St. Louis, City of Refuge

In 1939, a passenger liner called the SS St. Louis carrying 908 refugees from Nazi Germany—almost all of them Jewish—was turned away from the shores of Miami by the U.S. Coast Guard after three days of frantic appeals.

Ultimately, 254 of those people would die in the Holocaust in the German-occupied nations of Western Europe to which they were returned. Indirectly, they were victims of tight U.S. immigration policies spurred by the American public’s national-security fears.


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