By AMIA Jewish Community in Argentina
AMIA Jewish Community in Argentina
The title of the exhibition, literally: My Jewish Buenos Aires, is a wordplay related to “Mi Buenos Aires querido”, a tango sung by the iconic Carlos Gardel. The exhibition itself is comprised of four parts and explores the diverse history of the urban Jewish community in the City of Buenos Aires. Its streets contain physical evidence and subtleties of its presence and a story that is still being written.
There are collective monuments and works of art all around the city that account for meaningful or dramatic times in the history of Jewish identity. Those dedicated to the Holocaust and the terrorist attacks against AMIA and the Embassy of Israel honor their victims and reflect the commitment towards memory and a peaceful coexistence.
On Urquiza Square, in the area of Recoleta, there is a monument to Raoul Wallenberg, a Swiss diplomat who saved the lives of thousands of Hungarian Jews during WWII.
Donated by the Federación de Entidades Culturales Judías de la Argentina (Federation of Jewish Cultural Entities of Argentina), there is a Shoah Memorial in Parque Centenario. Its plaque reads: “To the heroes and martyrs of the Warsaw Ghetto”, and it is a piece by artist Carlos Biscione.
The Holocaust Museum on Montevideo 919 stands out as an experience-based space for Memory that integrates the historical facts of the Shoah during WW II and its effects in Argentina.
On March 17, 1992, a bomb exploded in the Embassy of Israel, located on the corner of Arroyo and Suipacha Streets. The terrorist attack killed 29 people. Eight years later the Plaza Embajada de Israel was inaugurated on that same spot, to honor the victims.
On July 18, 1994, AMIA’s building was fully destroyed by a terrorist attack. 85 people died and hundreds were injured. Two year after, on July 18, 1996, Lavalle Square, Opposite the Court Palace, unveiled the monument “Homenaje a las víctimas del atentado a la AMIA", a Memorial for the victims of the terrorist attack against AMIA. It is a piece by sculptor Mirta Kupferminc, made out of a clock pointing to 9.53, the time the attack took place, and the motto "Justicia, justicia perseguirás" (Justice, justice thou shalt pursue). It also has hardwood posts with the names of the victims.
In 1999, in Pasteur 633, a state of the art building was opened on the same spot. It is AMIA’s central premises and that of other institutions of the Jewish community.
There is a work of art in AMIA’s courtyard by Israeli artist Yaacov Agam, to pay homage and remember the victims of the terrorist attack. The work is a visual walkthrough that starts with the chaos the explosion caused and continues on to the present, with the Jewish Community strengthened and with renewed hope.
On the corner of Corrientes Ave. and Reconquista, only a few blocks from the Obelisco of Buenos Aires, is located the mural "Memoria Argentina" by the artist Omar Panosetti, which was inaugurated in 2010.
In 2015, the subway station on Line B Pasteur was renamed “Pasteur-AMIA”. It has art interventions, murals, drawings, photographs and reproductions by 25 artists who fully renovated the place. Since then, Pasteur station is a permanent homage to the victims of the terrorist attack against AMIA.
As part of the initiatives related to the 24th anniversary of the attack against AMIA, the institution unveiled the “Muro de la Memoria” (The Wall of Memory), a mural by the artist Martín Ron. It is painted on two columns, the only remains of the old building, now visible again as benchmarks that remind us of the terrible destruction.
Homage in the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral (2014) by Silvana LuveráAMIA Jewish Community in Argentina
Cities like Buenos Aires, which offered a place to settle and opportunities of growth to millions of people arriving from all parts of the world, received the contributions of immigrants in different areas. The recognition to diverse personalities and entities is expressed through the names of squares, streets and monuments in public spaces.
The Jewish Community also wanted to express its gratitude to the Municipality in 1951 with a mast in the 1º de Mayo Square, where the first Jewish cemetery, Cementerio de los Disidentes, had been located.
In reciprocity, the City of Buenos Aires paid homage to many Jewish personalities who left their legacy in the arts, politics and entertainment, creating small squares, sculptures, plaques or naming streets after them.
Paloma Efron (1912-1977), also known as "Blackie", leading journalist, pioneer host of Argentine radio and TV and one of the best exponents of the Buenos Aires culture.
Tato Bores (1927-1996), humorist and actor stood out for his provocative humoristic political monologues.
Jaime Yankelevich (1896-1952) was a pioneer of Argentine radio and television. In 1924 he created his first station and in 1951 he innovated by bringing the first television transmission plant to the country. Highlights of the Argentinean history were preserved with his sound and visual recordings.
Square honoring Maimónides (1135-1204), also known as Rambam, doctor, Rabbi and theologian of medieval Jewish thought.
Russian Jewish writer Solomon J. Rabinovich (1859-1916), better known as Scholem Aleijem, a reference for Yiddish humor and author of important works such as Tevye the Milkman, among many others.
Baron Hirsch (1831-1896) German Jewish philanthropist, founder of the Jewish Colonization Association, entity that promoted the creation of many and very important Jewish agricultural colonies in many different provinces of Argentina, of great importance for the country and for the entire Jewish Community.
Alberto Gerchunoff, (1883-1950) great prose writer of the Spanish language, teacher of journalists, columnist in the newspaper La Nación for more than four decades. He arrived from Russia to Argentina in his childhood. His literary work laid the foundations of Jewish literature in Argentina with the publication in 1910 of "The Jewish Gauchos".
The complex structure of a big city like Buenos Aires changes with time. Some sites preserve their original appearance as a testimony of the passage of time. Yet others appear transformed, and only pictures and imagination allow us to truly appreciate them in their whole historical dimension. And then there are those new urban spaces that contribute their own mark to centuries of history.
Today, the Jewish Community of Argentina is the sixth largest in the world, and it contributes its best to the country and its society through its multiple institutions.
Curation and texts — Ana E. Weinstein, Director of the "Marc Turkow" Center of Documentation and Information on Argentine Judaism, AMIA
Curation and digital production assistant — Gabriel Feldman, Assistant at the "Marc Turkow" Center of Documentation and Information on Argentine Judaism, AMIA
Adviser — Gabriel Scherman, Director of the Communication and Press Division, AMIA
Translation into English — Mariana Gelaf
Photos — Photo Archive of the "Marc Turkow" Center of Documentation and Information on Argentine Judaism, AMIA, Archivo General de la Nación, Leonardo Kremenchuzky, Silvana Luverá, Malena Sukmann.