Baruch Tenembaum
A Jewish "Gaucho" on the road of fraternity


Born in Argentina at the "Las Palmeras" colony, a Santa Fe province settlement for Jewish immigrants escaping from the Russian pogroms of 1880. The grandson and son of Jewish 'gauchos' he studied in Buenos Aires and Rosario. He is the founder of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.

1952 - He graduated from the Higher Institute of Judaic Religious Studies . As a teacher and a professor he taught Hebrew and Yiddish language and literature, the Torah, the Prophets and Mishnah.

1955 - Director of the Moises Ville Teacher's Seminar in the province of Santa Fe where he taught the Old Testament and philosophy.

1964: Tenembaum organized the “Spinoza Congress” with the participation of Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion and writer Jorge Luis Borges.

1965 - Latin American promoter of the first visit by a Pope to Jerusalem. Granted an award for his work by the Vatican, he was invited to a ceremony at Vatican City and was received by Pope Paul VI on January 13th, 1965. At a separate public ceremony, Monsignor Antonio Caggiano, Cardinal Primate of Argentina, presented him with an Argentine Church award, granted for the first time to a Jew in Argentina.

1966 - Tenembaum founded the interconfessional organisation Casa Argentina en Jerusalem with branches in Buenos Aires and Jerusalem, predecessor of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.

1968 - Tenembaum commissioned renowned artist Raúl Soldi to create a fresco dedicated to Argentina within the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, Israel. Tenembaum accompanied Mr. Soldi during the whole process of creation and painting of the monumental fresco . The work, which is still visited by thousands of tourists from all over the world, is a symbol unanimously recognised by Jews and Christians.

In early 1976 Baruch Tenembaum was kidnapped by rightwing extremists belonging to the Triple A (Argentine Anti subversive Alliance) a clandestine state terrorist organization.

Baruch Tenembaum promoted the idea of installing a Memorial Mural dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust inside the Buenos Aires Cathedral. The mural is the first monument of its kind and it contains Jewish religious texts. It was inaugurated by the then Cardinal of Argentina and Archbishop of Buenos Aires Antonio Quarracino and unveiled by former Polish President, Lech Walesa, on April 1997.

To honor the deeds and legacy of Pope John XXIII Mr Tenembaum created The Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli International Committee, a cluster of distinguished scholars, historians, journalists and other personalities, founded within the framework of the IRWF. Its mission was to carry out investigations into the rescue actions performed during the Second World War in Istanbul by the then Vatican Delegate who later became Pope John XXIII. The output of the research works is comprised in one single e-book: "Angelo Roncalli. The Good Pope".

In 2009 Mr. Tenembaum was listed among the candidates to win the Peace Nobel Prize.

Among the decorations received it is worth mentioning the following:

Royal Order of the Polar Star, Sweden
Order of Merit, Portugal
Order Bernardo O´Higgins, Chile
Cross "Komandorski" of Merit, Poland
Tribute from the House of Representatives, United States
Distinguished Citizen of the Province of Santa Fe, Argentina
Distinguished Citizen of the City of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Baruch Tenembaum and Elsa Kononowicz are the parents of two sons and one daughter: Dr. Shmuel Tenembaum, a lawyer, is a member of the Israeli Bar and the author of several books. Dr. Yoav Tenembaum is an historian, a graduate of both Cambridge University (UK) with a Master's Degree and Oxford University with a PhD, the author of several books, he coined the definition of the Raoul Wallenberg: “Hero Without a Grave”. Abigail Tenembaum is an MBA graduate of Columbia University, New York and is a strategy consultant. Baruch Tenembaum has six grandchildren.

Baruch Tenembaum