Hotel Bolivia: The Culture of Memory in a Refuge From Nazism

Overview

In the 1930s, many tens of thousands of people fleeing Nazi-dominated Europe found refuge in Latin America. And in the short, terrifying months between the Anschluss and Kristallnacht in 1938 and the outbreak of World War II, Bolivia was one of the few remaining places
in the entire
world to accept Jewish refugees; more than twenty thousand Central Europeans were soon remaking their lives in this unknown land. Their story was largely overlooked...
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Overview

In the 1930s, many tens of thousands of people fleeing Nazi-dominated Europe found refuge in Latin America. And in the short, terrifying months between the Anschluss and Kristallnacht in 1938 and the outbreak of World War II, Bolivia was one of the few remaining places
in the entire
world to accept Jewish refugees; more than twenty thousand Central Europeans were soon remaking their lives in this unknown land. Their story was largely overlooked until Leo Spitzer began his pathbreaking work for
Hotel Bolivia
; their extraordinary experiences have never been examined in such touching, memorable detail.
But
Hotel Bolivia
is more than a colorful chapter in the history of the Jewish diaspora, and more than another effort to document the life stories, and reclaim the memories, of ordinary people who have been hidden from history. Leo Spitzer-whose Viennese Jewish family arrived in La Paz in 1939 and who lived in Bolivia for almost ten years-is a historian with a special interest in the interdependence of, and tension between, memory and history. With a subtle use of oral-history sources-interviews with survivors who left Bolivia and now live in Israel, the United States, Europe, and elsewhere-and unusual archival illustrations and photographs, he examines the effects of displacement on the experiences of people remaking their lives in a country so strange to them-effects on their European culture and memories, on their Jewish identities, and on Bolivia's politics and society. His beautifully written book is a personal testament to the diverse cultures that shaped him and a haunting consideration of the ways we make meaning out of the cultural baggage we carry with us wherever we go.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781480298118
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/5/2013
  • Pages: 258
  • Sales rank: 894,842
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.58 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2003

    Bolivia: A Refuge from the Nazis

    Hotel Bolivia narrates a part of the Holocaust refugee history that is unknown to many. At a time when Europe was the worse place on earth for a Jew, many nations around the world shut their doors or imposed quotas on Jewish migration. Bolivia was willing to take the Jews, and it's consulates in Europe issued thousands of visas. (it is fair to note that the consulate agents charged hefty prices for the visas) Bolivia is a nation where 3/4 of its population is Indigenous,it is landlocked, and isolated from the world by the Andes Mountains and the Amazon jungle. This was not exactly paradise for the European Jews, but it was a haven, a safe place far away from Hitler and the Nazis. Leo Spitzer narrates the Jewish experience in Bolivia, and as a protagonist, he is able to portray in great detail the culture clashes, the hardships, the good times and bad times, the anecdotes of life in Bolivia, but specially, he demostrates his gratitude towards this small nation who gave his family and many others a safe place to live. Leo Spizter's book is a great contribution to both Jewish and Bolivian history.

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