Paraguay Jews Open Museum and Holocaust Center

Major Milestone for S. American Community of 1,000

By JTA

Published November 23, 2013.
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The Jewish community of Paraguay inaugurated a new Jewish museum that includes the country’s first Holocaust studies center.

The Walter Kochmann Jewish Museum of Paraguay, which opened to the public last week in the South American country, has been under construction for the past 11 years, according to a report by the news site ABC.com.py.

The museum is located inside a three-story building donated by the Cohn family. It is divided into two main parts: A display area on Judaism and a separate part about the Holocaust. A third and smaller section is devoted to the stories of Holocaust survivors who settled in Paraguay, ABC reported.

“The Blue Room, Hope and Life, represents the bond between the Jewish people and our country, with the flags of Paraguay and Israel,” Humberto Ismajovich, director of the museum, told ABC. The items on display include valuable artifacts such as a bronze menorah, a wooden Torah ark and a miniature Torah scroll.

The museum is named for Kochmann, a former director of the Hebrew Union and the Israel Alliance of Paraguay. The son of German immigrants who fled their country to Paraguay to escape Nazism, Kochmann initiated the opening of the museum along with his friend Alfredo Seiferheld, a historian and journalist who teaches Hebrew and Jewish customs.

About 1,000 Jews live in Paraguay today, according to the Encyclopedia Judaica.

Separately, the German government has donated $369,000 toward renovation work at the Jewish Museum of Sao Paulo in Brazil, according to a report Sunday in the Estadao daily.


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