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Encyclopaedia Judaica

Jews in Lima

Conversos from Spain and Portugal - Jewish immigration from Europe since 1870 - mass influx during WWII from NS territories

from: Peru; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 11

presented by Michael Palomino (2010)



<LIMA, ancient capital of the Peruvian viceroyalty and capital of *Peru, population over 1,700,000 (1961). Ninety eight per cent of Peru's Jewish population of about 6,000 lives in the city.

[Crypto-Jews from Spain and Portugal in Lima and condemned to death]

Lima was one of the most important centers of *Crypto-Jews during the Colonial period. Following the establishment of the Inquisition in Lima (1570), Crypto-Jews, the majority of whom were Portuguese, were condemned to death (in 1581, 1605, 1625, and 1639) [[by auto-da-fs, show trials with stakes]]. Of the 63 Jews brought to trial in 1639, 12 were put to death.

The remaining families became assimilated with the local population and scarcely a trace of them exists. Street names still surviving today suggest the presence of Jews in the city during the days of the viceroyalty.

[Jewish immigration from Europe since 1870 - mass influx during World War II from NS territories]

A handful of Jews from Alsace settled in Lima around 1870, and they established a benevolent society (Sociedad de 1870). The descendants of these immigrants assimilated completely, but the Sociedad was continued by other German-speaking immigrants. Its cemetery still serves the community.

Individual Jews, most of whom were on government commission as engineers, scientists, etc., also arrived during the 19th century.

Jews from Turkey, North Africa, and Syria settled in Lima about the time of world War I; afterward a much larger wave of immigrants arrived from the disintegrating Turkish Empire and the small Rumanian border town of Novoselitsa.

The next mass influx occurred during World War II, Peru's relatively stringent immigration laws notwithstanding.

[[Many Jews probably came under other nationality quotas. Unfortunately numbers are missing]].

[Community life]

The three sectors of the Jewish community - the Ashkenazi, the "1870", and the Sephardi, are united under a roof organization, the Asociacin de Sociedades Israeliteas, and each maintains its own synagogue and communal institutions. Lima's Jewish school, Len Pinelo, named after the 17th-century Peruvian lawyer, scholar, and writer, was established in 1946. In 1966 it had an enrollment of 800, which is 80% of all school-age children within the Jewish community.> (col. 250)



Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Jews in
                          Lima, vol. 11, col. 250
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Jews in Lima, vol. 11, col. 250