AJC reaches out to Latino community

Jewish and Latino leaders gather in Washington for screening of film on Dominican rescue of Holocaust refugees.

March 19, 2013 02:11
1 minute read.
IN A SCENE from ‘Sosúa: Make a Better World,‘ Jewish refugees are seen en route to Sosúa.

dominican370. (photo credit: Courtesy, Sosua film)


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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.

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“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 Dominicans.

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