Voyage of the Damned - Holocaust Ship of Shame. Again? Re Syrian Refugees
Many have written already on how and why we need not fear Syrian refugees. Those are facts that are falling on deaf ears. This is a straight appeal to humanity, kindness and conscience. By way of history… Please retweet or link to the hard hearted and the fearful.
Voyage of the Damned
By MARILYN HENRY
As the St. Louis steamed toward Havana from Hamburg, Germany, with nearly 1,000 Jews fleeing the Nazis aboard, Recha Weiler desperately nursed her dying husband, Moritz. While other passengers enjoyed the elegance of the civilized cruise after the repressions and humiliations of Germany, Weiler spent most of the voyage in her cabin with Moritz. But her efforts failed. The university professor died aboard the ship and was buried at sea.
An estimated half of the passengers were to die later, after both the US and Cuba rejected their pleas for refuge and the cruel 40-day journey sent them back to Europe to face the Nazis. Some 59 years after the St. Louis’s desperate passage back and forth across the Atlantic, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and its Survivors’ Registry are trying to trace the fates of its passengers, including Recha Weiler, the 61-year-old widow originally from Cologne.
The St. Louis left Germany on May 13, 1939. Its passengers, most of them from Germany, had expensive documents - some bogus - for entry into Cuba. When the ship arrived, however, Havana - and the US - refused to admit them. The St. Louis sat in the harbor for days. Desperate relatives packed motorboats and approached the anchored liner, shouting messages to loved ones. All awaited the outcome of frantic international negotiations to allow the refugees to disembark.
Ultimately, only 29 passengers were permitted to land in Havana. Then the ship was ordered to leave - maneuvering slowly and tantalizingly near the coast of Florida before turning back to Europe. On June 17, 1939, the St. Louis docked at Antwerp: 214 passengers remained in Belgium, 224 went to France and 181 to the Netherlands. Another 288 passengers went ashore in Britain on June 21.