Fred Weinstein worked for HIAS as Director of Latin American Operations from his base in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for 30 years, circa 1958-1988, according to a memo in a HIAS “deceased file” after his death in 1996. He often signed his name and was sometimes addressed as Ephraim, but after his retirement and move to the New York office from about 1988-1993, his New York colleagues more often called him Fred. In New York Fred served variously as the HIAS Latin America consultant/Director of Latin American Affairs, according to his two boxes of files from 1990-1993. His position reported to Dail Stolow through 1991 and then to Roberta Herche during their tenures as Director of Overseas Operations in the New York office. Fred may have been Brazilian; he was not an American citizen, as he worked in NY under a visa.
Most of what we know about Fred Weinstein’s HIAS work is in a previous blog post, which can be found here, and which also includes information about the possible whereabouts of the archives of the HIAS office(s) in South America.
Much of Fred’s New York-based correspondence was with Latin American Jewish organizations, including CONIB – Confederacão Israelita Do Brasil; and FIERJ – Federação Israelita do Estado do Rio de Janeiro;
Weinstein’s files are largely country files, containing correspondence and news clippings. A public relations flyer on the overseas offices includes a description of the Latin American affairs work since the closing of the Latin American office. HIAS then relied on the network of Latin American Jewish Organizations and institutions that Fred had cultivated while Jewish immigration to Latin America was still active; this network kept the New York office informed on developments in these communities including any immigration/emigration issues needing HIAS attention.
Within these few remaining files of Fred’s last years with HIAS, there are many cards and letters with Rosh Hashanah greetings, predominantly from 1991. Some are more formal, some indicate a closer personal relationship with Fred’s family. In all cases they reveal the breadth and structure of the Jewish population across the region. And the stamps of course are wonderful. These greetings ultimately leave us with specifics of his contacts and the the leadership of the various Jewish communities he had worked with for 30 years.
With best wishes from the HIAS archives project team for a good year ahead.