Jews in Argentine Province Apprehensive, Jewish Meetings Restricted in Entre Rios
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Jews in Argentine Province Apprehensive, Jewish Meetings Restricted in Entre Rios

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The Argentine province of Entre Rios, on the border of Brazil, where more than 10 percent of the agricultural population is Jewish, in many aspects today resembles one of the German provinces at the time Hitler still dreamed of the conquest of the world, Jacob Landau, managing director of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported here today upon his arrival from Argentina.

For months, nationalists had been given a free hand for their anti-Semitic propaganda, often openly protected by the local police, who are highly sprinkled with nationalist elements. Jewish houses are still marked in big red letters: "Jew" or death to the Jews" or "Keep Out of Jewish Business." A police officer is stationed at every Jewish colony to watch Jewish activities.

All Jewish school teachers in the area, numbering about 120, were dismissed from the public schools largely on the unfounded charges of communism. After strong protests, consideration is being given for reinstatement of the teachers, each case being treated individually although the dismissals were wholesale. Retirement rights are endangered as many teachers had long records of service. In one instance a teacher was dismissed after 20 years of service on the pretext of being a prostitute.

In public schools of many Jewish colonies, where almost 100 percent of the students are Jewish, school-room walls are decorated with crucifixes and other religious objects as part of the state-required morality teachings. Teachers of these morals classes, are Catholics. In other schools, where Jewish children are in the minority, parents are fearful of listing their children as Jewish because of the fear of discrimination, and many Jewish children are therefore receiving Catholic instruction.

During the recent high Jewish holidays, Jews had great difficulties in keeping their stores closed because of threats from local police. Only after a successful appeal to higher authorities were they permitted to close their shops. In Jewish colonies, the gathering of more than three persons for other than religious meetings requires special permission, which is usually not granted. This is causing serious youth behavior problems. Gatherings at burials and birth ceremonies also require special permission.


Outwardly the Jewish situation in Argentina seems quiet with earlier panicky tears having given way to a calmer outlook. The Jews realize, however, that their position is likely to change any day, depending on the swing in the political situation. the official attitude towards the Jews at present seems to be tempered by the need for appeasement of the United States, the world, and Argentina democratic public opinion.

This was illustrated by the recent dismissal of M. Zevalla, the government appointed governor of Entre Rios, who was known to be pro-Fascist, and of Marcelino J.Cepich, well-known reactionary, clerical, anti-Semitic director of the University of La Plata, who was responsible for an anti-democratic student demonstration recently. Simultaneously, in certain provinces the government has closed its eyes to new anti-Semitic actions such as the recent closing of 12 Jewish schools in Buenos Aires because their directors were not naturalized Argentines.


Jews in Argentina are grateful to the Joint Distribution Committee for the wholesome influence it has on the general Jewish situation there despite the strictly non-political character of its activities. The presence of a J.D.C. representative in

A committee of loyal Argentine citizens, the "Junta de Ayuda Judic," has been armed by leading business and professional people. This group is cooperating with the J.D.C. and has found an enthusiastic response among Argentine Jews to appeals for support of the J.D.C. welfare program.

Mr. J. B. Lightman, the representative of the J.D.C. in South America, enjoys the respect of all Jewish circles who appreciate his effective work performed under the most difficult circumstances. Lightman is supervising J.D.C. activities in other South American countries where the organization is carrying on carefully planned programs, administering funds for relief to needy refugees, raising standards of local social welfare activity, stimulating community organization and coordination and organization of local fund-raising committees in behalf of the J.D.C. overseas program. Mr. Lightman is assisted by Gertrude D. Pinsky, social welfare consultant, and Solomon Resnick, fund-raising and public relations representative.

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