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Old 06-04-2019, 07:30 AM
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June 4,1939: The MSSt. Louis is denied permission to land in Florida, then Canada, after already being turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, more than 200 of its passengers later die in Nazi concentration camps.

Motorschiff St. Louis is a German ocean liner infamously known for carrying more than 963 Jewish refugees from Germany, intending to debark in Cuba, where they were denied permission to land. Captain Gustav Schröder directed St. Louis towards the United States. He circles off the coast of Florida, hoping for permission from authorities to enter the United States. Cordell Hull, Secretary of State, advises President Roosevelt not to accept the Jews. Captain Schröder considers running aground along the coast to allow the refugees to escape, but acting on Cordell Hull's instructions, U.S. Coast Guard vessels shadow the ship and prevent such action.

After St. Louis is turned away from the United States, a group of Canadians will try to persuade Prime Minister William King to provide sanctuary to the passengers. On June 9 Frederick Blair, an immigration official hostile to Jewish immigration, will persuade him not to intervene.

Captain Schröder will finally return the ship to Europe, where various European countries, including the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, and France, will accept some refugees. Of the St. Louis passengers who will return to continental Europe, 87 will be able to emigrate before Germany invades western Europe in 1940. 254 passengers in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands after that date will die during the Holocaust. Most of these people will be murdered in Auschwitz and Sobibór; the rest will die in internment camps, in hiding or attempting to evade the Nazis.

These events will inspire film, opera, and fiction. Captain Gustav Schröder will be posthumously named as one of the Righteous among the Nations at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Israel.