Nationalism, education, and identity: Argentine Jews and Catholic religious instruction, 1943-1955

Raanan Rein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In the midst of World War II, as they struggled against the limitations imposed on Jewish immigrationwhile their brothers and sisters were being sent to the death camps in Europe, Argentine Jews were forced to face yet another challenge. In December 1943 the military government that had taken power in Buenos Aires six months earlier published a decree instituting Catholic education in all state schools. In the next decade, the Jewish community of this South American republic had to contend with governments that regarded Catholicism as a basic ingredient of Argentine nationalism. Non-Catholic Argentines, therefore, found themselves in a peculiar situation in which they were not considered "good Argentines." This essay seeks to analyze the reaction of Argentine Jews to the growing influence of the Catholic church in Argentina in general and in the field of education in particular during the 1940s and 1950s.What I mistook at first as a passive attitude on the part of Jews made me appreciate later the moderation, sense of proportion, and pragmatic strategy of Jewish leaders in times of rapidly and radically changing political and social circumstances. At the same time, I became more aware of the gap that existed between anti-Semitic public discourse and its actual influence on the daily lives of most Jews in Argentina.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMemory, Oblivion, and Jewish Culture in Latin America
Subtitle of host publicationLatin America
EditorsMarjorie Agosín
PublisherUniversity of Texas Press
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9780292706439, 0292706677
StatePublished - 2005

RAMBI Publications

  • rambi
  • Christianity and other religions -- Judaism
  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Argentina -- Influence
  • Jews -- Argentina
  • Judaism -- Relations -- Christianity


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