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Jewish Immigration in Haiti

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  • Jewish Immigration in Haiti

    On May 29,1939, at a time when many countries had adopted a “none is too many” policy in regards to Jewish immigration, Sténio Vincent, then president of Haiti, issued a special decree known as the “Décret-loi du 29 mai 1939, Octroyant la nationalité in absentia” (Legislative Decree of May 1939, Granting Citizenship in Absentia), conceding citizenship to Jewish refugees to Hait. While the impact of the decree was overall limited, many Jews were able to escape Europe, most notably Germany, and move to Haiti before relocating.

    Though some Haitian historians remain puzzled about Vincent’s exact motives, the decree nevertheless represented a surprising gesture, especially considering Haiti’s historical disposition towards foreigners.

    The Centre International de Documentation et d'Information Haïtienne, Caribéenne et Afro-canadienne (CIDIHCA) (located in Quebec, Canada) in collaboration with the City of Montreal, the Government of Canada and The Canada Council for the Arts celebrated little known facts about Haitian history and Jewish presence in Haiti in a 2014 exhibition entitled “L'un pour l'autre” (One for the other).

    (*Image credit and information from the CIDIHCA. Please do not distribute without proper credit.)

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