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Viernes Video: Dominican and Jewish teens work together recreating little-known chapter of Holocaust history

LatinaLista — The Holocaust was a horrific chapter in global history but it wasn’t a time without its heroes or heroic moments. Most of those moments have remained hidden from history but every once in a while, those stories reach a broader audience. Such is the case of one of the strangest chapters of the Holocaust era.

Hundreds of Jews were resettled from Nazi Germany to the Dominican Republic under the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. What keeps Trujillo from being recognized as a grand statesman for his actions is that at the same time he was rescuing Jews, he was slaughtering Haitians.

According to Wikipedia:

The Parsley Massacre; also referred to as El Corte (the cutting) by Dominicans and as Kouto-a (the knife) by Haitians; was a government-sponsored genocide in October 1937, at the direct order of Dominican President Rafael Trujillo who ordered the execution of the Haitian population living in the borderlands with Haiti. The violence resulted in the killing of 20,000 ethnic Haitian civilians during approximately five days.

Yet, Trujillo had no problem allowing up to 100,000 Jews to resettle on an abandoned banana plantation in Sosua in the Dominican Republic. Historians believe Trujillo’s motivation for this kind act was two-fold: It would distract the global powers from his massacre of Haitians; and it would be an opportunity to ‘whiten’ the Dominican race if Jews and Dominicans intermarried.

Trujillo’s gesture has been largely unknown outside Dominican and Jewish history until a group of Jewish and Dominican teenagers from New York City’s Washington Heights put on a musical about the Dominican rescue. However, it’s a film, Sosua: Make a Better World, about the making of the musical, that has inspired people to see how differences can be put aside and people can work together for a common goal.

In Washington Heights, Dominicans and Jews live side by side but don’t interact with one another. Coming together for the musical, forced these young people to set aside their bias of one another and learn who the other really is.

The film serves as a window through which the audience watches “a disparate group of young, untested, talented Dominican and Jewish kids who through dancing, singing, crying and creating theater together, form new bonds forged on old ties.”

The film is available on DVD and was recently acquired by the World Center for Holocaust Research, Education, Documentation and Commemoration, Yad Vashem, for its permanent visual library.

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  • Joe Ortiz
    December 21, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    This article is one of many events that are happening around the world, which (ostensibly) speak to the issue of developing inter-racial and inter-religious harmony throughout the world. For many years, I also wrote about the need to promote similar interactions between all groups throughout the world. I have received much flack from the nationalistically inclined “Nazi” type of groups for promoting diversity and racial harmony. Nevertheless, I will continue to do so.

    However, I’m also inclined to offer a caveat to those folks who may not have studied, or who shy away from exploring such issues as the holocaust and its history, especially under the threat of being labeled an “Anti-Semite.” Myself, an individual who has profited much from a myriad of associations with Jewish folks – through work, marriage, social, political and civic relations – have been blessed in so many ways by these unions. Yet, there does exist (almost from the beginning of time) a sinister cabal of people whose life-long efforts are aimed solely at subjugating people, governments, societies, religions and their financial institutions until they have complete control over the masses. Those of us in the “know” are called ‘conspiracy fanatics” (among other things) in order to discredit our views.

    In my blogs and many other arenas where I write, post and offer my findings, I’m branded as a malcontent and trouble-maker. Many of those who have read my material thank me for my in-depth research, and the presentation of old facts and emerging data that validates the contentions that I and a myriad of other journalists are bringing forth. Plain and simple, the distinguished and morally-inspired America we were taught about in schools over 40 or 50 years, is a lie. It was actually conquered (religiously, politically and morally) by this cabal which I call “Mammonites,” those who lust for gold, power and world-wide control, and could care less about racial harmony and world peace.

    The interesting aspect about my research is that the conquering began quite innocently (just like the project mentioned above in the Dominican Republic), appearing on face value as the right thing to do. This is how the Mammonites took over America’s educational system, by proffering one nice appearing endeavor after another. They did this with America’s political and financial system, but they have been having problems doing so with the human heart, which instantly resonates with, “Hmm? What’s wrong with this picture?”

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