Lives in the Balance: FDR, General Trujillo and the Dominican Republic Settlement Association, 1940-

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Venue:FIU Modesto A. Maidique Campus, GL 220

The US government was initially supportive of the Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo’s offer to accept 100,000 Central European Jews in July 1983. As the first thirty-seven settlers arrived on the north coast of the island in May 1940, the Dominican and US governments began to back away from their ringing endorsements of the proposed farming settlement at Sosua on the island’s north coast. The succession of lightning-quick German victories throughout Western Europe during the last six weeks of spring 1940 fed State Department fears of Nazi infiltration into the Americas. Washington’s refusal to take any Jewish refugees from German-occupied territory and its insistence on vetting each and every would –be colonist placed the settlement in jeopardy from the outset and ensured that the initial offer of 100,000 refugees would never become reality.

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