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State Dept. program highlights history of SS St. Louis

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. State Department held an event to commemorate the ill-fated ship the SS St. Louis. 

A play titled “The Trial of FDR” highlighted the Sept. 24 event for an audience of approximately 200, including 30 Holocaust survivors. The theatrical presentation, which focused on the decisions faced by U.S. leaders at the time, is expected to be shown throughout the United States.

The St. Louis left Germany in 1939 carrying 937 German Jewish refugees heading for Cuba. The German steamer was denied entry there and in the United States and Canada before sailing back to Europe. About one-third of its passengers ultimately died in Auschwitz.

Among the speakers at the State Department program were Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns and Foreign Service Director General Linda Thomas-Greenfield. The program was sponsored by the special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, Hannah Rosenthal, and the special envoy for Holocaust issues, Douglas Davidson.

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