Tropical Diaspora: The Jewish Experience in Cuba

LAJSA Best Book Prize Winner

“This unique, well-documented social history invites the reader to explore Cuban Jewry as a fascinating chronicle and to ‘capture the flavor of their lives.’ This is made possible by Levine’s ability to write a text composed of carefully collated data, excellent illustrations, and oral testimonies. Levine’s book contributes to an understanding of Cuban Jewry’s unique setting — starting from colonial times, through its second American diaspora following the 1959 communist revolution. … Levine traces several stages of Jewish immigration to Cuba, starting with American businessmen rapidly integrated … in some cases, into the Cuban upper class; Sephardic emigrants from Turkey, who were more socially accepted by Creole and other ethnic groups; … and thousands of East European Jews arriving after 1924, who perceived the island as a kind of ‘immigration hotel’ on their way to America. … Levine devotes two fascinating chapters to Jewish refugees escaping to Cuba before and during World War II. The tragic journey of 973 refugees carried by the St. Louis, whose landing permit had been retroactively denied by the Cuban government, is told by Levine through both dramatic oral testimonies and archival documentation.”
Florida Historical Quarterly

Robert S. Levine was the author of numerous books on Latin American and Caribbean history. He taught at the University of Miami.