28 Feb 2013
Although the first Jews arrived in Argentina when they got kicked out of Spain in 1492, the first major immigration was from Eastern Europe in late 1800s escaping poverty and pogroms.
At its peak, the Jewish community in Argentina numbered between 310,000-320,000.
Jewish businessman and philanthropist, Baron Maurice de Hirsch founded the Jewish Colonization Association (agricultural colonies). The JCA founded agricultural colonies in Argentina and assisted Jewish resettlement in them. About 40,000 Jews settled in these colonies at the peak
Within three generations most had moved to Buenos Aires preferring business and academic education, over agriculture.
Anti-Semitism was the norm preceding the Holocaust, yet 30,000 – 50,000 refugees arrived from Hitler’s Europe. That stopped after WWII.
That is when Peron let in about 5,000 Nazi’s including 300 war criminals.
Previous supposition has been replaced by historical fact now that thousands of documents have been declassified around the world.
Escape routes, known as ratlines, were made possible and aided by not just Peron, but also Switzerland and the Vatican. Argentinean passports were handed out in their consulate in Barcelona.
After the war about 50,000 Argentinean Jews moved to Israel.
On the other hand, Argentina was the first Latin America country to recognize Israel and had significant trade with Israel. There were several other actions Peron took to appease and please the Jewish community
Buenos Aires is only the seventh largest city in Latin America but has the most Jews.
Most of their Jewish life centers in two neighborhoods which reminded me of New Yorks lower east side when it was Jewish.
Currently Jewish life is relatively stable (but for the economy) notwithstanding a couple explosions during the 1990s. Out of the country organizations are credited as being the culprits.
25 Feb 2013
Nothing says Argentina like the Tango.
Casa Rosada (Pink House) the President’s Palace, today is the office of the President and the living quarters are elsewhere. It is from this very balcony that Eva Peron addressed the adoring working class crowds (both the real Eva and Madonna).
Recoleta Cemetery is in the heart of the most upscale area of town and formerly was the burial ground of the Argentina’s wealthy. Ironically Evita is buried here (after years of being hidden in Milan) and is the reason for most of the visitors.
24 Feb 2013
Every year about this time the Crystal Cruise world cruisers compete in a series of events over several weeks.
Some are athletic and some are intellectual. There are a couple dozen contests that have about 20 competitors each.
She earned a whopping 6 medals in 8 events:
Sudoku – Gold
Mixed Doubles Shuffleboard – Gold
Team Trivia – Gold
Scrabble – Silver
Ladies Doubles Shuffleboard – Silver
Free Cell – Bronze
I won none.
18 Feb 2013
Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world.
I refer you to my blog from 2009 where we had the benefit of an unusually beautiful day here.
17 Feb 2013
Some of the world’s roughest waters and mean climate are found at Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of South America.
The open stretch between South America and Antarctica is known for icebergs, 65+ high waves and regular terrible weather.
This is where the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans slam into each other as well as yet a third current from Antarctica. All of this is exacerbated by whirling Antarctica winds and Andes winds that create a funnel effect.
If you are like me, then you may not have known that Cape Horn is an island. Early sailors learned they could have relatively calmer waters a hair north in the Straights of Magellan. However, because they were much narrower and rocky, they took their toll on many a sailor.
Interesting point – Magellan came here in the winter because he did not yet know that the Southern Hemisphere seasons are opposite of that in Europe.