What Happened at Moisés Ville? The Town Once Known as the “Jerusalem of South America”

New York, NY (April 01, 2022)

Seeking refuge from the pogroms of Czarist Russia, a group of Jewish immigrants founded Moisés Ville in the late 1880s, one of the first Jewish agricultural communities in Argentina. Like their town’s prophetic namesake, these immigrants fled one form of persecution only to encounter a different set of hardships: exploitative land prices, starvation, illness, language barriers, and a series of killings perpetrated by roving gauchos who preyed on their vulnerability.

When journalist Javier Sinay discovers an article written in 1947 by his great-grandfather, who founded the first Yiddish-language newspaper in Argentina, detailing 22 murders in Moisés Ville in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, he launches his own investigation trying to reconstruct the crimes.

According to Lauren Gilbert, Senior Manager for Public Services at the Center for Jewish History, “Sinay needed all his journalistic skills to piece together the fascinating history of the colony and his family within it. The book also explores his journey to uncovering that history, which involved research at multiple historical archives and tracking down former residents and their descendants, as well as his attempts to learn Yiddish to decipher primary sources.”

Join the Center for Jewish History live on Zoom on Monday, April 4 at 4:00pm ET as Sinay plunges into his family’s past and their link to the fascinating and complex history of the town once known as the “Jerusalem of South America.”

This program is co-sponsored by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, and is funded, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.