Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

Anglo Boere Oorlog/Boer War (1899-1902) VOLKSRUST Camp/Kamp

« Back to Projects Dashboard

view all

Profiles

Volksrust

http://www.eggsa.org/library/main.php Link to photo's on eGGSA

People in this camp

5000

People who died in this camp

751


Volksrust camp was beautifully situated, in the shadow of Majuba mountain, on the border of Natal, where the Boers had defeated the British some twenty years before, reminding them of ‘the most glorious episode in their history’, as Dr Kendal Franks noted. But Elizabeth Neethling described the place as one of the most miserable in the Transvaal. For her, this was a bleak spot, enclosed by high barbed wire fences, with monotonous rows of bell tents. ‘Nothing bright, nothing pleasant, strikes the eye’. Even J.J. Carter, the first superintendent, shared her opinion. ‘Owing to the altitude of the place, and the unprotected nature of the situation, the cold is intense at night, and when a breeze is blowing the days are also very keen’, he wrote. This ‘bracing’ climate might be beneficial for the healthy but it affected the aged and very young severely, and it was hard on the families who came from the milder districts of Vryheid, Utrecht and Piet Retief.1 It is not clear when Volksrust camp was formed but in May 1901 there were already nearly 5,000 inmates. At first the Boers in this camp seemed less impoverished than those in some of the other camps. Even later arrivals were described as ‘fairly well clothed’,possessing the ‘wherewithal for tent life’. By September 1901, however, the new inmates were considered ‘of a very low class’and badly provided for. Another group, from the Ermelo, Utrecht and Wakkerstroom districts, were ‘in a very filthy and destitute condition, and altogether a most undesirable lot’. The Ladies Committee also noted that 500 who came in November were ‘in a very destitute condition’. This steady influx of impoverished arrivals may have been one reason why the health of the camp deteriorated towards the end of the year, although Volksrust village was also sickly. Cold, heavy rain and the increase in numbers meant that tents were in short supply and worn.2 The camp did not remain long in its original position where the water supply was poor. Before long it was moved to an area about half a mile from Volksrust village, on better drained ground. Here the water supply was more abundant, piped from a local reservoir a mile away. The fence, a double row of barbed wire, which Neethling so disliked, was erected by the military to protect the camp from Boer attack, for the inmates were allowed to roam freely in the village and within the military lines during the day. The greatest disadvantage of the fencing was the fact that the camp could not be easily extended, contributing to the cramped pitching of the tents of which the authorities regularly complained. Nor could the tents be taken down and the ground disinfected, as happened in Vereeniging camp, for instance.3 Despite a somewhat untidy appearance, Volksrust seemed a well run camp. When Dr Kendal Franks visited the site in September 1901 he deplored the careless pitching of the tents, which were too close together and blocked the streets. Some of the inmates still lived in their own tents and wagons, which were unsightly to British eyes. Superintendent George King, who had replaced Carter on 19 August 1901, was now repitching the camp, and had decided to separate the invariably dirty from those of ‘more civilised habits’, a plan of which Franks approved. Yet, despite some grumbles about the untidiness of the camp and the dirtiness of the Boers, Franks was favourably impressed by Volksrust. http://www2.lib.uct.ac.za/mss/bccd/Histories/Volksrust/

Blue names Geni Profiles

Black names Not on Geni Yet

They survived

A

B

V

They died in this Camp

A

B

  • Cause of death – Diarrhoea & Marasmus
  • Cause of death – Measles & Dysentery

D

  • Cause of death – Measles & Pneumonia

H

  • Cause of death – Asthenia

How to Participate

If you have an ancestor who was in the ABW Volksrust Concentration Camp:

  1. Get yourself added as a collaborator
  2. Navigate to your ancestor's profile
  3. Under the "More Actions" link choose "Add to Project"
  4. Select the ABO === VOLLKSRUST===" project

How to add a link is explained in the attached document - Adding links to Geni profiles to projects.

Optional:

  • Include in the "About Me" section of each person a brief biographical sketch of their lives. Also include their Settler party and ship name and arrival date if known
  • Include a photograph/painting of your ancestor if one exists.
  • Your ancestor's profiles should be marked as "public" and not "private".
  • All included profiles should include full identifying information including birth and death dates as well as birth and death locations. It would also be very helpful if the immediate family of your pioneer ancestor, (their parents, siblings and children) profiles were public profiles also.
  • Do not make public any profiles of living people.

NOTE: All POW included on this project will have their profiles editable by other geni.com collaborators of this project. The object of reproducing the list here is to see if these people can be located on Geni and perhaps develop trees from them. To take part in any project - you do need to first be a collaborator - so join the project. See the discussion Project Help: How to add Text to a Project - Starter Kit to get you going!