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Jewish Stores and Institutions are Vandalized in Bogota, Colombia, 1946

On This Day in Jewish History: August 8, 1946.

In the afternoon on the 8th of August, 1946, a fight started between Jacobo Fisboim (a young Ashkenazi Jew) and Alfonso Pardo Ruiz (a young Colombian catholic). While the origin of the fight remains unknown, Pardo was detained the night before for also starting a street fight.

The initial fight was controlled by the police, but according to some newspapers more than 1000 people started asking for revenge as rumors that a “Polaco” (the term for Colombia’s Ashkenazi Jews ) had killed a Colombian were spreading. Chants like “Death to those foreign” were screamed, as Jewish stores in Downtown Bogota were stoned. Around 44 stores were vandalized, as well as the “Centro Israelita” (Local community center). The local synagogue was attacked with rocks.

Some non-Jewish merchants hung signs in their stores that said, “We are Colombian” and “This is not a Polish business”. In an unsuccessful please to avoid vandalization, the Jewish merchants hung the Colombian flag outside their businesses. Around 7pm the police were forced to use tear gas to stop the riots. The following day, Jewish merchants decided not to open their businesses until the police guaranteed complete safety. The events were disavowed by almost all sectors of society.




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