Paper for the UC/Utrecht Symposium on Jewish Politics and Political Behavior 12 October 2008

Ariel Svarch (Emory University)

The widespread anti-Semitic belief about Jews and Communism has a fragile connection to historical truth. While there is no worldwide Jewish conspiracy behind the rise of Communism, many young men and women of Jewish descent became attracted to the movement’s ideals and objectives. This paper analyzes and compares two clear-cut moments in Jewish Communist identity in Buenos Aires, one that goes from 1920 to 1932 and another that starts in 1941 and finishes in 1953. Each shows a distinct identity; the paper studies them, highlights the changes that each identity underwent, and presents possible causes for such changes. It also opens up new possibilities for comparative national and ethnical approaches.

Lesser and Rein have questioned what they see as the “dominant paradigm about ethnicity in Latin America”, which takes for granted the preeminence of intra-ethnic similarities above and beyond the national particularities. In other words, that in most studies about Jews in the Latin American Diaspora, Jewish exceptionality is assumed to take precedence to official national identity. These academics propose to reemphasize the national dimension of Jewish diasporic life, which they consider to be neglected in most case studies on Jewish-Latin America.[1]

Following Rein and Lesser, further comparative studies can highlight and determine the importance of national, local, and chronological factors. In fact, a comparative research between two national cases might show that there is no such thing as an abstract Jewish Communist identity, but a Jewish-Communist-Argentinean or a Jewish-Communist-American identity. In Argentina during the 1920s, the group enshrined the Communist dimension of its identity, while in the 1940s all three elements were combined in an unstable balance. The particularities of the Argentinean case after the 1940s may be related to the change undergone by the Communist Party after the appearance of Peronism, as well as to the Comitern’s switch to the “Popular Front” strategy in 1935. Establishing the importance of these and other national and international influences requires further research.

The Yevsektsiya: Communists who happen to speak Yiddish (or so they say)

In Buenos Aires, the Russian Revolution resulted in a split of the Socialist Party: those who saw the beginnings of an imminent worldwide socialist revolution in the death throes of Czarism abandoned the Social Democratic field and formed the International Socialist Party (PSI) in 1918, which was renamed the Communist Party (PCA) two years later when it joined the Third International (Comitern). Within the Jewish left, both the Bund and the Socialist-Zionist Poalei Tzion suffered fractures that coalesced in 1920 as the Yiddish-Speaking Section of the Communist Party (Yevsektsiya, after its Yiddish acronym). These groups lost more than members to the Yevsektsiya: the Bund lost its grip on the Jewish unions and one of its main cultural centers and libraries. Poalei Tzion suffered yet another split as the party itself was divided into the Linke (left) and Rejte (right) branches.

The Yevsektsiya was not the only language section of the PCA: almost every non-Spanish speaking migrant group had its own, and all of them reported to the central committee of the Party. The Italian section was by far the largest, followed by the Ashkenazi Jews and other Eastern European migrant groups. Since they spoke the local language, the Spanish immigrants had no section of their own. This is an important point: according to the official Party line, the sections were not meant to address different national groups, but to spread the Communist message to the ranks of those who did not speak Spanish. The Italian section existed not because the Party recognized the Italian identity or culture of some of its members, but rather to communicate the PCA’s agenda to workers who happened to speak only Italian.

The Yevsektsiya quickly gained a special visibility: Jewish Communists were the most avid readers (and publishers) of Party leaflets, newspapers, and magazines. The section’s newspaper, “Roite Shtern”, was printing 3,500 copies by 1927, half the amount printed of “La Internacional”, the flagship newspaper of the PCA. “Roite Shtern” printed more copies than “Ordine Nuovo”, the organ of the Italian section, which more than doubled the Yevsektsiya in members. Each organization within the Yevsektsiya had its own organ, usually given to members in exchange for their dues. Even the PCA’s childrens’ magazine, “Compañerito: el periódico de los niños explotados” (Little comrade: the magazine of exploited children), had its back-cover in Yiddish and no other pages in a language other than Spanish.

From 1920 to 1930, when the Uriburu dictatorship outlawed the PCA in one of its first decisions, the Yevsektsiya devoted energy to creating secondary organizations, all of which had a higher membership than the section itself: social and sporting clubs, libraries, the PROCOR (the local incarnation of IKOR, a Communist version of the Kerem Kayemet), and a proletarian school network. Except for the PROCOR, which also targeted the Jewish farmers from the agrarian colonies founded by Baron Hirsh and the mainstream urban Jews, the section cared little for those who were not artisans or proletarians, unless they were already sympathizers. Following the Comitern directives, they engaged only the Yiddish speaking working class. In 1928, the Third International opened its “Third Period” and launched the strategy of “class against class”. This new approach dictated that the Communist Parties had to target only proletarians and concentrate their fire –mostly dialectical, but sometimes physical- on opposing groups with the same target: that is to say, the Socialist and Social Democratic parties. The section imitated the PCA and devoted its efforts to fight the moderate left: the Bund and Poalei Tzion were accused of being “social fascists” –just like the Party branded the socialists- and their schools and organizations clashed with the section in different battlegrounds until 1930.

PROCOR was created in 1924 and survived until the late 30s, more than half a decade after the PCA went underground. Its explicit goal was not unlike that of Socialist Zionism, to solve the problem of the class-less Jewish masses turning them into peasants and proletarians. PROCOR leaders, however, condemned Poaleti Tzion for what they saw as a “leftist version of fascist Zionism, preparing children to become a part of British imperialism, as servants of the reactionary utopia in Palestine.”[2] For PROCOR, the best place to solve the Jewish problem was the USSR, where –as they conceived it- the question of class was being solved with unquestionable success. When, in 1933, Stalin declared Birobidzhan –an isolated, unpopulated and barren part of its territory- to be the new Jewish autonomous territory, the organization gained renewed influence. The membership numbers after 1930 have not been calculated yet, but by 1927 PROCOR had 2,500 dues-paying members, of which at least half lived in the agrarian colonies. As many as 163 Argentineans had left the country for Birobidzhan by the mid-1930s, although most of them tried to return when they found themselves with a complete lack of infrastructure and harsh living conditions.

The success of PROCOR –as the national branch of the international IKOR project- proves that the Yevsektsiya reached out to the mainstream Jewish left. Programs such as PROCOR and the school network, the amateur drama groups and social and sport clubs, gave the Yevsektsiya a cloud of sympathizers that is difficult to measure, but that was definitely much larger than the small cadre of card-carrying members of the Section itself, which never rose beyond two hundred.

The most extraordinary achievement of the Yevsektsiya was the school network. The other language sections failed in their attempts to organize a working complementary school system (although Poalei Tzion did, and thus the enmity of the two leftist groups was farther enhanced). The schools only provided supplementary courses, since public education was practically mandatory in Argentina for most of the twentieth century. As a matter of fact, most of the efforts of Communist education in this first period went into counteracting the governmental drive to educate migrant children as nationalist Argentinean citizens.

By 1928, the Arbshulorg (acronym for Arbeter Shul Organizatsie) consisted of six schools in Buenos Aires, the biggest of which had 5 classes, four teachers, and 150 students. The organization had 2,000 members who regularly provided economic support. With the Uriburu military coup of 1930, the Federal Police Special Section for the Repression of Communism closed the schools and clubs, but the Arbshulorg kept giving classes in hidden locations for two full years. The material that the police took from the schools has become a major source to establish what kind of education the Jewish Communists of Buenos Aires wanted for their children. It can also be used to establish what Jewish Communist identity was like.

The courses taught by the Arbshulorg schools were exclusively communist: they were conceived to reinforce a classist and internationalist identity. Public education was condemned for its bourgeois and national nature, and national holidays criticized as bourgeois lies to divert the working-class children from their true class identity and solidarity. The third-grader Esther Slevisnky wrote, regarding the national holiday of May 25th:

May 25th 1932 is the 122nd anniversary of Argentina’s separation from Spain. When Argentina fought for its independence it promised: lands for all the peasants, justice, and freedom.

This promise was never kept, the Argentine feudals (sic) took over all the land. Argentinean peasants kept on living in their little huts, without food, as they did before. Later the British merchants came and took over all of the country’s commerce and, even today, the British have the biggest business opportunities (…).

In Argentina, the population is fooled into believing that foreigners and communists are to blame for its misery. (…) Now the country’s situation is very bad and unemployment is high (…), the Argentinean rich seek to blame this on the workers and foreigners.[3]

Teachers and students celebrated internationalist days like May the 1st (Workers’ Day), May the 8th (Working Woman’s Day), and the anniversary of the Soviet Revolution. Children composed essays questioning the nature of freedom obtained by Argentina after independence, or wrote exalting pieces on working-class heroes like Sacco and Vanzetti or key events in the history of the proletariat, such as the Paris Commune. The songs they learned had names like “On the path of Lenin”, or “The Red Army”. The same Esther Slevinsky had this to say about May 1st:

May 1st is the first fighting holiday for all the suffering and oppressed of the world. Wherever workers live this day becomes a day of struggle. It is this day when the working-class demonstrates its will to fight for a better tomorrow and a soon-to-come welfare. For a future with neither oppressors nor oppressed, for Socialism.[4]

The material sequestered by the Police has no trace of any kind of Jewish education. The children were taught to read and write Yiddish only as a communication tool to instill in them a Communist identity. It would take at least a decade for the Jewish Communists to raise the banner of Jewish national culture. During this stage, their anti-national stance defined their stance on Judaism: it was unacceptable either as national identity or cultural particularism, and even less so as a religion. The explicit objective was for the Yiddish-speaking proletarians to eventually learn Spanish and join the main branch of the Party, as the ultimate objective of Communism was to dissolve national identities in favor of the class principle. Many section members or sympathizers participated in both Yevsektsiya and mainstream PCA clubs, groups, and organizations: Communist sociability went beyond Jewish Communists. The Yevsektsiya seemed to have fully assumed the Party’s line regarding class, nation, and identity.

However, the majority of the Jewish workforce lived in Jewish neighborhoods, providing a Jewish sociability. It is unknown how many of Arbshulorg-educated children left the Jewish street and became simple members of the PCA with no ties to the Jewish community, nor how many stayed and worked in the Jewish Communist groups in the 1940s. Those who did stay and became leaders of the ICUF in the 1940s and 1950s were not ignorant of Jewish secular culture, so it is not unreasonable to assume that the Jewish environment they lived in (whether the Jewish neighborhood, their direct families, or their social circle) provided this cultural background.

The ICUF: Jewish-Argentineans and crypto-Communists

The 1930s were a decade of transition. After being outlawed, The PCA went underground and the leadership ordered the language sections disbanded. However, the Yevsektsiya lived on as a conglomerate of organizations, both old and new, coordinated by a secret triumvirate chosen by the Party, also called –informally– “The Section”. The PROCOR changed its name after 1933 to Society for the Jewish Colonization of Birobidzhan, and the informal drama groups formed the IDRAMST (Yiddish Dramatishe Studio) in the same year. A new attempt at a school network was launched: the Farband fun Idishe Folks Shuln in Argentine (Federation of Jewish Popular Schools in Argentina) opened in 1935, and it had established seven small schools and gathered 200 students when the Special Section of the Police closed them all down in May 1937.

During the 1930s, the most influential institution of the Jewish Communists was clearly the OPCEA (Popular Organization Against Anti-Semitism), which headed a Boycott against German products and printed books and magazines that warned against the threat of fascism. The organization stopped all operations in 1939 after the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was made public, and resumed them with increased strength after the Axis invaded the USSR.[5]

While some of the traits of the classist period remained visible in the 1930s, new ones were included that pointed the way towards a validation of Jewish secular culture. Yiddishkeit would be further promoted once the group’s new identity coalesced into a secular Jewish-Argentinean line, incarnated by ICUF.

The creation of ICUF (Federation of Jewish Cultural Institutions of Argentina) was a result of the Congress for Secular Jewish Culture organized in Paris in 1937. The Congress conclusions, apparently influenced by the Third International’s adoption of the “Popular Front” strategy[6], was that each country’s “progressive” secular Jewry should create federations to gather its forces, including the whole spectrum of the left. In Argentina, the lack of trust between the Socialist-Zionists and the Communists and the Bundists general refusal to have any dealings with supporters of the USSR worked against such an attempt, and when the Federation was finally created in 1941, it became a solely Communist endeavor. However, its members had learned from previous experiences and refrained from making open remarks about the USSR and the Party. They also abandoned the classist language, changing “proletarian” for “popular” and “working-class” for “Jewish masses.” They called themselves the “progressives.”

The adoption of the “popular” terminology was, in part, an effort to hide their political ideology, a practice that was also common for the PCA itself. But it was deeper than that: in the first half of the 1940s, the Party lost almost all of its working-class following to the hands of Peronism. After 1946, it had lost its proletarian base and became a de facto middle-class party of intellectuals. The Jewish case was similar, although they lost their proletarian membership not because of Peronism, but rather to the powerful tendency of social and economical progress that raised most Jews above their working-class origins.

The Federation gathered around itself the existing progressive institutions, coordinated them, assigned militants to head or assist them, and provided financial aid and representation. These institutions were the first two schools of the ICUF network, created in 1939 and 1940; the IDRAMST, which was renamed the IFT (Idisher Folks Teater); the “Sholem Aleichem” social and sports club; the home for the elderly, “Mendele”; and numerous farains (associations of migrants of a given country or city, like Warsaw, Vilne, or Lodz). The militants could be assigned for diverse reasons: usually they created committees for fundraising and helping in the construction of buildings or repairs and organized activities, although at times they were mobilized en masse to gain control of institutions where the progressives did not have a clear majority.

The Federation leadership also led its forces into joining AMIA, the central Jewish organization of Argentina. Both the progressives and the mainstream sectors in AMIA took actions that allowed it to happen. AMIA’s Vaad Hajinuj (Education Council) changed its charter: its mission went from “promoting and enhancing national and traditional [Jewish] education in Buenos Aires” to simply “promoting and enhancing Jewish education in Buenos Aires”, which opened up the door for the Federation schools to gain membership. In turn, the charter requested certain conditions in its third article that the progressives would have to respect: “The Vaad Hajinuj will take into consideration the diverse ideologies of the existing schools inasmuch as they respect Jewish tradition: the Sabbath and the celebration of historical and traditional holidays.”[7]

The ICUF flagship schools entered the Education Council of AMIA in 1944 and 1945. In exchange for making some compromises, they gained access to AMIA’s resources which, together with their private donations and fundraising efforts, allowed them to build better and larger buildings. Even before the compromise, though, the courses taught in the ICUF schools had little to do with those of the Arbshulorg. For starters, Yiddish was not just a tool for spreading Communist beliefs but a goal in itself. Students were taught Jewish secular literature and a particular progressive version of Jewish history. Granted, the authors were leftists or, at least, popular (like Sholem Ash, Sholem Aleichem, and Y.L. Peretz), but the stories dealt with Jewish subjects and had Jewish, not Communist, characters. When they joined the Vaad Hajinuj, the ICUF schools had to change the completely phonetic Yiddish they taught and respect the Hebraisms. But that was all the Hebrew that they taught. And even if they stopped the classes on religious holidays, the lessons devoted to the holidays took the religious content away.

There are various reasons as to why both Communists and the Zionist leaders of AMIA closed ranks (a few of these also explain the ICUF defense of Jewish secular culture in a stark contrast to the Yevsektsiya position of the 1920s). On the national front, popular and governmental ultra-Catholicism (and, as a side-effect, virulent anti-Semitism) were on the rise during the 1930s and even more so for the first half of the 1940s. The local climate combined with European anti-Semitism and the Shoah to bring the Jews in Argentina closer together: both Communists and Zionists reacted to the destruction of the European Jewry as the last recipients of a lost culture. The communists had the further incentive of the “Popular Front” directive, which committed them to seek interaction and alliances with other groups in the “democratic spectrum.” The new contact, however, was anything but peaceful. As Zionists and Communists fought for control of AMIA and its institutions, they also quarreled to establish what the meaning of Jewishness was, what the national identity of Argentinean Jews should be, and where and how would the Jewish question be solved.

So how did the progressives understand the meaning of Jewishness? According to their school yearbooks and other material, they considered it a cultural identity and a set of values tightly knit around Yiddish. The progressives defended a Jewish identity deprived of a “national” connotation: the homeland of a Jew was the nation he or she lived in. In that way, they were more clearly Jewish-Argentineans than Argentinean Jews. The progressives built themselves a pantheon of Jewish secular heroes and intellectuals related (or reinterpreted as related) to the left: Hanna Szenes (a Zionist!) and the Maccabees rubbed shoulders with Y.L. Peretz and Sholem Aleichem. The proletarian heroes of the 1920s were not absent, but this time they were exclusively Jewish: among these, Hirsh Leckert, the Bundist shoe-maker who was executed for killing the Vilna governor in 1902, and Naftali Botwin, a Jewish Communist who was summarily tried and executed after he assassinated a police informant (and whose name was taken by an international brigade of Jewish fighters in the Spanish Civil War.)

The pantheon was also shared by Argentinean patriots and independence heroes: Domingo Sarmiento was chosen for his strong impulse to public education, Jose de San Martin for his role in the war against Spain, and Mariano Moreno was rescued as the most “progressive” of the patriots (he was considered a Jacobin by his contemporaries.) The national holidays received a treatment completely different to that reflected in the writings of little Esther Slevinsky in 1932:

July is the month of Argentinean independence. July, as does May, dresses up in every calendar with the colors of the homeland. Even more brightly this year, because it is the hundredth anniversary of the death of the hero who did more than any other to crystallize the dreams of freedom and independence of the Argentinean people: General San Martin. In this month of independence, the Jewish collective reaffirms its Argentine-ness, its intimate and unbreakable bond with the country in which it lives, creates, and grows, and states its identification with the ideals of freedom and democracy that are both the tradition of the homeland and the millenarian tradition of the Jewish people.[8]

Both traditions were fused together as seamlessly as possible. This operation is beautifully represented by a mural painted inside the IFT theater: the far left part of the mural has the most famous Argentinean fictional characters and the far right has Jewish characters. The center left shows the most important Argentinean authors of the late nineteenth century, and the center right has Sholem Aleichem, I.L. Peretz, and Mendele Moishe Sforim. Right in the middle, as the perfect fusion of both universes, is Alberto Gerchunoff, the integrationist Jewish-Argentinean author of the novel “The Jewish Gauchos.”

The reference to Gerchunoff is more than coincidental. The Jewish-Argentinean identity embraced by the progressives is similar to the integrationist ideal that claims that national belonging and patriotism are due to the country of residence or birth. The only difference is that for the integrationists, Jewishness is a religion (they called themselves Argentineans –or Germans- of Jewish faith); for the progressives, it is a cultural belonging.

The ICUF used this Jewish-Argentinean identity to position itself as the opposite of Argentinean Zionism. While Zionist schools used both the Argentinean and Israeli flags for their ceremonies, the ICUF schools used only the Argentinean. They accused the Zionist camp of offering unwilling support to the anti-Semitic theories of double-loyalty constantly raised by the extreme Catholic right. For them, Israel was just another Diasporic Jewish community, as important as any other. They denied Israel the position of spiritual center of Jewish life that the Zionists claimed it had (although they refrained to follow the USSR in condemning Israel until 1967), and did not consider the Jewish State to solve the problems of the Jews. For the Federation, the Jewish question could only be solved with the human question; Jewish emancipation was linked to human emancipation, and it could only be achieved in Socialism. The progressives also chose their own symbols to oppose those of Zionism: against the Hatikvah, they rescued the Partisaner Lid; against Hebrew, Yiddish.

What room does this Jewish-Argentinean identity leave for Communism? According to a former ICUF leader, students in their schools were still educated in Communist ideology in courses where the teacher and the children were forbidden to take notes or use the blackboard.[9] From time to time, the schools yearbooks would come with glorified description of Jewish schools in Socialist Europe. Their Communist beliefs can also be seen in their faith that the solution to both the Jewish and the world’s problems could only be found through political and social emancipation. That is to say, through Socialism:

The I.L. Peretz Cultural House gathers the whole yishuv of Villa Lynch. With the responsibility of members of the Jewish people, we understood that cultural activity should mean, primarily, educating and preparing the Jewish masses to gain a cultural and national conscience, as a previous condition for them to take part in Humanity´s fight for a better world.

[…] We must clearly explain the historical truths about the Jewish people regarding, in particular, the last century and the struggle for emancipation led by the peoples of the world, where the Jewish popular masses participated in that social and national fight.

[…] The influence that the emancipation struggles had in the Jewish masses must not be denied or diminished. First, the French Revolution tore down the medieval walls of the ghettos; later, the Jewish masses took part in the fight of the oppressed peoples of Czarist Russia to gain total emancipation, both social and national.[10]

In a way, the Jewish-Argentinean and the Communist identities relied on a temporal equilibrium: in the short term, they lived in Argentina, they thought of themselves as the guardians of Jewish secular culture, and therefore they were Jewish-Argentineans. But they remained committed to a worldwide revolution, the “complete emancipation” of humankind that was always beyond the horizon. That is not to say that their Communist identity was the weaker of the two: its strength was proven when, after barely losing the AMIA elections to a coalition of the whole Zionist spectrum, they were forced to choose between staying in AMIA and condemning the anti-Semitic trials of Stalinism in the early 1950s. The ICUF institutions chose the PCA. Over a decade later, the Jewish-Argentinean balance was also broken, as the schools progressively abandoned Yiddish and Jewish education and consciously chose the path towards assimilation, referring to their students as “Argentinean children of Jewish parenthood.”[11]

Temporal comparison, ethnical comparison, national comparison

This paper compared two separate moments in the history of Jewish Communism in Argentina. By following the same collective through time, it was possible to identify the change undergone by the group’s social composition and identity. The Jewish Communists in Buenos Aires moved –in the hypothetical continuum mentioned by Rein and Lesser– from a position of almost ideal Diasporic (or, maybe in this case, internationalist) Communist identity to one where the Jewish-Argentinean components were prominent and of near-equivalent weight. If, in the 1920s, they showed themselves to be internationalist immigrant proletarians opposed to either a Jewish or an Argentinean identity, by the 1940s and 50s they were culturally Jewish, nationally Argentineans, and ideologically –and, perhaps, subtly– Communists.

Clearly, some of the causes for this change were international and common to most Jewish Communist groups around the world. However, other causes were rooted in specific national and local phenomena, such as the advent of Peronism and the abrupt end to the Party’s influence with the unions and organized workers, or the success of Catholic Integrism to set the tone of the national social climate and influence the government.

Although it had its own specificity, such as its newfound interest in Yiddishkeit, the transformation of the Yevsektsiya into the ICUF was not privy of the Jewish Communists: in a way, it is reminiscent of the metamorphosis undergone by the Communist Party itself, who also embraced Argentinean nationalism. But new comparative studies are in order if we want to identify the similarities and the differences, as well as the interactions, between the PCA and its Jewish adherents. An inter-ethnic research that compares the different language sections (and their later incarnations) and the mainstream PCA would shed new light into the importance of the national factors and identify what is unique of the Jewish Communist identity. There is no doubt that there is a Jewish specificity, as shown by the fact that only the Yevsektsiya managed to establish a school network. But how far does this specificity go?

An inter-national comparative study between the Jewish Communists in Argentina and the USA or Brazil could both highlight the importance of international factors and show the differences in the studied national cases. The national contexts of the United States and Argentina must have influenced their Communist Parties, and the Parties’ Jewish branches, in diverse ways. There might be some hints pointing toward common trends in different national cases.[12] But are those trends enough to talk of an abstract (or global) Communist Jewish identity, or are the contextual local factors strong enough to render this category useless? And finally: was the Comitern influential enough to not only determine the worldwide Communist strategies but also to homogenize the Party’s national branches?[13] These are important questions that go beyond the topic of Jewish Communism and into the methodological debate on how we should think the field of Jewish Studies.

 


[1] Jeffrey Lesser and Raanan Rein, “Challenging Particularity: Jews as a Lens on Latin American Ethnicity”, Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies, Vol. 1, No. 2, September 2006, pp. 249–263.

[2] Anonymous, Unzer Shul – Joidesh Organ Fun Der Tzentraler Farvaltung, Buenos Aires, June 1932, quoted in Efraim Zadoff, Historia de la educación judía en Buenos Aires (1935-1957), Buenos Aires: Milá, 1994, page 275.

[3] Matías Sánchez Sorondo, Represión del comunismo. Proyecto de ley, informe y antecedentes. Tomo II: antecedentes, Buenos Aires: Honorable Consejo de La Nación, 1940, p. 335.

[4] Matías Sánchez Sorondo, Represión del comunismo…, pabe 342.

[5] Althought there are no records about their position, the OPCEA archives are empty from 1939 to 1941. There is no official paperwork, no communications with its offices in other provinces, and not even a receipt registering the sale or donation of a book.

[6] The “Popular Front” strategy, first adopted in 1935, was a response to the triumph of fascism in Germany. It commanded the Communist Party of every country to seek alliances with the other groups and parties in the democratic spectrum in order to create coalitions against the common enemy of “fascism”.

[7] Quoted in Efraim Zadoff, Historia de la educación..., pages 245-6.

[8] “El mes de Julio y San Martín”, Boletín X aniversario del Hogar Cultural y Escuela Judía Laica I. L. Peretz, Villa Lynch, 1950, s/n.

[9] The interview, conducted by Effraim Zadoff, can be found in the Mark Turkow Center, AMIA.

[10] Wolf Raizman, “Diez años de vida del Hogar Cultural ‘I. L. Peretz’”, Anuario del Hogar Cultura y Escuela Judía Laica “I. L. Peretz”, Villa Lynch, 1950, pages 3-5.

[11] “Di itzike rijtlinies fun der dertziung in undzer shul”, anuario del Hogar Cultural y Escuela Judía Laica “I. L. Peretz”, quoted in Efraim Zadoff, Historia de la educación.., page 414.

[12] Melech Ephstein, “The Jew and communism; the story of early Communist victories and ultimate defeats in the Jewish community, U. S. A., 1919-1941”, New York: Trade Union Sponsoring Committee, 1959.

[13] Hernan Camarero, in his case study of the early Communist Party in Argentina, has shown that the Communist leadership would oftentimes assume a “we obey but do not comply” attitude reminiscent of the Viceroyalty years whenever a Moscow bureaucrat sent them orders based on a flawed stereotyped understanding of the national situation. Likewise, sometimes the militant cells in the terrain would ignore leadership commands when it made little sense. See Camarero, “A la conquista del proletariado, la experiencia comunista en el mundo de los trabajadores de Buenos Aires, 1925-1935”, Bs.As: master dissertation. 2003.