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Chile Jewry Looks to 1934 to Strengthen Bonds of Unity


For the young Jewish community of Chile the year 1933 may be regarded as a pivotal one in the history of the colony. It marked the close of thirty years of Jewish immigration into Chile and is, at the same time, indicative of the new epoch to come.

In the social-economic aspect, the thirty years of immigration now ending have yielded but little. The first blasts of the depression winds knocked down the flimsy cardboard house which was the Jewish economic structure, built upon the sandy foundation of “clientele” trade (customer peddling). The search for new means of earning a living fortunately #ed some Jews into the more stable fields of store-keeping manufacturing and import and export trade.

One group, admittedly quite small, took to farming, hiring small farms near the cities and devoting their acreage to truck-gardening and other intensive types of land-cultivation. These small-scale attempts spurred on the efforts of the various Jewish groups in Chile which are interested in agricultural colonization on a co-operative basis. Former dreams assumed actuality and justification and led to the cooperation of the government in experimental colonization.

Chile is a land admirably suitable for Jewish colonization purposes. The German colony in the south of Chile is living proof of this. The geographic location, the fertility of the soil and the favorable, almost European climate are all colonization assets. Moreover, the now definitely disappearing crisis and the rise in the exchange value of Chilean money should make it possible for Jews from other countries to settle in Chile with only a comparatively small outlay of capital.

A colonization project would not only provide the opportunity for settling a number of German and other Jews here, but would create a better attitude towards Jewish immigration to Chile generally. Large tracts of suitable land are available near large cities at reasonable prices. The present liberal-democratic government is friendly to the Jewish inhabitants of Chile and would undoubtedly lend its aid under certain conditions.

Politically, too, the year 193# marks a turning point in the history of the Jewish colony here. Hereto fore, the land was largely unaware of the Jews as Jews. They went a# “Russos”, “Polackos”, “Allemanos” and the like. The rise of pro-Hitlerism in the German colony her led, however, to their emergence a “Judeos” on the defensive agains Hitlerism and anti-Semitism. Moreover, whereas in the life of the Jewish community only Sephardic ar# East-European Jews have heretofo# been active, the German Jews ### Chile have now also come into th#f#ld and, with the other groups, a##evincing an intensified interest ### Jewish cultural institutions and ### fairs.

While this interest is still large embryonic, in its achievements any rate, the whole community loo### forward hopefully towards 1934 ### year which will bring much that ### be good.