Global True Lithuania Encyclopedia of Lithuanian heritage worldwide


Lithuanians began migrating to Argentina before World War 1 (about 5000 migrated) but the main wave of migration took place between the World Wars (~30 000), after USA has curbed immigration while much of the rest of the world was ravaged by World War 1 (whereas neutral Argentina thrived). One in five of the emigrants from interwar Lithuania ended up in Argentinian cities, creating significant Lithuanian heritage there.

The main "Lithuanian" cities were Buenos Aires, Berisso, Rosario, and Cordoba, more or less in this order. Unique Lithuanian heritage also exists in Patagonia, the southernmost inhabited region of the earth that had its first towns and cities built in the 19th century and Lithuanians were among their founders.

Esquel Lithuanain museum building in Patagonia

Esquel Lithuanian museum building in Patagonia

While the strong Lithuanian-Argentine community ensured some 3500 Lithuanian refugees were invited to Argentina after World War 2, most of them drifted away to the USA once it became possible, making the current Lithuanian-Argentine community almost entirely consisting of the (great) grandchildren of the 1920s immigrants.

Buenos Aires Lithuanian heritage sites

Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina and one of the top 20 cities of the world in terms of population. Its wide avenues and grand architecture still breathe in the grandeur of the age gone by, of times when it was also one of the richest cities in the world and attracted many immigrants, among them Lithuanians.

Lithuanian-Argentinian Center with the patriotic symbol of Columns of Gediminas on its facade

Lithuanian-Argentinian Center with the patriotic symbol of Columns of Gediminas on its facade

Buenos Aires and its suburbs has the most massive Lithuanian heritage in Argentina and probably entire South America (except for Sao Paulo, perhaps). Three major Lithuanian heritage sites and hearts of the Lithuanian community are the Lithuanian Center, the Alliance of Lithuanians in Argentina and the Our Lady of Vilnius Lithuanian church. Each of the three is not merely a building but an entire complex of various premises, institutions, and activities. All three operate for more than 70 years and thus are full of Lithuanian symbolism and history.

Main stairway of the Alliance of Lithuanians in Argentina

Main stairway of the Alliance of Lithuanians in Argentina

"Secular" Lithuanian clubs operate on Saturdays. They include bars, libraries, Lithuanian item exhibitions, event halls for dancing and choir singing. Their activities are almost exclusively Lithuanian (save for the times the premises are rented out). On the other hand, the church (the complex of which also includes a Lithuanian museum, school, and monastery) has slowly drifted away towards a more general membership. Still, many of the parishioners have Lithuanian roots and the complex is arguably the richest in Lithuanian artworks.

Buenos Aires Lithuanian church

Buenos Aires Lithuanian church

Furthermore, the greater Buenos Aires has 5 streets named after Lithuania, the longest of which is 4 km long. That's the biggest number of Lithuania-named street among the conurbations worldwide. The main streets have been renamed under the initiative of the Lithuanian community of Buenos Aires.

Berisso Lithuanian heirtage sites

A small (pop. 100 000) city of Berisso is unique in Argentina as most of its inhabitants are descendants of the ~1900-1940 immigrants and they care about their roots more than in nearly all other cities of the world. In Berisso, it is very important to belong to an ethnic club (this is popular among the youth and kids as well), to participate in the annual Immigrant festivals. Lithuanians, ~3000 of whom once migrated here, are no exception.

Berisso Lithuanian club Nemunas

Berisso Lithuanian club Nemunas

There are not one but two Lithuanian clubs - "Mindaugas" and "Nemunas" - each with their small-but-nicely-built club HQ buildings, adorned with Lithuanian bas-reliefs. These clubs not only perform Lithuanian activities but also create new objects of Lithuanian heritage in Berisso, e.g. a Lithuanian traditional cross memorial in 2009.

Bas-relief of club Mindaugas depicts the first Lithuanian Christian king Mindaugas with a cross and a sword

Bas-relief of club Mindaugas depicts the first Lithuanian Christian king Mindaugas with a cross and a sword

Rosario Lithuanian heritage sites

Rosario has a Lithuanian club and a complex of Lithuanian church (that includes a school and a kindergarten). This makes Rosario one of just 4 cities in the entire Latin America to have a Lithuanian church. Rosario also has a Lithuanian club.

Rosario Lithuanian community used to be smaller than in Buenos Aires and so the buildings are somewhat humbler. Still, the Roasrio Lithuanians were influential enough to ensure one of the streets in the city was renamed after Lithuania and another one after a famous local Lithuanian priest Margis.

Rosario Lithuanian street commemorative plaque

Rosario Lithuanian street commemorative plaque

Cordoba Lithuanian heritage sites

Lithuanian community also exists in Cordoba. However, both Lithuanian clubs that existed there have closed down ~1980s, only their buildings remaining. While they still existed, the Cordoba Lithuanian community successfully lobbied for renaming one street after Lithuania, however.

Patagonia Lithuanian heritage sites

Patagonia's Lithuanian history is very different from that of Argentina's main cities. Lithuanians migrated to Patagonia before World War 1 when the region still had no cities. This group of Lithuanians was led or invited by Šlapelis family, more than a single member of which left a deep enough trace in Patagonian history to have numerous places named after Šlapelis surname. Most of these sites are in or around the city of Sarmiento, where the local museum has significant Šlapelis-related exhibits as well.

Šlapelis family images in Sarmiento museum

Šlapelis family images in Sarmiento museum

The second Lithuanian heart of Patagonia is Esquel and the local Lithuanian farmstead-museum where one can spend some nights in Lithuanian-inspired bungalows near the Andes and visit an impressive Lithuanian museum that is interesting both to Argentinian and to Lithuanian alike. All that was created by a private initiative of a single Lithuanian-Argentinian family.

Lithuanian-Argentinian newspaper printing exhibits in the Esquel Lithuanian museum

Lithuanian-Argentinian newspaper printing exhibits in the Esquel Lithuanian museum

Other cities of Argentina Lithuanian heritage

Although Lithuanian club organizations operate in a few more Lithuanian cities, they lack their own premises and these cities have no Lithuanian heritage sites. Tandil Lithuanian club was established by descendants of Lithuanians researching their roots and they never had any premises - however, the Flag square of Tandil now also includes a Lithuanian flag.

Commodoro Rivadiavia has a club uniting several Eastern European ethnicities, among them Lithuanians.

Among the pre-WW2 Lithuanian immigrants it was popular to invest into hotels. Such Lithuanian hotels, often located at Argentine resorts, also became hubs for Lithuanian activities as Lithuanian-Argentines would come en-masse to spend holidays there ~1940s-1970s. While most of such hotels are no longer operational, some have left deep traces. Villa Paranacito town at the Parana delta still has a semi-abandoned Hotel Lietuva (accessible solely by water), while the Epecuen mineral water resort had a "Residencial Lituania", the building of which has collapsed when the whole town was submerged by a rising nearby lake. Still, it is reminded in the local museum.

Abandoned hotel Lietuva in Villa Paranacito

Abandoned hotel Lietuva in Villa Paranacito

Several more cities had Lithuanian organizations that have folded. The Lithuanian club of Bernal folded ~2000s, its building sold. Historically, the official Lithuanian-Argentine community had its branches in Temperley (1951), Avellaneda (1954), Villa Lugano (1954), Palomar-Hurlingham (1952-~1963), Berisso, most of these locations located in the greater Buenos Aires area and their activities now essentially integrated into the remaining organizations.

Lithuanian folk dancers rehearsing in the Lithuanian Center of Argentina

Lithuanian folk dancers rehearsing in the Lithuanian Center of Argentina


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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)

    • Hi, my grandfather was from Kaunas (also called Kovno) too, his name was David Netka son of Jaime Netka and Ninozka Taubeth Netka, they left Lithuany betwen 1920 – 1930 because my grandfather married and give birth to my mother in 1932 at Honduras Central America coming from Argentina.

    • Adolf Lindau was my great grandfather. He married Sofia drazdauskas in lithuania then immigrated to Mexico Maine to work in a local Paper manufacturing mill. He came from a well off family but was shunned for marrying Sofia who was considered a maid. He had a brother who was taken by the secret police, put on a rail car and was never heard from again. Adolf and Sofia has 2 daughters – Olga (Collins) of Berwick Maine and Delphine who married my grandfather Rene Alton Perry. My mother was their daughter Delphine Sandra (Perry) Martin

  7. My great great grandmother Fansiska Montartiene and her four children left Papilé, Lithuania and traveled on the SS Frankfurt leaving Bremen, Germany on June 30, 1910 arriving in Galveston, Texas on July 27, 1910. I was always told that some of our relatives with the name of Montartiene or Mondardis and Budzinsky or Bndzinskeni got off the boat in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I so want to find out what happened to them and who they were. Any ideas welcomed!

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