Skip to main content

Kallenbach, Hermann


KALLENBACH, HERMANN (1871–1945), South African architect and intimate of *Gandhi. Kallenbach was born in East Prussia and studied architecture in Stuttgart and Munich. In 1896 he went to South Africa, where he practiced as an architect. In 1904 he met Mohandas Gandhi, who was then working in South Africa. He became his intimate friend and dedicated devotee. Abandoning the life of a wealthy, sport-loving bachelor, he adopted the vegetarian diet and simple lifestyle of Gandhi. In Gandhi's words, they became "soulmates" and, for a time, shared Kallenbach's home. Together with another Jew, H.S.L. Polak, Kallenbach was associated with Gandhi throughout the Satyagraha (non-violent resistance) struggle which lasted in South Africa until 1914.

In 1910 Kallenbach purchased a farm near Johannesburg as a commune for the families of Indian resisters who had been imprisoned. It was named Tolstoy Farm and Kallenbach joined Gandhi there. During the great Satyagraha march of Indians in 1913, he risked his personal safety to confront hostile whites in defense of the Indians. In November 1913 he was imprisoned together with Gandhi. Upon their release they both went to England. Kallenbach planned to accompany Gandhi to India, but with the outbreak of World War i, he was detained in England because of his German citizenship. After the war he returned to South Africa, where he resumed his work as an architect, but continued to correspond with Gandhi.

The rise of Nazism shocked Kallenbach into a rediscovery of his Jewish roots. He became a convinced Zionist, served on the Executive of the South African Zionist Federation, and planned to settle in Ereẓ Israel. At the request of Moshe Shertok (Sharett), Kallenbach visited Gandhi in May 1937 to enlist his sympathy and support for Zionism. In private conversations he gained the sympathy of Gandhi and his promise to take an interest in the Zionist cause. In his public statements, however, Gandhi continued to maintain a position unsympathetic to Zionism. Although disagreeing with Gandhi over Zionism and also in his (Kallenbach's) conviction that Hitler had to be resisted by violence, Kallenbach's deep friendship with Gandhi continued, and he visited him again in 1939. When Kallenbach died in 1945 he left a portion of his considerable estate for South African Indians, but the bulk was left for the benefit of Zionism. His large collection of books went to the Hebrew University, and his cremated remains were buried at Deganyah.

add. bibliography:

I. Sarid and C. Bartolf, Hermann KallenbachMahatma Gandhi's Jewish Friend in South Africa: A Concise Biography (1997).

[Gideon Shimoni]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Kallenbach, Hermann." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . 27 Jun. 2019 <>.

"Kallenbach, Hermann." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . (June 27, 2019).

"Kallenbach, Hermann." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved June 27, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.