The State Department issued an official apology to passengers of the MS St. Louis, a German steamer carrying nearly 1,000 Jewish refugees that were denied entry into the US 73 years ago.
A ceremony was held to remember those passengers, who were turned away from Cuba, America and Canada in 1939. The ship was forced back to Germany, where one-third of the refugees perished at Auschwitz.
The State Department ceremony was attended by 200 guests, including 30 Holocaust survivors. Survivors from the St. Louis were in attendance as well, sharing their story firsthand to an audience that included Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, Foreign Service Director General Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, Hannah Rosenthal.
As part of the ceremony a play was presented, “The Trial of FDR,” which depicts the tough choices the US made during World War II. The play is expected to perform across America as an educational tool.