“Though Israel is leaving UNESCO at the end of the year due to countless Palestinian-led identity theft campaigns against Jewish and Christian heritage, the Moises Ville project will help to fill the vacuum by providing a challenge to those antisemites who remain.” 

Buenos Aires and Paris, 20 December 2018

Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr.Shimon Samuels and Advisor to UNESCO Paris-based Director-General, Dr. Graciela Vaserman Samuels, have long considered Moises Ville - founded in 1889 in honour of benefactor Baron Maurice Moses Hirsch - “a unique success in refugee absorption... Jews fleeing Ukrainian pogroms reached Argentina in harsh conditions to become farmers. Overcoming an epidemic that devastated their first-born children, they partnered with the nearby Italian villages and became national icons through the novel ‘Gauchos Judíos’ (Jewish Gauchos), by the author Alberto Gerchunoff.”

The Samuels were made “Honorary Citizens” of Moises Ville, a Jewish town of unique cultural value, with its four synagogues, Kadima Theatre, Yiddish library and its annual “Día de la Convivencia” (Day of Harmony), as having brought asylum seekers from “admission” to “acceptance” as devoted citizens to their host country. 

With the assistance of Architecture Professor, Alberto Conti, of La Plata University - also an advisor to UNESCO - Moises Ville was placed by Argentine Delegate to UNESCO, Miguel Angel Hildmann, on the “Indicative List” of the World Heritage Committee.

“The way is now open to final World Heritage status, but will require professional support. As a Jewish site, acceptance may be compromised by some voting states based on antisemitism, but the campaign has been endorsed by Argentine President Macri,” argued Samuels, adding, “Moises Ville is a model for successful absorption of migrants today - perhaps the greatest challenge of our time.”

In Buenos Aires, a Board meeting, was chaired by Moises Ville-born Dr. Benjamin Teitelbaum. Together with the town’s Jewish Museum Director, Eva Rosenthal, and other Board members, they had contacted over 600 former Moises Villeanos, now residing from Buenos Aires to Tel Aviv, from New York to Miami.

Thus was born the “Friends of Moises Ville - Argentine World Heritage Association,” with the Wiesenthal Centre (SWC) as professional advisor - the only Jewish organization accredited to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.

The Centre’s Latin American Representative, Dr. Ariel Gelblung, convened a gathering at the largest synagogue in Argentina, Amichai, in partnership with the Jewish sports club “Ha Koach.”

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Gathering at the Amichai synagogue. Speakers left to right Gelblung and Samuels.

The project was blessed by the newly-elected President of the DAIA Jewish umbrella body, Jorge Knoblovits, at a 70th Anniversary of Israel event of the Argentina-Israel Chamber of Commerce.

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From left to right: Jorge Knoblovits, Ariel Gelblung, and Shimon Samuels.

SWC-Latin America Founding President and Oscar-nominated film producer, Fernando Sokolowicz, agreed to identify Argentine celebrities to form an Honorary Committee for Moises Ville.

“Though Israel is leaving UNESCO at the end of the year, due to countless Palestinian-led identity theft campaigns against Jewish and Christian heritage, the Moises Ville project will help to fill the vacuum by providing a challenge to those antisemites who remain,” concluded Samuels.