Latin-american Countries Will Admit Immigrants After the War, Waldman Reports
Menu JTA Search

Latin-american Countries Will Admit Immigrants After the War, Waldman Reports

Download PDF for this date

A prediction that Latin American countries will adopt a post-war policy of selective immigration for Jews in Europe was made today by Morris D. Waldman, vice-chairman of the executive committee of the American Jewish Committee, who has just returned from a three-months tour of the Southern Continent. Mr. Waldman, whose trip took him to Mexico, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and Cuba, conferred with Jewish leaders there on the educational, religious and philanthropic needs of their communities, and, in turn, acquainted them with the activities and policies of the American Jewish Committee.

Declaring that “there is a growing awareness that mass immigration to the United States during the past century was largely responsible for its colossal industrial, agricultural, and commercial development,” Mr. Waldman pointed out that “some countries – particularly Brazil, Cuba, and Mexico – have already seen gratifying evidence of the value of immigration in the new industries developed by European refugees.”

Mr. Waldman declared that “the post-Hitler immigrants in Latin America have brought in new skills, new merchandising ideas, new trades. Product upon product, from furniture to clothes, which previously had to be imported, are now being manufactured by them.” The immigrants in South America, Mr. Waldman continued, are thus creating a higher standard of living. This, in turn, is creating increased markets for United States exports. Mr. Waldman foresaw an era of trade expansion after the war for American businessmen in Latia America, an expansion, he said, “which these immigrants will have helped make possible.”


Discussing the integration of Jewish newcomers to Latin America, Mr. Waldman declared: “In the Jewish communities in the countries which I visited, I found that the recent immigrants, totaling 125,000, who constitute a large proportion of the Jewish population, are rapidly adapting themselves to the new conditions in spite of the painful psychological effects of the terrible experiences they suffered under the savage treatment of the Nazis. These communities are very young: only a small minority of the settlers have been there more than twenty-five or thirty years. Made up of people from many different Continental and Mediterranean countries, the Jewish communities in Latin America have not yet become cohesive, though progress is being made in that direction.

“Many of the new arrivals have become naturalized citizens in their respective countries of settlement. The children are being educated as nationals and already there are obvious indications that the Jewish youth are developing as Latin Americans, happy in their new surroundings and eager to take their part in the economic and cultural life of the country. Even the older age groups, who are naturally governed to some extent by their European backgrounds, are quickly acquiring the language and manners of their new country and are becoming integrated in the common life.”

Mr. Waldman disclosed that in Mexico City, the small Jewish community of 20,000 recently made a gift to the municipality of a modern public school building costing several hundred thousand dollars, and that it is now considering building a 200-bed, ultra-modern hospital on a non-sectarian basis. Jews, he said, have established many philanthropic institutions in all the Latin American capitals and other large cities. During the past five years, they have also raised substantial sums for the relief of suffering Jews in Europe and for the development of the Jewish settlement in Palestine.

Analyzing anti-Jewish prejudice in Latin America, Mr. Waldman said that this was largely the result of Nazi propaganda, which until 1941 was allowed to go unchecked, and did not come from the inherent nature of the people themselves.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund