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First Jewish Mayor in Rio’s History

February 12, 1979
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Dr. Israel Klabin, a leading Brazilian industrialist, will take office as Mayor on March 15, the first Jew to hold that post in the 400-year history of Rio de Janeiro. He was appointed by Governor-elect Chacas Freitas of Rio de Janeiro State.

Klabin, 53, stems from a traditional Jewish family that settled in Brazil early in the century. His grand father was born in Vilna. Klabin heads Klabin Industries, a major corporation that owns paper mills and manufactures cellulose and glazed files. He has been active in Jewish community affairs and served as an advisor to the Israeli government on several occasions.

Klabin participated in the so-called millionaires conference” on Israel’s economic development convened some years ago by the late Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir. Klabin is also a member of the Board of Governors of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. His son, Leonardo Klabin 25, was elected last November to a four-year term as a member of the Rio State Assembly. His uncle, the late Horacio Lafer, once served as Brazil’s Minister of Finance.

The Governor-elect has also named a Jewish journalist; Arnaldo Niskier, 43, as Secretary of Education in the State government. Niskier is a professor of journalism at the State University and an editor of “Manchete,” the leading illustrated weekly in Latin America. Ten years ago he served as Secretary of Science and Education in the State government.

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