Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba

Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba

"My parents chose to save me, instead of saving themselves, so now here I am alone on a German ship stranded in Havana Harbor, half way around the huge world." It's June, 1939, and these are the thoughts of Daniel, a young Jewish refugee, whose ship has been turned away by Canada and the United States and has found its way to Cuba. Here the corrupt authorities determine who will be allowed to get off the boat and how much they will pay for the privilege. Paloma's father is a corrupt authority with the power to choose who disembarks and who does not. She overhears him laughing and making his choices and she cringes with pain and shame. David is an older man who has already made the journey into the Cuban culture. He sells ice cream and takes David under his wing. Daniel has hope that his parents will one day appear on one of the boats in the harbor. Then, the Nazi's begin spreading propaganda that spies are on the German boats and all Christians who have come onto the island married to Jewish refugees are rounded up. Courageously, Paloma hides an elderly couple in her dovecote. Courageously, Daniel lives on finding meaning in music and friendship and hope. I read this powerful story, written in free verse, at the same time I was reading WAR GAMES and DOG IN THE WOOD. The three together give a great perspective on the lives of children in different countries during World War II. Great read aloud. 208 pages

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