The ordeal of the refugee ship St. Louis has become a symbol of the world's indifference to the plight of European Jewry on the eve of the Holocaust. In the spring of 1939, more than nine hundred Jewish refugees boarded the St. Louis in Hamburg, Germany, hoping to escape escalating oppression by the Nazi government. Except for a small group that had special visas and was able to disembark in Havana, the ship and its passengers were denied entry by Cuba and the United States. Returning on an uncertain voyage to Europe, the refugees eventually were accepted by four western European countries. Other than the 288 sent to England, most once again fell under the Nazi grip that closed upon continental Europe a year later. Although the episode of the St. Louis is well known, the actual fates of the passengers, once they disembarked, slipped into historical obscurity. Prompted by a former passenger's curiosity, Sarah A. Ogilvie and Scott Miller of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum set out to discover what happened to each of the 937 passengers. Their investigation, spanning ten years and half the globe, took them to unexpected places and produced surprising results. "Ogilvie and Miller successfully bring the harrowing story up to date; their meticulous and persistent research deserves accolades and congratulations."-Morton I. Teicher, Buffalo Jewish Review
Sarah Ogilvie is director of the National Institute of Holocaust Education at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Scott Miller is director of the Benjamin and Vladka Meed Registry of Jewish Holocaust Survivors at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.