On May 13, 1939, a German ship sailed out of Hamburg for Havana with 937 Jewish refugees aboard. Known as the “Voyage of the Damned” for being denied permission to dock in Cuba and subsequently being turned away from the United States and Canada, the SS St. Louis was ultimately forced to return to Europe where over 200 refugees perished at the hands of Nazis in concentration camps.
Today, as part of its ongoing mission to promote greater awareness and dialogue on issues of human rights, immigration and refugee policy, the SS St. Louis Legacy Project has announced it is joining with Protravel International to commemorate the tragic sequence of events that transpired 75 years ago. Through a unique educational cruise on the Crystal Serenity this November 5-19, guests will have the rare opportunity to hear directly from surviving passengers of the ill-fated 1939 voyage, as well as to seeing a showing of the new feature documentary film Complicit, which the SS St. Louis Legacy Project describes as “the untold story of why the Roosevelt Administration denied safe haven to Jewish Refugees.” The film is an official selection of the Australian Jewish Film Festival and the Georgetown University Law School Equal Justice Film Festival.
Additionally, guests will learn about the events surrounding the SS St. Louis by renowned filmmaker Robert Krakow and producer Dr. Ruth Kalish, who will host a private cocktail reception, as well as to see a showing of the SS St. Louis Archival Exhibits, which include original documents from the U.S. State Department Archives. Guests may also participate in an interactive presentation of the critically acclaimed play, The Trial of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Both the film and the play focus directly on the events that transpired 75 years ago.
“We will breathe life into history by using this unique cruise experience aboard the Crystal Serenity to trace the voyage of the SS St. Louis in a deeply respectful and meaningful way,” explained Dr. Kalish. “To keep this history alive, it’s essential that our efforts are brought forth in today’s environment. One way to do that is by using drama to educate, but we’re finding another way is to incorporate this particular commemoration into a modern cruise experience.”
“Protravel is very honored to work with the SS St. Louis Legacy Project through this extraordinary event to help foster greater understanding of this tragic chapter in U.S. and world history,” noted Barry Liben, CEO of Protravel International. “As a testament to our support, Protravel will be making a donation to the continuing educational efforts of the SS St. Louis Legacy Project.”
On Nov. 5, the cruise will depart New York City with an itinerary that includes Baltimore, Norfolk, Charleston, Grand Turk, Curaçao, and Aruba, prior to disembarkation in Miami on Nov. 19. The sailing also coincides with the acclaimed Crystal Wine & Food Festival on the Crystal Serenity and features famous chefs and wine authorities, thus providing guests with unparalleled experiences.
In addition to Crystal’s value-added inclusions – complimentary gratuities, concierge services for personal arrangements ashore and more – exclusive amenities for the SS St. Louis Legacy Project cruise also include an autographed DVD and poster of Complicit, and a commemorative book containing copies of the original documents and a photo album containing pictures taken aboard the SS St. Louis.
Space is very limited for this special experience, which is available exclusively through Protravel. For more information on retracing the SS St. Louis history, please call (800) 785-1944.