AJC reaches out to Latino community
Jewish and Latino leaders gather in Washington for screening
of film on Dominican rescue of Holocaust refugees.
IN A SCENE from ‘Sosúa: Make a Better World,‘ Jewish refugees are seen en route to Sosúa. Photo: Courtesy, Sosua film
Dominican Ambassador Aníbal de Castro will join Latino and Jewish communal
leaders in Washington DC on Thursday for a special screening of the film Sosúa:
Make a Better World as part of an effort by the American Jewish Committee to
promote inter-communal dialogue.
Latino leaders will arrive from around
the United States to join Dina Siegel Vann, Director of AJC’s Latino and Latin
American Institute, and other AJC leaders in watching the film by award-winning
filmmakers Peter Miller and Renee Silverman.
“Building on our already
strong Latino-Jewish dialogue, we believe that coming together to watch this
film will help us address important parts of our shared past to continue growth
in this important exchange,” Vann said.
Sosúa: Make a Better World is a
documentary following Jewish and Latino teenagers from the New York neighborhood
of Washington Heights who, together with Tony-nominated theater director Liz
Swados, put on a play detailing the rescue of 800 Jews from the Holocaust by
Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo.
In 1938 Trujillo, who had himself
been responsible for the Parsley Massacre of 20,000 ethnic Haitians the previous
year, offered to take in 100,000 Jewish refugees. Eventually, 800 Jews, mostly
from Germany and Austria, arrived in the Dominican Republic and each was granted
80 acres of land and 10 cows.
“In a neighborhood where Jews and Latinos
live side by side but rarely interact,” the movie’s website reads, the film
“charts the teens’ extraordinary journey of discovery of what unites them – both
in the past and in the present.”
The importance of the film, according to
the AJC, is the “disparate group of teenagers’ growth and familiarization with
each other” through exploring a period of history shared by both Jews and