Sosua: A Refuge For Jews In The Dominican Republic

Eric T. Schneiderman

February 14, 2008

In 1938, a time when openings for Jewish refugees were hard to find, the government of the Dominican Republic offered to resettle Jews fleeing Europe. Ultimately Sosúa, an abandoned banana plantation on the north coast of the island, would become a refuge to hundreds of Jews. The settlers were given resources to cultivate the land, and built a thriving town – one that still exists today.

The story of this Jewish settlement is the subject of a new exhibition,
"Sosua: A Refuge for Jews in the Dominican Republic", created in conjunction with the Sosúa Jewish Museum, the Museum of Jewish Heritage - a Living Memorial to the Holocaust, and the Office of State Senator Eric Schneiderman.

The exhibition details how the settlers were recruited and came to Sosúa, what awaited them there, what role the Dominican and U.S. governments and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee played in the story, how the settlers worked with their Dominican neighbors to establish themselves, and what kind of a town they created. Sosúa speaks poignantly to a shared Dominican and Jewish story.

The exhibit opened on February 17th and will be on view for six months in the Museum's Overlook Gallery.