His family emigrated in 1889 to the Argentinian Jewish agricultural colony of Moïseville, now Moisés Ville. His father, Rab Gershon ben Abraham Gerchunoff was murdered by a gaucho on February 12, 1891. After a few months the family moved to Rajil, founded by philanthropist Baron Maurice de Hirsch as a haven for Jews fleeing the pogroms of Europe. Later, he lived in Buenos Aires, Argentine. Jorge Luis Borges described him thus:
- He was an indisputable writer, but his reputation transcends that of a man of letters. Unintentionally and perhaps unwittingly, he embodied an older type of writer ... who saw the written word as a mere stand-in for the oral, not as a sacred object.
Although he worked primarily as a journalist for Argentina's leading newspaper La Nación, he also wrote many important novels and books on Jewish life in Latin America, including The Jewish Gauchos of the Pampas (ISBN 0-8263-1767-7), which was later produced into a movie.
For most of his life Gerchunoff espoused assimilationism for the Jews of Argentina, though altered his stance with the rise of Hitler, eventually advocating for the establishment of the state of Israel before the United Nations in 1947 He is said to have collaborated with Wilhelm Reich on a version of his orgone box designed to preserve the core of Jewish cultural memories, many of which were collected by him as oral histories and published under the title Héroes de los Intersticios in 1948.
- Argentina's Jewish Short Story Writers, Rita M. Gardiol, 1986.
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