A Brazilian Jewish Journey
The first literary work to reflect the Brazilian Jewish community has finally been published in English. It is now available.
Read about it here, check out the preface and first chapter here and book the translator, Merrie Blocker, to speak to your group.
On a Clear April Morning, by Marcos Iolovitch, is a lyrical and riveting coming- of-age story. It is set among early 20th Century Jewish settlers brought to an unknown farming experiment in an isolated corner of Brazil.
Drama, joy, disaster, romance, and humor fill this autobiographical novel. The young hero travels from a farm, where the crops wouldn’t grow, to towns where this Yiddish-speaking youngster falls in love, studies philosophy with the Jesuits, and becomes an important member of Brazil’s literary world.
This first English edition includes elucidating historical notes by the translator, Merrie Blocker, a retired U.S. Foreign Service officer. They cover the origin of Jewish farming communities in the U.S., Canada, and South America and the contributions of Jews and other immigrants to the development of an avant-garde intellectual center far off the beaten path.
This post gives a description of the novels and memoirs left to us by early 20th Century Southern Brazilian farmers. They offer fascinating portrayals of Jewish immigrant life. The post includes visuals, links to more information and a list of references. We also include how to find both the original and secondary works in libraries worldwide.
Entrance to the Quatro Irmaos Farming Community Cemetery
This post contains a short history of the Brazilian Jewish farming communities supported by Baron Hirch’s legacy and some references. You can read about eye witness descriptions of these communities here.
Baron Hirsch established the Jewish Colonization Agency (JCA) in 1891 “to assist and promote the emigration of Jews from any part of Europe or Asia… and to form and establish colonies in various parts of North and South America ….”. And during the Baron’s lifetime the Agency supported farming communities for Eastern European Jewish immigrants in Argentina, the United States, and Canada.
But after the Baron’s death in 1896, the new directors of the JCA decided to establish additional communities in the extreme South of Brazil. They were located near the city of Santa Maria in the State of Rio Grande do Sul. The first Brazilian colony, Philippson, opened in 1904, and the second, Quatro Irmãos, in 1912. Three other colonies were later formed. Continue reading