The German ship SS "St. Louis" departed from Hamburg for Cuba with almost 1,000 Jewish refugees on board on May 13, 1939. Most of the passengers had Cuban landing certificates. However, the Cuban government invalidated the certificates. When the "St. Louis" reached Havana on May 27, most of its passengers were denied entry. After the United States also refused to accept the refugees, the ship returned to Europe, docking at Antwerp. Britain, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands then agreed to accept the refugees. [From Hearst Metrotone News]
The liner "St. Louis," turned back from Cuba, brings its human cargo to port at last. Nine hundred seven Jewish unfortunates without a country, permitted to land in Belgium after five weeks of suspense afloat. Through American generosity they will find at least temporary shelter in France, Holland, and England. These are but a fortunate few saved by publicity from the fate of their fellows. Ten thousand of their kinsmen are still homeless on the high seas, seeking sanctuary in vain. Three million more are in bondage in central Europe, a bondage forcing them to the greatest migration since the days of the Pharaohs. Helpless victims they of a merciless regime that spares neither rich nor poor, ill, aged or young, that strips them of virtually all but their clothes and casts them out. And yet for these few who have escaped, penniless but undaunted, life still looks sweet.
We would like to thank Crown Family Philanthropies and the Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation for supporting the ongoing work to create content and resources for the Holocaust Encyclopedia. View the list of all donors.