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Tango and Jewish White Slavery in Argentina. Part of a larger history of Jewish prostitution that began when Eastern European Jews suffered periodic pogroms.

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tango and jewish white slavery in argentina
Tango and Jewish White Slavery in Argentina
  • Part of a larger history of Jewish prostitution that began when Eastern European Jews suffered periodic pogroms.
  • The desire to leave Europe was accompanied by familial obligations to support those who remained as well as knowledge that many port cities in the New World, Asia, and Africa offered opportunities to make money.
  • Affected by discoveries of gold, silver, diamonds and other gems in California, South Africa, and the world demand for female prostitutes in port cities.
  • Made visible by the creation of legal houses of prostitution in these cities for the purpose of controlling venereal diseases.
bordellos as a public health institution
Bordellos as a Public Health Institution
  • Idea began during Napoleonic Wars in France to protect the troops
  • Regulated either by the city or by physicians—no secure cure found until discovery of Penicillin in 20th century
  • Women believed to infect men rather than vice versa, and prostitutes were the principal cause of disease.
  • Infected women placed in “lock” hospitals and remained as long as 2 years—operated by municipalities
jewish prostitution and imperialism
Jewish Prostitution and Imperialism
  • As Great Britain and other European nations moved into Africa and the Middle East, they needed prostitutes to service both officers and enlisted men.
  • While enlisted and conscripted men could go to local bordellos, officers were not permitted to have sex with non-white women
  • Therefore British officers’ bordellos in Egypt staffed with Jewish prostitutes
the role of nationalism in jewish prostitution
The Role of Nationalism in Jewish Prostitution
  • In Europe, Jews were not considered citizens in most countries. For decades Jewish women worked in European brothels, but once they began to immigrate it became a bigger problem for the Jewish community
  • That meant that if they got into trouble abroad, they could not apply to a consulate for help.
  • Prostitutes often counted according to their nationality, and Jewish prostitutes often disowned by the home nations
  • Who could help them?
the jewish international response the jewish association for the protection of girls and women
The Jewish International Response:The Jewish Association for the Protection of Girls and Women
  • Founded in 1885 by prominent Anglo-Jewish philanthropists
  • This was long after Jewish prostitution became visible in Europe
  • Organized campaigns in Great Britain and elsewhere to eliminate Jewish White Slavery and cooperated with the British National Vigilance Association
  • Eventually tracked Jewish pimps throughout the world.
  • Their efforts made Jewish prostitution more visible because they ignored the nationalistic aspects of white slavery
jewish prostitutes in buenos aires
Jewish Prostitutes in Buenos Aires
  • Found in licensed bordellos as soon as they were authorized in 1876 in Buenos Aires and in other cities
  • Considered middle-class prostitutes as they did not have to walk the streets
  • Considered healthier because inspected regularly
  • Often under the control of Jewish pimps or madames who kept them isolated through language and coercion.
were jewish prostitutes victims of white slavery
Were Jewish Prostitutes Victims of White Slavery?
  • White Slavery presumes that women are tricked or forced into sexual commerce
  • Many Jewish women practiced prostitution before arriving in Argentina
  • Others forced through Jewish traditions of hidden marriages and women’s need to obey their husbands
  • Some engaged in importing other women “Emma” the Millionaire
  • Some tried to escape, but they were the exception to the rule
how was jewish prostitution associated with the tango
How was Jewish Prostitution Associated with the Tango?
  • Before 1910, bordellos provided multiple entertainment, including dancing and music. The tango emerged from the bordellos of Buenos Aires.
  • Many Jewish bordellos found in the same neighborhoods where Jewish writers and composers lived, and soon Jewish men began composing tango lyrics and music.
tango and argentine cinema
Tango and Argentine Cinema
  • Jewish film makers and script writers helped promote what became a national dance.
  • Among the first film makers was Max Glűcksmann, who not only shot commercial films, but documentaries as well.
  • He opened his own movie theater, the Gran Splendid, just north of the Plaza Lavalle.
  • Glűcksmann then solidified his position within the Jewish community by supporting the philanthropic efforts of his wife Rebecca
max glucksmann
Max Glucksmann
  • Max Glücksmann, an Austrian, arrived in Buenos Aires in 1890. Max Glücksmann then began selling and marketing the cameras, and the short films, small news or miscellaneous titles that came with them from Europe. Casa Lepage was bought by Glücksmann in 1908 and he gave a huge boost to the South American film business, opening more movie theatres, not only in Buenos Aires, but across Argentina, and in Uruguay and Chile. Max had thirteen brothers and several of them took part in the film business. Max's brother Jacobo lived in the USA where he leased the films to be shown in Argentina. His youngest brother, Bernardo, managed a movie theatre chain in Uruguay. Max Glücksmann was equally powerful in the South American recording industry, marketing phonographs then gramophones, and going on to own major recording studios and becoming the dominant figure in the recording of Argentine music.
other jewish poets and tango lyricists
Other Jewish Poets and Tango Lyricists
  • César Tiempo, born Israel Zeitlin, one of Argentina’s most famous poets. He also wrote the script for many of the early Argentine films. Born in the Ukraine in 1906, he lived until 1980 in Buenos Aires
  • Part of a literary movement in Buenos Aires, in 1926 he published a set of controversial poems under the pseudonym of Clara Beter, and contemplated the life of Jewish prostitutes.—This became the basis for a movie that appeared in 1941 as “Clara Beter Vive” (Clara Beter Lives)
  • Wrote tangos as well as poems about Jewish everyday life in Buenos Aires
the formation of jewish pimps organizations
The Formation of Jewish Pimps Organizations
  • In Buenos Aires they organized their own burial society in the 1880s, long before the Chevra Kaducha which immediately excluded them from their burial society.
  • In 1900 the Ashkenazim as they called themselves established their own cemetery in Avellaneda.
  • In 1906 another group sought to incorporate itself as the Varsovia society, but after complaints from the Polish government, in 1927 renamed itself the Zwi Migdal
  • These organizations were more than burial societies—they had synagogues and provided business services for their members.
the big anti zwi migdal trial raquel lieberman
Raquel had been forced into prostitution by her husband Noé Trautman, but she managed to buy her freedom

She opened an antiques store in Buenos Aires and the she met and fell in love with Salomon Korn.

He stole all her money and forced her back into prostitution.

She made a complaint to the police that ended up in a huge court case in 1930 when most of the Zwi Migdal were arrested.

The Big Anti-Zwi-Migdal TrialRaquel Lieberman