Between the 19th and 20th century, 200,000 Jewish migrants from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean arrived in Argentina. Archives of small villages show how immigrants managed to survive in an unknown, sometimes hostile, environment, and succeeded in their labour and professional integration in the new country.
In the last decade of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century, waves of Jewish migrants fled from Europe’s antisemitism, poverty and social instability. Though many settled in Buenos Aires and other large cities, tens of thousands settled in the Argentinean Pampas, as part of a project of agricultural colonisation organised by the Jewish Colonisation Association. Archival material of the Jewish community is spread across the region. It details the cultural, social, economic, religious, and educational needs of the community.
Over the decades, most of the communities dissipated, leaving the archives behind. The material has never been surveyed, and there is no knowledge of how much material survived to this day.
This pilot project aimed to find the archives in southern areas of the Buenos Aires province, to document them, and to instruct the owners on how to preserve the documents. The project found 20,000 bound pages, 15,500 loose pages of correspondence and 6,000 photographs. All institutions surveyed showed great interest in preserving the collection and agreed to the possibility of digitising the collections in the future. A survey of the archives is available on the EAP website.