Conference Proceeding: PERSPECTIVES ON THE HOLOCAUST: THE CASE OF THE S.S. ST. LOUIS, 1939

On May 13, 1939, nearly 1,000 German-Jewish refugees boarded the MS St. Louis in Hamburg and set off for Cuba. When the ship arrived at its destination two weeks later, only 22 passengers were allowed to disembark. After a week in the harbor and failed negotiations between the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the volatile Cuban government, the ship was forced back to international water. The shipping line ordered the St. Louis back to Germany, setting off panic among the passengers, many of whom had been interned at Buchenwald, Dachau, and Sachsenhausen as a result of Kristallnacht. Ultimately, through the Joint’s Paris office, four countries—Belgium, the Netherlands, England, and France—agreed to provide safe haven, short-lived as it was for many. This panel explores the doomed voyage of the MS St. Louis and its repercussions, captured in children’s books by Kacer and Krasner, articles by Krasner, memoir by Goldsmith, author and survivor liaison Scott Miller, and scholarly and film interpretation by Medoff. Each panelist will discuss his/her research process and production of works.

Presentation Topic: