In twentieth-century Brazil this was not the case. The fluctuating relationship between Iberian and Central European anti-Semitism is important to emphasize. Thus, while a notion of limpeza de sangue purity of blood can be found in both models, it was independently developed by Germans and Portuguese. Furthermore, the question of whether that. Conversion to Catholicism was initially encouraged by the Spanish and Portuguese crowns, a policy that was also followed by the Vatican during the s and s. The Nazis, the Brazilian government, and many modern Brazilian racists, however, rejected the idea that a Jew could convert.
The theories of de Gobineau and Chamberlain, more than Torquemada, informed the bigotry of twentieth-century Brazil. It is, therefore, useful to define Brazilian society as "ethnic" in addition to "racial. Certainly future studies of those judged neither black nor white Arabs, Asians, East Indians are necessary to complete the complex picture I propose to begin painting. Even so, a study of the Jewish Question helps to illuminate the ideology that elites used to define who was a Brazilian and what role immigrants would play in Brazil.
One aspect was intimately related to modifications in how many members of the Vargas regime connected notions of development and ethnicity. For those federal politicians who wished to recast Brazil along industrial lines, industry and culture were related.
Yet how this cultural component of economic change would operate was widely debated among large landowners, industrialists, and nativist intellectuals and politicians. Increasingly frightened by economic difficulties in the decades after World War I, they perceived immigrants primarily as competitors for education, jobs, and social rank.
Jewish immigration became a focus of attention among Brazilian intellectuals and members of the government in the s and s in part because of what Daphne Patai has termed surplus visibility. In the academy, in editorial offices, and in the halls of government, com-.
Jews were both greedy capitalists and evil communists. Jews lived in cities and could never be farmers. Jews were criminals. In addition, Jews were too successful. Jews struggled with the ambiguity of Brazilian minority status more than many other immigrant groups.
Africans and Chinese, for example, were unambiguously undesirable, and a constitutional ban on their entry was enacted in the late nineteenth century. Brazilian elites thus struggled with the tension created by the presence of a minority group that was simultaneously the same and different. One resolution was an intellectual attempt to encourage policies that would separate members of the Jewish "race" from Europeans.
Those considered Jewish by their country of origin were defined as Jews, as were all who identified themselves as Jewish. Beginning in , anyone judged by a consular officer or diplomat to have a "Jewish name" was also defined as a Jew, regardless of his or her actual religious or ethnic background. Even some who converted to Catholicism, and who had Vatican baptismal certificates and the weight of the Holy See diplomatic corps behind them, were judged to be Jews.
The ambiguous images did not always have a negative impact on Jews, often opening spaces for refugees to remake their lives after the horrors they had faced in Eastern and Western Europe and the Middle East. By actively manipulating bigotry and crafting an image that played on prejudice, Jewish leaders convinced Brazilian policymakers that Jewish immigration had economic and political value. More importantly, Jews were able to pry open Brazil's doors, even if for only a few years, at a moment when European Jewry was engaged in a life-and-death struggle.
Consequently, between and almost twenty-five thousand Jews, primarily Germans and Poles fleeing Nazism, legally entered Brazil, despite the fact that most members of the Vargas regime considered Jewish immigration undesirable. Even while Jews entered in relatively steady numbers between and , the. How anti-Jewish images and stereotypes affected policy, and the attempts to twist these prejudices to the advantage of desperate refugees, is one focus of this book.
Furthermore, my discussion of Jewish stereotypes in Brazil should not imply that this work is primarily about anti-Semitism. Neither is it a psychological study of the roots of bigotry among influential Brazilian policymakers, nor does it pretend to analyze the roots of the anti-Semitic ideologies among notable Brazilian racists. Such studies have been attempted elsewhere. Those who hold group positive stereotypes of Jews I have termed philo-Semites , but, as I argue throughout, both philo- and anti-Semitic notions were often held simultaneously since many Brazilians who described ethnic and racial groups in stereotypical ways often linked both negative and positive notions.
While Jews began to immigrate to Brazil in large numbers in the mids, political leaders and intellectuals began to ask the Jewish Question only in the s. One of the reasons for the time lag was the slow realization that Jews were entering Brazil in such large numbers, in part because immigration statistics categorized only Catholics and non-Catholics.
More important, however, was the Revolution of , which represented an abrupt political shift that ended the large landowners' hegemony as Brazil's only political power brokers. Following traditional patterns, many in the Vargas regime argued that immigrants should be expected to help the economy by transferring technology, capital, and industrial labor experience to Brazil. These new immigrants were expected, as in the past, to help transform Brazilian culture. Yet it was not the ethnic or racial aspects of Brazilian culture that elites now primarily hoped to change.
On the contrary, the cultural role of immigrants had little to do with the whitening of "black" and mixed-race rural society, but rather with bringing an in-. Significant segments of the middle class, who were sometimes less well trained, sometimes without the pressure to succeed felt by many immigrants, and sometimes without even minimal amounts of capital to invest, saw immigrants as competitors. For this group, which also feared the industrial aspirations of the elites, assimilation became a catchword.
The idea that immigrants should assimilate into a Brazilian urban culture primarily formed by mass migration simultaneously represented a glorification of the nineteenth-century ideal of the white European immigrant and a twentieth-century notion of what the literary critic Roberto Schwarz calls "Nationalism by Elimination"—that is, a tendency to define an authentic Brazilian culture by denying the viability of supposedly foreign elements.
Such sentiments dovetailed neatly with the increasing influence of European scientific racialist thought among intellectuals to make nationalism and xenophobia powerful political tools. Within months of the coup that brought Vargas to power, federal leaders transformed the immigration debate into one that revolved around whether state and federal immigration policies should emphasize cultural "improvement" or economic development. All of the groups involved except the immigrants were in general agreement that Brazil's open immigration policy had to be changed, and the discussion of how to do so took place in the halls of Congress, in the press, in the general's quarters, and occasionally even in the streets.
The aspect of this tense debate that most galvanized politicians and those they represented was how to deal with immigrants who were considered simultaneously economically desirable and culturally undesirable. Prior to this was rarely an issue except in the case of Japanese immigration because the federal government represented large landowners who generally presumed that all immigrants were white Europeans and either Catholic or Protestant.
They favored the "Europeanization" of Brazil, which meant more than just replacing slave labor with wage labor; it meant the literal whitening of what was considered a degenerate "black" and mixed-race culture. While many elites looked at Bra-. After the s the general agreement on immigration policy that existed among Brazil's power brokers fell apart as the federal government began its attempt to centralize power by invoking new ideologies that supported federal political authoritarianism.
This led to a split between those who had previously held power and the new regime. The military, heavily imbued with racist ideas popular among European authoritarians and fearful that foreign communities would bring communism to Brazil, argued for an almost complete stoppage. Politicians who represented middle-class urban constituencies, most notably in Rio de Janeiro, used antiforeigner rhetoric as a regular part of almost all political discourse and fought for restrictive immigration legislation.
Middle-class sentiments were reinforced by nativist groups, especially following the economic crash of Such organizations, including one that claimed a million members, looked for a return to an immigration policy that placed European Christian culture above all else. The Brazilian response to Jewish immigrants in the s, s, and s was extraordinarily modern and nationally specific. Yet Jews were merely one group enmeshed in a larger "immigrant question" that had increasingly plagued intellectuals and policymakers at both the federal and state levels since the early nineteenth century.
In the waning years of Portugal's colonial rule of Brazil in the early nineteenth century, immigration policy aimed to populate frontier areas with European immigrants who would help build the agricultural economy. Brazil ended its colonial relationship with Portugal and established its own empire in There can be no doubt that religion was an important issue to imperial leaders, who promulgated a constitution "in.
SP: Impala Brasil, RS: Globo, , 6 th ed. French language. Many were comfortable economically, and in some cities there were "literally no poor, although very few. Obras completas - Oscar Wilde, Complete Works. The story, however, begins in the s, when a change in Brazil's image and increasingly restrictive immigration laws in the United States, Canada, and Argentina led large numbers of Eastern European Jews to choose Brazil as a new home. Heloisa Seixas org.
Political and economic elites often the same people set out to populate Brazil's southern frontier by encouraging the immigration of Europeans with the promise of land. Many potential immigrants, however, were Protestants cautious about entering a nation whose official religion was Catholicism and where the public practice of other religions was illegal. Even simple religious life-events, like marriage, could take place only within the confines of the Catholic Church. The existence of an official religion did not mean that the Empire demanded Catholicism as a condition of entry, though, and in the imperial government began subsidizing the entry of Protestant Central European immigrants, mainly poor farmers and former soldiers from the Napoleonic Wars.
The discussion of the religious background of immigrants in the imperial era revolved around a simple bipartite distinction between Catholics and non-Catholics.
The non-Catholic group, however, never included all those who were not Catholic. Indeed, the idea that Muslims, Buddhists, or Jews would immigrate to Brazil was rarely even considered. To most members of the Brazilian elite, non-Catholics were simply Protestants. Such an idea was reinforced by the reality of immigration patterns to Brazil, where, prior to the s, virtually every non-Catholic immigrant was indeed a white European Protestant. In spite of official encouragement, few immigrants actually came to Brazil prior to , because the United States was winning an international competition for immigrants.
Brazil's negative image as a disease-infested jungle with little real economic opportunity was accentuated by the racist fears engendered among potential immigrants by the large numbers of slaves.
This combined with the fact that large landholders, in spite of the desires of Dom Pedro II, treated immigrant farmers badly, seeing European immigrants simply as white replacements for black slaves. In Prussia prohibited companies from promoting Brazilian colonization, a ban that in was extended to all of Germany and that, in this comprehensive form, would continue in effect until In the s Brazil's empire began crumbling in the face of a new regional order.
As the emperor's power was eclipsed by modernizing landowners, especially in the prosperous and politically powerful cof-. The societal changes, and a new system that subsidized transportation to Brazil for immigrants, made the republican model far more attractive than the imperial one. Between and more than 2.
At the end of the nineteenth century many elites believed that the question of immigration was nearly resolved. Brazil was in intense competition for immigrants, and politicians did not wonder about the wisdom of an open policy for Europeans. Some began to wonder if European labor was too politicized, too lazy, or too greedy, and emphasized the need to find a compliant work force.
The Japanese, perceived as docile yet hard workers, seemed to fit the bill, and a reformulation of racial notions and their relation to immigration took place. When the Japanese were denied entry rights by the United States in , a Japanese-Brazilian agreement led Japanese immigrants to move to Brazil on a large scale.