History of the Jews in Honduras

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Jews have lived in Honduras since the times of the Inquisition. Today, some 40–50 Jewish families live in the country.[citation needed] The community is concentrated primarily in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa. Other families are found in the port city of La Ceiba.


A Jewish home in San Pedro Sula

There have been Jews in Honduras since Hernando Cortes conquered the Aztecs, accompanied by several Conversos. Later, Jews arrived there to escape the Inquisition.[1]

Due to the power of the Catholic Church in Honduras, few Jews migrated there during the Spanish Colonial Period. In the 1920s, a few German Jews settled in Honduras as a result of invitations from the government. Beginning in the 1940s some Ashkenazic Jews fleeing World War II came to Honduras thanks to the influence of local Jewry.

Present day[edit]

On 3 August 1997, the community in San Pedro Sula dedicated the Maguen David Synagogue to serve as a community centre for future generations.

Anti-semitic and anti Arabic graffiti in San Pedro Sula, Honduras

With the 2009 Honduran constitutional crisis, the local Jewish community became embroiled in the controversy.[2] Rumors swirled throughout the Honduran media of Jewish and Israeli involvement in the coup d'état.[3] A commentator on Radio Globo, David Romero, suggested on the air that perhaps it would have been better if the Jews had been exterminated in the Holocaust.[4] His comments drew ire from ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, the US Embassy in Tegucigalpa and the Anti-Defamation League.[5]

In recent years, some Honduran Jews have made aliyah to Israel.[6][7]

Recently, Rosenthals have been implicated with longstanding corruption and other crimes.[8] Yankel Rosenthal, a former minister of investment, was arrested on October 6th, 2015 after landing at Miami airport. He, together with his cousin Yani and uncle Jaime Rolando, a four-time presidential candidate and newspaper owner, were also charged with money laundering and other services that support the international narcotics trafficking activities of multiple Central American drug traffickers and their criminal organisations. [9] Seven of their businesses were labelled under the US Kingpin Act as "specially designated narcotics traffickers". They have been accused of transferring drugs money between accounts in New York and Honduras between 2004 and 2015.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rosen, Rachel. "Honduras". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 20 October 2009. 
  2. ^ Ravid, Barak (2009-10-09). "Rumors of Jewish, Israeli involvement swirl around Honduran coup". Ha'aretz. Retrieved 21 October 2009. 
  3. ^ Malkin, Elizabeth (2009-10-06). "Radio Host's Remarks Add Troubling Note to Honduran Crisis". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 October 2009. 
  4. ^ Cuevas, Freddy (2009-10-06). "US slams Honduran radioman's anti-Semitic remarks". Associated Press. Retrieved 21 October 2009. 
  5. ^ Schmidt, Blake (2009-10-08). "Zelaya Condemns Radio Host's Comments on Holocaust". Bloomberg. Retrieved 21 October 2009. 
  6. ^ "Ynetnews News - Making Aliyah: Over 19,000 new olim in 2010". Ynetnews.com. Retrieved 2017-01-19. 
  7. ^ "Ynetnews Jewish Scene - 100-year-old man among 2012's olim". Ynetnews.com. 1912-02-15. Retrieved 2017-01-19. 
  8. ^ "Trasciende detención de Yankel Rosenthal en Miami, EUA - Diario La Prensa". Laprensa.hn. Retrieved 2017-01-19. 
  9. ^ "Treasury Sanctions Rosenthal Money Laundering Organization". Treasury.gov. Retrieved 2017-01-19. 
  10. ^ "Honduras football boss Yankel Rosenthal charged in US". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-01-19. 


  • Amaya Banegas, Jorge Alberto (2000). Los Judíos en Honduras [The Jews of Honduras] (in Spanish). Editorial Guaymuras. ISBN 99926-15-58-3. 

External links[edit]