The Promise: The Moving Story of a Family in the Holocaust

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A special order item has limited availability and the seller may source this title from another supplier. In this event, there may be a slight delay in shipping and possible variation in description. Our Day return guarantee still applies. Advanced Book Search Browse by Subject. Find Antiquarian Books Book Value. I had to read it twice. Leaving on the eve of Kristallnacht had always been a key part of our story, a hurried exit from Berlin at just the right moment, before Nazi mobs stormed Jewish neighborhoods, killing at least 91 Jews, and anti-Semitism took a more violent and radical turn.

Holocaust survivor to San Antonio: Tell your children what happened

I had never asked about the timeline. Instead, I pictured them abandoning an apartment in Berlin and finding refuge in a rustic home in Sosua. It was a reminder of how stories, consciously or not, can be romanticized as we retell them, even to ourselves.

I started digging deeper into the archives, looking for anything that could provide a hint about what Joe had told me. Fraying papers, many stashed haphazardly in folders and boxes, detailed transcripts of meetings, vital records, academic papers and memos sent from Sosua to the settlement association in New York. I pulled it onto the table. No one had ever mentioned violence.

Could it have been true? Meister and Klein — and the others — could have been part of that group. Among other files in the archives, I found an analysis written by former settler Ann Bandler for Columbia University in With proper planning and management, these middle-class, white-collar Europeans could have built the new life they had been promised.

A parade of experts, Bandler wrote, had made plans for Sosua, advising the refugees to plant bananas, raise livestock or grow tomatoes; that last effort resulted in such a failure that a large surplus of tomatoes spoiled and was thrown into the sea. The land they had been instructed to develop turned out to be better suited for pasture than farming, and the Jews ended up finding success in a dairy and meat operation that — ironically — sold pork.

Still, with every page I read, the story that Sosua had been some sort of paradise, the story I had always been told, started to come apart. Documents hidden away in the archives revealed tensions I had never heard about, between Austrians and Germans, between those who lived in the town and those who had farms, and those who wanted to improve the community and those who wanted to abandon it and emigrate to the United States.

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People screamed at each other at community meetings. On a warm night, while one refugee listened to a German radio broadcast, another became enraged by the propaganda, according to a manuscript written by a former resident, Ernest B. One main reason Sosua fell apart, several refugees said in interviews, was simple. Single men had trouble finding marriageable partners in Sosua, giving them even less reason to stay. In , according to the JDC, among a population of were single men and 38 single women. The settlement association had looked for young men with an agricultural background who could develop the land, and women were less likely to leave Europe on their own.

Hidden Gold Book - A True Story of the Holocaust

Settlers had to ask the administration for permission any time they wanted to leave Sosua, and the nearest major town was hours away by horseback or about an hour by car, making romance between Dominicans and Jews difficult. These conditions helped spawn cases of adultery in the small community, constantly witnessed and whispered about.

The bordellos in question were in Charamicos, a poor neighborhood on the south end of the beach. The refugees had populated El Batey on the north end, and those looking for sex would discreetly venture south. But that part of the story had been conveniently lost in the retelling. A Star of David monument near the shore in Sosua commemorates its Jewish history.

Granddaughters Of A Nazi And A Holocaust Survivor Share A Journey

She said that the night before Kristallnacht must have been when they arrived in the Dominican Republic, rather than leaving Berlin on that date. She told me that the first few years in the country were hard — my grandparents struggled to learn Spanish and earn money. Records the JDC sent me revealed more details: In Santo Domingo, then called Ciudad Trujillo, my grandfather tried selling tableware, peddling kitchen coal, working as a carpenter and serving as a messenger.

The rest followed her. Aunt Hella and Uncle Max stayed in Sosua only a few years. My grandparents lived there through the late s, while my Aunt Margot and Uncle Vittorio remained until the s. It was hard getting used to life in Sosua, Aunt Hella said, but she refused to believe the story about the attack in the barracks. That must have happened before she got there, she said.

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She never saw any violence like that. I left thinking that idealism has always been a part of the town, woven even into the stories we tell.


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  • There were challenges in Sosua, she said, but everyone could live however they wanted, far from the Nazis and without fear of persecution. That was what mattered, of course. But the stories we tell ourselves become history, and the full version of what happened in Sosua is being lost.

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    The town has become so foreign to those who left that some have vowed never to return, pushing it deep into their memories. My Aunt Hella told me about one of the last times she visited, with her brother-in-law, Vittorio, more than a decade ago. She stood in the middle of the town, stunned at how things had changed, and turned to Vittorio. Skip to main content.

    Donate Now Donate. But the story never entirely made sense.

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    My father warned me to stay away from the shore. The beach, he said, had become a site for prostitution and crime. But I had heard those stories before. I wondered if that was all he knew. There was a long pause. Meister said he was threatened by a group of German Jews in the dormitory. I asked her about the affairs. Sitemap Login.

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