The Tragic Voyage of the SS St. Louis

Summary ... Although the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum states on its website that "the origin of the 'Final Solution,' ... remains uncertain," it's not actually the truth. Hitler had given most of the Jews the chance to leave Germany and never return. It was only when the Nazi's saw that the nations did not want the Jews that they came up with the "Final Solution".

In 1938 United States President Roosevelt met with 31 other world leaders in Evian, France to discuss Jewish refugee policy. All the nations, except for the Dominican Republic, refused to raise their immigration quotas due to economic difficulty. Yes, there was a world-wide depression, but these world leaders all knew that refusal to help would result in the deaths of these people. Nevertheless, the leaders of these 31 nations, who put themselves forth as bastions of freedom and humanitarianism, refused outright to offer help of any kind. Later, during the actual war, when asked to drop a bomb — just one bomb — on the gas chambers and ovens of Birkenau the United States again refused outright. Even though it was on the route that the bombers were flying, the US stated they could not spare the bomb.

Five years earlier, in 1933 and continuing afterwards, anti-Jewish propaganda flooded Germany. Under the skillful direction of Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Propaganda Ministry churned out a ceaseless stream of leaflets, posters, newspaper articles, cartoons, newsreels, slides, movies, speeches, records, exhibits, and radio pronouncements. As a result, the accusations, denunciations, and opinions which Hitler first expressed in his book, Mein Kampf, had become institutionalized, accepted as time-tested beliefs by all Nazis, taught as fact to impressionable youths, and drilled into the minds of eager-to-please SS recruits. So five years after anti-Jewish propaganda began flooding Germany, at the conference in Evian, France, 31 nations still refused to do anything to help.

One year after the 31 world leaders announced they refused to provide help to the Jews — many of whom were already in concentration camps, on May 27, 1939, the SS St. Louis, a ship of 937 Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution left Hamburg, bound for Havana, Cuba. Without their knowledge, their landing passes had been voided by the Cuban President, Laredo Bru. When the ship arrived in Cuba, the passengers were not allowed to debark. Representatives from the Jewish Joint Distribution committee negotiated with the Cuban government, but to no avail. The passengers appealed to US President Roosevelt to allow them to land in the United States, but they were again turned away due to the anti-sematic position of the US State Department, a position which has not changed to this day. The ship was forced to return to Europe where two-thirds of the passengers were murdered in the Holocaust. The New York Times wrote at the time: "Off our shores she [the St. Louis] was attended by a helpful Coast Guard vessel alert to pick up any passengers who plunged overboard and thrust them back ... The refugees could even see the shimmering towers of Miami ... the battlements of another forbidden city."

What most people don't know is that Hitler gave the option to the Jews to leave Germany and never return. It was only after the Nazis saw the refusal of other nations to help the Jews that the Third Reich saw the need for the "Final Solution" — the murder of the Jewish people.

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