Commemorating the voyage of the St.Louis


Sens. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) and Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) have introduced a resolution recognizing June 6 as the 70th anniversary of the M.S. St Louis being turned away from a port in the United States because of immigration laws. The German oceanliner carrying 937 Jewish refugees ended up returning to Europe, where more than 250 of its passengers died in the Holocaust and many others suffered in concentration camps. The full press release is after the jump: [[READMORE]]


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senators George Voinovich (R-OH) and Herb Kohl (D-WI) introduced a Senate Resolution recognizing June 6, 2009 as the 70th anniversary when passengers of the M.S. St. Louis were denied safe harbor in the United States. The M.S. St. Louis, a German ocean liner carrying 937 Jewish refugees seeking asylum, was turned away from a port in Southern Florida in the tense months leading up to World War II.

“In our quest for tolerance and peace, we must rely on truth and knowledge,” Sen. Voinovich said. “We must never forget the atrocity that is the Holocaust and the role our nation played in the fates of the M.S. St. Louis refugees. We must continue to commit our nation and our government to a spirit of tolerance and compassion.”

“My hope is that this resolution will raise awareness about the tragic events surrounding the M.S. St. Louis, and the fateful decision to send the refugees back to Europe,” Sen. Kohl said. “Future generations need to know this story so that it is never repeated.”

On June 6, 1939, the M.S. St. Louis began its return trip to Europe after a disheartening voyage to find refuge from escalating anti-Semitic violence in Nazi Germany. Only 28 of the St. Louis’ passengers were allowed to disembark in Havana, Cuba, with more than 900 remaining. Citizens of the United States were sympathetic to the plight of these refugees, but strict adherence to immigration laws denied them asylum.

As a result of the shameful decision not to allow them sanctuary in the U.S., more than 250 of the St. Louis’ passengers died during the Holocaust, while many others suffered in Nazi concentration camps. This resolution recognizes the survivors by commemorating the 70th anniversary of the ship’s return to Europe.

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