In 1939, Germany's Hamburg-America Line announced a voyage from Germany to Cuba. 937 people, the vast majority being Jews, signed up for the opportunity to escape Nazi Germany. Unbeknownst to the passengers, the visas they purchased were from a corrupt Cuban director of immigration, and they were invalid. Upon arrival in Havana, only 28 people were allowed to disembark, while the rest remained on board for weeks as they sailed to Florida, and eventually Canada, searching for safe haven. Sadly the ship returned to Antwerp after more than a month at sea. Forced back under Nazi rule as the low countries fell, it is estimated that approximately 250 of the refugees died in the extermination camps in occupied Poland. Written by
At one point, Yugoslavia was considered as a shooting location. Yugoslav producers managed to find locations to represent both Hamburg and Havana (town of Rijeka and resort of Opatija in northern Croatian Adriatic coast, just few kilometers apart) but couldn't find the ship US producers wanted (they did find one, but in process of being destroyed in a harbor), so the idea was abandoned. See more »
The original St. Louis had a dark hull. The hull used on the ship in this film is white. See more »
Just as I finally understand why we left England in the lurch until 1941 (because of the fierce isolationism caused by the murder-in-the-mud-and-gas of WWI), I have to be faced with another example of our inhumanity to man. No matter what your nationality, this all-star movie will haunt you forever!! And echoes of our similar silence toward the Bosnians as the genocide progressed will also occur to you.
Knowing how it ends makes it all MORE agonizing, and while you hate the stupid waste of the young lovers: German and Jew, you know that it is EXACTLY true of adolescents who cannot see beyond tomorrow. And these 2 weren't prepared to wait around to see.
Lee Grant, as the berserk mother cutting her hair down to the concentration camp style, did an outstanding job as she also tried to deal with her increasingly more irrational husband. The sense of uprootedness of even the richest and most well educated is powerfully presented.
I suppose the most shameful scene of all was the US Coast Guard cutter, performing the same function as the electric chair switch-thrower does in our nation.......legalized murder in the name of us all. This is another one I will have to arm myself to see again. The message must be never forgotten.
As a Unitarian, I always thank God for the Jews. As much as human beings hate those that are different, those that are evolved beyond many of the rest of us in brilliance and sensitivity are hated most of all. When the frustrated turn to vent their venom on anyone, as the Nazis did in WWII, the Jews are usually the first to feel the brunt. Now, homosexuals seem to have joined the ranks of 'first out' for similar reasons. Why can't we human beings rise above these evil actions? It's enough to make you believe in original sin.
See it. It might just prevent you for ganging up on someone in your office or at school, though I doubt it. We don't seem to learn from history.
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