Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Bermuda Bureau Uses Code to Identify Racial Origin of Tourists

July 17, 1953
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The American Jewish Congress called upon the Bermuda Government Information Office to investigate the Bermuda Tourist Bureau which suggested in circulars to New York City travel agents that they use code words in their correspondence to identify tourists as Gentiles, Jewish , Negro or Asiatic “because ‘some hotels are restricted.'”

The circular is marked “confidential information to travel agents,” and suggests the use of the following code words to denote racial origin: Gentile – Oleander; Jewish – Hibiscus; Negro – Geranium; Asiatic – Poinciana. The letter of protest pointed out that “under New York law, it is illegal for any agent or any place of public accommodation, resort or amusement to display any notice that the patronage of any racial or religious group is not acceptable.”

“It is bad enough,” the American Jewish Congress declared, “that hotels and other resorts in Bermuda discriminate against guests otherwise qualified, because of their race or religion, but intolerable when Bermuda tourist bureaus attempt by secret codes and conspiracies to involve New York agents in their discriminatory policies.” It added that the Bermuda Government Office should, at the very least, take steps to prevent the distribution of the offending circulars and other violations of New York laws.

Recommended from JTA