looking for sescendants of German Refugees in Dominican Republic #germany #holocaust #latinamerica



I am writing on behalf of someone who has done extensive research on the way a few hundred German refugees found refuge in the Dominican Republic. Now the topic is their stay there, between 1938 and 1945.
She is now looking for descendants of those refugees.

I hope someone can help.

Best wishes!

Gershon S. Lehrer
Antwerp, Belgium


I recently read 2 mysteries by the writer  A.J. Sidransky who lives in Washington Heights, NYC.  The first book "Forgiving Maximo Rothman"  goes into the story of refugees in the DR and is a central theme of this mystery. You might want to contact Mr. Sidransky through his website https://ajsidransky.com/ as he has done quite a bit of research and may know the families of refugees.

If any one is interesting the in subject I recommend the book for a different view of New York City.

Jessica Schein

Irene Newhouse

So sorry to have missed the original question. I've recently gathered up my scans of my mother's Dom. Rep. photos. She & my father arrived in Sosua in 1940. She in May, on the Conte Biancamano, in one of the first sets of settlers to arrive. My father in September on the Cherokee from NYC, having been deported from the US. I also transcribed & translate a video taken (in German) by one of my father's friends in 1988, mostly reminiscences of his leaving Europe & living in the Dom. Rep. 

In the course of this I realized that familysearch.org has been allowed to film some miscellaneous records from the Dom Rep & these include applications & reapplications - apparently the equivalent of green card applications & renewals. Among them are many for residents of Sosua. You do not need much info - if you enter a German surname & limit the search to the Dominican Republic, you won't get a very large number of 'stray' hits. Some of these documents have photos - a front view & a side view.

As to tracing descendants, the last reapplication for residence may provide a clue as to when the family left (most did) & use that to check entrances to the US. (Although one has to take into account some records may be lost.) But although I have no name, I do know that a dentist who'd lived in Sosua moved back to Berlin, where he was dentist to one of my mother's Gross Breesen friends. (Small world!) (Sorry, I don't have a name.)

Marion A. Kaplan's "Dominican Haven" is a general reference, but not particularly suitable as a genealogical source. Lore Segal "Other People's Houses" has 2 chapters about life in the Dominican Republic - this is a fictionalized account. 

 You might be lucky if you contact https://www.sosuamuseum.org .  Also, Allen Wells, author of "Tropical Zion" might be a source. 

As for my family, my parents moved from Sosua to their own coffee farm after a few years  & to the US in 1957. The only ex-Sosua person we had any contact with was Dr. Raphael Landau, who visited us twice in the US & who died almost a lifetime ago, so I'm sorry I can't provide any specific current information.

Irene Newhouse
Kihei Hawaii USA


I also replied to another message regarding this matter.
Kurt (Luis) Hess was one of the refugees and a prominent member of the community.  He was my father's cousin.  He lived to be 102 and until his last day enjoyed his daily rum.
During the years he sent me articles and a book about the place.  We visited him once and it was a wonderful experience.

Vivian Silbermann Cohen

David Sperling

Hello this is Sara Wolf, I can be reached in Israel via saraw@.... My mom Edith Schmitz-Bank and my aunt Helga Schmitz -Luden and their parents, my grandparents, Adolf Schmitz and Else Fernich Schmitz, arrived on the Santa Pinto to the DR. My mom was born in Santo Domingo, my aunt was 8 years older. My Great uncle Louis Fernich and his wife Paula were also saved via the DR.
I have a friend whose mother was also there.

Happy to be in touch and put you in touch with my mom and aunt now 79 and 87 years old.