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Letter: 1939 refugees turned away
February 07, 2017, 05:00 AM Letter


In the year 1939, the German liner MS St. Louis left Hamburg, Germany, just before the start of World War II. On board, were over 900 Jewish refugees fleeing persecution. At the helm was Capt. Gustav Schroder who ordered the passengers be treated well despite official German policy.

En route to the West and hopefully refuge, the rules and visas were changed (sound familiar?), the passengers were denied entry to Cuba, the United States and Canada. The ship had to return to a hostile Europe and while about 300 passengers were granted safety in the U.K., the rest had to find places in continental Europe with over 250 ultimately falling victim to the Holocaust once World War II started.

This was a black stain on our history much as slavery, the treatment of the Native Americans and Americans of Japanese decent. Are we looking at this once again?

Mike Caggiano

San Mateo



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