In 1938 the infamous dictator of the Dominican Republic, Rafael Trujillo, agreed to resettle a quota of European Jews who were trying to escape Hitler. About 600 Jewish men came and settled in a remote forested area of the Dominican Republic that had been abandoned by the United Fruit Company.

One purpose of his benevolence was diplomacy: a year earlier he had massacred over 25,000 Haitians, and needed to respond to international protests against his “Caribbean holocaust.” Accepting Jewish refugees, especially at a time when most nations, including the U.S., were closing their doors to them, helped improve his image. Another of his motives was racist: he hoped that the new European immigrants would “lighten” the local population through intermarriage.

The refugees that stayed, most of them urban, educated, and German-speaking men, managed to adapt to their incongruous surroundings and established a thriving meat and dairy industry as well as a popular tourist destination. Nowadays, the remaining original settlers and their families must share this Caribbean town with masses of mostly young, loud, sun-seeking European tourists, primarily from Germany.

Andrea Robbins and Max Becher 1999-2001

Felix Koch
Felix Koch's Living Room
Arturo Kirchheimer
Ronnie and Priscilla Kirchheimer
Louis Hess
Louis Hess' Living Room
Martin Hess
Grand Daughter of Louis Hess
Breakfast Sign
Bakery Interior
Real Estate Sign 2
Bakery Sign
Real Estate Sign

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