Skip to Main Content

Genealogy Guide: Argentina

Brief History

Argentina has the largest Jewish community in the Hispanic world and the second largest in the Western hemisphere. Portuguese of Jewish descent entered Argentina as early as 1580. Non-Catholics endured religious persecution until about 1813, when the Inquisition was officially abolished. In the constitution of 1853, religious freedom was guaranteed. Immigrants from Western Europe soon arrived, and in the late 1800’s immigration from Eastern Europe followed. Among these immigrants were people being aided by the Jewish Colonization Association of the Baron de Hirsch Fund, founder of the agricultural settlements. Jews from Morocco, Syria, and other Sephardic communities also immigrated to Argentina. Ashkenazim and Sephardim maintained separate communal organizations. During WWII, thousands of Jewish refugees entered Argentina, many illegally. In 1948 a general amnesty for illegal immigrants was declared.