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Tropical Diaspora: the Jewish Experience in Cuba

by Levine, Robert M.

  • ISBN: 9780813012186
  • ISBN10: 081301218X

Tropical Diaspora: the Jewish Experience in Cuba

by Levine, Robert M.

  • List Price: $39.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida
  • Publish date: 01/01/2000
  • ISBN: 9780813012186
  • ISBN10: 081301218X
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Description: For the generations of Jews who immigrated to Cuba after 1900, the experience was bittersweet. Cuba welcomed immigrants long after the United States shut its doors to them in 1924, particularly refugees from Nazism. Yet the story of Cuban Jewry also includes the tragic 1939 drama of the SS St. Louis, turned away from Havana and the United States with its cargo of German-Jewish refugees still aboard, a propaganda coup for Germany. Although many Jews prospered economically on the island, they always remained outsiders, denied access to political influence and to high society. Unlike Jewish communities elsewhere, Jews in Cuba played virtually no cultural or intellectual role. Ironically, those who emigrated to the United States as politically (and economically) desirable refugees after the 1959 revolution were the same Jews, or the children of the same Jews, who had been deemed undesirable and denied U.S. entry in the 1920s. Robert Levine interviewed nearly a hundred Cuban-Jewish immigrants in the course of writing this book, and his use of their words lends the work an especially engaging, lively quality and makes it a vivid reflection of how the immigrants thought and felt and lived. The pages contain more than seventy-five rare photographs of the island and of the Jewish community from its origins to its near-moribund state today. Levine also compares the experience of Cuba's Jews with that of other immigrant groups, as well as that of Holocaust survivors in other Caribbean and Central American countries. The book's broad scope thus gives it appeal not only for students of Latin American Jewish issues but for all those interested in the relationship between majority and minoritysocieties in the Americas.
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