Born in Czernowitz, Benno Weiser (1913-2010) and his family moved after World War I to Vienna where he began to study medicine and appeared in Jewish political cabaret acts. In 1938 he emigrated to Ecuador, where he also obtained visas for his immediate family and for 150 European Jews. In Quito, he became a prominent journalist, whose columns appeared in the country’s major newspapers. A lifelong Zionist, he later started working for the Jewish Agency, first in Bogota and in 1948 in New York where he headed its Latin America department. In 1960, he and his family moved to Israel where he headed the Israel-Ibero-American Institute. From 1964 until 1972, Benno Weiser, whose name was hebraicized as Benjamin Varon, was Israel’s ambassador to various Latin-American countries, first the Dominican Republic, then Jamaica and finally Paraguay. After his retirement from Israel’s foreign service, he taught at Boston University.
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