Ethnic Germans in Bolivia

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Ethnic Germans in Bolivia
Total population


3% of Bolivian population[1]
Spanish, German, and Plautdietsch. Yiddish is spoken by German-Jewish communities.
Christianity (Protestantism, Lutheranism, Reformed, Mennonite, Amish, Roman Catholicism) and Judaism.
Related ethnic groups
Ethnic Germans
Austrian Americans
German Mexican
German Brazilians
German Argentines
German diaspora

The Germans have had a presence in Bolivia since the 18th century. With the arrival of an increasing number of Germans in the late 19th century many aid organizations, residents' associations, schools and cultural centers were founded. In 1923 the school German Mariscal Braun was created. In 1938 the Centro Cultural Aleman, in 1954 the German Cultural Institute and in 1965 Bolivia signed an agreement with the "Goethe-Institut" in Munich for spreading the German language among descendants of Germans and other Bolivians. According to journalist Robert Brockmann, of German descent, in early 20th century, the Germanic presence was very large, especially in trade, they were the leading provider of manufacturing. With World War II, the situation was difficult. In 1942, Bolivia broke relations with Germany. Many Germans were expelled and some companies nationalized.


Less well known is the entry of more than 20,000 refugees Jews between 1938 and 1941 to Bolivia. Fundamental in this initiative were the efforts of Maurice (Moritz) Hochschild, a German Jewish mining magnate who controlled a third of the mineral production in Bolivia and had political ties with Bolivian President Germán Busch. After the Chaco War against Paraguay (1932—1935), Busch tried to stimulate the Bolivian economy by letting in immigrants from Europe.[2] Hochschild used this opportunity to provide a regular motion of German and Austrian Jewish immigrants, who obtained visas through five Bolivian consulates in Europe (Zurich, Paris, London, Berlin and Vienna). The refugees arrived by ship to Arica, Chile, where they were taken by train to La Paz, Bolivia, what came to be called the Jewish Express. With the help of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, based in the United States, Hochschild created facilities for immigrants, many of whom then crossed the border illegally porous Bolivia to neighboring countries, especially Argentina. (The Society for Protection of Migrants Israelites, or SOPRO created by Hochschild, had offices in La Paz, Cochabamba, Potosí, Sucre, Oruro, and Tarija.)


Businessman Ernesto W. N. Schilling Huhn, arrived from Germany, and founded the Inti Pharmacy on La Paz. This firm was born in the ointment wiped off the map shortly national Vicks Vaporub. Today Inti SA is the largest pharmaceutical company in Bolivia.

It all started when a young German couple named with the last name of Stege arrived in the country. They brought some money and a special recipe for its sausages. The factory began in the kitchen, and the first purchase order \ recorded dates to 1910. In the 1950s, the factory was given to the two children of the couple and entered a difficult stage. "Jorge Stege was one of the sons of the owners. This slump lasted until the early 1980s. During all that time the company went down and had to stop production of canned side to focus solely on sausages.

Stege and his third generation grandchildren were born and raised in Bolivia. George Stege also decided to sell the factory to the Bauer who continue to be the owners until today. The Bauer family had several businesses, formed the Hansa Ltda and also focused on ranching. Thus, the proprietary company Tusequis Ltda acquired the Stege company integrating sausage meat into its productions. It built a new factory in El Alto, because the former was in the center of the city, which opened in 1982. The brand Stege produces about 80 different products.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bolivia". WorldStatesMen. Retrieved 16 June 2013. white 10% (of which German 3%) (2001) 
  2. ^ "El refugio en Latinoamérica". 
  3. ^

External links[edit]