** I'm touched and truly humbled that readers of Holocaust History have purchased my book. The MS St. Louis tragedy and, it was a tragedy, was included in my first draft.You will find excerpt from original draft on next post.
By 1939 the persecution of Jews by Nazi Germany was well under way. During Brú’s presidency, the ocean liner MS St. Louis arrived in Havana carrying approximately nine hundred German Jews, who were fleeing Nazi Germany and seeking asylum. This attempted escape has been referred to as The Voyage of the Damned.
The Cuban government imposed a new visa fee of five hundred dollars and many aboard did not have the money. Havana had a large, wealthy Jewish population and some of the Jews who were able to get off the ship had Cuban relatives who paid the fee. Yet, only about thirty passengers were able to disembark. After being turned down by Cuba, the United States, and Canada, a few more passengers found permanent asylum in England. Of the remainder, who were left in various European ports, only eighty-four escaped Europe and at least 250 of the ship’s passengers were among those who died at various death camps during the Holocaust.[i]
On the same shores where these Jews lingered before being turned away, twenty-three years later, Cubans were riddled with bullets while trying to escape their own totalitarian regime. Cubans were only twenty-three years away from drowning in the same ocean while trying to flee to freedom.
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I'm full of gratitude!