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Jewish refugees attend the theater in the Sosua colony.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 69007

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    Jewish refugees attend the theater in the Sosua colony.
    Jewish refugees attend the theater in the Sosua colony.


    Jewish refugees attend the theater in the Sosua colony.
    Circa 1941 - 1949
    Sosua, The Dominican Republic
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Marcel Salomon

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Marcel Salomon

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Isidore Marcel Salomon is the son of Aron Joseph Salomon (b. Lodz, May 14, 1907) and Ida Wonagus Salomon (b. December 12, 1913, Luxembourg). Aron emigrated from Poland in the early 1920s to escape the rampant antisemitism and settled in Luxembourg. There he opened a shoe store and met and married Ida Wonagus. Marcel was born on March 3, 1935, and his older brother Alex was born September 30, 1933. The family spoke both Yiddish and Luxembourgish. Marcel's father also directed and acted in the Yiddish theatre Kulturgemeinde. The two boys attended public school. On May 10, 1940 Germany occupied Luxembourg and almost immediately began instituting antisemitic measures. On September 5, 355 businesses were aryanized including Aron's shoe store. On September 13, 1940 the Gestapo announced that all Jews had to leave the country or face deportation. Prior to Kristallnacht Aron had wanted to emigrate, but others told him that they lived in a neutral country and nothing would happen. Still when the opportunity arose he jumped at the chance. On November 7, 1940, 287 Jews left Luxembourg. Some of the emigrants had worthless Cuban visas with which they had obtained the necessary Spanish and Portuguese transit visas. Accompanied by Gestapo Lieutenant Schmidt, their train passed through occupied France to the Spanish Portuguese border. On November 11, the train arrived in Villar Formosa. Portuguese authorities directed the train to a dead track, refused to allow the passengers to leave and prohibited Jewish refugees already living there from bringing them food or supplies. Their train to freedom became a prison. Marcel's father had changed his money into diamonds which he hid in his shoes, and he exchanged one for water. One woman died on the seventh day from exhaustion and hunger. After many petitions suddenly on the ninth day the train moved and went back to Hendaye, France. The refugees were taken to a camp near Bayonne where they were housed in barracks. Rabbi Serebrenik, chief rabbi of Luxembourg, and representatives of Jewish aid groups were able to visit the refugees in Bayonne. HICEM and the JDC helped the group obtain visas and tickets. The Salomon family received permission to immigrate to the Dominican Republic where there was a refugee colony in Sosua. In June 1941 they sailed from Lisbon to New York on the Mouzinho. They spent three months on Ellis Island and then sailed on the Algonquin to the Dominican Republic where they remained until 1949.

    Ida's brothers and mother had also tried to leave Luxembourg. Her two brothers Joseph and Max Wonagus received immigration papers, but since their seventy year-old mother, Rachel was rejected, they remained behind. In October 1941, the Germans deported them to the Lodz ghetto. All three perished either in the ghetto or in Auschwitz.
    Record last modified:
    2014-01-30 00:00:00
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