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Oral history interview with Nizio Katzenelson

Oral History | Accession Number: 2009.29.29 | RG Number: RG-50.590.0029

Nizio Katzenelson, born on September 7, 1905, describes his father, Demetrio Katzenelson, who immigrated to Argentina from Ukraine at the end of the 19th century with the help of a well-known philanthropist Dr. Yarcho and lived in Gualeguaychu and in the Jewish colony in Lopez in the Colon district; his mother Sonia Braslavsy, who was from the Lucienville colony, in Basavilbaso; his uncle, who was the well-known kibbutz founder Berl Katzenelson; being a farm-hand on his father’s farm until age 10; his brothers and sister (Berta); his studies at the local school in the colony; attending high school “Fraternidad” for indigent children in Uruguay in 1917; graduating from medical school in Cordoba in 1927; paying for the engineering studies of his brothers as their parents could no longer afford them; his sister not attending college because she could not leave their widowed mother alone; being the first medical doctor in the Jewish colony of Ubajay, Pedernal, near Concordia (Entre Rios province); moving to Concordia; details on Colonia Lopez including the organization, living quarters, activities, produce, apiculture, schooling, and synagogue; being one of the first people to have a soccer ball and how people would come from far away to see it; their observance of Jewish holidays; his sister possessing the only piano in the colony (which had come from Concepcion del Uruguay); his mother’s occupations; the reading materials at their home; his very active maternal grandparents (Wulfsohn-Braslavsky); how his grandfather had co-founded the first Jewish Agricultural Cooperative of Basavilbaso and was the first teacher of the Lucienville colony; his grandmother founding the Aid Society of Basavilbaso and working for the Jewish hospital in Basavilbaso; his life as a doctor in the years of economic crisis in Argentina (1928-1931); the ICA (Jewish Colonization Association) and their stern treatment of the colonists; the colonists not being able to pay their debts; how the ICA threatened to confiscate the farm (which was 160 hectares) after his father’s death and he was able to get a few loans to pay it; moving permanently to Concordia without prep-planning; his religious beliefs and not observing any Jewish rituals; the dissolution of most of the colonies; and his political views.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Nizio Katzenelson
interview:  2008 May 25
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, acquired from the Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina-Communidad de Buenos Aires
Record last modified: 2020-09-15 09:25:42
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