|Jacob Weinberg:||Born in Emden, Germany December 26, 1899
Deceased in Sosúa September 15, 1976
|Emma Weinberg:||Born in Emden, Germany November 12, 1904
Deceased in Sosúa December 6, 1971
|Sophie Weinberg :||Born in (unknown) July 7, 1857
Deceased in Sosúa October 5, 1953
Children: Ernst, Alfred
Grandchildren: Stuart, Steven
The Weinberg family originated from a town called Emden from the northwest part of Germany. Their lives were comfortable, and they had a nice apartment there.
Jacob Weinberg was a bookkeeper working for a German company in the port of Emden. His father owned a tobacco store in the same town. When his father died, Jacob took over the store until he had to close it due to the Nazi’s rules. On November 10, 1938, the day after Crystal Night, Jacob left the house early in the morning to discard a gun that he owned from the store. As he was turning a corner, the Gestapo arrived at his house at about 5 o’clock that morning. Jacob’s wife Emmy, his children Ernest and Alfred, and his father-in-law Nathan Van der Walde were woken up by the Gestapo and arrested. They were marched to a holding building where the other Jewish families were held. Ernest, who was 8 years old, was crying and was told by the Gestapo in charge to stop crying or he would shoot his mother. Meanwhile, Jacob was picked up by the Gestapo and marched to the same place where they were holding the rest of the town’s Jews. After several hours, the Jewish families were released and Jacob was taken to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.
The next day, Nathan Van der Walde, his father-in-law who was a veteran from the German army, was able to find out where they had taken Jacob. After further investigation, he was told that they would release him if the whole family left the country. Emmy had relatives in Holland, and she asked for help from them. She went to several agencies and was able to acquire the proper papers to be able to leave Germany. Jacob was released with the understanding that he and his family leave the country. When he was asked to talk about the concentration camp, he refused to talk about it. The family was finally able to get the proper papers to leave the country. They were given a choice of Paraguay or the Dominican Republic. They chose the Dominican Republic. They left Germany to board a ship in Belgium. When they tried to cross Holland, they did not have a visa to cross Holland and they had to return to Germany. After arriving back in Germany, they had 3 weeks to leave or be arrested. They we able to book passage on a ship named Klaus Horn to the Dominican Republic.
The family arrived in Ciudad Trujillo on March 1939. Jacob was approached by some kind of official and was told to wait and get passage to New York. He told the person that he had to disembark and he did not want to take chances to be sent back. The official told him “in that case, you might as well hang yourself.” The Weinberg family lived in Ciudad Trujillo for one year. Jacob was able to earn some money on some odd jobs. He was approached by a native Dominican who told him that he had some property he could buy and live there. Jacob went for it. Not knowing the customs and the people, he found out too late after he gave the man the money that he was conned. Now he only had 2 pesos left to his name, and his youngest son Alfred came down with pneumonia. He spent the last 2 pesos for his son’s medications. Desperately, he contacted the JOINT for help. They had enough change to be able to take care of his family. Shortly after that, he was approached by an official from DORSA, Mr. Perlstein, and asked if he would be interested in farming. Jacob told Mr. Perlstein that he would do anything. Soon afterwards, Mr. Perlstein arrived at the Weinberg’s living quarters. He told Jacob that he and Max Sichel were going to a town called Sosúa, where they would be trained to become farmers. He assured Emmy that he would be back to pick up the rest of the family.
On March 1940, Jacob and Max Sichel were taken to Sosúa. The first day in Sosúa, Max and Jacob were put to work in building a place to keep some pigs. Jacob’s family was picked up in April 1940 and relocated to Sosúa. Jacob and his family, and Max Sichel and his family were the unofficial welcome committee for the new arrivals. The Weinberg family was relocated to an old house in Laguna. Here they stayed until they moved to the Batey around 1949. They had an outhose, and in the main house they had a concrete stove where they used charcoal to cook the food. Jacob was named settler number 1. Emmy was settler number 2. Ernest and Alfred were named settlers number 3 and 4. Later, after a few years, they were able to bring over from Germany Sophie Weinberg, Jacob’s mother, and Nathan Van Der Walde, Emmy’s father. As it turned out, Nathan was a great help to Jacob since he was familiar with the treatment of the farm animals. Eventually, Jacob was able take care of the farm he was given by the DORSA. In addition, he got a job as an accountant for the cooperatives. Ernest and Alfred went to school every day riding their donkeys.
Life was hard at the beginning. They were fortunate to have local Dominicans showing them how to deal with their new lives. Antonio Imbert came to visit them several times and helped Jacob with some of the dealings with the farm. Emmy could not get used to life in Sosúa at first. It took a while, but eventually she got used to it. She was a great cook and was able to use native produce that was new to her, and cook it as she did in Germany. She washed laundry by using a washboard and hot water heated outside in a tub over an open fire.
In 1947, Ernie had to get a job to help the family. He started with Mr. Blackwood. He was involved with animal husbandry. After Sosúa received a veterinarian, Ernie was let go. He got involved with mosquito control. He didn’t keep that job too long. He then started working in the Sosúa bakery under the master baker from Germany by the name of Alex Mathis. He worked there until he left to go to New York. After one year in New York, he moved to Philadelphia. There he worked in a bakery until he joined the US Army.
The Weinbergs wanted Alfred to go to live in the United States of America for a better education. Jacob tried very hard to get a sponsor for him, unsuccessfully. In July 1953, Jacob, Emmy and Alfred were able to move to New York. They lived there for 3 years. In 1956, Jacob and Emmy moved back to Sosúa, where they lived happily ever after.
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