Argentinian-Lithuanian Archives Online

Immigrant Festival in Argentina

The Office of the Chief Archivist of Lithuania and the Lithuanian Central State Archives  are currently presenting a virtual exhibition of photos from the Argentinian Lithuanian Museum “Olgbrun”. Until now, the photographs were available only for visitors to the museum established in 2003 by Olga and Bruno Lukoševičius in the town of Esquel, in the northwest of Chubut Province in Patagonia. Some of the photos had been featured in the Argentinian Lithuanian press. They have now been digitized, thanks to a project financed by the Cultural Council of Lithuania.

The first Lithuanians arrived in Argentina in the early 19th century. Together with other new immigrants they fought with the Argentinians in the War of Independence (1810–1818 m.). A new wave of immigration came in 1924–1931. In just over a decade, the port of Buenos Aires saw the arrival of over 20,000 Lithuanians, mostly aged 20-30.  They scattered throughout Argentina’s territory and worked in farming, factories, railroads and private  enterprises. Nearly 100 years later, there are still many descendents of Lithuanians in various fields – economics, law, medicine, education, agriculture and trades. More immigrants came between 1946–1951 from displaced persons’ camps. In the mid-20th century there were about 50,000 Lithuanians in Argentina, living near larger cities and  establishing various organizations and newspapers (such as “Balsas” – Voice and “Laikas” – Time). There were active communities in Rosario, Tucuman, Cordoba, Berisso, Avellaneda, Lanus, Temperley and Buenos Aires. In the 1990’s, a small community of Lithuanians was established in the town of Esquel, Patagonia, near the border with Chile. This is where Olga and Bruno Lukoševičius founded their museum.

Nant Fach

The four-part virtual exhibition dedicates the first section to the “Olgbrun“ museum and its founders. The second is a collection of photos of Lithuanian events from the Argentinian-Lithuanian newspaper “Balsas” archive, the third has photos of the everyday life of Lithuanians in Argentina, and the fourth shows Esquel’s connections with Lithuania. Included in this last part is an interesting, little-known feature called Nant Fach, a reconstructed mill 40 kilometres from Esquel. In the late 19th century, Welsh immigrants coming to settle there found Lithuanians already living nearby. The Welsh established a cooperative and bought the mill from a Lithuanian by the name of Grabauskas. 

Explanations in the online exhibition are in Lithuanian. See