In May of 1939, passengers boarded the S.S. St. Louis in Hamburg, Germany. Almost all of the 937 passengers aboard the St. Louis were Jewish refugees who were in the process of applying for visas to enter the United States from Cuba. When the Cuban government refused to admit all but 28 of these passengers, some of the passengers personally appealed to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt for entry into the United States. When Roosevelt did not respond, the St. Louis was forced to sail back to Europe. Some passengers found refuge in Great Britain but most were forced to return to continental Europe where 254 St. Louis passengers were murdered in the Holocaust. This page from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Holocaust Encyclopedia tells the story of the St. Louis and its passengers. Readers will find a number of artifacts, including photographs of passengers and a radiogram sent by a St. Louis passenger to his children in Europe. In addition, visitors can listen to an oral history recording of passenger Gerda Blachmann Wilchfort. Finally, this site features an animated map of the ship's journey, which provides a powerful classroom resource for social studies teachers.
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