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Oral history interview with Mordejai Koifman

Oral History | Accession Number: 2009.29.43 | RG Number: RG-50.590.0043

Mordejai Koifman begins the interview with vignettes of different types of managers in the Jewish community, including a German Jewish manager in a retirement home, who abused the residents until Mr. Koifman interceded and made him change his ways; another person who was not knowledgeable about Judaism and managed the canteen of the Third Corp of the Argentinean Army in the province of Cordoba; Dr. Belmes, who lived in the same retirement home, who refused to sign the annual balance sheet because he knew that in a couple of months a big scandal would come to light (he had invested lots of money in building houses by the Atlantic shore and the entire enterprise went bankrupt); how the day camp affiliated with that retirement home ceased functioning; the Jewish Board of Education and the AMIA; the influence political parties had on the schools; the background of the organization Bne Tzion of Monte Grande, which originated in Cunco, Chile and moved towards Argentina during the presidency of Peron and settled in Monte Grande, Cipoletti, and Bahia Blanca; how the group of about 150 families learned how to be Jewish and studied Zionism and the Old Testament; the group’s involvement with the Jewish National Fund and the Jewish Federation and their celebration of the Jewish holidays; the group’s synagogue; how the whole thing came apart when their leaders told Mordejai that, in addition to their Judaic tenets, the last one was that Jesus was the last prophet of Israel, and that he was the son of God; Mordejai breaking all contact with the group; the group’s move to Israel, where some of them live in Eilat; devoting many articles in the newspaper “Di Presse” to this sect; other pseudo-Jewish groups in the Congo, Japan, and Mexico; being very active with the Karen Kayemet (Jewish National Fund, JNF); traveling with the JNF’s Israeli director to Montevideo, Uruguay to start the campaign “Nachalat LeYehudei Uruguay” (Heritage to the Jews of Uruguay); staying for a year in Montevideo before being called back to Buenos Aires, Argentina by Dr. Mibashan to take over the Office of Information of the United Jewish Appeal as its General Secretary; travelling to the extant colonies in Basavilbaso, Colonia Clara (Domínguez in Entre Ríos), Concordia; being active in the JNF from 1948 to 1953; how the Communists contributed to the Appeal after Andrei Gromyko spoke in favor of Israel at the UN; the OIA (Israelite Argentinean Organization) during Peron’s presidency, which had many members who were not the leaders of the Jewish community, and its relationship with the Appeal; and the differences with the Appeal in the United States.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Mordejai Koifman
Efraim Zadoff
interview:  1986 July
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, acquired from the Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina-Communidad de Buenos Aires
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:23:41
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