What was life like for the Jews on the St. Louis?
Beautiful, glorious and wonderful were all words that were once used to describe the experience once on board the St. Louis. Everyone boarded on a gorgeous day while a band played and photographers snapped their photos. They all believed that they were going on what would be a lovely cruise. Throughout the journey over to Cuba everyone enjoyed dances, parties and movies like a regular cruise today. Everything was great until they reached their destination, where the confusion, sadness and fear began.
Gerda Blachmann Wilchford explains how everyone reacted after they were denied entry into Cuba. Everyone was upset and angry that they could not enter the country to ensure their safety and scared that they could possibly have to return to Germany. The good times on the St. Louis turned to bad. There were no more parties or celebrations and the food and water was no longer good. All the passengers could do was sit and wait for something good to happen and keep hope of survival.
The US and Canada have both made contributions to the St. Louis and showed how much they appreciate the event and the passengers. About 75 survivors in 2009 signed the US Senate proclamation, which marked the first time that the US officially acknowledged the suffering of those aboard the ship at that time. The have also set up the Crystal Cruise. This is a 14 day cruise that follows the same path that the St. Louis did back in 1939. On board people learn about what life was like on board the ship and listen to stories of some of the survivors. Some survivors say that it is a great way to remember and educate others about this tragedy. Canada has also made a contribution towards the appreciation of the St. Louis. A memorial was set up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where the St. Louis would have docked if it was accepted. This Memorial is called the Wheel of Conscience (photo below) and shows appreciation to all the Jews that were forced to go through that very unfair time of anti-semitism. Many more contributions to the survivors of the St. Louis have been made in North America. Events such as reunions have brought many people together to honour the survivors and to show how sorry we really are.
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Passengers aboard the SS St. Louis. Digital image. Kristallnacht. HolocaustandHumanity.org, n.d. Web. 24 May 2015.
Perf. Gerda Blachmann Wilchfort. The Holocaust: A Learning Site for Students. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, n.d. Web. 24 May 2015.
Refugees on Board the MS St. Louis Dance in the Ship's Ballroom. Digital image. Collections Search. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, n.d. Web. 25 May 2015.
Sol Messinger. Digital image. National Post. National Post, 17 Jan. 2011. Web. 24 May 2015.
St. Louis. Digital image. 'St. Louis' Survivors Recall Voyage from Florida. Tampa Bay Times, 14 Dec. 2009. Web. 24 May 2015.
The Stainless Steel Wheel of Conscience. Digital image. The Canadian Jewish News. CJNEWS.COM, 17 Nov. 2014. Web. 24 May 2015.
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View of a Spacious Dining Room on the MS St. Louis. Digital image. The Ultimate History Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2015.
Voyage of the SS St Louis. Digital image. Jewish Virtual Libaray. American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, n.d. Web. 25 May 2015.
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