Cuba’s fading Jewish community – 1843 Magazine

Shot on assignment for The Economist 1843 Magazine, December 2019

“Cuba was a refuge, both from the past and from a feared-for future.” In 1943 Marcel Feigel’s parents, both Orthodox Jews, were sent to Nazi concentration camps. He lived hidden with different Christian families until the war ended and his mom, astonishingly, returned to Belgium alive and reunited with her son. But as the cold war heated up, many Jews in Europe were scared they could be in danger again and Marcel’s family fled to Cuba in 1950, hoping to end up in America where they had relatives.

The arrival on the sunny tropical island after a long trip from Antwerp left a profound mark on the memories of the 9 year-old. Together with his daughter Lara we followed his steps throughout the Jewish community in Havana, visiting the Synagogues he used to go, their old neighbourhood and the beach that caught his heart, where he swam, exultant, some 70 years later.