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From the Steppes to the Pampas

Speaker: Victor Armony
Lecture Date: 2015-10-11
Description: Victor Armony, a sociology professor at the University of Quebec in Montreal, will speak about Jewish immigration to South America and, in particular, to Argentina, his country of birth and home of the sixth largest Jewish community in the world. His late father, Paul Armony, was the founding president of that country’s Jewish Genealogical Association, and Victor has been researching his family roots since he was a teenager. He will talk about the fascinating history of the arrival and settlement of tens of thousands of Eastern European Jews in Buenos Aires at the end of the 19th and the first decades of the 20th century, and also about the remarkable case of the Jewish “cowboys” in the rural colonies of the Pampas. Victor will describe the different patterns of Jewish migration in the surrounding Spanish-language countries (e.g. Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay), and also the efforts by his father and the genealogical association to uncover and preserve records from Jewish cemeteries all over that region during the 1990s and early 2000s, including some which were all but abandoned and forgotten. Victor will refer to the available resources and databases of genealogical interest in South America, and he will share some memories and experiences regarding his own quest to connect his Jewish-Polish ancestry, his personal Hispanic cultural background, and his children’s French Canadian identity.

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