Ship carrying 937 Jewish refugees, fleeing Nazi Germany, is turned away in Cuba

A boat carrying 937 Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution was turned back from Havana, Cuba, on May 27, 1939. Only 28 immigrants were admitted to the country. Once the calls to the United States and Canada are refused, the others are forced to return to Europe, where they are distributed in several countries, including Great Britain and France.

READ MORE: Jewish refugee ship denied American landing in 1939. It was their fate

On May 13, S.S. Saint Louis sailed from Hamburg, Germany, to Havana, Cuba. Most of the passengers – many of them children – were German Jews escaping the growing persecution under the Third Reich. Six months earlier, 91 people had been killed and Jewish homes, businesses and synagogues had been destroyed in what became the Kristallnacht pogrom. It was becoming increasingly clear that the Nazis were accelerating their efforts to exterminate the Jews by arresting them and placing them in concentration camps. The Second World War and the official implementation of the final solution were only a few months after the start.


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