Magazine article Tablet Magazine

New Jewish Documentation Center, Containing 100 Years of Jewish Life in Mexico City, Opens This Week

Magazine article Tablet Magazine

New Jewish Documentation Center, Containing 100 Years of Jewish Life in Mexico City, Opens This Week

Article excerpt

A catastrophic 1985 earthquake that killed thousands of people in Mexico City and destroyed the (back-then) Jewish neighborhoods of Roma and Condesa also left the archives of the Ashkenazi community in a state of complete disarray, stashed away in makeshift boxes in the damp and dark basement of the Nidje Israel synagogue, colloquially known as Acapulco 70 for its street address. In the early 1990s, Alicia Gojman de Backal, a history professor at the National University of Mexico, decided to make sense of this archival nightmare. The result was Generations of Jews in Mexico a seven-tome encyclopedic history of the Ashkenazi community in Mexico published in 1993 and the birth of Mexico City's Jewish Documentation Center, which will reopen this week in its new home in the historical Rodfe Sedek synagogue.

The JDC archive includes Mexican anti-Semitic and anti-fascist posters of the 1930s, original manuscripts by the Yiddish poet Jacobo Glanz, and the first edition of The City of Palaces, one of the first Yiddish books published in Mexico, with poems by Isaac Berliner and original drawings by Diego Rivera (the communist artist was close to many left-wing Jewish emigres). …

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