History of the Jews in Paraguay

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The location of Paraguay in South America
Paraguayan Jews
יהודים בפרגוואי
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Asunción, Villarrica
Spanish, Hebrew, Yiddish
Related ethnic groups
Argentine Jews, Brazilian Jews, Ashkenazi Jews

The history of the Jews in Paraguay begins with the arrival of migration flows, mainly from Europe. The first waves of Jewish immigration to Paraguay began in 1904.[2]

Currently, Jewish-Paraguayan community is about 1,000 people, most of them in the capital Asunción. The first Jews arrived in Paraguay at the end of the 19th century. At the beginning of the 20th century the first community institutions were established in the city of Asunción. During the 1920s Jews from Poland and Ukraine arrived in Paraguay, and in the 1930s a wave of mass immigration of some 20,000 Jews from Germany arrived. After World War II, many Jews came to the country, as survivors, but over time many Jews left the residence in favour of neighbouring Argentina (home to the largest Jewish community in Latin America), and Brazil (second-largest), or made aliyah to Israel.

Migration history[edit]

Toward the 19th century, Jewish immigrants arrived in Paraguay from countries such as France, Switzerland, and Italy. During World War I Jews from Palestine (Jerusalem), Egypt and Turkey arrived in Paraguay, mostly Sephardi Jews. In the 1920s, there was a second wave of immigrants from Ukraine and Poland. Between 1933 and 1939, between 15,000 and 20,000 Jews from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia took advantage of Paraguay's liberal immigration laws to escape from Nazi-occupied Europe. After World War II, most Jews that arrived in Paraguay were survivors of concentration camps. Simultaneously, in the 1960s roughly 40,000 Germans and their descendants, a great many of whom were Nazi supporters and some of whom were prominent Nazi figures, were living in Paraguay.[3] Infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele also temporary lived in the country.[3] Today, there are 1,000 Jews mostly living in Paraguay's capital city of Asunción. The majority of the Paraguayan Jewry is of Ashkenazi background.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Congreso Judío Latinoamericano. "Comunidades judías: Paraguay" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 3 January 2015. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  2. ^ ABC. "Inmigración judía" (in Spanish). Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  3. ^ a b "The Jews of Paraguay". The Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot.