669 as a result of the Breda Peace Treaty in 1667, which granted Suriname definitely to the Dutch. That permit also granted the right to establish a synagogue and a cemetery.
The synagogue Berachah VeShalom (‘Blessing and peace’) was constructed at Jodensavanne in 1685. The building was erected completely in brick, which is visible in the remains of the west façade.
Jodensavanne was almost completely destructed by a great fire in 1832. Most of the few people that still lived there (many had already moved to Paramaribo) did not return after the fire.