Historie – Otázky – Problémy

Searching for Home Abroad: Jews in Argentina and Argentines in Israel


Abstract: This study deals with the position of the Jewish community in Argentina (the largest in Latin America) and its fortunes, as well as anti-semitic trends in this country since the 19th century. Argentinian Jews, or Jewish Argentinians, are integrating into Argentinian life and society without giving up the Jewish elements in their personal or collective identity.

The author opens his study with an analysis of the image of Argentinian Jews in several films made by various producers over the last few years (El a?o que viene… en Argentina, Un abrazo partido, Like a Fish Out of Water). He then deals with the emergence and development of the Jewish Argentinian immigrant community from a historical and sociological perspective, as well as the image of the community in literary works. Jewish immigration to Argentina (inter alia) was the outcome of economic and social problems in Central and Eastern Europe on the one hand and the liberal immigration policy of the Argentinian government on the other. The author traces where these Jews came from, which waves they belonged to chronologically, which towns they settled in and where they were active; he also provides various details on the size of the Jewish minority in Argentina. Another set of questions hangs over Nazi emigration to Argentina (which helped to create the myth of the country as pro-Nazi and anti-semitic) and various manifestations of anti-semitism that emerged in Argentina. The study is concluded with a look at the genesis of the community of Argentinian Jews in Israel.

Keywords: Jewish community; Argentina; 19th and 20th centurie; image of Jews in film and literature; immigration

Dr. Raanan Rein is the Sourasky Professor of Latin American and Spanish History and Vice President of Tel Aviv University. He is also the Head of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for International and Regional Studies. His principal research interests are Modern Latin America, populist movements, Argentine society and politics, Jews in the Spanish speaking world, ethnic minorities in Latin America, immigration and collective identities, 20th century Spain ( raanan@post.tau.ac.il).