Presented by Arlo Haskell.
‘The Jewish Underground’
Smuggling Refugees from Cuba to Key West: 1918-1939
During the 1920s, new immigration laws prohibited Jews from entering the United States as Adolf Hitler rose to power in Germany’s Nazi Party. In the ensuing humanitarian crisis, thousands of Jewish migrants became refugees in Cuba, where authorities looked the other way as smugglers transported them to Key West by any means necessary. Bar owners, boat captains, costume artists, counterfeiters, immigration officials, a rabbi, and even a traveling carnival company joined forces to reunite Jewish families and save the lives threatened by racist American laws. Their actions inspired Ernest Hemingway’s novel, To Have and Have Not, and pitted them against powerful local officials who belonged to the Ku Klux Klan. This talk illuminates the clandestine acts and secret societies of an era that bears striking similarities to our own.
Arlo Haskell is a writer, historian, editor, publisher, and literary organizer. He is the author of the Jews of Key West: 1823-1969, coming this fall from Sand Paper Press, and the director of the Key West Literary Seminar.
The project is sponsored in part by the Helmerich Trust and the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council of the Arts and Culture and the State of Florida.