HONDURAS, republic of Central America with 6,975,205 inhabitants in 2005. The proceedings of the Inquisition attest to the presence of Jews in Honduras during the colonial period, but very little information is available on the subject. A small number of Jews reached Honduras during the 19th century. Central European immigrants, some of whom came via other South American countries and Mexico, began to arrive in Honduras around 1920. In 1928 another five families came from Poland. A community was not established, however, until the arrival of some refugees from Germany. In 1935 the government announced its readiness to accept Jewish scientists and educators from Germany, but the offer was not adequately exploited. In 1939 restrictions were imposed on the entry of Jews, blacks, and gypsies. Nevertheless, a considerable number of Jews were saved during the war by Honduran consuls in Europe who issued them passports and visas, frequently illegally. By 1947 there were 129 Jews in the country, and another 64 arrived the following year. During the next two decades Jews emigrated from Honduras, and a census taken in 1967 found 86 Jews in Tegucigalpa, the capital. Twenty-two of the 42 children aged 1–17 were the offspring of intermarriages. At the beginning of the 21st century there were only a few dozen Jews, living in San Pedro Sula, the economic center of the country, and Tegucigalpa. There is minimal community activity. The Comunidad Hebrea de Tegucigalpa, which sponsors educational activities for youth, is affiliated with the Federation of Jewish Communities in Central America and Panama. The Jewish National Fund and WIZO also carry on activities. The only synagogue in the country was in San Pedro Sula together with a Sunday school.
Honduras abstained in the vote for the partition of Palestine in 1947, but was one of the first countries to recognize the State of Israel in 1948 and diplomatic relations are on an ambassadorial level.
J. Shatzky, Yidishe Yishuvim in Latayn-Amerike (1952); A. Monk and J. Isaacson (eds.), Comunidades Judias de Latinoamérica (1968).
[Moshe Nes El]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.