Ronald Lauder of Jewish World Congress recognizes DR receiving Jewish refugees


Staff member
Feb 20, 2019

The Dominican Republic is recognized as the exception to all countries that gave their backs to Jewish refugee immigrants in the heydays of the Nazi regime. Ronald Lauder, president of the Jewish World Congress, recently had praise for the DR. He spoke of the Dominican Republic as the exception to the rule at a time when the US and European countries looked the other way to the plight of Jewish refugees. He spoke on 2 May 2021, addressing the audience congregated for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp.

Lauder was referring to the Jewish settlement in Sosua, Puerto Plata.

Listen to the mention at:United with Israel

3 May 2021

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Well-known member
Apr 22, 2012
The Dominican Republic helped, yes. Let’s be realistic and recognize the role played by other Latin American countries in issuing entry to Jews during the Nazi regime. Mexico and Bolivia are named as two examples in the article cited below.

“...the Dominican Republic admitted only 645 Jews from 1938 to 1945 and the population of the Sosuá colony peaked at 476 residents in 1943. Nevertheless, the Dominican authorities issued around 5,000 visas to European Jews between 1938 and 1944, although a majority of the recipients never settled in the Dominican Republic. Still, these documents were central to their ability to flee Nazi occupied Europe.”


Polls Forum Moderator
Jan 20, 2003
Why should that matter?
That's what I'm saying. The DR already had a population of 2 to 3 million people when the 600 plus Jews arrived. In fact, during the 31 years of the Trujillo dictatorship a total of 6,000 moved from Europe. Anyone that thinks that could have much effect seriously has an issue with arythmetic. Plus most of them and their descendsnts left the country in the 1960's and 1970's.

Much greater was the impact of Haitian president Jean Pierre Boyer since he brought the African Americans at a time that not only was the Dominican population considerably smaller (not even close to 1 million), but at the time they arrived the regime simultaneously encourage Dominicans to leave the island, particularly the white and lightskin.

In the 1860's when the country had return to Spain the Spanish government was getting ready to encourage a new immigration wave from the Canary Islands similar to the one in the 1600's and 1700's that created most of the towns at that time. When Hereaux was president (dictator) in the late 1800's (his father was Haitian btw) his government reached an agreement with Spain to further encourage immigrantion from the Canary Islands; though the Spanish government limited itself to rather encouraging the migration, the authorities gave the order to representatives of the Spanish government in the Canary Islands to not discourage the intention of sny local wanting to migrate to Santo Domingo, but if thry intended to migrate to various Spanish American republics they were encourage to dissuade them. There are many other examples before and after that time.

To a degree it's rather annoying that everytime the topic of Jewish migration in the 1940's to the DR is mentioned in this forum, it diesn't takes long for the usual mentioning of Trujillo by some. Yet, those very same people remain completely silent about all the other attempts put in place before Trujillo rose to power and spanning much of the 19th century. It simply wasn't that rare, except that in this was it was Central Europeans when traditionally it has been with Canarians, not even with Spaniards from other areas of Spain such as Galicia or Asturias. The events put in place during the rule of the Haitian president Jean Perrie Boyer either remains silent or if talked about here, its presented in a much more positive light. It's too obvious to not notice these things.

There is simply nothing wrong that so e people want to recognize the lives saved during the Jewish settlement in Sosúa (and only in Sosúa with a prohibition from moving anywhere else in the country by mandate from Trujillo himself, that's another detail often not mentioned here.) This is even more the case when it's direct descendants of those people.

So far, this is the only forum where I have noticed these things concerning the Jews of Sosúa.
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Just A Few Words
Oct 27, 2014
Why should that matter?
The acceptance was in itself more than any fleeing victim could had asked for.
Trujillo offered sanctuary to 10,000 European Jews, but by 1939, it was too late. Their assets were no longer theirs, passports not allowed. Trujillo's motives? He wanted to "whiten & brighten," and create a middle class. Whatever. His motives may not have been pure, but he saved 700 lives.


Apr 11, 2004
This 2018 article tells a lot. But no real answer on the US refusing to take them. Photos of Sosua BFPC.

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One Dominican at a time, please!
May 15, 2003
Santiago de Los 30 Caballeros
Trujillo offered sanctuary to 10,000 European Jews, but by 1939, it was too late. Their assets were no longer theirs, passports not allowed. Trujillo's motives? He wanted to "whiten & brighten," and create a middle class. Whatever. His motives may not have been pure, but he saved 700 lives.

Motives are moot. People facing genocide don’t have questions as to why.

It’s a historical fact which ink has already dried.


Polls Forum Moderator
Jan 20, 2003
Trujillo offered sanctuary to 10,000 European Jews, but by 1939, it was too late. Their assets were no longer theirs, passports not allowed. Trujillo's motives? He wanted to "whiten & brighten," and create a middle class. Whatever. His motives may not have been pure, but he saved 700 lives.
10,000 would not create much change in a society with 2 to 3 million people, much less when they are confined to a tiny remote place as was Sosúa back then.

The rest was simply to undo what was done during the Haitian Domination and that was a general desire of Dominicans well before Trujillo was even born. In fact, that has been the purpose ever since the country was created, because many of the changes were created by foreigners against the will of the Dominicans. Return things to how they were, it's as simple as that. Things such as the condition of the country, namely the underdevelopment and constant political instability for much of the time before the Trujillo regime caused msny of these incentives to fail.

For example, did you know that one if the first laws created after the country was independence was to incentives the return of Dominicans, much of which was pushed out of the country? What color were most of these Dominicans? Hmm... Where was Trujillo then?

Did you know that in 1888 a colony of mostly Swiss was settled in Sabana de la Mar? For the record, Trujillo was born in 1891.

Did you know that in 1894 Congres passed a resolution that stipulated that 30% of the rights of exports has to go to fomenting immigration of Europeans? That was approved by President Heureaux (the one with a Haitian father). Trujillo was a few months from his third birthday.

Did you know that in 1882 a law on municipalities on article 23 it included among the obligations of the municipalities of fomenting the immigration of Europeans and establishing them in their localities? Heureaux went as far as creating the Junta Central de la Immigración in the Sánchez port, the one in Montecristi and the one in Puerto Plata? Trujillo wasn't born when that took place.

Did you know that during the presidency of Juan Isidro Jiménez (I think it was from 1899 -the year Heureaux's dictatorship ended- to 1902) a decree was approved that 30% of the proceeds from the La Romana port was to go to fomenting European immigration? That was a few decades before Trujillo rose to power.

Dis you know that in 1901 funds were legally made available to use for fomenting European immigration to El Seibo? Again, several decades before Trujillo rose to power. He was just 10 years old at the time.

Did you know that in 1891 (the year Trujillo was born, btw) the Executive Power exonerated from port fees to any national boat that brought no less than 50 immigrants (at a time when most immigrants were white)?

Did you know that in the same year Sr Francisco Leonte Vásquez was given a concession by the government where he was exonerated from paying $40 pesos from the production in his native San José de Ocoa ( a large sum at the time) for every head of immigrants that he brought to the country? Again, same year that Trujillo was born.

Did you know in 1905, then President Morales Languasco signed a decree that suspended the requirements to enter and establish themselves any foreigner that didn't arrive by any contract from agriculture, industry or government?

Did you know that in 1912 a new law of immigration was put in place which, among other things, stipulated the creation of Dominican immigration agencies in Europe, the United States, Puerto Rico, and Cuba?

Those are only some examples. The idea behind all of that was that since the Dominican population was already predisposed to marry lighter because since colonial times lighter skin has been seen as a mark of beauty, and seeing what similar policies did in neighboring Puerto Rico and Cuba under the Spanish government, and in other Spanish American countries such as Venezuela; it would had responded to a desire of the Dominican people to have more lighter skin people among the society.

In fact, there are testimonies such as this one by the Mexican José Vasconcelos after visiting the DR in 1926, just 2 years after the first invasion of the USA had ended and 5 years before Trujillo rose to power. That's just ine example, in this case speaking how the white race is predominant in the La Vega area and in the Cibao in general, but he dedcribes various places in that book such as La Romana (where he describes that in the crowds he saw a combination of white and black people without being separated unlike in other countries -at that time there was racial segregation in the USA and other places-), San Pedro de Macorís, Santo Domingo, etc.


Again, 5 years before Trujillo rose to power.

I would like to know how was that Trujillo influenced all those actions or even the composition of places like La Vega and the Cibao before he was even president. More than Trujillo influencing the country in this respect, he himself was influenced by the country by the time he rose to power. As much as some people refuse to accept it, minus the abuses he was a typical Dominican in the way that he thought and implemented his actions.

Even today there is a tendency towards lighter skin in the country, often considered an essential (but not required) part of beauty. It gets to the point that a lighter skin person will be seen as beautiful (unless the person is seriously ugly in other ways) even if they may seem to most here as someone of more normal looks. This goes way beyond Trujillo, to the ti e when most of the population was considerably lighter than today. It was forced to change by outsiders, against the will of Dominicans because most, even among the darker ones, those actions were seen in a negative light because Dominicans liked being in a society with a predominance of very light and white people. Why? Because that's how Dominican society was at that time and it never wanted to change. It also wasn't of replacing Dominicans with outsiders, but rather to include Dominicans who with every generation with further mixing the foreigners would be "melted" into the Dominican population, as happened elsewhere such as in Puerto Rico, Venezuela, etc.

To put it another way, had these foreign influences that caused the changes in Dominican society had not taken place, the things mentioned here and others would had never taken place either since Dominican society would had never benn torn to pieces and on the verge of disappearing.
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