Passport: Oscar Zuegel
Argentine passport of the painter Oscar Zügel, 1940s
Oscar Zügel Archiv, Balingen, courtesy of Katia Zügel


Argentiniens Amtssprache war spanisch, aber alle Einwanderungsgruppen hielten an ihren ursprünglichen Kulturen und Sprachen fest und verhielten sich so ganz anders als die Einwanderer Nordamerikas. Jede Gruppe übernahm eine bestimmte Rolle: Die Basken und Iren kontrollierten die Schafzucht, die Deutschen und Italiener gründeten Farmen und die Engländer investierten in die Infrastruktur des Landes. Ihnen gehörte die Eisenbahn.

[Argentina's official language was Spanish but all immigrant groups held on to their original cultures and languages and behaved very differently from the immigrants in North America. Each group took on a particular role: the Basques and Irish controlled sheep farming, the Germans and Italians established farms and the British invested in the infrastructure of the country. They owned the railroads. (ed. trans.)]

From the memoirs of Nelly Meffert-Guggenbühl, the wife of Clement Moreau

Exiles who went to Latin America found refuge in Argentina in particular. This was due to the liberal immigration policy of the country, which gave foreigners the same rights as citizens. With the onset of World War II, Argentina almost completely stopped accepting refugees.

The capital Buenos Aires became a major centre of exile in Latin America. The Buenos Aires-based movement “Das Andere Deutschland” (The Other Germany) was the centre of political exile activity in Argentina between 1938 and 1939. Clément Moreau founded the cabaret and theatre group “Force 38” in Buenos Aires, donating its proceeds to anti-fascist relief committees in Europe. And Walter Jacob successfully directed up to thirty new productions each year here at the “Freie Deutsche Bühne” (Free German Stage) for over ten years. The group of exiled musician and actors was relatively large and thus Argentine culture absorbed a number of European influences, in particular through teaching or the creation of funding institutions, such as the Asociación de la Música. The Editorial Cosmopolita and Editorial Estrellas were among the most important exile publishing houses in Argentina. Prominent exile newspapers included Das Andere Deutschland and the German-language Argentinisches Tageblatt.

When, starting in 1946, Argentina's President Juan Perón granted refuge to senior fascists and collaborators from Europe, some exiles – among them the painter Oscar Zügel – paid heed to the lessons of history and fled once again.