On a Clear April Morning Highlights

Preface and Chapter 1

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Academic Studies Press

Series: Jewish Latin American Studies June 2020 | 146 pp.

9781644692981 | $22.95 | Paperback

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SUMMARY

On a Clear April Morning, by Marcos Iolovitch, is a lyrical and riveting coming of age story set among early twentieth-century settlers brought to an almost unknown Jewish farming experiment in an isolated corner of Brazil. This autobiographical novel is filled with drama, joy, disasters, romance, and humor. It travels from farms where the crops won’t grow to towns where the Yiddish-speaking protagonist falls in love, befriends sons of German immigrants, studies philosophy with the Jesuits, and becomes an important member of Brazil’s literary world. This first English edition includes elucidating historical notes on the origin of Jewish farming communities in the U.S., Canada and South America by the translator, Merrie Blocker, a retired U.S. Foreign Service officer.

About the author and translator

Born in a small Ukrainian village, Marcos Iolovitch was raised in southern Brazil among poor Jewish farmers and peddlers. He became a noted poet and essayist and practiced law. A fighter for social justice, he dedicated his autobiographical novel to “all those who suffer and dream of a better world.”

Merrie Blocker is a former U.S. diplomat who served as Cultural Attaché in Porto Alegre, Brazil, the setting for On a Clear April Morning, as well as in Central Asia, Romania and throughout Latin America.

Translator’s Preface

Marcos Iolovitch, author of On a Clear April Morning, was an avid student of the great philosophers. But he believed that to reach “true wisdom” we need to open our windows and observe the “subtle shades of reality that envelope” us. In this autobiographical novel, in which a young man seeks to find a righteous and fulfilling path, we watch this charming and caring protagonist discover his own wisdom through the realities that envelop him, the realities of Jewish immigrants in southern Brazil during the first decades of the twentieth century.

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Brazilian Jewish Farmers Tell Their Stories

Israelitas no Rio Grande do Sul

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.
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Brazilian Jewish Farming Communities

Cemitério_Judaico_Quatro_Irmãos_Placa

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

The Baron Hirsch Jewish Farmers Community

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In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Baron Maurice de Hirsch, the builder of the Vienna-Constantinople Railroad, and his friends, sponsored the settlement of Eastern European Jews in many lands.  They spent the equivalent of $3 billion in today’s dollars, working primarily in North and South America.

This blog was established to collect and tell the stories of the Jewish farmers that Baron Maurice de Hirsch supported in both North and South America and the follow on stories of their descendants worldwide.

Maurice de Hirsch (né Moritz von Hirsch), Baron de Hirsch (‘Men of the Day. No. 479.’)
by Liborio Prosperi (‘Lib’)
chromolithograph, published in Vanity Fair 26 July 1890
NPG D44500 (National Portrait Gallery, London)

We present written works and visuals depicting the original immigrants and relating the achievements of the descendants of these immigrants.  And there are many achievements. Our forebears were courageous and ingenious people as are their grand and great-grandchildren.

This blog also proposes to unite many of today’s beneficiaries of the Baron’s generosity, We believe that cooperation and sharing among us could result in many inspiring and amazing ideas and projects.

We hope you will send us your stories and permission to publish them.  Click here to contact us.   And if you have a particular question about this immigration phenomenon, let us know.  We will research the answer and write a post.

MORE ON BARON HIRSCH

For the whole story, read the official history of Baron Hirsch’s  Jewish Colonization Association, An Outstretched Arm.

Here you can find over 50 different books on the life and work of Baron Hirsch?

Also, check out this short summary of Baron Hirsch’s work with Jewish farmers.

And click here for a list of the archives worldwide of Baron Hirsch related documents, including correspondence with individual immigrants.