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While Lithuanians started to immigrate to Argentine before WW1 (~5000 entered) the main influx (~30 000) took place in the interbellum after USA limited immigration. At the time most of the industrialized world has been ravaged by war while neutral Argentina was rich like never before or after. 20% of all Lithuanian interwar emigrants left for Argentina.

Main cities of Argentina - Lithuanian heritage

In Buenos Aires (one of world's top 20 largest cities) one can still breath the grandeur of the era while watching its art nouveau architecture and wide streets. This megalopolis still has the largest Lithuanian community. Since 1929 the Lithuanian-Argentine center operates in Villa Lugano neighborhood (Tabaré 6950 1439). Open in Saturdays it has a bar and ethnic dance troupe.

Lithuanian-Argentine center adorned by a large Columns of Gediminas symbol. Google Street View.

The main Lithuanian district in Buenos Aires is however Avellaneda (pop. 25 000). It has a Lithuanian church with the image of the famous Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn in Vilnius above its door (Mendoza 2280, est. 1942). Lithuanian mass is celebrated once a month now and most masses are in Spanish, although various Lithuanian details remain.

Lithuanian church of Buenos Aires. Google Street View.

Official institutions in Avellaneda include Lithuanian-Argentine Community, Union of Lithuanian Argentines (Av. San Martin 3175 in Lanus Oeste near Avellaneda) and Lithuanian Chamber of Commerce.

Union of Lithuanian Argentines. Google Street View.

There is a 4 km long Lithuania (Lituania) Street and a much shorter Lithuania alley (Pje Lituania). By the way, Lituania street also exists in the city of Cordoba. The practice of naming streets after foreign sources of immigrants has been common in Argentina. But a massive Lituania street (formerly Chicago street) has been named so in a well-publicized event and was believed to mean Argentine support for Lithuanian freedom cause. Not far from Cordoba there is a restaurant "La Lituana - Casa De Comida".

The suburb of Buenos Aires Berisso has its own Lithuanian community HQ "Nemunas" with a nice mural. There is also another Lithuanian organization "Mindaugas" with columns of Gediminas on its facade.

In 2002 Lithuania's only embassy in South America has been relocated from Caracas (Venezuela) to Argentina due to a larger Lithuanian community there. It used to host cultural events which had rejuvenated Lituanity (according to the local Lithuanian community). However, the embassy has been closed in 2013 as a cost-saving measure and replaced by a consulate-general in Sao Paulo (Brazil).

Over the time some Lithuanians moved from Buenos Aires to other main cities (while others used Argentina as a stop before emigrating to the USA). Lithuanian parish of St. Casimir also exists in Rosario. The white building (address: Av. Ntra Sre del Rosario 1552) is adorned by a bas-relief of Vytis as well as a copy of famous Lithuanian Divine Mercy painting on the outside. A nearby street is known after Margis who was a priest at the parish.

Lithuanian church of Rosario. Google Street View.

Patagonia Lithuanian heritage

The extreme south of Argentina is known as Patagonia. This windy terrain is unique as in the 1820s when the Liberation of Latin America came to a full swing these territories were not colonized by Europeans. Therefore they were initially annexed (or from the Native American standpoint taken away) by independent South American states: Chile and Argentina (these two fought the final war for the area as late as in 1977).

At the time first Lithuanians entered Argentina the Patagonian lands were still devoid of cities and Lithuanians participated in their establishment. Their participation was especially important in development of Sarmiento city (1902). However, without new Lithuanian migrants, local Lithuanians abandoned their language over several generations; unlike in the USA, there are no memorial plaques to show that the city library (formerly St. Casimir library) and church (St. Joseph) were established mainly by Lithuanian families.

However, Sarmiento has a massive bust for Kazimieras Šlapelis (Estrada st., near the intersection with San Martin). He was an aviator at the era when flying was still a risky affair (1935) as the doomed flight of Darius and Girėnas had shown recently. The local airport used to be named after him (closed down due to road improval) and his initiative led to naming one street of Sarmiento after Lithuania.

Kazimieras Šlapelis bust in Sarmiento, Argentina (in the middle of the street). Google Street View.

In Esquel town (northwestern Patagonia) Lithuanian Argentines Olga and Bruno Lukoševičius had established a Lithuanian Museum (Los Nires Street). In 2007 a Lithuanian Square was also opened in the city.

Entrance to the Lithuanian museum in Esquel with a sign 'Campena Lituana Olgbrun'. Google Street View.

Lithuanian Argentines operate clubs and other organizations but these are dominated by second to fouth generation immigrants. Dances and other cultural traditions survived longer than did the language. Today Argentina is poorer than Lithuania and no longer attracts immigrants. Its vice-versa: Argentines are seeking appourtunities abroad. Finding Lithuanian roots may now help in gaining access to European labour markets.

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  1. Falta nombrar a
    sociedad de S. M. Lituanos Unidos en la Argentina “Zinios”

    Susivienijimas Lietuviu Argentinoje

    SEDE SOCIAL: AV. SAN MARTIN 3175-LANUS OESTE (1824) e-mail:

  2. Hello,

    I was wondering if you could help me or point me in the right direction.

    My Grandfather left Lithuania to look for work in Argentina during the 1920’s or 1930’s. He left his family behind and was only heard from once. We do not know what happened to him or what part of Argentina he went to. He also had a brother with him that had the same last name.

    Are there any type of records in Argentina that could lead us to what may have happened to him? (Like: Immigration Records – Death Records – Cemetery Records – Church Records – Etc.)

    Records for: Jonas Antanaitis & Vincas Antanaitis – Born in Lithuania – Catholic

    Thanks for any help!


    • Sveiki, perskaiciau Jusu komentara, noriu paklaust ar pavyko ka nors rast? As pats ieskau prosenelio kuris is yko i Argentina Apie 1925 ir daugiau jokios info… ieskojau kontaktu argentinoj kas galetu padet, et niekas neatsisauke.

  3. Hey,
    My name is Zilvinas Jakstas. Currently my family and I live in Vancouver, Washington, US. I’m looking for my grandfather. His Name was Vladas Jakstas, left Lithuania, Svencionys, Jukiske around 1926 to Buenos Aires. Last street he lived was San Martinos. Last letter he sent to us was in 1956. If you have any records about him including death records or any living family info would be very appreciated. You can contact me at or call me at 1-360-810-7979.

    • Hi,

      I’d also suggest also contacting the Lithuanian-Argentine community directly – that is, the organizations mentioned in this article. It is likely the older members would remember him if he participated in any of them.

  4. Labas! Šiek tiek gyvenau Argentinoje ir padėjau lietuvių bendruomei mokytis kalbos, galiu papildyti informaciją 🙂

    • Labas. Papildykite 🙂 . Mus domina lietuviškos vietos – tai yra, lietuvių bažnyčios, klubų pastatai, paminklai lietuviams, lietuviški vietovardžiai (įskaitant lietuvių ar Lietuvos garbei pavadintas gatves), žymių lietuvių kapai ir t.t.

  5. Augenijus,
    mano senelis Povilas 58 m., emigravo iš Šilalės krašto iš Lietuvos į Argentiną 1927 m ir dirbo prie laivybos kanalo kasimo. Tai buvo sunkus katorgiškas darbas, visi atvykėliai byvo uždaryti, dokumentai paimti. Keletui darbininkų iš ten pavyko pabėgti.
    Einu giminės ir kraštiečių emigracijos istorijos pėdsakais ir Norėčiau sužinoti:
    1. kokioje vietoje Argentinoje galėjo būti kasamas tas laivų kanalas,
    2. gal kas girdėjo panašią istoriją atsitikusių Lietuvių emigrantams Argentinoje??

  6. looking for information on kazis lindau migrated to Argentina from Kaunas Lithuania
    about 1910–1920. he played the violin in the Buenos Aires symphony.his brother
    lived in Mexico,Maine, USA his name was Adolf Lindau (lindautis)

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