Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Zwi Migdal - Rio de Janero, Buenos Aires, and New York City

Bodies And Souls: The Forced Prostitution Of Jewish Women At The Turn Of The CenturyIn the news this week is the book: Bodies And Souls: The Forced Prostitution Of Jewish Women At The Turn Of The Century
de Isabel Vincent

The Awareness Center's page on the Case of Zwi Migdal Society
Dedicated to the memory of the women of who were obducted and forced into prostution, According to reports there were members of the Society who were rabbis

From the 1860s to the beginning of the Second World War, thousands of naive, impoverished Jewish girls from eastern Europe were sold by Jewish mobsters into sexual slavery. This hugely profitable (annual revenues of $50 million in the 1890s) commerce in flesh was operated by the Zwi Migdal, a criminal association It was centred in Buenos Aires, with branch offices in Brazil, South Africa, India, China and Poland.

Forced by poverty and despair to leave their homes, the girls, as young as 13, were shipped off to various locations. This kidnapping, rape and forced prostitution of young Jewish women lasted from the end of the 1860s until the start of the Second World War.

Despite their lost lives, many of the women found strength in each other. Banned from the Jewish community, they formed an "extraordinary religious and charitable organization," the Society of Truth. Denied access to Jewish culture, religion and burial grounds, they pooled their meagre resources to build a synagogue and to provide a ritual Jewish burial and cemetery for their members.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been reading the information on The Awareness Center's site. The more I read, the more I realize how little has changed.

Our communities are still turning their heads, and blaming those who are victimized. When will we ever learn, and change?

November 27, 2005 11:03 PM  
Blogger batdina said...

For some reason, the link in this article goes to the french version of The english page for this book is at:

I feel shocked and proud. Shocked at this shameful part of Jewish history and proud that those women banded together and created a community during those dark years.

November 29, 2005 7:01 PM  
Anonymous Stephanie said...

I agree with you batdina. You know I sort of feel that there are similarities in what the women of Zwi Migdal did, and the survivors at The Awareness Center are doing.

I don't know what I'd do without their support. I know that Vicki and their board have been shunned for shinning the light on the reality no one wants to admit to.

I wish there was a synagogue for survivors of child abuse. A safe place that we could all daven together.

November 29, 2005 8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not shocked! 90% of married ultra ultra orthodox jews frequent prostitutes, get STD,S syph etc pass it on to their wives WHAT! hypocrisy I dumped the religion eons ago

May 02, 2012 9:00 AM  

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