Efraim Goldenberg: Peru's First Jewish Prime Minister
Efraim Goldenberg, also known as Efrain Goldenberg Schreiber, was born on December 29, 1929, in Lima, Peru. He is a Peruvian Jew who served as the Prime Minister of Peru for approximately one and a half years, under the presidency of Alberto Fujimori, from February 17, 1994, to July 28, 1995. During his tenure, he also held the positions of Minister of Economy and Foreign Affairs.
Goldenberg holds the distinction of being the first Jewish individual to serve as the Prime Minister of Peru. He was followed by two other Jewish Prime Ministers in Peru: Yehude Simon (2008-2009) and Salomon Lerner Ghitis (2011).
Goldenberg was born in Lima, the capital city of Peru, to Jewish parents who had emigrated from Russia and Germany to Peru after World War I. He grew up in the coastal Peruvian town of Talar, where he was the only Jewish student in his elementary school.
He continued his high school education in Lima at Colegio San Andres, a prestigious institution that was originally founded as a boys' school in 1917 and later became coeducational in 1994.
Many alumni of this school went on to become scientists, businessmen, and even prominent politicians in Peru, including the 84th President of the country, Nicolas Lindley Lopez.
Goldenberg pursued studies in law and humanities at the University of San Marcos in Lima from 1946 to 1952. After completing his studies, he worked in the family business as an exporter and also played a significant role in Peru's business community for many years. He was also a member of the board of the Jewish community in Lima.
On August 28, 1993, President Alberto Fujimori appointed Goldenberg as his Foreign Minister. This appointment was part of Fujimori's policy, implemented shortly after his election as President of Peru in 1990, to appoint non-diplomats as foreign ministers. Just six months later, on February 17, 1994, Fujimori appointed Goldenberg not only as his Foreign Minister but also as his Prime Minister. With this appointment, Goldenberg became the first Jewish Prime Minister of Peru.
His tenure as Prime Minister marked a milestone in the country's political history. He was succeeded by two other Jewish Prime Ministers, Yehude Simon in 2008-2009 and Salomon Lerner Ghitis in 2011.
On July 28, 1995, just three months after being reelected as President of Peru for a second term, Fujimori dismissed Goldenberg from both of his positions, as Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. Fujimori's policy was not to allow his ministers to stay in office for extended periods, to prevent them from accumulating too much power.
Towards the end of his presidency, Fujimori reappointed Goldenberg once more. This time, on October 10, 1999, Goldenberg was appointed as the Minister of Economy. He served in this role for approximately ten months, until July 28, 2000, when Fujimori replaced him with Carlos Boloña. Both Fujimori and Boloña would serve in their respective roles for only about three months each.
In November 2000, Fujimori fled Peru for Japan amidst a political crisis, and on November 19, 2000, all the ministers who remained from his government resigned from their positions.
Efraim Goldenberg's political career in Peru was marked by significant firsts, and his contributions to the country's governance during his tenure left an indelible mark on its history.
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