he railroad arrived at “Estación Gobernador Basavilbaso” for the first time on June 30, 1887. This date was, therefore, later declared as the official date on which the town was founded. As was the case in many provinces, the arrival of the railroad boosted the development of towns; in this case, it was so crucial that the town was called the “Train Capital”, as it is still referred to by many tourism publications, even though the passenger service was suspended in 1992. Today, there is practically no railroad activity, however, the city keeps this mark of its origin and is still divided into four areas by the tracks. The first permanent settlement was formed by a group of Italian day laborers around the station. Then, as from 1892 the Russian Jewish immigrants were brought in by the Jewish Colonization Association. Two years later, Colonia Lucienville, the only colony bearing the name of the deceased son of Baron de Hirsch, was founded. His early death drove the philanthropist to spend his fortune on saving victims of persecutions. Settlers used the layout of the Russian villages as a model, so they separated into four groups, such as: Novibuco 1, Ackeman 1 and Ackeman 2, Sorokin 2 and 1° de Mayo. Until the 40’s, the station was also the center of the intense social life in the area. On Sunday afternoon, it was crowded with people who would perfume and dress for the occasion, and go for a walk along the platforms. At the time, a J.C.A. report would describe the strength of one of the most prosperous colonies in the country.
Jewish Cementery of Colony N° 1.
It is 8 hectares long and was founded in 1895. It still bears a big sign on its façade with the names of Fridel and Pola Jasovich, the donors of the building. As the couple had no children, they decided to make contributions to the community. On the left, the graves of the first settlers may be seen. What calls the visitors’ attention is: The Holocaust Monument, the Monolith for the 75th anniversary of Cooperativa Lucienville and the plaque in memory of the 25th Anniversary of Dr. Bernardo Uchitel’s death. Also, the first Rabbi (Oscar Dejtiar), the first teacher (Alter Braslavsky), the first principal of the town high school (Jaime Fresler), Josefa Lagocen de Velcoff, a poet, and Mr. León Borodovsky (grandson of the colony founders, an excellent community host and a true “Jewish Gaucho”) rest there.
Novibuco 1 Synagogue.
This shed-synagogue was founded in 1895, a year after the settlement of Colonia Lucienville. With an extremely simple architecture, it calls your attention because of its type of construction and the preservation of the elements inside. The walls are made of brick masonry, fixed on mud and rendered with lime. It has a corrugated zinc roof. There are two rooms, one of them was used for religious ceremonies and the other, the smallest one, for social gatherings and school activities. It was in that room, that the creation of the cooperative was planned. The walls are 45 cm. thick and it has red tiled floors. One of its particular features is the rectangular room lit by five decorated porcelain kerosene lamps, which create a particular atmosphere. Each lamp has a particular shape and color. They were brought by immigrants from their hometown as well as the Torah (Pentateuch) located indoors. Apart from being a religious center, the Synagogue was used as a cultural, social and educational center..
Beth or Beit Abraham Synagogue.
It opened in 1917, and is also known as “the Synagogue of the Arbetn” (in Yiddish: workers) or the Craftsmen, as it was built by settlers from Old Europe, who brought along with them their skills, such as Mr. Milman, a carpenter, Mr. Schuskoff, a brick layer, and Mr. Butinoff and Schein, both blacksmiths who stood out because of their work on the front grille fence. It has a very simple architecture. In the center of the large room you may find the Bimah (pulpit), where the officiant would stand in the middle of the crowd and at their same level.
Cooperativa Agrícola Lucienville.
It was the first Agricultural Cooperative of South America, founded on August 12, 1900 under the name “Sociedad Agrícola Israelita” in Colonia Novibuco 1. The first meeting was held in Mr. M. Embon’s house. It played an essential role for Jewish settlers, where they found support and encouragement at all times. Not only did they find economic and commercial help but also social and moral support, as the purpose of the cooperative was to help each other to overcome difficulties, such as: plagues, weather changes, seed purchases, etc. Its activity was crucial in the immigration process and the settlement of the colony. In order to continue meeting settlers’ needs, it expanded its business (it purchased flour, sold cereal, groceries and hardware and finally owned a rice mill). The building was erected in 1906 and it has an architectural style typical of the time, especially the Italianizing façade, which has been preserved as a historical testimony. In 1915, its original name was replaced by its present denomination.
Tefila L´Moisés Sinagogue.
It is the main temple of the Jewish community in Basavilbaso. Located in the center of the city, the synagogue was opened in 1912. Unlike the Craftsmen’s Temple, it was attended by merchants and the wealthiest people in town. It is a magnificent building, with an eclectic style and exquisite ornaments, and it stands out because of its bright polychrome indoor decoration. It is a two-floor building; there are balconies and a large hall upstairs used by women during religious ceremonies.
"Don Sito's" Farm
The Borodovsky's Home.
The building is located in the “village” that made up Colonia 1. This village was similar to a Russian village as is the case of almost all neighboring colonies. The settlement layout is the following: groups of 25- 50 houses on narrow and long lots located along a main avenue with trees where all the main buildings are located (the Synagogue, the School, the “Mikveh” <Community ritual bath> and the Cemetery).
Built in the late 19th century (1898), the famous “Jewish gaucho”, León Borodovsky, was born there (on April 7, 1923). He was the grandson of one of the founders of the Synagogue and its caretaker until he passed away on July 27, 1996. “Don Sito” was an unforgettable and particular personality in town. He would always dress as a gaucho, especially on national holidays and was the best host the community has ever had. He was married to Sarita Pinus, who was a great activist of the community. She was a member of the Ladies Society and the President of the Wizo (Universal Zionist Women) and also the founder of the Special School, now called School Nº 10 “Ovidio Decroly”. As expressly instructed by Salomón Borodovsky, his descendents may not sell this property, it must be transferred to each generation and may not be mortgaged. This house is a good example of a typical construction made by settlers and it is also one of the few left. There are several rooms which have thick walls and small wooden windows with a ridge roof. There are also tiled floors and a gallery with a brick floor around the central patio, where there is a well. It has a simple architecture and was built with rustic materials which could either be manufactured in town or were brought from Concepción del Uruguay. Complementing the building, there is a large metal shed, at the back, where there is a well preserved “volanta” (horse-drawn carriage) a sulky and several farming tools. Taibe (Paloma) Efron (a journalist and pioneer in the Argentine radio and television business, most commonly known by her nickname, Blackie) was born in this house in Colonia Nº1 on December 6, 1912 and lived here all her childhood. She passed away on September 3, 1977.