Finding Aid
Descriptive Summary
Title: Records of the Dominican Republic Settlement Association (DORSA), 1939-1977
Creator: American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
Inclusive Dates: 1939-1977
Link: The DORSA 1939-1977 Records
Location: American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, New York Archives
Scope and Content of Records

In 1938, President Roosevelt invited 32 governments to consult with U.S. representatives at Evian, France, on refugee problems, and the participants created an Intergovernmental Committee for Refugees (IGCR). For IGCR Reports on Refugees 1938 – 1940, and on Refugee Settlement in the Dominican Republic, see Files 45a – 45b.

At the first IGCR meeting, Generalissimo Trujillo offered to admit into his country as settlers up to 100,000 refugees from Europe. Promptly, the Refugee Economic Corporation and the President’s Advisory Committee on Political Refugees—under Executive Secretary George L. Warren—launched feasibility studies on settlement prospects. Other studies followed, notably one by Dr. Joseph A. Rosen, President of the Agro-Joint. He recommended the tract of Sosua, with its 26,000 acres on the north shore of the island, as a desirable location.

In October 1939, Generalissimo Trujillo announced that 500 refugee families would be admitted immediately under the auspices of the IGCR in the wake of discussions conducted with the President’s Advisory Committee and the JDC. By then, the Agro-Joint had wound up its activities as the JDC operating agency in the USSR, and was ready to apply its great fund of experience to the field of agricultural settlement for Nazi refugees. Accordingly, it offered a commitment of $200,000 from its residual assets towards the launch of a settlement undertaking in the Dominican Republic under the auspices of the Dominican Republic Settlement Association (DORSA). DORSA was incorporated in New York State; James N. Rosenberg was elected President and Joseph A. Rosen Vice President. Over the years, DORSA received other large-scale allocations from the Agro-Joint.

In mid-January 1940, negotiations were opened between the Dominican government and DORSA. James Rosenberg was a key participant and the diary of his trip to the Dominican Republic—see File 9—offers interesting sidelights on the progress of the negotiations. On January 20, Generalissimo Trujillo offered the Sosua tract for the new settlement. DORSA accepted the offer and the formal agreement was signed on January 30.

It should be noted that the DORSA files pertain to Sosua almost entirely. Refugees also inhabited Ciudad Trujillo, the capital city. Aid to them was channeled via the Joint Relief Committee in that city, and the data may be found in the following collections:

Records of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee 1945-1954, Files 227-231

Records of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee 1955-1964, Files 161-162


These materials have been shaped into three main categories of arrangement:

Subcollection 1. Administration
This subcollection is divided into nine record groups:

Minute Books

Subcollection 2. Subject Matter
This subcollection is divided into three record groups:

Loan Kassas and Cooperative.

Subcollection 3. Organizations
This subcollection is divided into two record groups:

Centro Israelita de la Republica Dominica
Coordinating Foundation, 1939 – 1943

Alternative Form of Materials

The records in this collection have been digitized and are searchable online through the textual collections portal of the JDC Archives database. Microfilm copies of the material are also available on 13 reels labeled according to folder range.

Copyright Conditions

Copyright held by The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Inc. Other intellectual property rights may apply. The publication of JDC records in any format requires the written permission of the JDC Archives. Users must apply in writing for permission to reproduce or publish manuscript materials found in this collection. Please see our Access and Restrictions Policy for further details. For information contact: [email protected]

Preferred Citation

Repository, Title of Collection, Folder number, Title of item, Date of item,, item [ITEM ID number].

Example: JDC Archives, Dominican Republic Settlement Association (DORSA) Collection 1939-1971, Folder #11, “Letter from Rafael L. Trujillo to James N. Rosenberg,” August 30, 1940,, item 582406.

Processing Information

Arrangement and description of the DORSA Collection was originally produced by Emil Lang.

Digitization of this collection was made possible with funding from the Polonsky Foundation.

Archives of The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Inc.

Email: [email protected]