The St. Louis was a German ship carrying 930 Jewish refugees from Nazi
Germany to Cuba. When the ship set sail from Hamburg on May 13, 1939, all
of its refugee passengers had legitimate landing certificates for Cuba.
However, during the two week voyage to Havana, the landing certificates
granted by the Cuban director general of immigration in lieu of regular
visas were invalidated by the pro-fascist Cuban government. When the St.
Louis arrived in Havana on May 27 only 22 Jewish refugees were allowed
Cuban President Federico Laredo Bru then insisted the ship and its remaining
900 Jews leave Havana. The refugees were also refused entry into the United
States. Thus on June 6 the ship was forced to return to Europe.
While en route to Antwerp, several European countries were cajoled into
taking in the refugees (287 to Great Britain; 214 to Belgium; 224 to France;
181 to the Netherlands).
Those that went to Belgium, France and the Netherlands were soon trapped
as Hitler's armies invaded Western Europe and perished as victims of the
Nazi Final Solution.