Welcome to Jews of Ecuador
VISIT OUR NEW  WEB SITE: www.jewsofecuador.com

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"Jews of Ecuador" is the Web site for those of us born in República del Ecuador after our parents and grandparents found refuge there from Nazi Europe, or for those of us who were brought to Ecuador by their parents.  Most of us now live in other nations -- Israel, the United States, South Africa, and elsewhere -- but our early lives in Ecuador were formative and memorable.  We remember our childhoods and teen years with fondness, even as our parents and grandparents tried hard to integrate into Ecuadorian society and to start new lives in a foreign country, far removed from the cosmopolitan culture and continent of Europe from which they came.  
"Jews of Ecuador" is intended to be a repository of memories that will bring together the community of Jewish Ecuadorians who built new lives and families immediately before and after the Holocaust.  It is also intended to be as inclusive as possible.  Anyone with a connection to Jewish life in Ecuador is welcome to submit photographs, movie clips, personal recollections, scanned copies of documents, and other memorabilia for inclusion on the site.  Please also send the names and e-mail addresses of JOEs (Jews of Ecuador) who would be interested in this site; a current list is available by clicking here.  Submit all contributions to Ralph Grunewald at grunewaldfamily@gmail.com, and he will be sure to upload your material. 
Recently Added                                            
Click on the green links: 
The many photographs JOEs have sent are wonderful!  Click here to view the slideshows of photographs.  We have 45+ collections (including one of vintage postcards); please send more.
Visit the "This & That" page; there are some real gems there!  Please send additional materials for this section.  For example, see the new addition of the history of the trams of Guayaquil, plus vintage photos, and also rare film footage from 1949. 
In May 1957, Tuvia Arazi, the first non-resident ambassador of the State of Israel to Ecuador, submitted his credentials to the President of the Republic, Camilo Ponce Enriquez.  Click here for photos and related documents.
The Holocaust as it relates to the Jews of Ecuador is a fascinating chapter in Ecuadorian history.  Click here for more information and how the present-day Jewish community commemorates and teaches the lessons of the Holocaust throughgout Ecuador.  
The Jewish community in Ecuador has organized annual commemorations since the United Nations decreed the International Day of Remembrance of Victims of the Holocaust, in 2008.  Click here to view the programs and for more information.


Alberto Dorfzaun and Charles (Carlos) Beck both sent information concerning Ernesto Fuchs, Josef Vondracek, and Karel Linhart who saved many (perhaps up to 500) Jewish lives as honorary Ecuadorian consuls in Prague, in 1939.

"Holocaust Survivors and Their Testimony" -- a project of the Colegio Experimental Alberto Einstein (Quito).
YouTube Video about Ecuadorian Consul Manuel Antonio Muñoz Borrero, who issued life-saving Ecuadorian passports to Jews in Europe [in Spanish]. 
"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.
Letter dated Nov. 16, 1942, from Leib Jaffe, in which he provides his rather negative impressions of Jewish life in Guayaquil, and his efforts to raise funds for the KKL.
"Cacho" was a popular dice game played by many of the Jewish men in Ecuador.  Visit "This & That" for the rules of the game, and also a copy of a "Cacho" scoring page from Centro Israelita ("El Club"), in Guayaquil.
Macabi-Quito Diplomas won by Eva de Wachsner -- "Campeona en Salto Largo" & "Campeona en 80 Mts. Planos" (July 16, 1944, Quito).
"Guayaquil Today -- A Powerpoint Presentation," submitted by Robby Fischler, appears in "This & That."
Jugendbund Chanitah 1941 - 1946 of Quito -- Minutes of reunion (July 15 & 16, 1988 in Miami, Florida).
The following personal memoirs and autobiographies  appear in the "Recollections" section of this Web site; click in the highlighted names:
"Me in Guayaquil, Ecuador: 1951 - 1960" -- Gabriel E. Alexander (Jerusalem, Israel; September 2008). 
"Gerda's Story" -- Gerda Gumpel Sifnaghel Anders (San Diego, CA; August 1999).
Gert Aron wrote: "Our family arrived in Guayaquil in April 1939, and went directly to Puyo, where we raised cattle until the end of 1948. Later, my father, Werner Aron, wrote his memoirs for family and friends. When he died suddenly in 1967, I completed the memoirs, and more than 20 years later, we had them printed as a book under the title "The Halo of the Jungle" (German version is called "Der Heiligenschein des Urwalds"). Click on Photographs to see photos of the Aron family in Puyo, and on Recollections to read the memoirs.
"Ecuadorean Echo" -- Read the sole issue of a Jews of Ecuador newsletter, published by John "Puli" Fried in June 1995.
 "The Journey of Heinz Grunewald," Chapter 2 -- Heinz Grunewald (San Diego, CA; October 2003).
"My Life in Ecuador & Chile": a Preface and 8 chapters -- Cati Holland (nee Cohn) (Hadera, Israel; 2005).
Excerpts from Salomon Isacovici's autobiography,
"Man of Ashes," including chapter 19, which describes his life in Quito as a Holocaust survivor.
"Immigrating to Ecuador" -- Recollections of Walter Karger (Houston, Texas; January 2010).
"Autobiographical Notes -- Pedro Lilienfeld" (Lexington, Massachusetts; December 2011).
Excerpts from Werner M. Loval's autobiography, from the chapter entitled, "Ecuador: Its History and People."  (2010)
"Sketches From My Life in Quito: 1941 - 1950" -- Moselio (Elio) Schaechter (San Diego, CA; 2001).
Excerpt from the autobiography, Unfreiwilige Wanderjahre: Auf der Flucht vor Hitler durch drei Kontinente [English title -- Refuge: Chronicle of a Flight from Hitler] (2002) by Egon Schwarz.
Benno Weiser-Varon wrote a fascinating piece about Jews of Ecuador in 1947 (!), that appeared in Commentary magazine, titled, "Ecuador -- Eight Years on Ararat: The Story of a South American Haven"
Benno Weiser-Varon's well-known autobiography, "Professions of a Lucky Jew," can be read on this
Web site; it recounts Prof. Varon's early life in Ecuador and his subsequent remarkable career.
"An Oral History of Elsie Wellisch" -- An interview with her grandson, Tom Koppel -- two chapters ("Ecuador -- The Early Days on the Farm" and "Quito and Playas").

"Memoirs of Eva Balcazar" (San Antonio, TX), as told to Eva Zelig.  (2017) See: Recollections: https://sites.google.com/site/jewsofecuador/family-recipes
Other Items of Interest                         
Excerpt from his book, Las Costumbres de los Ecuartorianosin which a former president of Ecuador, Osvaldo Hurtado Larrea, praises the Jewish immigration to Ecuador.
Statement on Behalf of Sr. Don José Ignacio Burbano, Ecuadorian Consul in Bremen, Germany, who issued visas to Ecuador to 40 Jewish families during World War II, thus saving their lives.
Remarks by Dr. Jorge Salvador Lara -- On the Occasion of the First Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 2008 (Quito).
Jews in Iquitos (now in Peru, but previously located in Ecuador): a slideshow presentation in Hebrew and English, and additional information about this community and the territorial dispute between Ecuador and Peru. 


VISIT OUR NEW WEB SITE: www.jewsofecuador.com

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Click on the green links:
Announcements will be included in this section of the Web site.  Please send announcements to Ralph Grunewald at grunewaldfamily@gmail.com

Eva Zelig, a JOE and a New York City-based film-maker, has produced the first-ever documentary about the Jews of Ecuador.  Titled "An Unknown Country," the film traces the early roots of the Jewish community, with special emphasis on the immigration of refugees from Nazi Europe and survivors of the Holocaust. 

The film received its world premiere at the Leo Baeck Institute, in Manhattan, to an overflow crowd of more than 300 people on Jan. 21, 2015.  It was also screened in Quito on Jan. 27, 2015, at the Jewish community's Holocaust commemoration program, as well as in Cuenca later that week.  In May 2015, the film was shown at the Lower East Side Festival of the Arts, and was shown in June 2015, at the Ecuadorian Film Festival, both in  New York City.  The documentary also played in Guayaquil on July 7, 2015, at the Museo Municipal de Guayaquil, and in San Antonio, TX, in mid-September 2015.

Many JOEs helped fund this one-of-a-kind film; some of the footage was shot during the JOEs Reunion in Guayaquil and Quito in December 2010.  Also included are interviews with refugees from Europe, their children, and grandchildren, as well as a wonderful collection of photographs and moving images.

"An Unknown Country" can be screened in your community, whether at a Jewish film festival or other venue.  The film is also available for purchase.  For information, please contact Eva Zelig at

The United 
States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) has initiated its "Preserving History, One Person at a Time" project, and is asking JOEs to submit oral histories, artifacts, documents, 
photos, and films of the 1933 - post 1945 period. The project is a partnership with the Muñoz Borrrero Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Studies, a part of the Colegio Alberto Einstein, in Quito.  Click here for more information: 

The USHMM also makes available, online, its collection of archives related to Ecuador:

From December 19 - 28, 2010, JOEs from around the world experienced a most memorable Reunion in Ecuador.  For the 50+ JOEs who attended this once-in-a-lifetime experience -- which included trips to Guayaquil and Quito
-- the gathering was enjoyable and, at times, emotional.

On June 23, 2011, at Yad Vashem, former consul Dr. Manuel Antonio Muñoz Borrero was honored as "Righteous Among the Nations" -- the first Ecuadorian so recognized.  Click here to learn more about this extraordinary human being and his story.

Jews of Ecuador now have their own Facebook group; please join us and communicate with JOEs from around the world.  Click here, sign-up, and start communicating.
There are 500+ members; help us reach more!
For non-Spanish speakers, Google Translate provides fairly proficient translation through Web-based software at no cost; simply cut and paste the Spanish, and the software automatically translates the text into English and other languages:  
Inside the Jews of Ecuador Web Site          
Contact other JOEs (Jews of Ecuador): click here for a list of e-mail addresses of JOEs around the world. We currently have 205
e-mail addresses.
Visitors to this Web site are encouraged to submit photographs, scanned copies of documents and memorabilia, and articles.  This is one of the most interesting pages on the site. 
Entries in This & That don't quite fit into any other categories but are of interest to JOEs.  This section includes an utterly fascinating, eclectic, and unique array of memorabilia and documents.
The Holocaust as it relates to the Jews of Ecuador is very interesting.  Click here for more information about how the Jewish 
community commemorates and teaches the lessons of the Holocaust.
Zichrono Livracha (z"l).  We remember our loved ones who have passed away, all of whom were part of the Jewish community during their lives.  May their memories be for a blessing.

This section of the Web site contains informative articles and additonal details about the history of the Jews of Ecuador.
Memorable Dates for Jews of Ecuador includes dates of birth, anniversaries, death, immigration, emigration, and other notable dates.

Visitors to this site are encouraged to submit vintage film clips and videos of life in Ecuador. Clips are rare, so we welcome any of your submissions. 
Jews in Ecuador Today                                  

Connect with the Guayaquil Jewish Community through this Bet Chabad del Ecuador Web site: