Allen Wells has combined two important themes associated with the Holocaust: the difficulties involved in settling Jewish refugees in an alien place and the more painful issue of finding havens for masses of unwanted, rejected people fleeing from Hitler’s terrors.
An accomplished historian, Wells enjoys the additional background of being the son of pioneers in Sosua, the farming community offered to several hundred German Jews in the Dominican Republic.
The book opens with a lengthy account of conferences by major powers on the German refugee problem. Quoting from then-President Roosevelt and Jewish leaders, themselves sharply divided on several questions, Wells builds his story. Gradually, options narrow for the Jews, until they point only to their becoming farmers on tropical islands of unreliable governance and demanding climate.
The subject of racism enters here, too. Luckily for them, the Jews were white, and the Dominican Republic wanted to lighten the color of a population full of black Haitians.
A valuable record for scholars, writers, and former colonists and their families, the book would be slow going for the reader in search of diversion. Abbreviations, acknowledgments, bibliography, epilogue, index, notes, photographs, prologue.