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With Love, The Argentina Family: Memories of Tango and Kugel; Mate with Knishes
This topic is about With Love, The Argentina Family
The Argentine Pope

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message 1: by Mirta (last edited Mar 18, 2013 08:15PM) (new)

Mirta Trupp | 75 comments With the advent of the newly elected pontiff, I have, in a bizarre turn of events, been receiving emails and texts, Facebook posts and face to face congratulations. Why? Because Pope Frances is from Argentina. So? I’m from Argentina too. The “bizarre” part comes into play with a simple declaration: I am Jewish. While I wish the new pope a great deal of success and hope that he can fulfill his duties with true generosity of spirit and love of God in his heart, the fact that he is from Argentina, really flies way beneath my radar. I'm not passing judgement on his character or his abilities; I have no right to do so and its not my intention. The fact is that recently, I wrote a memoir where I mention the impact of the Catholic Church on Argentine Jews. One of the reasons my father chose to immigrate was due to the anti-Semitic culture and the State recognized religion.

For those of you inclined to familiarize yourself with some background, I’ve compiled some interesting facts.

Since Spanish colonial rule, Roman Catholicism has had a strong hold in Argentina. It remains the official religion of the state; religious symbols may be found in public spaces, including schools, libraries and hospitals.

During the Nazi era in Europe (1933-1945), Argentina maintained neutral; its government rejecting appeals to sever diplomatic ties with the Axis. Having lived through the “infamous decade,” a decade of so-called democracy, Argentina began a period of military rule. The Catholic Church regained a tremendous amount of power. Anti-Semitism increased mostly due to a large movement of Catholic-oriented nationalism. During this time period, the concept of “Argentinidad” was very popular among Argentine Catholics. They believed that one’s Argentine national identity and one’s Catholic identity were one.

A decade or so later, The Nationalist Movement, or the Movimiento Nacionalista Tacuara, was characterized by its anti-Semitic, anti-democratic, anti-communist posture.

In the 1970’s, a period of state terrorism, called The Dirty War, was aimed at left-wing political groups, journalists, community leaders, university professors and students- anyone perceived to be associated with socialism. Up to 30, 000 people were tortured, killed or simply disappeared. The attack on the Jewish community was significant. It has been reported that Jews made up more than 12 percent of the victims of the Dirty War. Many Argentines criticized the Catholic Church hierarchy for not speaking out against the atrocities committed against citizens of the nation.

“Righteous Gentiles” risked their jobs, reputations and sometimes, their lives to save their Jewish friends in Germany and throughout Europe. I readily admit that Argentina had and obviously, still has righteous people of all faiths and backgrounds. But due to a variety of factors - the economy, the unstable government and the prevailing anti-Semitism, record numbers of Jews have left. And that’s where my story begins in With Love, The Argentina Family, Memories of Tango and Kugel; Mate with Knishes.

message 2: by Sally (new) - added it

Sally Grotta (sally_wiener_grotta) | 65 comments Your memoir sounds interesting. As an outsider, I have watched Argentine history and politics with fascination and fear. Such cultures seem to have the magnetism of a giant poisonous snake. Sensuous, feral, terrifying, but impossible to look away.

message 3: by Mirta (last edited Mar 17, 2013 01:06PM) (new)

Mirta Trupp | 75 comments Sally wrote: "Your memoir sounds interesting. As an outsider, I have watched Argentine history and politics with fascination and fear. Such cultures seem to have the magnetism of a giant poisonous snake. Sensuou..."

Thank you Sally. It is an amazingly beautiful country, very similar to the United States in that it has a variety of landscapes and climates, from jungles, to plains, beaches to icebergs. I also have to mention that while the United States closed its borders to the continual mass exodus of Eastern European Jews in the early 1900's, Argentina extended a helping and welcoming hand. The politics of the country have wrecked havoc on its people. To be honest and upfront, my memoir lightly touches on these issues; it is not a hard hitting, intense read. If you are so inclined, please visit my Facebook page for photos and more information. Thanks again! Oh! Giveaway is scheduled for March 19-20.

message 4: by Sally (new) - added it

Sally Grotta (sally_wiener_grotta) | 65 comments I'll definitely connect with you on Facebook. And I'll be putting your book on my To Be Read shelf.

message 5: by Mirta (new)

Mirta Trupp | 75 comments Wonderful! Glad to have met you :-)

message 6: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 49 comments Wow. This sounds really interesting. We have a good friend from Buenos Aires, and he's never mentioned any of this!

message 7: by Mirta (last edited Mar 18, 2013 08:17PM) (new)

Mirta Trupp | 75 comments Helen wrote: "Wow. This sounds really interesting. We have a good friend from Buenos Aires, and he's never mentioned any of this!"

Hi Helen. A good deal depends on your friend's age, religion and religious affinity. As in every situation, an individuals experience can be vastly different from any given group or organization. But, facts are facts and the history has been documented. I, of course, am not speaking of individual people; the issue is regarding the Catholic Church in Argentina in general and its relationship with the Jewish community. Again, I would like to say that my memoir is not a hard hitting, in-your-face, "War and Peace" type novel. I hope you stop by my Facebook page for photos and more information.

message 8: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenmarylesshankman) | 49 comments My friend is 40. He comes from a family that is Jewish, but not religious. I'll certainly ask him about this next time I see him--maybe I should wait until his parents are in town.

Looking forward to connecting with you on your Facebook page!

message 9: by Mirta (last edited Mar 18, 2013 08:18PM) (new)

Mirta Trupp | 75 comments A note of caution: many Argentines, Jewish or otherwise, are sometimes a little wary speaking of things of this nature. This would be particularly noticeable in the generation that lived through military dictatorship and the Dirty War.

message 10: by Sally (new) - added it

Sally Grotta (sally_wiener_grotta) | 65 comments I remember a young college girl going to visit family friends in Argentina in the 1980s. She knew nothing about the troubles there, even after the visit. Her hosts (some of whom were Jewish) simply didn't talk about it around her, and she was no naive to not know anything about it before going.

message 11: by Mirta (new)

Mirta Trupp | 75 comments I was going back and forth to Argentina throughout the 1970's-80's; summer vacations, winter breaks, spring breaks, even a Thanksgiving 4-day weekend! I went through 5 passports before I was twenty-two. My memoir touches the point you mention- being naive. I was naive, to say the least- arrogant too. How many times had I said, "But I'm an American citizen!" ? I hope people enjoy my story. It's not too intense, but it gives you a realistic feel of a first generation Argentine family with roots stretching across the Atlantic to Russia and crisscrossing the globe to America.

message 12: by Uri (new)

Uri Norwich | 21 comments Hi Mirta,
I just read with undivided interest what you wrote above.
No wonder you were the first one noticing my book (although, and I apologize for that, I placed it in the wrong thread).
You mention that your were 22 with 5 passports, yet free to travel anywhere, including this great country of ours.
Now imagine your counterpart, same age (19), same time (mid-70s), but just fresh escaping the Evil Empire with two suitcases, $80 and no papers--stateless, standing on the threshold of the free world. All alone, with no one to turn to. What would you do?
Sincerely, Uri Norwich

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