By the ICA had twenty-five schools in operation for more than 1, Jewish students. As early as the Jewish Colonization Association's educational support funding had caused a small war in Brazil between Zionists, who insisted that Hebrew be taught, and the anti-Zionist, left-wing Russian Jews, who did "not do their duty to the schools, chiefly because Yiddish is not taught. Newspapers also served the community.
The establishment of Jewish newspapers indicates that migrants were accepting Brazil as "home. Perez, a lawyer who felt himself both a Zionist and "a Brazilian as well," founded A Columna to combine a Zionist line with a desire to "defend the interests of Jews in Brasil. Indeed, Zionism's impact reached outside of the Jewish community beginning in the s, when Brazilian newspapers regularly reported on the situation in Palestine and visits to Brazil by Zionist leaders. Most newspapers were printed in Yiddish and served as political and informational tools for the growing Jewish community.
Even political journals printed items that made integration into Brazilian social and economic life easier. The Jewish press also helped facilitate immigration to Brazil, because much published information was related to the bringing of family members to Brazil from Eastern Europe. Founded in as a Zionist weekly by Aron Kaufman, the paper ran many lead stories on the positive aspects of Jewish immigrant life in Brazil. One travel agency, A Maritima, based on Avenida Rio Branco, the main commercial street in Rio de Janeiro, recognized that new business might be stirred up among the Jewish community; less than three months after the founding of the paper it began placing large ads.
These advertisements, first published in Portuguese but soon after in Yiddish, announced that prepaid tickets could be purchased in Rio for travel to Brazil from Eastern Europe. Those traveling from Bucharest or Kishineff had to pay a higher fare of milreis ninety-six U. In order to encourage Jews to buy the prepaid passages, and in recognition of the fact that immigration often occurred in family units, discounts were given for children and all fares could be bought on installment.
The Yiddish newspapers connected the growing Jewish-Brazilian community with the rest of Brazil. As early as , Eliezer Levy, editor. As early as , recognizing the growing power of the Brazilian Jewish press, Marcos Pereira suggested to the ICA Directorate that it found and maintain a magazine in Portuguese and Yiddish.
The desire of the ICA to publish in Brazil's national language shows that it, and presumably at least some Jewish leaders, were making an attempt to acculturate Eastern European Jewry. The Jewish newspapers did serve an important role in helping immigrants to accustom themselves to their new land. Even the stridently Zionist Dos Idische Vochenblatt ran advertisements, sometimes in Yiddish and sometimes in Portuguese, for Fildago Beer from Brahma and goods sold by merchants outside of the Jewish community. By the newspaper had a section in Portuguese that it promoted in front-page headlines, and a government decree, which required all newspapers to print the constitutional revisions in Portuguese, was strictly followed.
The establishment of Jewish institutions made Brazil a more desirable place for Jews, which led the ICA's Isaiah Raffalovich to grow in political importance, especially in the area of refugee relief. He convinced local shipping companies to give the ICA reduced rates on prepaid tickets and free passages when space permitted. This allowed him to make special arrangements for Jews in serious trouble.
A woman whose husband was killed in Rio de Janeiro and who was left penniless. Aaron Weiner, a Bessarabian immigrant who contracted tuberculosis, was given free passage by the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company back to Europe, where "his disease was arrested and he is doing almost well. Unlike earlier immigrants, many of whom had been aided financially, about two-thirds of the Jews arriving after came with passages prepaid by relatives already in Brazil.
Jewish immigrants already in Brazil also established a relief system that helped newcomers find jobs. Raffalovich continued to worry about a negative backlash and encouraged the establishment of more loan and credit societies because he felt that "a system must be formulated and capital provided, whereby the newcomer should be able to render himself, in as short a time as possible, independent for his means of gaining a livelihood.
In order to guarantee a "proper" migration, Raffalovich wrote a pamphlet extolling Brazil's virtues for distribution in Eastern Europe. Filled with facts and figures designed to present Brazil in a good light, Brazilye: A tsukunftsland far idisher emigratsye Brazil: A land of the future for Jewish emigrants even insisted on using the nation's proper name since "in truth the name is 'The United States of Brazil. How much Raffalovich's book encouraged movement to Brazil cannot be measured. What is certain is that those in the ICA's Berlin office, where the pamphlet was published, knew little about Brazil.
The advertisements printed on the dust jacket were for Spanish-language courses and a Spanish-Yiddish dictionary. Throughout the s the process of integrating Jewish immigrants into Brazilian society improved. An ICA-edited, multivolume history of. Sermons for all major Jewish holidays were printed in both Yiddish and Portuguese, and local institutions regularly provided language lessons for new arrivals.
A Portuguese-Yiddish dictionary was distributed. By the early s religious and nonreligious Jewish schools existed throughout Brazil. With the influx of immigrants, the Jewish Colonization Association could no longer handle the financial and human costs of international refugee relief. The group claimed that Brazil was "immensely rich [and] offered [great] possibilities for immigrants and especially Jews," and sent many migrants there. By the end of the s Jewish life in Brazil was well established.
Many were comfortable economically, and in some cities there were "literally no poor, although very few. Raffalovich said that he thought "Brazil is destined to play an important role in the future history of Jewry," a belief reinforced by a growing communal participation in international Jewish affairs through such efforts as sending Passover food to Russia.
By the world-wide depression caused a rise in prices and unemployment and further influenced immigration. Local Jewish organizations had fewer funds, and economic and political problems in Brazil discouraged potential immigrants. Overall immigration dropped over 30 percent between and , and Jewish entrances fell as well. By the early s Brazil's Jewish community had changed significantly.
Whereas a decade earlier Jews viewed Brazil merely as a station on their way to fortunes elsewhere, now remigration was rare. Many realized that "if it is not possible at the present juncture to make fortunes in Brazil, it is yet easier to earn a living here than in any other part of the world.
Welcoming the Undesirables
ICA-Brazil, especially under Raffalovich, was ideally suited for this task and maintained excellent relations with authorities, even after the passage of restrictive legislation. As approached, the "Country of the Future" seemed to offer great promise for Brazilian Jewry. The late s were among the most tumultuous in Brazilian history. The presidential campaign that began in reflected these problems, creating bitter political infighting.
These included those whose economic power was not based on coffee production and who looked to the state to modernize Brazil's economy, stridently anticommunist nationalists whose primary concern was the maintenance of order among the rural and urban working classes, and an emerging middle class that had become increasingly disenfranchised by the central government's continued favoritism toward the owners of large coffee plantations.
In the midst of the violence-marred electioneering two economic crises hit Brazil, increasing already high political and social tensions. For the third year in a row a bumper crop of coffee forced prices to sink rapidly. The decline was aggravated when the New York Stock Exchange crashed at the end of October, and by December coffee prices.
Prestes was declared the winner by about , of the 1,, votes cast, but the outcome, and the precipitous drop in Brazil's export earnings, encouraged supporters of the Liberal Alliance to challenge Prestes's victory amid accusations of widespread fraud. Brazil was rife with rumors about the possibility of a revolution in the months following the election.
The Revolution of had begun. By mid-October much of Brazil's military had revolted against the central government. A few days later Luis resigned, preventing the inauguration of Prestes. On October 27 Oswaldo Aranha entered the federal capital of Rio de Janeiro at the head of three thousand troops. On November 4, the generals made Vargas "provisional president" of a "provisional government," thus ending the Revolution of Vargas's appointment was a watershed in Brazilian political history.
A Pavorosa Illusão by Bocage, Manuel Maria Barbosa du, 1765-1805
By shifting the focus of the central government and the groups that it represented, the new regime changed some of the ways in which Brazilian politics worked. One area where this was especially noticeable was in the attitude toward immigrants, including Jews. After the government and its supporters increasingly used the discussion of immigration to express nationalist and nativist positions.
The nationalist-authoritarians in the new regime were attracted to certain racist forms of national regeneration popular in Europe at the time and thus had ideological reasons for limiting foreign entry. Thus, as urban unemployment grew in the early s, immigrants, many of whom had worked extremely hard. It took only a few years for political attacks on foreigners to be transformed into policies based on the commonly held notion that "one of the causes of unemployment is found in the free entry of foreigners.
It was in this highly charged atmosphere that Brazilian politicians shifted their discourse on immigration and immigrants in dramatic ways between and Nationalism would transform old ideas about the "whitening" of Brazil into federal policies aimed at "Brazil-ianization. At its start, however, nativist movements targeted only groups that, while not banned from entering Brazil, did not fit "European" ideals.
Since Europe was not seen as a geographical space but rather as a social construct that included notions of color and religion, the many Jews entering Brazil from Europe were seen as part of a "non-European" group. The anti-immigrant rhetoric so prevalent in the cities, however, was not absolute.
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Indeed, the image of immigrants as a positive force for development continued among many large landowners who remained committed to non-Brazilian labor. As anti-immigrant sentiment became a key to election in urban areas, local representatives of the rural elite balked. Whatever political cachet nativism had, it was of only moderate concern to fazendeiros worried about maintaining their social status, harvesting their crops, and rounding up their cattle.
The positions in the immigration battle were plainly staked out, although not always clearly articulated. Large landowners and their representatives wanted to guarantee the continued entry of agricultural workers. Many urban politicians, on the other hand, argued that most immigrants should be banned, especially those who did not fit into the "European" category.
The Vargas regime was squarely in the middle, encouraging the tension between competing political forces as a means of enhancing and consolidating its own power. This placed Jewish immigrants and refugees in a particularly precarious position. Beginning in the s, Jewish immigrants to Brazil rarely came from rural areas and, as nonfarmers, had no support from large landowners.