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Short Story about Moises Ville (English)
Written by Ruth Ades de Galagovsky
Translated by Paula Miriam Goldstein de Taub (Thanks!!!)
The day was August 14, 1889. A group of 824 people arrived at the Port of Buenos Aires . The “Pogroms” – killing against Jews - were left behind in the Anti-Semitic Czarist Russia. Everything disappeared when they boarded “The Weser”, the boat that would bring them to Argentina .
They had no experience to work the land, but the dream of the immigrants was to become farmers. When they debarked they found out that the land that was bought by them was occupied. They were offered other lands in El Chaco, but these were not appropriate.
The Government reimbursed the money to the new immigrants, and they stayed in Buenos Aires at “The Home of The Immigrants”, alone, and abandoned.
We have no exact knowledge if the 136 families that arrived on the boat went to the town of Palacios , or some of them stayed in Buenos Aires . We do know that help came thanks to the intervention of three jewelers that came on the boat, and the landholder Palacios, who owned great extensions of land in the province of Santa Fe , (the actual Moises Ville in its surroundings) in the area were a railroad to the northern Province of Tucuman was built.
On August 28, 1889, the immigrants of The Weser and the landowner Palacios signed their contracts. When they arrived there, there were no homes, no tents and the newcomers found shelter in a big open shed for many weeks. Some families found shelter in old abandoned train stockcars near the railroad.
The families were left at their own luck and faith, without homes or fields, nor working tools. The colonizers sent some bags with flour to the immigrants, but at the time it reached them there were full of worms and maggots.
This way the settlers started their establishments in Argentina : hunger, loneliness, and suffering with no end.
Palacios, the landowner, was not prepared for the task he had taken. He left the families live in inhuman conditions, without help, and no future.
How did they stay alive? We have no documentation. Many of the immigrants left since they did not get instructions of how to work the land. Some settled in Sunchales and Santa Fe were they opened a business, others returned to Buenos Aires .
The most brave stayed. They wanted to become farmers. They believed in themselves. They chose the hardest way. This way they formed two groups of Jewish farmers in the areas close to Moises Ville, between the rail station of Palacios and Monigotes.
The economical position of both groups was terrible. They needed an iron faith to stay and not chose the easy way out: leave to the city and start a commercial business.
The group that suffered the most was the one that stayed in Palacios. The hygiene was poor and the food was missing. The workers at the railroad felt pity for the children feeding them dry crackers. The waiters of the train's restaurant and some of the travelers throw out from the train, bread and leftovers for the hungry people. The children walked along the railroad to pick up the bread, fruits, etc. and many times ended up in big fights over the food.
The immigrants lived that way for weeks. The adults survived, but many children contracted diseases. There was no medical assistance and soon the typhus epidemic caused the dead of many children. The earth, that had to belong to the Jews, was now carrying their most precious possessions, the bodies of their children. The second group of Monigotes also suffered many losses. In a very short time two cemeteries were build, one in Palacios and the other in Monigotes. Those cemeteries in the surroundings of Moises Ville founded the base of the Jewish community. The cemeteries bonded the Jewish immigrants to the Argentinean Land ; they did not let their families leave.
Two years later, Dr. Guillermo Lowenthal heard they were planning to move the immigrants to two new locations in the Province of Entre Rios , founded by the Baron Mauricio Hirsch. The Jewish immigrants of Moises Ville refused. They did not want to leave the place were they were building the third cemetery, were they buried the first victim of a native gauchos' attack. At the meting in the synagogue, they had decided to stay and bring to Moises Ville the children they had buried in Monigotes and Palacios.
Thanks to the tenacity of Dr Lowenthal the Baron Hirsch bought the land from Palacios in the year 1891.
This is the way Moises Ville was born. The suffering had nourished the faith making it stronger and vigorous. The strength of the settlers was demonstrated and despite of all the obstacles they succeeded.
Moises Ville was the initial milestone of the marvelous vision of the Baron de Hirsch. Moises Ville was the first impulse that generated many other colonies.
Hope this synthesis will help to understand the sufferings of those makers of the land, the untouchable pioneers, the Jewish settlers.
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