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With this post, on the writings of Micaela Feldman y Etchebéhère, a Jewish Spanish Civil War brigade captain, born in the Baron Hirsch assisted Moises Ville colony in Argentina, thebaronhirschcommunity.org realizes the beginning of a long-held intention: to make this blog trilingual. Our goal is to present information in the languages that became the mother tongues of the descendants of immigrants who received Baron Hirsch’s support, English, Portuguese and Spanish.
And so it is fitting that we start with the story of one of the daughters of the project that started the whole Baron Hirsch initiative, the Moisés Ville colony in Argentina, founded in 1889.
We begin by sharing the link to an article, Identidad, género,y prácticas anarquistas en las memorias de Micaela Feldman y Etchebéhère (Identity, gender and anarchist practices in the memoir of Micaela Feldman y Etchebéhère ) by the cultural studies researcher Cynthia Gabbay. This article analyzes the cultural field or environment of this French-Argentine author, a daughter of Jewish Russian-Ukrainian immigrants who were some of the original settlers in the Moisés Ville farming community in Santa Fé Province in Argentina. This community, where Micaela was born, founded in 1889, was Baron Hirsch’s first attempt at settling Eastern European Jews as farmers in the New World. Based on this experience, in 1891 he founded the Jewish Colonization Association that spent billions of dollars on similar projects during the succeeding 75 years.
(For those who do not read Spanish, do not fear. Shortly, we will be posting, in English, another article on Micaela, also by Dr. Gabbay.)
As Cynthia Gabbay tells us, discussions in Moises Ville were full of socialist ideas for building a better world. These probably inspired Micaela who after studying dentistry in Buenos Aires became a founder of the Argentine Workers Communist Party.
She then went to fight in the Spanish Civil War as part of the P.O.U.M., the Workers Party of Marxist Unification, a heterogenous anti-Stalinist dissident group. She rose to be Captain of a brigade, having been chosen for the post by the brigade members themselves. Micaela wrote a book about these experiences, Mi Guerra de España (My War in Spain) which was published in French in 1975 and in Spanish in 1976.
Before the Spanish Civil War ( 1936-1939) Micaela spent time in Berlin where she witnessed the rise of Hitler and in Paris where she joined the Popular Front, an alliance of left-wing movements that eventually governed France from 1936 to 1938.
Following WWII Micaela settled in Paris where she lived until her death. Her friends included Julio Cortázar and André Breton. In Paris, she continued her support for anti-authoritarian and socialist causes. In May 1968, during the protests, for example, she taught students to wear white gloves so they could easily dig out and use the cobblestones of the streets of Paris to build barricades, without having to fear policemen, who would arrest students with dirt-covered hands.