In May, 1939, the SS St. Louis, a ship of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution left Hamburg, bound for Havanna, 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 President Roosevelt to allow them to land in the United States, but they were again turned away. The ship was forced to retun to Europe, where two-thirds of the passengers would perish in the Holocaust.
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