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the professions and trades brought over from Europe were not practical in Mexico. There was no need for tailors, butchers, shoemakers or carpenters so they were forced to open a shop or become peddlers.  

The best economic option for immigrants was in commerce. Fortunately, most manufactured products were imported so their price and distribution was concentrated in the most important urban areas. They revolutionized commerce which benefited the Mexican people because through competition the essential articles that were out of reach of workers could now be purchased because prices had greatly gone down.

Between 1926 and 1930 the financial position of the Jewish population improved, so Jewish peddlers began to disappear to be replaced by workshops or stores of their own. A few small Jewish owned factories also began producing.

Once the Jewish community began to consolidate financially, they decided to live in Mexico. In the industrial census of 1945 we may observe the importance Jewish manufacture had acquired (knitted lingerie, artificial silk, shirts and stockings). Jewish firms produced 35.66% of the total output of stockings in the country, but in silk stockings the percentage rose to 64.63%.

The database was made based on an economic census of the time and by searching for advertisements in community newspapers. It includes statistical information of the years 1948, 1949 and 1950, integrated by ads and publications of that era that contain information such as business, owner, partners, address, foundation dates and line of business.


The census was prepared by the Mexican Jewish Central Committee in 1949 so as to find out the social and demographic characteristics of the community, because elections had to be made and they desired to know the number of representatives from each community sector. The survey began the first days of 1949.

On August 2, 1949, Mr. Shimanovich reported that the census gave the figure of 3949 families of which 471 were Sephardic, 800 Arabic speaking and the rest Ashkenazi and that the electoral lists had started being prepared.

The survey was made by family in large sheets where each member of the family was listed, beginning with both private and business addresses. First came the father and the rest of the family was listed from oldest to youngest.

The information required the name beginning with the father’s surname, mother’s surname and given name, then sex and age. Further on civil state was annotated, as well as country of origin. The answers ranged very widely, whether somebody had been born in Mexico or abroad, in the case of the foreign born, the most common options were Poland, Russia, Lithuania, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Lebanon, Arabia, Brazil, Persia, etc.

The nationality was written down, although by that time some half of the community members had been born in Mexico and fifty percent of the rest had been naturalized, so that the greater part of the Jewish Community living in Mexico was Mexican.

The survey desired to know the date of entry and occupation as some of the most important questions. The results divided the activities among merchants, industrialists, professionals, employees, artisans, etc.

The database is formed by 7310 registries of Jews living in Mexico in 1949 and that belonged to some of the institutions that made up the Jewish Community in Mexico.


The Mexican Jewish Central Committee is the central institution of the Jewish Community in Mexico; it has representation before the Mexican government and it embraces the various sectors that are part of it.

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