1Collection of the Center of Documentation and Investigation of the Ashkenazi Community in Mexico



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IV. GRAPHIC ARCHIVES:

NAME OF FONDS OR COLLECTION

FIRST AND LAST DATES

NUMBER OF UNITS

1. Photographs

1904-2005

8000

2. Posters

1932-1945

40

3. Slides

1928-1976

52

4. Cards

1940-1998

250

This corpus is integrated by 32 fonds and collections*. It is divided into photographs that add up to 7,000 and posters, slides and one thousand New Year’s cards called Leshanot Tovot for the Jewish New Year.

  1. ASHKENAZI KEHILLAH FONDS (NIDJEI ISRAEL)

It was the first Ashkenazi community institution, founded in 1922, made up of 30 people, coming from Eastern Europe. They desired to copy the model of institutions that they had left behind in their original towns. On November 13, 1925, the Benevolent Alliance Nidjei Israel was founded. Its rulings show the spirit of solidarity among the members of the Community. In 1957 it changed its name for that of Ashkenazi Kehillah.

Mr. Mentzer, a Hungarian Jew, donated a one thousand meter piece of land located outside the city, on the road to Toluca to the Benevolent Alliance Nidjei Israel to create the first Ashkenazi cemetery, on May 26, 1927. On November 4 of that same year, the cornerstone was placed. Nidjei Israel inaugurated the cemetery in 1928. That same year the Chevrah Kadishah (Care of the Dead) was formed.

The fonds is divided into sections: Eshel (Old People’s Home), Education, Events, Culture, Religion, Board of Directors, Administration and Center of Documentation and Investigation of the Ashkenazi Community of Mexico. It includes photographs of inaugurations, parties, celebrations, synagogues, events, the Jewish Music Festival, cemetery, artistic groups and rabbis.

2) MEXICAN COUNCIL OF JEWISH WOMEN FONDS.

It was formed in 1938 as part of the Mexican Jewish Central Committee under the name of Women’s Section. In 1962 it became independent and took the name of Mexican Council of Jewish Women (linked to the International Council of Jewish Women). Its activities carried the slogan “From Jewish women to Mexican women”. From 1943, it has contributed to the building, maintenance and attention of nurseries, schools and hospitals.

It is separated by sections: Jewish women, Institutions, Ana Frank Kindergarten, Cultural Circle, Welfare, Friendship Tea, International Council of Jewish Women, Visits and World Jewish Organizations. There are photographs of farewells, inaugurations, donations, Mexican Red Cross, UNAM scholarships, hospital visits, school lunches, workshops, International meetings, Boards of Directors, etc.

3) JEWISH CHAMBER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE FONDS.

It contains the sections Board of Directors, Accounting, National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Mexico City, Relations with Government and Partners. It has photographs of standing guard at the Angel of Independence, anti-Semitic pamphlets, allegoric carriages and personal cards.

It began its activities on March 24, 1931. Its main goal was to be united to confront the anti-Semitic campaigns, as well as to have a voice to watch over merchants’ interests. It mediated between the associates. It had relations with international Jewish institutions and founded a no interest Loan Society. In 1957 it ceased operating and its functions were integrated into other institutions.


  1. MEXICAN JEWISH CENTRAL COMMITTEE FONDS.

The Mexican Jewish Central Committee began functioning in November 9, 1938 so as to form an organization of the whole Jewish Community in Mexico that would serve as official representative before the country’s authorities. At the beginning, its activities were dedicated to aid European refugees, as well as the task of anti-defamation.

The Tribuna Israelita (Jewish Forum) was founded in 1944 as a branch of the Central Committee.

We have the sections Board of Directors, Jewish Forum, Visits, Intercommunity Relations and Second World War. Among the photographs there are Boards of Directors, Nidjei Israel Library, Conventions of Jewish Communities of Mexico, Visitors (Nahum Goldman, Victor Harel, Aaron Hans), ambulatory kitchens donated during the Second World War and Donations.

5) COLLECTION OF COMMUNITIES

The Jewish Community in Mexico is divided into several sectors: Ashkenazi Community, Sephardic Community, Monte Sinai and Maguen David.

It contains the Bet-El, Maguen David, Sephardic and Monte Sinai (Sectors of the Jewish Community in Mexico) series.

6) COLLECTION OF CRYPTO JEWS IN MEXICO.

Crypto Jews are those Jews who were forced to convert to Christianity but who continued with their Jewish rites in secret.

Venta Prieta is located at the entrance of the city of Pachuca, inhabited by descendants of crypto Jews, coming from Zamora, Michoacán. Temixco is also a community of crypto Jews in the State of Morelos.

Sections Venta Prieta and Temixco. Of the latter there is a series of photographs of a native Jewish community, where we can appreciate the cultural fusion by observing the rites and attire.

7) COLLECTION OF COMMUNITIES IN THE PROVINCES.

Jewish immigrants arrived in Monterrey between 1920 and 1930, coming from Eastern Europe. Institutionalization allowed them to keep their Jewish identity. Its characteristic is to be made up of Ashkenazi Jews, with an orthodox religious practice.

The Tijuana community began to gather in the second decade of the 20th century. In the 40s some Holocaust survivors arrived together with Sephardim and Ashkenazim coming from the Federal District, Guadalajara and Monterrey. Some Judaizers, descendants of crypto Jews from the Colonial era, arrived as well.

Sections Monterrey, Jewish Community Center of Monterrey and Tijuana: We find photographs of Nahum Wengrovsky, women’s groups, Polish army, Board of Directors of Keren Kayemet, prayers, Mezuzah collection, excursions, students, etc.

8) COLLECTION JEWS IN THE WORLD.

It contains photographs of Cuba, the United States and Tanzania.

9) COLLECTION PLACE OF ORIGIN.

Ashkenazi Section: These photographs were brought by European immigrants. We have copies of study certificates, synagogues, religious schools, the Wyzskow market, the Worms community, etc.

10) COLLECTION IMMIGRATION

Sections: Travel Documents, Arrival of immigrants, Refugees and Policies. It contains passports, letters, certificates of physical and mental health, ships, trains, lists of refugees, camps for refugees, naturalization letters and personal documents.

11) COLLECTION EDUCATION.

The Ashkenazi Community in Mexico has had five schools, each one representing a different educational ideology. The first one was founded in 1924. They are all coordinated by the Vaad Hachinuch (Education Council) that began operating in 1952. In 1946, the Teachers’ Seminar was formed to provide Jewish teachers for the schools. In 1992 it was replaced by the Hebraic University, affiliated to the Ministry of Public Education.

Sections: Teachers’ Seminar: Yavneh School, Colegio Israelita de México, Tarbut School, Vaad Hachinuch (Education Council), Hebraic University, Monte Sinai Hebrew School, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Chidon Hatanach (Torah Competition), anniversaries, graduations, awards, exhibitions, conferences, teachers, sponsors.

12) MEXICAN JEWISH SPORTS CENTER FONDS.

The Jewish Sports Center was inaugurated on October 15, 1950 in the land of the former Sotelo ranch as an apolitical institution dedicated to organize youth in the social and sports aspects, which functions till today.

It contains the sections Board of Directors, Installations, Events and Personalities. There are photographs of the Boards of Directors, of the Women’s Committee, of the Youth Council, the building project of the Center, openings, awards, etc.

13) YOUNG MEN’S HEBREW ASSOCIATION FONDS.

In 1920, Sam Wishniak founded the association called Young Men’s Hebrew Association, whose initials are YMHA, known as “The Club” and composed mainly by young Jews coming from the United States. This association was finally established in Tacuba 15. It was the meeting place for all Ashkenazi Jews, because its members spoke both Yiddish and English. This place had a library, plays were performed as well as dances, parties and prayers in the High Holidays.

*Institution created by immigrants arriving from the United Status during the First World War.

Sections Board of Directors and Maccabee: There are photographs of the YMHA Board of Directors, parade of Athlete’s day, teams and Maccabean games.

14) COLLECTION LIFE CYCLE.

A baby boy’s birth is marked by the Brith Milah that symbolizes the pact between God and the people of Israel. Puberty is marked by the Bar Mitzvah for boys at thirteen and Bat Mitzvah for girls at twelve. Marriage is the basis and origin of family life. Divorce is performed by a Bet Din. Death is typified by respect for the deceased and mourning is expressed by Shivah and the Kadish.

Sections Brith Milah (circumcision), Bar Mitzvah (thirteen year olds), weddings and festivities: It contains photographs of circumcisions, synagogues of the Jewish community in Mexico, weddings and Passover.

15) COLLECTION WORK.

Section Merchants. There are photographs of peddlers and of established shops.

16) COLLECTION CULTURE

The cultural activity of Ashkenazi Jews started at the same time as did immigration. From their arrival they had a vivid interest in literary and artistic activity. The Ashkenazi Jewish culture in Mexico developed keeping and transmitting the one brought over from their places of origin while at the same time adapting and taking new elements from Mexican culture.

Section Activities and Events: It contains photographs of choirs, dances, theater, press, exhibitions, books, Jewish intellectuals in Mexico, music, conferences and libraries.

17) COLLECTION LEON AND CELIA ZUCKERBERG.

The actors Celia and Leon Zuckerberg, together with other actors such as Rosa and Morris Brown, Genia and Morris Gelber, energized the Yiddish theater in Mexico. The Zuckerbergs arrived in Mexico in 1934 and set up “The Dibbuk” by Ansky in Yiddish. Some of their plays were staged in the Arbeu and Hidalgo Theaters, among others.

Section Theater: This collection has photographs of León and Celia Zuckerberg as well as publicity.

18) COLLECTION ILLUSTRATIONS.

The CDICA has posters whose content is anti-Semitic and others created during the Second World War as protest against Nazi anti-Semitism. Some of them are propaganda for solidarity meetings for the Jewish people and others as protests against what had happened in the Warsaw Ghetto. In these posters we can read the speeches supporting the Jewish people that were read by famous intellectuals such as Felix F. Palavicini, Isidro Fabela, Vicente Lombardo Toledano, among others.

Sections: New Year, invitations and programs, diplomas and acknowledgements, reproductions and tickets. There are New Year’s cards of various themes (Jerusalem, Jewish traditions, flowers and nature elements, the Star of David, the Wailing Wall, doves, family, etc.), invitations to events of social, cultural and religious character, programs, anti-Semitic posters, diplomas, diptychs and triptychs, etc.

19) COLLECTION WOMEN’S ORGANIZATIONS

The Mexican section of the WIZO organization (Women’s International Zionist Organization) was formed on March 26, 1938. They support nurseries and furnish schools in the Federal District, among other things.

Froien Farein, (Women’s Union) began in 1932. It helps the sick, widows and orphans, granting financial and medical assistance.

Na’amat (Pioneer Women) was founded in 1935. It helps prevent intra family violence and participates in the Red Cross Campaign as well as in supporting Mexican institutions.

Sections: Na´Amat, WIZO and Froien Farein. There are photos of IDs, visit of Abba Eban to WIZO, boards of directors, cards, etc.

20) COLLECTION IMPORTANT WOMEN.

Section: Sephardic Community. It has photographs of Doreta Babani, Sophie Bejarano, Amelia Ezquenazi, Amira Klip, Esther Mondlak, Elena Nahmad, Rosa Nissan, etc.

21) COLLECTION ORGANIZATIONS OF MUTUAL ASSISTANCE.

The Jewish Benevolent Society of Mexico was founded in 1930 (Hilfs Farein) which from the beginning was set up as an assistance, not a charity and alms, institution.

The OSE Mexican Society was founded in November of 1941. It is devoted to giving medical help in its clinic.

Ars Medici is a medical forum. It established relations with OSE and with scientific and professional societies abroad.

ORT stands for initials of Russian words that mean Society for Jewish Manual Work. In Mexico it has been in charge of coordinating workshop teaching in Jewish schools.

There was an initiative to form a society for a Jewish Hospital in Mexico in 1927, but in spite of the efforts made by the community for its erection, by 1962 the project had folded.

Sections: ORT, OSE, Ars Medici, Jewish Hospital in Mexico and Hilfs Farein. There are photographs of awards, activities, members, for the Building of the Jewish Hospital and executives.

22) COLLECTION YOUTH ORGANIZATIONS.

The young people who arrived in Mexico from Eastern Europe and those born in Mexico created their own centers and youth organizations of various ideologies. Some of them were religious such as Bnei Akiva. It was formed in 1947 as an autonomous and intercommunity group. Noam was created in May, 1949. It received pupils from all the schools that taught religious Zionism.

Sections Bnei Akiva and Noam: Photographs of activities and camps in Mexico.

23) COLLECTION POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS.

The Jews who arrived in Mexico were imbued by a series of ideologies that had been forged in Europe, both at international level, like communism, and nationalist like the Bund and Zionism. In Mexico, the first Zionist organization was created in 1922. The Bundist organization began in 1936, of socialist tendency.

Sections Zionist Organizations and Bundist Organizations: Images of activities, reception in Mexico of Zionist leaders, congresses, displays, campaigns, activities in favor of Israel, Eleanor Roosevelt’s visit, Zionist leaders visiting, etc.

24) COLLECTION ISRAEL.

Sections: Aliyat Hanoar, education, visits, army, society and State. It contains images of events, Hanoar Hatzioni, Yamin, order, sportsmen; kibbutz, distinguished visitors, arrival of immigrants, educational institutions, civil activities, military activities, Associations of Friends, etc.

25) COLLECTION RELATIONS WITHIN MEXICO.

Sections Distinctions and acknowledgements: Committee for the Defense of the Federal District, meetings with authorities and presidents. There are photographs of Mexican presidents, acknowledgements, contributions and granting of recognitions.

26) COLLECTION SECOND WORLD WAR.

Section Nazism/Holocaust: Photographs of Nazi soldiers, the Warsaw Ghetto, objects and representations, memorial anniversaries, visits and mass tombs.

27) COLLECTION ANTI SEMITISM.

Section Propaganda: Images of graffiti at the Jewish cemetery and anti-Semitic publicity.

28) COLLECTION SAMUEL SHERE.

Section Immigrants: Photos of immigrants arriving in the United States.

29) COLLECTION MEXICO.

Section general views: Photos of buildings.

30) COLLECTION PERSONALITIES.

Simón Feldman was born in Skvira, in the Ukraine region, in 1909. He arrived in Mexico in 1924. He was one of the developers of the Jewish community in Mexico. Since 1938 he got interested in community work and in 1940 he was elected president of Nidjei Israel, position that he occupied until 1988 and as honorary president till his death, in 1992.

The Jewish League for Help to the USSR or Di Ligue, as it was known throughout the Jewish community, was founded in August, 1942. In January, 1945 Di Ligue changed its name to that of Jewish Popular League in Mexico (Folks Ligue) and remained as a non affiliated group where Jews of various tendencies and parties could participate and be active, as long as they were antifascist and friends of the Soviet Union. Boris Rosen was representative of the Folks Ligue before the Central Committee and the last editor of Fraiwelt, newspaper published by that group.

Sections Golda Meir and important people: Photos of Golda Meir, Boris Rosen and Simón Feldman, gatherings, activities of the Jewish Popular League, commemorative and cultural acts, community activities, festivals, parties, meetings and reunions, homages and acknowledgements, etc.

31) COLLECTION DUNIA WASSERSTROM.

Dunia was survivor of the Holocaust, of Auschwitz concentration camp. She founded the Association of Members of Resistance and Deported Victims of the Second World War and wrote the book Nunca Jamás (Never Again).

Sections Personal life, activities and functions: the Problem of the Jewish Minority in the USSR. It is a very rich fonds because it has photographs of Dunia and Ariel in Europe, Polish families, Polish parks, social events, the passport of Dunia Severin Wasserstrom, of the Association of Members of the Resistance and Deported Victims of the Second World War, the Mexican Council of Jewish Women, etc.

32) COLLECTION JANE FISHBEIN.

This collection is part of Jane Fishbein’s file. She was a community activist in several institutions particularly in the matter of supporting and helping women and children. Her photographic file has more than 200 photographs.

This collection has very important photographs of her community work in Aliyat Hanoar, Plugah, Keren Hayesod and Cavi.

33) COLLECTION BERTHA MOSS.

Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, she studied drama in her native city. Her work in Argentinean theater was remarkable. She worked side by side with the greatest actors and actresses of her country and Mexico. The actress Dolores del Río invited her to come to Mexico. She was a tireless dramatic actress, especially in “Fiddler on the Roof”.

Her photographic file is made up of photos that show various passages of the personal life of the actress during her artistic career in Mexico, mainly in the theater. Among the celebrities who worked with her and with whom she had great friendship we find her best friend Dolores del Río as well as the film director Luis Buñuel, Marga López, Ignacio López Tarso and Manolo Fábregas with whom she worked on many occasions in several plays during her stay in Mexico. Finally, we find some photos that show special moments accompanied by her husband José Pichel.

Photo of Bertha Moss with a series of Mexican artists among which are Pedro Vargas, Miguel Aceves Mejía, Raúl Astor, Marga López and Chela Castro.



V. DATABASES.

NAME OF FONDS OR COLLECTION

FIRST AND LAST DATES

NUMBER OF UNITS

1. Jewish Immigrants into Mexico

1876-1950

13,100 registries

2. Jewish Businesses in Mexico

1900-1950

348 registries

3. Census of the Jewish Community in Mexico

1949

1548 registries

4. Proceedings of the Mexican Jewish Committee

1938-1992

8438 registries

Our databases have been developed by means of some unique documental series. This has allowed us to expedite researcher’s work since searching for some information through certain key words saves lots of time.

1) JEWISH IMMIGRANTS INTO MEXICO.

The database is the result of an investigation by the Center of Documentation and Investigation of the Ashkenazi Community in Mexico. The Immigrant Registry of the Ministry of the Interior is kept in Gallery 2 of the National General Archives. These registries contain information from the end of the 19th to the middle of the 20th century.

Form F4 could be obtained in various manners: in first place upon arrival in the country. Those under age at that moment got it at 16. It could also be obtained at a Consulate (Marseilles, for instance) and they would come in with that document in hand. Every time that somebody came back into the country, a new registry was opened; that is the reason for some people to have several entries.

The registries contain detailed information of every person, such as date, place of birth, date of entry into the country, place of entry, religion, place of residence in Mexico, country of origin, nationality, languages, etc. On the other side, the physical and racial characteristics of the person were inscribed like height, weight, racial group and sub racial in some cases. The document includes a photograph of the immigrant.

Obtaining the information was a difficult process because, in the first place, we were searching for nationalities that are considered Ashkenazi, among which the most important were Poland, Russia, Germany and Lithuania. Later we processed the data of the Sephardic and Arabic speaking communities to fill out the pattern, but we realized it was necessary to have the registry of the Jews coming from the United Status, Cuba and Spain, because it was a large number besides presenting a different migratory current.

The database contains registries from the National Registry of Foreigners of the National General Archives, which is divided into 23 nationalities with information generated between 1876 and 1950. The information allows us to find out who arrived, from where, when, via what place, their skills, the number of languages spoken, etc. It has 13,100 registries. It presents immigrants of the various community sectors, divided into 23 nationalities: Polish, Russian, French, American, Syrian, German, Lithuanian, Cuban, Spanish, Lebanese, Austrian, Bulgarian, Egyptian, Dutch, Iraqi, Swiss, Turk, Rumanian, Palestinian, Hungarian, Greek, Czech and Belgian.

Today this database has turned out to be extremely important. The 13,100 registries found in the National General Archives have become a very valuable tool because it helps students prepare a report called “Roots” and children of immigrants present it as proof to request another nationality as well.


2) JEWISH BUSINESSES IN MEXICO.

The origin of the relatively recent establishment of Sephardic Jews came about after 1860 when President Benito Juárez sanctioned religious tolerance in Mexico. This process continued favorably by the concessions granted to foreign investors by Porfirio Díaz. However, it was only in the 20th century when Mexican newspapers broadcast the advantages of this land in Turkey, that some Jews began to consider the possibility of immigrating to Mexico.

Mexico had developed various economic activities that embraced a huge list of trades such as diamond cutters, film producers, exporting agents, physicians, lawyers, chemists, cabinetmakers, mechanics, sales agents, textile designers, furriers, diamond manufacturers, mechanical engineers, economists, pharmacists, painters, alcohol producers, musicians, dentists, financial agents; dealers in automotive parts, in steel, in attire, in electrical articles; sweater manufacturers, of stockings, overcoats, beds and mattresses and milliners; canned goods manufacturers, etc.

The problem lay in getting a job. In the old towns most Jews had been artisans, small merchants or agricultural workers. Because there were very few ways of earning a living, they realized that the professions and trades brought over from Europe were not practical in Mexico. There was no need for tailors, butchers, shoemakers or carpenters so they were forced to open a shop or become peddlers.

The best economic option for immigrants was in commerce. Fortunately, most manufactured products were imported so their price and distribution was concentrated in the most important urban areas. They revolutionized commerce which benefited the Mexican people because through competition the essential articles that were out of reach of workers could now be purchased because prices had greatly gone down.

Between 1926 and 1930 the financial position of the Jewish population improved, so Jewish peddlers began to disappear to be replaced by workshops or stores of their own. A few small Jewish owned factories also began producing.

Once the Jewish community began to consolidate financially, they decided to live in Mexico. In the industrial census of 1945 we may observe the importance Jewish manufacture had acquired (knitted lingerie, artificial silk, shirts and stockings). Jewish firms produced 35.66% of the total output of stockings in the country, but in silk stockings the percentage rose to 64.63%.

The database was made based on an economic census of the time and by searching for advertisements in community newspapers. It includes statistical information of the years 1948, 1949 and 1950, integrated by ads and publications of that era that contain information such as business, owner, partners, address, foundation dates and line of business.

3) CENSUS OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY IN MEXICO.

The census was prepared by the Mexican Jewish Central Committee in 1949 so as to find out the social and demographic characteristics of the community, because elections had to be made and they desired to know the number of representatives from each community sector. The survey began the first days of 1949.

On August 2, 1949, Mr. Shimanovich reported that the census gave the figure of 3949 families of which 471 were Sephardic, 800 Arabic speaking and the rest Ashkenazi and that the electoral lists had started being prepared.

The survey was made by family in large sheets where each member of the family was listed, beginning with both private and business addresses. First came the father and the rest of the family was listed from oldest to youngest.

The information required the name beginning with the father’s surname, mother’s surname and given name, then sex and age. Further on civil state was annotated, as well as country of origin. The answers ranged very widely, whether somebody had been born in Mexico or abroad, in the case of the foreign born, the most common options were Poland, Russia, Lithuania, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Lebanon, Arabia, Brazil, Persia, etc.

The nationality was written down, although by that time some half of the community members had been born in Mexico and fifty percent of the rest had been naturalized, so that the greater part of the Jewish Community living in Mexico was Mexican.

The survey desired to know the date of entry and occupation as some of the most important questions. The results divided the activities among merchants, industrialists, professionals, employees, artisans, etc.

The database is formed by 7310 registries of Jews living in Mexico in 1949 and that belonged to some of the institutions that made up the Jewish Community in Mexico.

4) PROCEEDING OF THE MEXICAN JEWISH CENTRAL COMMITTEE

The Mexican Jewish Central Committee is the central institution of the Jewish Community in Mexico; it has representation before the Mexican government and it embraces the various sectors that are part of it.

The database was made on the basis of 20 volumes of proceedings of the Central Committee; we checked book by book and case by case to prepare a product that would facilitate investigating the history of the Jewish Community of Mexico.

It holds 8421 registries that have all the information contained in the proceedings of the Mexican Jewish Central Committee between 1938 and 1992. The registries were made by case, which allowed us to obtain all the information contained in the 20 books of proceedings. It was done in Micro CD-Isis, so as to make good use of the Database: to allow us to use a large amount of characters per registry and 2) to perform adequate reports so as to index the information effectively. Besides annotating the names of people, we made descriptors, so the searches can be made by subject or by word. The base includes the following fields: book, number of proceeding, date, folio, matter, assistants and descriptors. The base has the virtue of allowing us to make speedy searches about any existing subject in the proceedings of the Central Committee. That is why the search is made digitally.



VI. ORAL HISTORY ARCHIVE

NAME OF FONDS OR COLLECTION

FIRST AND LAST DATES

NUMBER OF UNITS

1. Immigrants

1905-1982

157 interviews

2. Holocaust

1939-1945

20 interviews

3. Community leaders

1940-2006

28 interviews

4. Venta Prieta

1980-1990

5 interviews

5. Education

1928-1950

10 interviews

Oral documentation dates from the dawn of historic science; Herodotus and Thucydides used it in their time.

Oral documentation did not arrive at its culmination in the technical stage by adopting the electronic recorder and magnetic tape but through this technology verbal testimony has been amply recorded.

A great part of the historic development of the Jewish people in modern life has been made by individuals: some of them had leadership thrust upon them and they were conscious of the role they were playing and others did it without imagining that their particular activities were in any way transcendental. Emigration is one of the most remarkable examples of this historic activity.

The Center has 220 interviews of oral history performed to important members of the Jewish Community in Mexico: immigrants, intellectuals, activists and Holocaust survivors. This material is being digitalized to allow more efficient access for researchers. However, transcriptions of the interviews may be consulted.



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Gojman de Backal, Alicia et al. Instituciones de la Comunidad Judía de México, Cuaderno de Investigación No.11, México, Comunidad Ashkenazí, 2000.
González Navarro, Moisés, Los extranjeros en México y los mexicanos en el extranjero, 1821-1970, México, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Históricos, 3 vols., 1994.
Hanono, Ashkenazí, Linda, Linaje y vida empresarial: El caso de una familia judeomexicana. México Escuela Nacional de Antropolgía e Historia, 2000 (tesis).
Hersch, L .”Jewish Population Trend in Europe” in The Jewish People . Past and Present, vol. I, New York, 1946, pp. 407-430.
Krause, Corine, Los Judíos en México. Una Historia con énfasis especial en el período 1857-1930, México Universidad Iberoamericana, 1987.
Laqueur, Walter, La Europa de Nuestro Tiempo. Desde el final de la Segunda Guerra Mundial hasta la década de los 90, Argentina, Javier Vergara Editor, 1994.
Leander, Birgitta, (coord.), Europa, Asia y Africa en América Latina y el Caribe, Mario Margulis y Omar Martínez Legorreta, (relatores), México, Siglo XXI, UNESCO, 1989.
Lepkowski, Tadeusz, La inmigración polaca en México, México, Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social, 1991.
Malgesini, Graciela y Carlos Jiménez, Guía de conceptos sobre migraciones, racismo e interculturalidad, Madrid, Editorial Catarata, 2000.
Mentz, Brigida von et al, Fascismo y antifascismo en América Latina y México, México, Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social, Cuadernos de la Casa Chata 104, 1984.
Meyer Eugenia y Eva Salgado, Un refugio en la memoria. La experiencia de los exilios latinoamericanos en México, México, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Océano, 2002.
Moore, Debora Dash, ed. East European Jews in Two World Wars, Evanston, III, Northwestern University Press, 1990.
Nudelman, Ricardo, Diccionario de política Latinoamericana del siglo XX, México, Océano, 2001.
Ravel, Aviva, Faithful Unto Death: The Story of Arthur Sygielblum, Montreal, Workmen´s Circle, 1980.
Reitlinger, G., The Final Solution: The Attempt to Exterminate the Jews of Europe, 1929.45, London, 1969.
Salazar, Delia, Xenofobia y Xenofilia en la historia de México, Siglos XIX y XX, México, Instituto Nacional de Migración,.2006.
Seligson, Silvia, Los Judíos en México. Un estudio preliminar, México, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, 1973.
Serrano, Migallón, Fernando, El asilo político en México, México, Editorial Porrúa, 1998.
Sherwin L. Byron, Sparks Amidst the Ashes. The Spiritual Legacy of Polish Jewry, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997.
Skidmore, Thomas E. y Peter H. Smith, Historia Contemporánea de América Latina América Latina en el Siglo XX, Barcelona, Editorial Crítica, 1996
Slezkine, Yuri, The Jewish Century, Princeton, Princeton University Press,2004.
Sourasky, León, Historia de la Comunidad Israelita de México, 1917-1942, México, Imprenta Moderna Pintel, 1965.
Tobias, Henry J, The Jewish Bund in Russia: From its Origins to 1905, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1972.
Weisel, Elie, Souls on Fire, New York, Random House, 1972.
Wexler, Paul, The Ashkenazi Jews: A Slavo- Turkic People in Search of a Jewish Identity, Columbus, Ohio, Slavica, 1993.
Wischnitzer, M. To Dwell in Safety: The Story of Jewish Migration since 1800, Philadelphia, 1948.
Yankelevich, Pablo, (coord.), México entre exilios. Una experiencia sudamericana, México, Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo, Plaza y Valdés, 1998.
Zaga, Mograbi, Sharon, y Emily Cohen Cohen, El Rostro de la verdad: Testimonios de Sobrevivientes del Holocausto, México, Editorial Memoria y Tolerancia, 2000.
Zack de Zukerman, Celia, El Pueblo Judío y la Comunidad Internacional en el siglo XX, Cuaderno de Investigación No.1, México, Comunidad Ashkenazí de México, 1994.
Zárate, Guadalupe, México y la Diáspora Judía, México, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, 1986.
4. JUSTIFICATION OF THE PROPOSAL AND/OR EVALUATION ACCORDING TO SELECTION CRITERIA
4.1 Has the authenticity been demonstrated?
The Center of Documentation and Investigation of the Ashkenazi Community in Mexico has books printed in various parts of the world: Russia, Poland, Argentina, Czechoslovakia, the Baltic countries, Hungary, Mexico, Israel, Greece, etc. from the 16th century to our time. They are books written in several languages such as Yiddish, Hebrew, German, Polish, French, English, Aramaic, Lithuanian and Spanish. The authenticity of our books can be demonstrated by the seals that tell of their voyage from Europe to Mexico.

The old and new, national and international bibliographical references show how authentic the safeguarded documents are. These documents are unique because they were generated by the Ashkenazi community institutions in Mexico. They are manuscripts in the Yiddish language.




    1. Has their importance, singularity and impossibility of their being replaced elsewhere in the world been demonstrated?

Most of the books that form part of the Antique Hebrew Fonds were edited in the four centers of Polish Judaism of that time: Krakow and Lvov (Lemberg) in the Austro-Hungarian Empire where Hebrew typography had its start, Warsaw and Vilnius in the Tsarist Empire. The collection deserves interest for two reasons: the first because it is the only one of its kind in Mexico and the second, because of the extraordinary historic saga that brought it here. Although there may be some samples in other parts of the world, as a collection it is unique. The rescue of the Ashkenazi culture that barely escaped vanishing in Europe is the basis of the formation of these collections.

The Mexico Fonds constitutes an authentic contribution to the study of the Jewish presence in Mexico because of the subjects it contains as well as the deep message of the printed books in Hebrew and Yiddish as transmitters of their own culture. The student or reader will be able to reconstruct the formation of the Jewish Community in Mexico and also to become aware of the historic moment when Spanish took over the position to convey Judaism in our country. It was the encounter of culture and history of a non national minority with the receiving society, where the book served as an instrument of communication for the enrichment of both.

The Fonds of Translations to Yiddish and Hebrew is unique and cannot be duplicated. The creation of the Bund (Union) tried to enrich the great financial penury generated in Poland through the availability of culture. There were courses for workers and hundreds of classes for the Jewish working population were organized. These classes were imparted in Yiddish, considered the language of the people, of ordinary men and women, but at the same time Yiddish had created a very rich literature and press. It helped Jews approach universal culture and awakened their interest in the non Jewish world. Translations into Hebrew were influenced by the Haskalah (Illustration), movement that originated in Germany in the 18th century. This movement caused Jewish education to become secular. The Bible was studied from a historic point of view. Jews began studying secular subjects in Hebrew and plunged into universal culture so they are very important as vestiges of a universal culture absorbed by Judaism.

The Library of Periodicals has great historic documentary value because it holds most of the periodical publications edited in Mexico in Yiddish and the magazines edited by Jewish Community institutions. There are collections such as the one of Foroys that is unique just like Fraiwelt. We also have publications from the United States, Israel and Argentina, which makes our corpus very rich and important.

The archive has Institutional Fonds of the organizations formed in Mexico, such as the Ashkenazi Kehillah in Mexico, the Mexican Jewish Central Committee, the Jewish Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the Mexican Council of Jewish Women and the Zionist Organizations. These documents are unique and irreplaceable. The CDICA is the only institution that safeguards the historic documents of the above named institutions.


    1. Are one or more of the criteria of a) time, b) place, c) persons, d) matter and subject, e) form and style satisfied?




  1. Time.

Our bibliographic collections were edited in Europe beginning in the 16th century in several languages, mostly in Yiddish and Hebrew. Some publications are the only ones in Mexico because they survived the Holocaust and anti-Semitic persecutions as well as the elimination of European libraries.

The books edited in Mexico form a singular collection: the CDICA library has the first books printed in our country that refer to the formation and consolidation of the Jewish Community in Mexico during the last years of the 20s as well as the vision that early immigrants had of Mexico.

In the archives we can find proceedings that bear witness to the history of the Community. One of the documents we have that refer to the formation of the Community are the Constitutive Proceedings of the Mexican Jewish Central Committee and the Jewish Chamber of Industry and Commerce.


  1. Place.

The Jewish people have lived in various countries in the course of time, and so, the CDICA Library has books edited in several parts of the world such as Poland, Germany, Russia, Czechoslovakia, the United States, Mexico, Israel, etc. The CDICA is located in Mexico City. The collections containing these books were mostly brought over by immigrants and written in the language of their countries of origin. This is eloquent proof of the need to keep and safeguard the Ashkenazi culture.


  1. Persons:

The Center of Documentation has works by Jewish-Mexican intellectuals such as Jacobo Glantz, Isaac Berliner, Moisés Glikovsky, David Zabludovsky, Salomón Kahan and Moisés Rubinstein. There are illustrations by Diego Rivera in works of Jewish authors that were incorporated with love and passion for Mexico. There are also well known international Jewish authors like Nobel Prize winners Isaac Bashevis Singer and Samuel Josef Agnon.

In the files we have the names of the movers of the Jewish Community of Mexico: Simón Feldman, Isaac Rosovsky, León Behar, León Sourasky, Jacobo Landau, Gregorio Shapiro, Max Shein, Isidoro Zbulun Berebiches, Rabbi Jacobo Goldberg, Rabbi Avigdor, Runia Lasky, Esther Comarofsky, etc.

The rescue of the work of great intellectuals, philosophers and writers is a must, particularly because of the disappearance of so many of them during the Nazi regime.


  1. Matter and subject.

The bibliographic corpus has material about Judaism, divided into sections: history, literature, philosophy, Mexico Fund, Yiddish theater, political science, religion, Holocaust, Israel, Jewish art, exile and the Antique Hebrew Fonds.

The documentary corpus contains information from several institutions of the Jewish Community in Mexico like the Ashkenazi Community in Mexico, the Mexican Jewish Central Committee, the Jewish Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the Zionist Federation, the Zionist Organization, Keren Kayemet Leisrael of Monterrey, etc.

We can affirm that these collections are a reflection of the safekeeping, custody and dissemination of two basic matters:


    1. The Ashkenazi culture created in Eastern and Central Europe.

    2. The history of the Ashkenazi Community in Mexico.




  1. Form and style:

The books of our collection were printed in Europe, Argentina, Israel and Mexico; the first Yiddish printing type arrived from the United States. The printing of a Hebrew book in the 16th century is a typographic rarity. The best Jewish presses from places such as Poland, Russia, Hungary, Germany, Czechoslovakia, etc. as well as its editors are present in this library.

4.4 What are the conditions related to the rarity, integrity, threat and plan of action related to this inscription proposal?
Related to rarity:

The proceedings of the Ashkenazi Community are unique; in the first place, those of the 30s are handwritten in Yiddish, which makes them singular documents and besides, those of the following decades are also rare because they were typewritten in Yiddish, in almost impossible to find typewriters nowadays, just like all the files of institutions that were created in the midst of the Ashkenazi Community that contain institutional information that is non existent in any other place.

80 % of the photographs belong to no institution or person, only to the Center of Documentation. The most important are some like the placing of the cornerstone of the Jewish Cemetery (1927) because of their oldness and rarity. There are 7,000 photographs of one hundred years of Jewish presence in Mexico.

The CDICA has some unique photos in the world, of native Jews in Temixco, Morelos in which we can appreciate images of the cultural syncretism of a Jewish community that lives in a Christian environment but that shows itself by building its temple.

The database of the proceedings of the Central Committee is a unique document because a search can be made by any descriptor that will show ample results. From it, one can get the history of the Jewish community in all its sectors.

As far as integrity, 95% of our documents, newspapers, magazines, photographs and books are in good conditions; the other 5% is made up of some newspaper collections that require some restoration to prevent their falling apart from dryness. The site of the Center of Documentation was built expressly for documentary safekeeping, so it has areas of artificial light with adequate levels of temperature and humidity.

The plan of action includes mechanisms to obtain more income that will allow us to include a series of technical aspects that are necessary for the operation of CDICA (as described in paragraph 6 (Plan of Action)
5. JURIDICAL INFORMATION

5.1 Owner of the documentary patrimony (name and description).

Comunidad Ashkenazí de México A. C. The CDICA forms part of the community that is a benevolent and assistance as well as non profit cultural institution.


5.2 Custodian of the element of documentary patrimony

Dr. Alicia Gojman de Backal as Director of the Center of Documentation and Investigation of the Ashkenazi Community in Mexico.



Dr. Alicia Gojman is national investigator as well as professor of history at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
5.3 Juridical situation

  1. Regime of the property:

The Center of Documentation and Investigation was created in 1993. It belongs to the Ashkenazi Community in Mexico. It offers service to the national and international public interested in investigating Jewish culture. It is part of the departments of the Ashkenazi Community in Mexico and is considered a non profit institution of investigation and culture.



  1. Conditions for access.

The Center of Documentation and Investigation of the Ashkenazi Community offers access to information by direct consultation both in the catalogues as well as through the use of computers to access the databases. We are about to finish cataloguing the library on-line so it may be consulted through the Internet. We have a copier and a microfilm reader. Consultations may be made by Internet or in situ.



  1. Situation on authors’ copyrights:

The publications of our library present no problem about authors’ copyrights. However, we request the corresponding credit in case of being reproduced. The copyright of our publications is juridically backed.


  1. Responsible administration:

The administration and operation is on the account of the Ashkenazi Community in Mexico and collections depend on its budget and organization according to the legal rulings that regulate its patrimony and the support of financial assistance from its fellow members.
6. PLAN OF ACTION
6.1 Is there a plan of action of this element of the documentary patrimony?

.

The documentary corpus safeguarded by the Center of Documentation represents part of the cultural patrimony of the Ashkenazi Community of Mexico; and so it tries to provide the greatest amount of resources for its operation, but being a private benevolent society, the fonds are usually insufficient, so there is a plan of action to solve the problem:



      1. To form a Guardianship, an Academic Committee and a Society of Friends of the Center.

      2. To have the Center of Documentation become a non-profit Civil Association or an Institution of Private Assistance, so that the donations may be tax exempt and thus to create a Trust, to extend consultation services and to be able to digitalize the collection to be available on-line. And so, to hire specialized investigators and archivists to develop and preserve the collections.

      3. To evaluate library automatization software that will allow us to use cutting edge technology, so that Center information may be consulted and requested by any person interested anywhere in the world.

Information about present day preservation and custody of material

The premises of the Center of Documentation have been made on purpose to safeguard the documents so the collections dwell at a temperature lower than 24 degrees Celsius, with relative humidity close to 50%. The Photographic Fonds and the Antique Hebrew Fonds use cold artificial light to prevent any damage caused by physical reactions that may alter the stability of the photographs. The stands are metallic painted in acrylic.

We have made a General Guide of Fonds and four catalogues to facilitate investigators’ work but we are at work preparing three more catalogues.

The Photographic Fonds was stabilized using polypropylene covers and boxes and we also keep strict standards on public service to prevent any damage to its integrity.


7. CONSULTATIONS

7.1 Details of the consultations

Consultations or access are conditioned to any investigator interested in the history of the Jews in Mexico or about Ashkenazi culture in general. We require presenting a written project or work plan that will justify consulting the collections, presenting I.D. in force and to give CDICA credit when publishing. We also require one sample of the CDICA investigation.

We have a section for consulting dictionaries and encyclopedias on Jewish themes in Spanish, Yiddish and Hebrew.

The present proposal was prepared by the Center of Documentation and Investigation of the Ashkenazi Community in Mexico, according to the Summons for proposal in the Registry of Memory of the World of Latin America and the Caribbean. It is based on selection criteria described in the Guidebook for Safekeeping of Documentary Material (2002) point 4, that stipulates that the most important criteria to inscribe a document in this Registry is its significance for national patrimony and culture.


PART B. COMPLEMENTARY INFORMATION

8. RISK ASSESSMENT

8.1. Type and extent of threat:

There is no severe risk to the preservation of the various Fonds and Collection integrating the Center of Documentation.


9. ASSESSMENT OF STATE OF PRESERVATION

9.1 Context of preservation

To preserve our collections we have guides and catalogues that ensure access to the information.

The conditions of the sites where they are kept, as far as temperature, humidity, illumination and security have been especially adapted to ensure their preservation; however, we are constantly searching for improvement.

Conservation and integrity of the original works are a priority for the CDICA.

In the near future we foresee the transfer of the contents of the volumes to another format by microfilm and digitalization. Thus we have microfilmed the newspapers Der Weg (The Road), Di Shtime (The Voice) and Foroys (Forward).

Among our short term plans we desire to have a greater number of professionals specializing in Jewish culture and specialized professionals to support the job of registering, disseminating, safekeeping and restoring the corpus of the Center of Documentation.


PART C. PRESENTING THE PROPOSAL
Formulary of proposal presented by:

Dr. Alicia Gojman de Backal

Director of the Center of Documentation and Investigation of the Ashkenazi Community in Mexico.
Backed by:

Dr. Iliana Chmelnik



President of the Ashkenazi Community in Mexico



* The Central Committee is the organization that unites the various sectors of the Jewish Community in Mexico. It was founded in November, 1938 and it is its representative before the Mexican government.

* Organization charged with helping Israel plant trees. His Fonds is composed of 24 boxes divided by sections of correspondence with Yivo Gallery, Correspondence with the Joint, Letters copied in Yiddish, Yiddish articles and Poetry.


* The documental fonds correspond to documents from some institution and the collections of documents taken up for some reason or from somebody.

 Institución creada por inmigrantes que llegaron de los Estados Unidos durante la Primera Guerra Mundial.


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