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- The Judkowski Family -

Silvia Judkowski’s parents were born in Poland and emigrated to Argentina in 1937, two years before the start of the Second World War. By then, they were each 20 years old and were already married. But when Sylvia was asked “Why Argentina?” she explained that, in Poland, her parents were poor. In Argentina, however, there were plenty of opportunities for upward socioeconomic mobility. In addition, her father had four brothers who had previously emigrated to Argentina. This greatly simplified their arrival and the process of adjusting to their new country. Afterwards, two of her grandparents and an aunt arrived too; however, another aunt and grandmother stayed in Poland, where they would tragically be subjected to the hateful violence of the Nazis.

An interesting fact regarding the Judkowski´s family story is about their surname. During the 20th century, millions of people immigrated to Argentina from Europe, most of them from Italy or Spain. As their surnames were easy to spell, pronounce, and write for Argentinians, when these new immigrants arrived, their surnames were written in the proper manner. In the case of the people who immigrated from Poland or other Eastern European countries, however, there were problems at the time of writing due to the difficulty that many Argentinians had in understanding their proper spelling and pronunciation. As a result, Silvia´s brothers and cousins have another surname with slight variations. 

During the initial few years during which Silvia´s parents were in Buenos Aires, life in Argentina were not easy for them. They had to do several jobs in order to have a decent life. It was in 1949 (the year of Silvia´s birth) when they managed to buy the house in which Silvia still lives. 

Silvia’s family never recanted being Jewish and never renounced their people, origins, and culture. They helped form a community with other Jews in the neighborhood of Villa Lugano. They took care of the tradition and Silvia had a robust Jewish education, where she learnt Yiddish and a little Hebrew. Silvia has always made significant efforts to preserve and celebrate the Jewish tradition with her family. 

Silvia’s parents didn't talk about their time in Poland due to the fear of being persecuted as a result of their faith, being Jewish in Argentina was never a problem for her (except for some years in the 1960s, when Tacuara, a nationalist group, committed a series of small-scale but violent antisemitic acts). She also said that young people should preserve and celebrate their family, cultural, religious, and other identities to keep learning about our own story. One day, we too, can pass it on to the next generations.

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