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SPECIAL NOTICE: We urge all JOEs to view Eva Zelig's new documentary, "An Unknown Country," which tells the story of Jewish immigration to Ecuador before, during, and following World War II. She provides background about the immigration from Nazi Europe and how Jewish refugees came to create new lives in a far-off nation. It is full of anecdotes and interviews and should not be missed by anyone interested in the history of the Jews of Ecuador.
A premiere screening is being planned in Manhattan in either mid-January or late February 2014. If you don't have a copy of the film and/or would like more information about the screening, please contact Eva through Facebook or contact her at:
email@example.com or call: 347-563-2577
Title: "The Virtual Jewish History Tour: Ecuador"
Source: Jacqueline Shields (author)
Most historians assert that Jews were among the Spanish settlers of Ecuador in colonial times. Certain family names among established Ecuadorian families attest to their Sephardi ancestry; however, prior to World War II there was very little Jewish immigration to Ecuador. In 1904 there were only four Jewish families in the country, and a survey in 1917 indicated the presence of 14 Jews. After 1924, when the United States established its immigration quota system, a handful more arrived in Ecuador. Yet, only in the wake of the rise of Nazism and the ensuing Holocaust in Europe did the Jewish mass immigration to Ecuador began. During the years 1933-43 about 2,700 Jews arrived, and by 1945 there were 3,000 new Jewish immigrants, 85% of whom were refugees from Europe.
In the early years of World War II, Ecuador still admitted a certain amount of immigrants, and in 1939, when several South American countries refused to accept the 165 Jewish refugees from Germany aboard the ship "Koenigstein," Ecuador granted them entry permits. Nevertheless, the country eventually gave way to a policy of selectivity. Jewish immigration to Ecuador were supposed to be employed in the agricultural realm, but the authorities soon surmised that the immigrants were actually merchants, industrialists, and businessmen, and were not farming. As a result, in 1938 legislation was passed compelling any Jew not engaged in agriculture or industry to leave the country. In addition, entry rights were limited to those Jews who possessed a minimum of $400, which they would have to invest in an industrial project.
In 1935 the Comite pour l'Etude de l'Industrie de l'Immigration dans la Republique de l'Equateur was established in Paris by the organization, the Freeland League of Jewish Colonization, with the purpose of creating a settlement program in Ecuador. An agreement was reached with the Ecuadorian government to transfer 500,000 acres of land to the Committee's jurisdiction for a period of 30 years to be settled by immigrants regardless of race, religion, or nationality. Several concessions were also promised, such as tax exemption for three years, citizenship after one year, customs exemption, and free transportation by train from the port to the interior of the country. The president signed the agreement several months later on the condition that a detailed program be presented by May 1937 and that the Committee invest $8,000 and settle at least 100 families. Some Jewish organizations, however, found the land proposed for the plan unacceptable, claiming that it was too far from population centers and that the climate was too severe. The result of these objections was the total abandonment of the project.
Following this attempt, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and HICEM attempted to establish chicken farms for the immigrants in other areas of Ecuador, and 60 families were settled, but conditions precluded any success in the venture, which ultimately failed. Most of the immigrants were businessmen and professionals who preferred to carry on their professions. Interestingly, many discovered that the native balsa wood was excellent for furniture craft and began production. Later, these immigrants introduced iron and steel furniture to the Ecuadorian market, previously unknown to the country. They also developed retail stores and opened hotels. The success of the immigrants, however, caused tension among the Syrian and Cuban community who had previously controlled those fields of business. This pressure led to an anti-Jewish sentiment for awhile, but nothing more substantial.
At its peak, in 1950, the Jewish population of Ecuador was estimated at 4,000 persons, the majority living in Quito, several hundred in Guayaquil, and several scores in Ambato, Riobamba, and Cuenca. In 1952, a law was passed requiring every foreigner to supply proof that he was engaged in the occupation stipulated in his entry visa. The World Jewish Congress tried to help those Jews who were practicing business, but were only supposed to be in the agricultural sector; however, attempts at agricultural settlement were unsuccessful.
Ecuadorian Jews have achieved prominence in various fields including academics, industry, and science. Benno Weiser (Benjamin Varon), who was an active Ecuadorian journalism, later entered the Israel diplomatic service and served in various Latin American countries. His brother, Max Weiser, was the first Israel consul in Ecuador.
In the industrial field, where Jews played an especially important role, the names Rothschild and Seligmann stand out in the area of the development of metal industries, and the pharmaceutical industry is indebted to Carlos Alberti Ottolenghi and Alberto Di Capua. Paul Engel, an endocrinologist and pathologist, was a co-founder of the Endocrine Society of Ecuador.
The Jewish community of Ecuador is predominantly of German origin, but the younger generation is Spanish-speaking. The Ecuadorian Jewish community is a homogeneous group, a fact which has facilitated great communal organization. The Asociacion de Beneficencia Israelita, founded in 1938, is the central body for religious and cultural affairs. Other organizations in the country are the Zionist Federation, B'nai B'rith, Wizo, and Maccabi. A bilingual Spanish-German bulletin, Informaciones, is published by the community. Interestingly, intermarriage is not as great of a problem in Ecuador as elsewhere since Jews form a separate middle-stratum between the upper, traditionally Catholic classes, and the lower classes of the indigenous population.
There is a Jewish school in Quito, the Colegio Experimental Alberto Einstein, established in 1973, which serves both Jewish and non-Jewish students from kindergarten through the twelfth grade. All Jewish holidays are celebrated by the school, and Hebrew and other Jewish studies are taught there. The school has an excellent reputation and superb pre-college preparatory program. The Jewish community of Quito has its own building, a home for the aged, and a synagogue that holds services on the Sabbath and holidays.
Ecuador has traditionally maintained friendly relations with Israel, and has frequently supported Israel in the United Nations. The Ecuadorian Embassy is in Tel Aviv . In the late 1960's, a network of technical cooperation and assistance was developed between the two countries, especially in the fields of agriculture, and water development. Since 1948, 137 Ecuadorian Jews have emigrated to Israel
Channukah photo courtesy Colegio Experimental Alberto Einstein
"Jews in Ecuador" in Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971 edition)
Title: "Jews in Ecuador"
Source: Encyclopedia Judaica (1971 edition)
Jews in Ecuador
Jewish immigration in the NS period - agriculture project - industrialization - special middle strata
from: Ecuador; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, Vol. 6
presented by Michael Palomino (2008)
South American republic, with 5,695,000 inhabitants (estimate of mid-1968) of whom about 1,00 were Jews. It is generally believed that Jews were among the settlers of Ecuador in colonial times. Certain family names among established Ecuadorian families attest to their Sephardi ancestry.
[Jewish population figures]
Prior to World War II there was very little Jewish immigration to Ecuador. In 1904 there were only four Jewish families in the country, and a survey in 1917 indicated the presence of 14 Jews.
After 1924, when the United States established its immigration quota system, a handful more arrived in Ecuador. It was only in the wake of the rise of Nazism and the ensuing Holocaust in Europe that Jewish mass immigration to Ecuador began. During the years 1933-43 about 2,700 Jews arrived, and by 1945 there were already 3,000 new Jewish immigrants, 85% of whom were refugees from Europe.
At its peak (in 1950), the Jewish population of Ecuador was estimated at 4,000 persons; the majority lived in Quito, several hundred in Guayaquil and several scores in Ambato, Riobamba, and Cuenca. (col. 359)
[1935-1936: Attempts for agricultural settlements don't give enough profit]
Unsuccessful attempts at agricultural settlement were made. In 1935 the Comité pour l'Etude de l'Industrie de l'Immigration dans la République de l'Equateur [[Committee for industry and immigration for the Republic of Ecuador]] was established in Paris by the territorialist organization, the Freeland league of Jewish Colonization, with the purpose of creating a settlement program in Ecuador.
An agreement was reached with the Ecuadorian government to transfer 500,000 acres of land to the Committee's jurisdiction for a period of 30 years to be settled by immigrants regardless of race, religion, or nationality. Several concessions were also promised, such as tax exemption for three years, citizenship after one year, customs exemption, and free transportation by train from the port to the interior of the country.
The president signed the agreement several months later on the condition that a detailed program be presented by May 1937 and that if the Committee could not manage to invest $ 8,000 and settle at least 100 families, the agreement would be abrogated. In the following year, two experts visited Ecuador to investigate the possibilities of settlement. Their findings were that such settlement was feasible and would not exceed an output of £ 72-93 ($360-465) on each family. These findings, however, (col. 360)
proved unacceptable to Jewish organizations such as *HICEM, which claimed that the land under consideration was too far from population centers and that the climate was too severe. The result of these objections was the total abandonment of the project.
The *American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and HICEM also attempted to establish chicken farms for the immigrants, and 60 families were settled. But conditions precluded any success in the venture, which ultimately failed. (col. 361)
[1936: Liberal legislation since - 1938: restriction of immigration]
Although Ecuador was characterized by a strong Roman Catholic tradition and was previously governed by constitutions that established Roman Catholicism as the State Church, by the time the large-scale Jewish immigration started, a liberal constitution (1936) guaranteed freedom of worship to all and also stipulated that education was to be essentially secular and lay. (col. 360)
Nevertheless, the country's basic humanitarian criterion gradually gave way to a policy of selectivity. Although Jewish immigration to Ecuador was based on agricultural opportunities and needs, it later developed that all the immigrants were actually merchants, industrialists, and businessmen. (col. 360)
Most of the immigrants were businessmen and professionals who preferred to carry on their professions. They discovered that balsa wood is excellent for furniture, and later introduced iron and steel furniture, previously unknown in the country. In addition retail stores were opened and the hotel trade was also developed, the latter leading to anti-Jewish pressure by Syrian and Cuban nationals who had been active in that field. (col. 361)
As a result, in 1938 legislation was passed compelling any Jew not engaged in agriculture or industry to leave the country. In addition, entry rights were limited to those Jews who possessed a minimum of $ 400, which they would have to invest in an industrial project. The Jewish community was able to defeat this law. (col. 361)
[1939<: case of ship "Koenigstein"]
Liberal legislation has remained dominant ever since. In the early years of World War II, Ecuador still admitted a certain amount of immigrants. In 1939, when several South American countries refused to accept the 165 Jewish refugees from Germany aboard the ship "Koenigstein", Ecuador granted them entry permits. (col. 360)
In 1952 another was passed requiring every foreigner to supply proof that he was engaged in the occupation stipulated in his entry visa. This legislation was counteracted by the intervention of the *World Jewish Congress. (col. 360)
[Community structure and cultural life - special middle strata - no complete intermarriage assimilation]
The Ecuadorian Jewish community is a homogeneous group, a fact which has facilitated communal organization. The Asociación de Beneficencia Israelita [[Israelite Relief Association]], founded in 1938, is the central body for religious and cultural affairs that in turn established a court of arbitration and a hevra kaddisha [[holy assembly]]. Other organizations in the country are the Zionist Federation, *B'nai B'rith, *Wizo, Maccabi, and a cooperative bank. A bilingual Spanish-German bulletin, Informaciones, is the only publication of the community. The Jewish community of Ecuador is predominantly of German origin, but the young generation is Spanish-speaking. There is no complete assimilation by intermarriage, since the Jews form a separate middle-Stratum between the upper, traditionally Catholic classes and the lower classes consisting of the indigenous population.
There is no Jewish school in Ecuador, but the general atmosphere is one of Jewish cohesion and solidarity, and the children are receiving some Jewish education from a teacher hired by the community. The Jewish community of Quito owns a building, a home for the aged, and a synagogue that holds services on Sabbaths and holidays.
[Jewish personalities: industrialization with metal industries and pharmaceutical industries]
Ecuadorian Jews have achieved prominence in various fields of endeavor, including the academic fields, industry, and science. Benno Weiser (Benjamin Varon), who was active in Ecuadorian journalism, later entered the Israel diplomatic service and served in various Latin American countries. His brother, Max Weiser, was the first Israel consul in Ecuador. In the industrial field, where Jews played an especially important role, the manes Rothschild and Seligmann stand out in the area of the development of metal industries, and the pharmaceutical industry is indebted to Carlos Alberti Ottolenghi and Alberto Di Capua. Paul Engel, endocrinologist and pathologist, was a co-founder of the Endocrine Society of Ecuador.
[Relations with Herzl Israel - cooperation]
From 1946, when the Ecuadorian representative at the UN suggested that the *Jewish Agency be recognized as the Jewish government in exile, Ecuador has traditionally maintained friendly relations with Israel, and has frequently supported Israel in the United Nations. Diplomatic relations have been established on the ambassadorial level, the Ecuadorian Embassy being located in Jerusalem.
In the later 1960s a network of technical cooperation and assistance was developed between the two countries, especially in the fields of agriculture, water development, and youth training.
-- A. Golodetz: Report on the Possibilities of Jewish Settlement in Ecuador (1936), 125-30
-- Weiser, in: Commentary, 3 (1947), 531-6
-- J. Shatzky: Yidishe Yishuvim in Latayn Amerike (1952), 162-7
-- A. Monk and J. Isaacson (eds.): Comunidades Judías de Latinoamérica (1968), 82-83.
[P.E.]> (col. 361)
"Ecuador" in Encyclopaedia Judaica (2008 edition)
Source: Encyclopedia Judaica (2008)
ECUADOR, South American republic; population 13,363,593 (2005); Jewish population 900.
Unlike most other Latin American countries it was only in the wake of the Nazi persecution in Europe that a considerable number of Jews arrived in Ecuador. With the Spanish conquerors Jews, too, had in fact come to Ecuador, but their number was small. Also after independence from Spain comparatively few Sephardi Jews immigrated; these assimilated or at least did not practice their tradition in public. Certain family names among established Ecuadorian families attest until today to their Sephardi descent. At the end of the 19th century, and in the 1920s and 1930s, Jews emigrated mainly from Eastern Europe and settled chiefly in Guayaquil but did not become visible as a group. It is related that the first meeting for a New Year's celebration took place in 1934 in a private apartment. In 1914 Vienna-born Julius Rosenstock was appointed by the Ecuadorian government to head the construction of the Sibambe–Quito highland railway. Because of his excellent connections in government circles he successfully fought for the entry of persecuted Jews to the country. The stream of refugees to Ecuador began in 1938, reaching its peak in 1939. On Rosenstock's initiative a HICEM Committee was founded and the government negotiated the conditions of immigration with him. Because of his personal intervention, he succeeded in obtaining the repeal of the 1937 decree by the dictator Alberto Enríquez Gallo ordering Jews who did not work in agriculture or industry to leave the country within 30 days.
A relatively small number of Jews, 3,500–4,000, found refuge in Ecuador through 1942. Settlement projects from the mid-1930s, including the plan for long-term settlement of 50,000 families in mostly remote areas, were supported neither by the Ecuadorian public nor by the Jewish settlers and proved to be untrustworthy and impractical. For most of the Jews who found refuge in the country until 1942, Ecuador, with its three million inhabitants, was a second-choice place of exile, since they had failed to find asylum in another, preferred country. The majority came from Germany and Austria after the pogrom of November 1938 (*Kristallnacht) having lost hope that they could stay in their native country. Part of them settled in Guayaquil, the biggest city of the country, which was a real trading center with a population of about 180,000.
Major Jewish communities in Ecuador.
Located near the Pacific coast, it had a tropical climate. The vast majority, however, preferred the capital, Quito, situated in the Andes at an altitude of 9,200 ft. (2,800 m.). Few settled in small towns like Ambato (100), Banos, Cuenca (30), and Riobamba, or in the jungle around Puyo.
In Quito as in Guayaquil they were concentrated in several streets in the city center or not far from it. Quito with 150,000 inhabitants had no industry and only one multi-story building. Compared to middle-class European standards the living conditions were cramped and primitive, with no infrastructure and with infectious diseases and a lack of hygiene threatening their health. Many of the immigrants had only meager financial means, though many of them had brought their household goods and other possessions. Since the authorities returned the deposits that the immigrants had made to receive their visas (a few hundred dollars each), most of them had money to invest. Many had to earn their livings in unfamiliar occupations. But wherever it was possible they tried to continue in their former professions or similar ones.
Despite the regulations restricting immigration to industrial or agricultural laborers, only a minority worked in agriculture. Because of the difficult living and working conditions and their lack of knowledge such onerous attempts were given up. The project of HICEM and the Joint in 1937 to settle 60 families in the area of Ambato for chicken farming was among those failed attempts. A considerable number of the immigrants were active in trade, as peddlers, in retail and wholesale, and in the import and export trade. While the majority of the enterprises in the first years required hard work by all family members to reach a subsistence level, some of the enterprises reached a considerable size by 1942 and exist until today. The most successful were those that found a niche in the market, offering services and goods unknown in the country or absent from the market because of the war. In the field of food and textile production, in the metallurgical (El Arco, Ideal, Siderúrgica SA.) and pharmaceutical industries, in services and the hotel trade, they played an important role and brought a dynamic element into business life. Names like Rothschild, Seligmann, Neustätter, Di Capua, and Ottolenghi stand out.
The fact that the authorities as a rule did not enforce industrial or agricultural employment made it easier for the immigrants to integrate into the economic process but soon led to anti-Jewish pressure on the part of the local population. While the presidents José Maria Velasco Ibarra (1934–35, 1944–47) and Carlos Arroyo del Rio (1940–44) approved the immigration of Jews, some circles espoused an antisemitic line with recourse to the German-based press and deep-seated Christian prejudices. Also textile merchants of Arab origin, especially from Lebanon, who had lived in Ecuador for decades, considered the Jews undesirable competitors. In August 1944 Velasco Ibarra rescinded the regulations that restricted immigration to industrial or agricultural employment, but already at the end of the 1940s the authorities stepped up the control of Jewish enterprises and in 1952 another law was passed requiring proof that a foreigner was engaged in the occupation stipulated in his entry visa. This legislation was counteracted by the intervention of the World Jewish Congress. Within these limited political and social limitations the immigrants were free to do whatever they wished. There was no bar to practicing their religion or founding associations.
The biggest group among the refugees was in Quito. Its nucleus was the above-mentioned HICEM Committee founded in 1938. In the same year the Asociación de Beneficencia Israelita was founded, reaching its peak with over 540 members (heads of families) in 1945. Unlike most Latin American countries, where Jewish communities already existed and the newcomers founded their own separate organizations according to their countries of origin, the "Beneficencia" united Jews from Germany, Austria, Italy, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, the Soviet Union, and the Baltic states.
Though there was some religiously motivated separation this was of minor significance. While in Guayaquil differences of opinion about Zionism were a greater potential cause of discord than in Quito, in religious matters the situation was quite the opposite. In Guayaquil the strongest organization, Comunidad de Culto, with more than 140 members, combined the Sociedad de Beneficencia, founded in 1939–40, and the Centro Israelita, which had split off in 1944, both competing for cultural primacy. Under the impression of the foundation of the State of Israel all organizations in Quito united under the umbrella of the "Beneficencia" while in Guayaquil it took almost 20 years more to reach such unity.
The "Beneficencia" did a great deal to create a center of religious, social, and cultural life for its members. A bulletin called Informaciones para los Inmigrantes Israelitas, in the first period mainly written in German, informed readers about the community, the host country, and international affairs. Based on the model of their European countries a court of arbitration, a ḥevra kaddisha, a women's association, a cooperative bank, Maccabi, and B'nai B'rith were established. In Quito and in Guayaquil Zionist organizations were founded that succeeded in winning the support of public figures in the host country for the objectives of Zionism. The Ecuadorian representative cast his vote in the UN General Assembly resolution of November 29, 1947, in favor of the partition of Palestine. Ecuador and Israel established diplomatic relations. From the late 1960s a network of technical cooperation and assistance was developed between the two countries, especially in the fields of agriculture, water development, youth training, and technology.
Jews achieved prominence in Ecuadorian society beyond the economic field. They contributed to cultural development in music, painting, theater, arts and crafts, architecture, literature, science, journalism, and publishing.
In the 1940s the Kammerspiele theater was established on a high artistic level, directed by Karl (Carl) Loewenberg, co-founder of the Juedischer Kulturbund of Berlin. In the 1950s the theater continued to perform in Spanish before appreciative local audiences. An international reputation was achieved by the painter Olga Fisch-Anhalzer, co-founder of the Instituto Ecuatoriano de Folclor. The painter and sculptress Trude Sojka, who had survived Auschwitz, arrived in 1946. Paul Engel, a physician and writer (pen name Diego Viega), who immigrated to Ecuador in 1950 from Colombia, became known as an endocrinologist. Benno Weiser (Benjamin Varon) made a name for himself as a journalist. Like his brother Max Weiser, who was the first Israeli consul to Ecuador, he entered the Israeli diplomatic service.
As the majority of the immigrants had regarded their stay in Ecuador as a temporary episode, emigration after the end of the war was considerable. By 1948 about half the Jews in Quito had emigrated, mainly to the U.S. On the other hand, a considerable number of survivors of the Holocaust arrived in the early postwar years. Because of continuous emigration, mortality, and partial assimilation of the following generation, which considered Spanish its mother tongue, the immigrant organizations lost their pivotal role as preservers of social and cultural identity. However, the Jews continued to form a small middle-class group largely cut off from the strong Catholic upper class and the masses of mestizos and the indigenous population.
In 1972 the Informaciones ceased publication. Different attempts to revive tradition did not persevere. The small communities of Ambato and Cuenca disbanded. At the beginning of the 1970s, in the course of the oil boom and thanks to easier-to-obtain entry permits, Jewish families from other Latin American countries arrived. As a result of political developments under the presidency of Salvador Allende a large number of families preferred to exchange Chile for Ecuador as a domicile. Towards the end of the 20th century many Jews from Argentina settled in Quito.
In 2005 the Jewish community (Comunidad Judía del Ecuador) of the city of Quito with its 2 million people numbers 200 families, or 550–600 members (the community of Guayaquil has 20 families, or some 70 members). The community has modern facilities for its social, recreational, and administrative needs. There is a synagogue and a rabbi for religious services. A ḥevra kaddisha and a home for the aged continue to function as well as the women's association as an independent organization. About 75 children go to the Colegio Alberto Einstein, a private school founded in 1973 by members of the community where the great majority of the pupils are non-Jews. The community is in contact with other Jewish organizations in Latin America and worldwide.
M.L. Kreuter, Wo liegt Ecuador? Exil in einem unbekannten Land 1938 bis zum Beginn der fuenfziger Jahre (1995); Dónde queda el Ecuador? Exilio en un país desconocido desde 1938 hasta fines de los años cincuentas (1997); Organizaciones Israelitas en el Ecuador, La Colonia Israelita en el Ecuador (1948).
[Marie Luise Kreuter (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.
"Jewish Life in South America" -- Chapter entitled "Jewish Life in Ecuador" by J. X. Cohen, a survey study for the American Jewish Congress, published in 1941
Submitted by Gabriel (Gaby) Alexander
"Casual Sanctuary or Permanent Settlement: Jewish Immigration to the Republic of Ecuador, 1933- 1950" by Gabriel E. Alexander
Click here: http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxqZXdzb2ZlY3VhZG9yfGd4OjZlYTkzMGYyYjU2YWM1M2Q
"As I come from Ecuador, I made some research and found a very interesting article..." by Dr. Jimmy Schwarzkopf
Osvaldo Hurtado Larrea -- Excerpt from his book, Las Costumbres de los Ecuatorianos, written by a former president of Ecuador, Osvaldo Hurtado Larrea, in which he praises the Jewish immigration to Ecuador
Click here: http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxqZXdzb2ZlY3VhZG9yfGd4OjVkMTVhMTFkOTYxM2JjOTQ
Jews in Iquitos (now in Peru, but previously located in Ecuador) -- a slideshow presentation in Hebrew and English
Got today the attached presentation. It is written in Hebrew and English. Until the big Ecuador-Peru war, 1941-1942, Inquitos was located de jure in Ecuador. I do remember that on maps in our school classroom (which my father sold in the Libreria Cientifica), the Ecuador territories went west all the way to Inquitos. If that is correct, so the first Jews in Ecuador settled themselves in Inquitos, in the Amazon jungle. Even today, one can [only] reach Inquitos by boat or airplane.
Dr. Gabriel E. Alexander
20 Hatibonim St., IL-92386 Jerusalem, Israel
Click here for slideshow:
Additional information of the Jews of Iquitos (formerly in Ecuador) from the Jerusalem Post (2003): http://www.internationalwallofprayer.org/A-215-Exodus-From-The-Amazon.html
Additional information of the Jews of Iquitos from the New York Times (2009): http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/22/world/americas/22peru.html
History of the territorial dispute between Ecuador and Peru (including Iquitos): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Ecuadorian%E2%80%93Peruvian_territorial_dispute