What Dominicans Should Know

Sosúa but not only Sosúa…San Cristóbal, San Pedro de Macorís, Puerto Plata, Santiago, la Vega, Higüey, Nagua, and much more. Read, share, and make your country a better place.

The photo Gobiernen Bien El Pueblo está atento was taken on la Avenida de la Independencia many, many years ago. I was on my way to the office of the Department of Education’s 1.000 por 1,000 in Santo Domingo soon after Melanio Paredes was “despedido.” At that time, the Dominican Republic probably needed a party called the RPM or Revoluciones Por Minuto, but it got PRM instead.

And these were my recommendations that I posted on my website at that time “Programa de GED en español por el internet…combinación de GED y educación básica por adultos…Educación de los Padres y otras personas comunitarias

RPM o Revoluciones por minuto  Transformando la juventud por el periodismo, los miembros de pandillas, delincuentes, prostitutas, etc. Cambios en la instrucción de las escuelas públicas…mentores en las mañanas para los estudiantes que necesitan remediación Desarrollo de un programa agresiva de combatir la deserción de la escuela de ellos que no asisten mucho a las clases Compromiso de los padres Campaña de Anti-droga intervención combinado con el compromiso de los padres.”

And right now I am fighting for a faith-based initiative to battle COVID-19 and once again the progress to help people is very slow. Here is just one example of my principal work to wake up people. Click here and the information is in Spanish and should be read by all people of the Christian faith.

Here you can read information in Spanish and in English related to history. Sosúa became home to Jewish people escaping Hitler. Trujillo made that happen, but Trujillo was a dictator who finally was eliminated by Dominicans. Mussolini fell at the hands of Italians. Hitler died in a bunker before being captured by the Allies. Trujillo also had tens of thousands of Haitians killed in the Massacre at the Dajabón River.

Martin Danenberg started an effort to help Sosúa more than a decade ago and he is happy to see that others have discovered this haven for Jews and are doing new work. Martin has promoted education with Dominicans including former President Leonel Fernandez. Today he is connected very strongly with the leadership of the bodegas in New York City and more. Google Latino Lives Matter and see his presentation about Dominicans. Click the link for more information (Ojalá Que Llueva Café) that goes back to 2009, but the work took off after 2003. La educacion es la clave a un futuro major or Education is the key to a better future. From San Pedro de Macorís to Puerto Plata and from Samaná to the Dajabón people can get better educated. Visit his website and click on the pages.

The only US Ambassador to the United States that Martin has had a meeting with was in Santo Domingo when Raul Yzaguirre was the ambassador. Martin has had meeting with Major League Baseball, the Catholic Church, FEDOMU, mayors and governors. Read about that in Spanish here so click the link. And when Republicans tried to destroy the character of Joe Biden, Martin wrote this article in English and Spanish. Click here.

The schools of the Dominican Republic and its people can learn English much faster. You will enter a language bookstore by clicking here and the books will help everyone to learn English (Ojalá Que Llueva Inglés) and other languages as well.

There is a radio broadcast of Adolf Hitler speaking in Germany (about the Jewish problem) that lasts about a minute.  The broadcast ends.

Martin will be starting a Zoom show with the father of Sean Bell who was killed by the NYPD over a decade ago. He also expects to invite on legends of the National Basketball Association through Wali Jones who played on the NBA championship Philadelphia 76ers decades ago. Dominicans and other Latinos will be invited on as well. He can be reached at martin@mygedhotline.com

Did you think that I was done? I have learned that the President of the Dominican Republic now wants to have a policy of “mano duro” against delinquency. I can remember a meeting of the PRD where Hipólito Mejía was present that I attended, and people wanted to “rescatar la juventud.” Now NYC has woken up to trying to prevent gun violence through a new program of help that will include GED so the youth can get on track. I was able to tape this video at my demonstration at City Hall in NYC many years ago, but I learned a little about Santo Domingo from a youth that I helped pass the test that year. Here is a Latino youth talking about his friends. You must watch this and share it. Check out this video taken at my Save the GED Test Rally at City Hall about a decade ago. Former City Councilman Robert Jackson left an important labor meeting to participate for eight minutes and after that this youth asked to participate and I grabbed the opportunity to hear him out. Think about what an improvement could have taken place if all this youth’s friends had decided to get an education instead of participating in criminal behavior. So nobody did anything about that big problem and these things may take place all over a large city.

And now we can turn to Sosúa and how Martin wanted to make a motion picture. He visited Jaime Piña in Santo Domingo in the neighborhood called Piantini. Piña is a film maker and cousin of Porfirio Piña who basically introduced Martin to Juan Luis Guerra.

As people speak in German on a ship, a young man (Albert) is drawing.  He is talented beyond his years and quite emotional as many artists are.  A woman speaks to him and he gets upset.  Soon the ship arrives in port.  It is sunny and warm and water is a green-blue, water he has not seen before and there is vegetation on the land that is not at all like Austria.   This is the Dominican Republic and it is 1940. This is the story of Sosúa.

The Jewish people here have been saved by Rafael Trujillo, the dictator of the Dominican Republic.  We see the people at work and setting up the school right away where they take in Dominican children, and building a synagogue.  We see Batey life, the life of poor people in rural Dominican Republic who live near sugar plantations.   Dominican farmers laugh as European, urban Jews put up a fence for the animals.  The next day the fence falls down and the Jews hire Dominicans to help them.  Albert plays with Dominican children, thinking that all children must be the future and a better future than Jews got from Germany.    Life has changed, but his personality stays pretty much the same.  He is very interested in poetry and art and whatever he can find out about the Holocaust in Europe, the Holocaust that he escaped.  He cries upon learning about the Holocaust, reading about the Nuremberg trials of those who committed horrible atrocities.   Some of those people are executed for their crimes and others are acquitted or imprisoned.   He pays close attention to the formation of the state of Israel on the radio and in the newspapers.

Albert has learned Spanish well and uses the language in all important aspects of life.  He meets Dominicans and even children who were born of Haitian parents and he goes fishing with a youth named Toussaint.  They really enjoy each other’s company.  He tells Toussaint “We are all human beings trying to live together.  I read about your name and you were named after a great leader.”  Toussaint explains that he had heard about the killing of millions of Jews in Europe and he thinks the same kind of thing happened to a member of his family near the Haitian border.  Toussaint says, “I think that God has brought us all here together for a great purpose, something that humanity has never known before.  Albert says, “You are going to do great things when you grow up.”

 As years go by, Albert tells friends that it really is not safe to be a Jew anywhere.  We have to fight against everyone.  Trujillo brought us here to make people whiter.  Why?  We left racism to enter a racist state.  It makes no sense.  Most of us left and perhaps they knew this was wrong from the beginning.   They must have known.  We were given a license to have sex with everyone to create new Dominican babies? 

 On another occasion, Albert tells people his theory of how Israel came to be.  I say that Golda Meir went to President Harry Truman and told him that the Jews would never sue the United States for the damage done to Jews during the Holocaust.  The United States refused to take us in and we could have been killed if we did not land here.  No reparations must have been the deal!  It is all about money.  It is all about bad governance and corruption.   The Nazis took away our money in Germany before they took away our lives, billions of marks and millions of lives.  It’s all about money.

Albert spends much of his time creating and his passion is painting, painting the people and the landscapes.  Others have left for America and Israel, but he has remained.  He has a Dominican girlfriend, a woman who is a different color.  He follows the politics of his adopted country and yearns for something better.  He pays close attention to what others say about the government, but he chiefly expresses himself by the arts.  He reads to his girlfriend and their friends and he writes a song about all the Jewish children that have left Europe without their mothers, never to see them again.  He is passionate, but careful.   He has been warned to be that way.  His girlfriend makes a copy of the song and she and friends decide to put music to it.  The song is Sosúa the Second Life.  Jews have babies, work and play, but millions have died.    This is the story of a people that went from Hitler to Trujillo.  He fights back his tears.

SEGUNDA VIDA EN SOSUA

Madre mía cuanto te extraño

Llorando lágrimas de amor por ti

Llenando en un mar desconocido e inmenso

Con sentimientos tan intensos

Todavía una inquietud me pasa a mí

Y la razón cómo y porqué yo me partí

De su amor maternal por mí

Con un adiós absurdo salí de su casa

Pensando de un anschluss y un kristalnacht sinistro

Y una inquietud me lo pasa

Nos pasamos

Las leyes de Nuremberg escapamos

Un pueblo hablando nuestro idioma

Todos nos atacaron

Como un vicioso tiburón

Pero aquí, mamá

Entramos en un puerto y un día diferente

Protegido por se parece

Un nuevo Luperón

Por edicto doctoral

Bailamos en los mares con caballos

Olvidamos la marcha del temor

Vacas y dominicanos fabricando queso junto

Olvidamos el progreso del temor

Dieciocho niños se nacieron de los pares

Mamí un bebe está llorando contento, increíble

Imposible en Alemania, Polonia y Romania

Hecho posible (reproducido) por el milagro del sonido de un tambor

Gracias al mango glorioso y latkas de yuca quisqueyana

Gracias al lenguaje español

Gracias al despartar con un gallo y mi caballo

Sí, mamí mi caballo

Gracias al poderoso y vida dando sol

Porque no me escriba madre mía

Para que yo pueda informarle

De Charamico, Puerto Plata y el Batey

Tomando mi café al estilo vienesa

También un nuevo régimen

Y una diferente ley

Quisiera besarte y amarte

Por la vida que me dio

Tengo una segunda vida

Debajo de un arduo sol

Tengo una segunda vida en Sosúa

Debajo de un arduo sol

We see Albert’s girlfriend and musicians working on the song, providing the music.  The song is really coming together as they compose and discuss what is needed.

Time passes and there is a problem that surfaces.   Jealousy.  There is a Dominican who flirts with his girlfriend.  Albert has to fight back to protect this relationship.  He wins the fight, but it brings too much attention to himself.  People are talking.  Perhaps he did not belong with this girl in the first place.  He senses anti-Semitism growing.  He feels the young man is anti-Semitic. 

 The young man who lost the fight seeks revenge.  He wants to eliminate this Jew who has beat him fairly.  He says that Jesus was killed by Jews.  He is Catholic.  Time passes and it is the moment to take action.  He breaks into Albert’s home and waits.  He almost trips and sees Albert’s hidden work.  There is a small painting of Black people, Haitians being killed in a river.  He sees the violence committed by Dominican men and blood all over the Haitians.   He leaves with the painting under his shirt.  He soon tells friends that he is going to get rid of Albert for good, pointing his finger in the air and simulating shooting a gun.

 A man in the Batey is talking to the Dominican youth and he puts his arm on his shoulder, telling him that we will take care of him.  A Catholic priest is informed by one of the men in town and the Catholic priest says that something has to be done about Albert and it is not about fighting him and beating him up.  This Jewish youth has to be taught a bigger lesson.  The man says “This is our country.”

 Albert’s girlfriend finds out from her friend’s mother who cleans the home of the chief of police in the province of Puerto Plata that Rafael Trujillo is on his way to visit the community.  There is talk in the Batey that something is going to happen.  She warns Albert.

 Albert tells a close woman friend and she takes action, visiting the homes of people she can trust.  She will pay to have Albert removed from the Dominican Republic.  Albert’s presence may also be a threat to all the Jews who remain in the Dominican Republic.  She is trying to make arrangements for him to go out to sea to find a new home in Puerto Rico or St. Marteen.  The Dutch have always helped the Jews.  She is sure that someone will help her get things done quickly.

As she walks around, a Black youth sees her and calls out.  She does not recognize him.  “It’s me.  Toussaint,” the young man says.  She tells him that she has a problem.  He feels sad and asks her what she needs.  She tells him she needs a boat immediately to help Albert.  He leads her to a man and they discuss the matter.  The man is a fisherman.    Later Albert is seen speaking to the man and discerns his French-Kreole accent as he speaks Spanish.    She and Albert are taken later under the cover of darkness to a boat.  Albert prays for the safety of all and he knows how dangerous it could be even for the Haitian fisherman.   The boat heads out to sea.  A ship brought Albert to Sosúa and a boat is taking him away from Sosúa.  Albert turns his body around and faces the Dominican Republic and takes a last look, not knowing if he will ever be able to return.

 ©2013 Martin N. Danenberg

I hope that many more Jews around the world learn more about what happened in the Dominican Republic’s northern coast where Jews who were saved from Hitler were allowed into a county. When I attended the Sosúa Exhibit in the Jewish Museum by Battery Park, I learned that it was the most successfully attended event in its history. Let’s tend to the business of making a better world thru this kind of education. And think about paying back the Dominican people by sharing incredible ideas that can make the Dominican Republic a better place for its people.

Pa que en el conuco no se sufra tanto, oye

ojalá que llueva café en el campo

pa que en Los Montones oigan este canto

ojalá que llueva café en el campo…

Pa que to los niños canten en el campo

ojalá que llueva café en el campo

pa que en La Romana oigan este canto

ojalá que llueva café en el campo…

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