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tv   Book Discussion on Alexs Wake  CSPAN  June 29, 2014 6:30pm-7:40pm EDT

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martin goldsmith recalls the
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journey of 900 jewish refugees aboard the cruise liner ss st. louis that departed hamburg germany may 13, 1939. the ship was denied landing in cuba, the united states and canada and ultimately forced to return to europe. this is about one hour and ten minutes. >> welcome to today's program cosponsored by the library services at the library of congress and the library of congress professional association of the language table. the program is presented today in honor of the 75th anniversary of the sailing of the st. louis. one of the passengers of the st. louis is with us today. eva is sitting right there and i'm wondering if there are any other passengers or families of passengers that are here with us
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today and if so, could you sta stand. there is another one. [applause] i would like to think that u.s. holocaust memorial museum who is the reason that the program is here today. she arranged the speakers and then have the idea for the program. roberta schaefer of the librarian of congress, audrey fisher and the staff of the public affairs office. she let us have the wonderful pavilion, and from the ij section. also marchant held and the panelists. martin goldsmith and diane. i will be stepping aside as soon as i introduce him and he will take over the program.
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marvin talbot spent 30 years as an award-winning reporter and cbs news and nbc news. he has written and co-authored 11 nonfiction books and the two fiction books and he's currently working on a new book the soviet spring arrives and the challenge of putting's russia. he is a nonresident senior fellow with the foreign-policy programs at brookings and as a senior adviser to th advisor tor center on crisis reporting. he focuses on the impact of media and on public politics, policies and politics and is an expert on national security with a focus on u.s. relations with russia, europe and the middle east. with great pleasure i introduce marvin kalb.
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[applause] scenic thank you all for coming to the program. very quickly to set the stage, hitler came to power in germany, 1933 in five years later in the fall of 1938 there was when the '90s decided to destroy as best they could do synagogues and they got the message very quickly. in st. louis i know the title of the voyage of the st. louis and of course the entire journey has been written about in the book and the movie as the voyage. they never were able to land in cuba.
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the destination have to go back and roughly i don't know the exact numbers, two thirds of them somehow managed to survive world war ii. a third of them did not. they went back to their deaths at different times in different places. we are privileged to have two people that know about the subject and will talk to us about it. one of them is martin goldsmith. martin is the host and classical music programmer on the serious xm satellite radio and hosted the reform today. he's the author of two books, the inextinguishable symphony. he can tell you about that and i hope he wealth and the second is alex is week which has to do with his grandfather and his
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uncle. also joining us today, doctor diane received her phd in contemporary history from the university of paris and she had a fellowship at the holocaust museum. she's written extensively on the subject and she's conducted research especially on the st. louis odyssey through the eyes of the captain. i would like to ask martin to pick it up after that. [applause] >> thank you very much.
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first of all i want to thank the organizer. thank you for putting this program together. and thank you i really want to thank my colleague and my dear friend for organizing this. i'm going to present a powerpoint to you and try to summarize in 20 minutes the whole story of the st. louis. so please come if you have any question i can talk more about this at the end. so. just before world war ii the jewish population in germany before the war was about 1% of the population of germany. and as you know, you mentioned this already but as you know the jewish refugees flowed through half of them mostly between 1938
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and 1939 and especially after the conference. and you can see one of the photographs of the conference bear on the powerpoint. the conference in july 1938 basically tried to serve the problem of the refugee crisis that ended up being sort of a failure, and i'm going very fast here because there's a lot to say about the conference. but roughly in 1938 and 1939 there were not many options for the refugees that could go mostly to shanghai and cuba so you could imagine that when you were from germany that wasn't the first choice in shanghai or cuba. that is the only choice you basically have when you were thinking of massive immigration. and i'm not talking about an individual immigration.
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before i start telling the whole story. the company in the 1930s there were many others, there were many other companies in france or great britain, and the netherlands, and most of them actually carried those that were trying to free germany in 1938 and 1939. what i'm trying to say is that the company wasn't the only one. and the refugee crisis really touched all of those companies of cruise liners at the end of the 1930s. it was created in 1847 and it was mostly a commercial fleet that was totally destroyed during world war i that we don't afterwards, and it reached the
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golden age in the 1920s. so imagine the company that. it's one of them at the time. what is interesting is in order to emigrate to cuba in the 1930s at the end of the 1930s you needed a lot of documents. i'm not going to go through the whole list but it was actually a lot of documentation that you have to gather for the ticket on the boat. so this is an example of the identification. this isn't a visa per se.
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that is what most of the passengers have. this is a photograph of some of the passengers and i like this photograph because it gives me a chance to talk you more about the passengers themselves in the world that they are stepping in. both of the passengers born at f the 19th century and the 1980s -- i'm not good at dates and numbers. thank you for correcting me. the youngest passenger was in 1839. but i'm trying to say is that we are not in illegal immigration here. this is perfectly legal
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immigration. they have legal documents to emigrate so they were leaving germany with their whole family. and also, what is interesting is that by going to st. louis they are going to step into a world of luxury. they didn't have access to it even the wealthiest passengers belonged to most of the categories, social categories of the jews in germany and austria and even the most wealthy passengers didn't have access anymore to that kind of luxury because of the persecutions in germany. so this is basically what they are going to see. i should've photograph on purpose because of course there are many other locations on the votes that were actually photographed by the passengers, but this is one of the most beautiful photographs of the dining room in st. louis. so just imagine a very luxurious vessel.
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imagine the titanic in the 1930s. just to make it short. and there will be a lot of possibilities to try to enjoy the voyage but you can add genetic screen to be difficult for them because they go from the persecution to this kind of atmosphere by just boarding the boat after 24 hours for some of them they are going to try to relax and enjoy as much as possible the pleasure of that journey. i want to say a few words about the crew on the st. louis captain. this is a photograph of the st. louis and you have to imagine the crew is about 200 people. the captain of the boat is a german who is very proud of his
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country. i usually define him as a german because he is in love with germany. he loves the country and he hates the nazis and what they are doing to germany. and he is the captain on board so he gathers the crew just before the departure of the st. louis to tell them that on the board it is out of question to persecute those passengers because they are jewish. they don't have any room on board. the crew will be at the service of the passengers like david b. at the service of any other passengers who would go on the cruise even if this isn't a cruise per se that they would be at the service of the passengers in st. louis so it would serve them like anyone else. and you also give the crew members the choice to leave the boat if anyone left. and they are at the service of the passengers and the passengers are going to be able to enjoy the facility on the
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boat including the menus and this is one of the menus on the boat and they were absolutely outstanding. they can also relax by dancing in the ballroom you can see people dancing and trying to do the best they can to enjoy as much as possible. others would play shuffleboard but what is interesting an in he is that we have documentation about both of the passengers and two of my colleagues at the museum each of them are the st. louis and so we know exactly what happened to them and so here you can see they are playing shuffleboard on the -- but he wa was to the voyage arrested most likely & to the concentration camp and in that
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document for the international tracing service collection that we have at the museum you can see that he is in a number on the top of this card coming and he has the card sai so she was e to leave the camp under one condition it wasn't too returned to germany after. so this is just to show you all of the categories of the passengers were on the st. louis. there were also about 200 children on the st. louis and i specifically enjoy the photograph with the swimming pool because that gives me a chance also to tell you what happened in germany during the 1930s they were not allowed in swimming pools in germany, so those children who are enjoying swimming inevitable swimming pools for the youngest ones they probably didn't even know how to swim because they never had a
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chance to learn. so you can imagine that this is very important and everything would be done on board thanks to the captain and the crew tunic that journey as enjoyable as possible. so when they arrive on ma may 271939, this slide actually gives me the chance to talk about the political crisis in cuba. when the st. louis arrives in cuba the passengers cannot disembark but no one tells them why they cannot disembark because there is a critical crisis in cuba and also no one explains anything to them. but the crisis is in the following so you probably don't know much about the cuban president because you have no reason to know anything about him but you've probably heard about batista maybe not in the 1930s but he was already doing something.
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so, the permits the passengers acquired were actually sold thanks to the huge traffic of documents that were organized by the secretary of immigration and by the political opponent. so he was trying to stabilize the president in order to reestablish the political power the president wanted to put an end to immigration said he decided to issue a decree just a few days before the st. louis actually left. this is not against the passengers. the president didn't even know anything about the st. louis passengers. they were just immigrants or just legal passengers among those that would come to cuba. but he wants to put an end to immigration so that y. if she was a decree.
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so no one would disembark legally in cuba and facing the crisis the american jewish joint distribution committee decided to send on vacation one of its representatives to negotiate with the cuban authority. authority. but nothing would happen, and even the captain of the st. louis would actually put on civilian clothes and try to negotiate with the cuban authorities but nothing good would come from this. so basically the captain cannot do anything that you could imagine that for the family members and friends of the st. louis passengers were already in cuba is very difficult because they don't do anything. they don't know what is going on and they try to communicate with their families on board. so they would hire little boats like this one and they would try to go around the boat and try to communicate with families and friends trying to bring them
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exotic food and try to give them some news about what's going on. this is also another photograph of the votes. i'm going quickly because i want to move onto the next step is to st. louis. and after a whilafter a while, s were probably over in cuba. the premise of the captain received the order to leave the cuban waters, but it is ours to navigate between cuba and the united states because more than seven -- more than 700 passengers were actually registered on the lease of immigration in the united states that means that any time it could be a question of months or years a numbe the number would p so eventually the final destination would be the united states. for the captaiso the captain bro st. louis in front of the miami harvard the passengers can see the town trees, but there is for
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the united states i'm going to give you a little view of the general political context so you can understand why the united states didn't like the passengers in. you have to understand that it would have been just 900 plus people so it's not a big deal to welcome those people that just imagine if the country had opened the doors to those people thousands of hundreds of people of them by anticipating that the situation would have opened the door to the massive immigration into the government didn't want to do this, plus in the united states, don't forget that there was the immigration act of 1924 and so the quota was out of question to make an exception and to raise the number to accept more refugees.
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when you read the correspondence between the state department you can realize that they were very much afraid of welcoming more because they were associated with communism and the columns. so i am just giving you several reasons. i don't want to talk much about this. isome of this and lewis had to o back to germany to become us between -- you can imagine on the way back that yes it is no longer the same. but on the way back they would negotiate with some european countries and in that case it was belgium, france, great britain and holland. and it is it's a very long and complicated initiation because
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the six negotiation and it's basically a race against the clock to have the countries agree on accepting more refuge refugees. to make a long complicated story short especially those associations, eventually belgium, france, great britain and holland would accept the passengers and they would be disbursed almost equally between the four countries, but just imagine that, you know from the moment that cuba refused to st. louis passengers to disembark they became ill legal immigrants because they had legal documents to immigrate into cuba so they would be in europe with basically the illegal documents and they couldn't work without moving, without giving anything but legal status changed and they would become ill legal immigrants. so they would become almost
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refugees i want to give you one example of how the st. louis passengers ended up in those countries except for those who actually went to england, great britain. you're in june of 1939 and the war is at the door. so for those that actually ended up in those three countries, france can't belgium and holland they were on the all the refugees that found refuge in the three countries during the 1930s. so we can see for example here for the press, very beautiful photographs of the liner on the boat on the deck of the st. louis, and smiling. you can see her also here talking to some other passengers. and on the other for the graph on your left, this is a photograph that was taken
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because you have to remember that those people were held by judicial organizations because they couldn't support themselves. so, she is there and she is almost safe since she is in france in the home. france was occupied and was also headed the government it was very very anti-semitic. so they had to face not only the anti-semitism of the germans but also with the government. so come here we know that after being on the st. louis and going to cuba and miami in the coming at france and was rounded up in november of 1942 and she -- her name is on the lease and she was deported in 1942 in auschwitz. just two more flights to finish. and you can read the numbers.
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231 passengers of the st. louis actually perished during the holocaust. they returned to germany after the seven-month cruise and was totally destroyed in 1944 after being bombed by the royal air force and st. louis no longer exists but on the photographs, postcards or leaflet. i want to show you a picture of the captain wearing the hat and you can see the photograph. we have had at the museum and you can imagine that when i was a fellow at the museum that for everybody it's like it's his hat. by looking at this photography and looking at the hat i don't even think about touching it because it is very emotional for me but just by looking at the hat i can tell you the whole story. i don't need other slides or photographs and this is the book that he actually wrote.
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and this is a signed copy. he died in 1959 and was awarded a medal in west germany by 1957 just two years before he died for helping the passengers of the st. louis. and he was also honored in 1993. if you want to know more, you have a paper outside with some links these are two links that actually we have on the website on the online exhibition with two of my colleagues, but it is in french and i'm sorry when i started that i wrote this in french and i still write in french and i try to write in english, but so this is the book that tells the whole story of the st. louis.
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thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much. it's a fascinating report. martin, we would like to hear your reports. thank you. >> thanks so much mr. kalb into the wonderful colleagues at the holocaust museum who are of such an incredible help to me as i did my research for my book. i do not have a powerpoint to share with you. i modestly suggest you go to the lobby and get a copy of my book. there were many wonderful photographs within the pages of the book.
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but one of the photographs that i'm most pleasei am most pleasee discovered with the help of the people at the holocaust museum when the american jewish joint distribution committee brokered a deal that enabled the refugees onboard to disembark in either england, france, belgium or holland all of the passengers on board of the st. louis signed the note of appreciation to the archives of the holocaust museum and i discovered a portion of that card which includes the signatures of my grandfather alex and my uncle and that is reproduced in the book. so yes, alex, my grandfather, and my uncle were two of the more than 900 refugees on the board of the st. louis. and three years ago my wife who i am happy to say is standing in
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the back of the room today, my wife and i retrace their steps beginning in the small village where my grandfather was born in 1879 and seven at eight children he was the son and grandson of the horse dealers. they came from a long line of people dealing with horseflesh and they did very well for themselves trading courses and raising horses and selling horses was an occupation that was hoping to the jews of germany when so many other of the professions were closed. but my grandfather alex didn't want to go into the horse business and instead, he went to the north wester northwestern gd opened a women's clothing store,
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the hous house of fashion where apparently all fashionable when in shop for dresses and hats and shoes and accessories and so on. when we were on our journey of remembrance, of course we went ann at the time a 93-year-old woman named anna marie who knew my father and my father's younger brother. she confessed to me that she had a crush on both of them. [laughter] and beamed at me the whole evening. i look so much like my father and like my uncle and she said it makes me feel years younger. then she told a wonderful story about my grandfather. again, he ran the house and then anna marie was eight or 10-years-old she went with her mother to buy an easter dress
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and she found the perfect one for the occasion. she asked her mother to buy it for her and her mother took a look at the price tag and said i am a afraid this is too expensive and she began to cry. and the proprietor of the store came over and said what's the matter aren't you the little girl that knows my son and who plays marbles with him ask what is wrong? and she said i found this wonderful easter dress as my mother says it is too expensive. and my grandfather looked at the price tag and said there's been a mistake. one of my employees wrote down the wrong price. here is the correct price and named a much lower price and just like that, she got the dress she wanted. she told the story in german and the hosts that were translating the story she stopped and said in english to me that is exactly
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the kind of man you are grandfather was. which was a lovely story for me to learn about. i also learned a little bit about my uncle who was a studious young man, not a great student but a very poor one and an athlete for which he was taken to task by the gym teacher by a vigorous member of the party and gave my uncle a good deal of trouble for his lack of athletic ability. but if my uncle wasn't so good at running and jumping he had a good deal of what i would quote at one point and refer to my uncle which he demonstrated a schoolwide assembly in the autumn of 1938 just a few weeks before a member of the nazi
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party came and was an honored speaker to the students and faculty that he began speaking about the jewish menace and how they were controlling finance and how they were controlling the media and how they were coming after our flower of german womanhood and on and on. and at one point during the middle of the assembly, my uncle age of 17 step up and shouted these are all lies. at that point he turned and went out of the room. he slapped him in full view of all of the assembled and within days my uncle was kicked out of the school. but one other thing i was pleased to discover was a little note that my grandmother sent to
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the school shortly after my own gold was -- my uncle was evicted from the assembly. it was essentially one line which is you can't send my son out of school. he quit. [laughter] it's the only note i have in my grandmothergrandmother's handwru might imagine i'm very proud of her as well. ..
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>> a. >> which is how they became too of the more than 900 refugees on board. when they've made it back to europe they disembarked in france very pleased they're not back in germany but that is when the troubles began and as i say three years ago my wife and i decided to follow in their footsteps
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book from the first chapter. i said and i discovered with the help of a holocaust museum i returned the itinerary and all of the town's they spent in those three years of captivity that became as familiar to me as well known address and telephone number. one night a cave in to create what i must do i must retrace their steps have the final three years of hope and hopelessness to see what they saw a and breathe the air that they breed for they've read their last and i would tell their story as a grandson and a nephew and in eyewitnessing and along with our luggage in remains of my father who had died a few years earlier i decided to sprinkle his ashes in the park next to the house where
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he grew up because he loved so much but i packed the hope that in the coming six weeks alerting so much of my grandfather and uncle also to lay down the family spurgeon to steer my way out of "alex's wake" to the comb and peaceful waters of my the pink family, friends, and life. says he began our journey where my grandfather was born. the travel to hamburg. for 1960 through 1962 and alsoñi and then to read up
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metaphorically. ended northern france. we did some of research at the(d videotex there in bologna. and i was very pleased for the first time since my first grade french classic found a use for the fray is. [speaking french] [laughter] that was very gratifying. so we found out what happened to them then to the agricultural retraining center which was the very small villages and the part of france that was of spa town with the healing waters
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and some jewish refugee organizations in france set up the center and for too idyllic months my grandfather in the gold learned how to raise sheep and chickens but then came the a outbreak of the second world war and my grandfather and the eyes of the french from refugees to enemy aliens since they still carry german passports since there were at war now as they were held in an old cookie factory as they were said to a refugee camp set up their with the victims of the spanish civil war to
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become a holding camp of what the french called the undesirables of france. with october 1940, more or less an echo of the nuremberg laws to deprive the juice of their civil rights to make itñr impossible to hold many professions;? say have to have sciences and their windows to identify as a jewish run business. so they were there along of ministry and where they spent six months and then sent to the camp and then they also we're sent to auschwitz where my grandfather age 63 was immediately gassed and it
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deemed too old to be in the use to the german war machine. michael was 21 years old 59305 tattoo sent to barracks number seven in auschwitz then transferred to paris number 20 where he died october 9 officially of typhus but very possibly of a lethal injection and straight to the heart. my book "alex's wake" tells of the two attorneys 70 years support -- apart when grandfather and my wife san by richard a. so it has been a great pleasure to speak with you today. think you so much. [applause] thank you.
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some chemicals are too fascinating reports. as you can imagine i have questions before rigo to the audience. but martin if you could come up you mention in your book something that a number of jews that survived the holocaust what it do they share that information? in for a long period of time to put distance between>"m themselves and q and a the holocaust. so two sides of the same question how did you feel? and then but was the gut feeling of your father's
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judgment. >> yes. it is not uncommon for people of my generation with the survivors of a holocaust to grow up in the atmosphere of secrets and a lack of information. in with that jewish orchestra i described it as far away from all people his image of the second act of the opera that has a tree growing up through the floor up through the roof a of the i compared the silence to this immense tree. the fate of my parents'
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families as they all perished during the holocaust in the why don't we have an agent and a vocal and he is a very quickly they died in the war also felt guilty and ashamed which he did pass on to me and my brother which i describe end so that for so long to the idea my father had not done everything he possibly could have to save his father and uncle was a great burden. and when i did find out more of the details of a bright in the book i felt simultaneous in gold -- in and grab my father even though they were brand new refugees.q>y
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and then to be saddled with this horrible feeling of guilt. >> my question and goes back to the moment after six days in the harbor that they could not get into cuba so you gave some good reasons why the united states turned up the st. louis away but i am stuck with the two questions. first, secretary of treasury was unafraid and unashamed to ann spoke on behalf of
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others. he wished to speak to president roosevelt time and time again. i don't quite understand his role in all of this. with sending the coast guard vessels to look after the state law was. kept in shorter it -- schroeder said he was thinking of grounding the st. louis so that so people could get off the but was he protectee the of boat or his reputation or the president? that is the question i asked the vantage point of 2014. >> betty things to read
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online or in the article said not totally true about the st. louis . there is very little informationo it is based on testimony but i never found any trace. to the research so when it comes touse a lewisite usually have a question but it is hard to imagine just want to make a difference.
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roosevelt was seen as the most powerful person in the world but this is the american end government we cannot do anything without the approval of congress torchy age though lot. the state department was very reluctant to to welcome more refugees. so it was not his decision only. into it buys the president to say something but at the end of the day to open the doors again to more and more refugees. end to talk about the perspective of the passengers and fly humanitarian causes.
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in to this is terrible to say but humanitarian reasons usually do not have more than anything else for ago this is one of the reasons. and i forgot the other one. [laughter] >> supitr'g something similar would happen today? would there have been the same result? >> as mentioned estrin of anti-semitism in 1938 from
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that era that indicates more than 53 percent of the american people declared their not like the rest of us and bin restricted bin and social practices. only 49 percent of the people responding said the jews were like a buddy else to be treated the same. 10% of the people responding said all jews should be deported from the united states. this was the era of restrictive hotels hotels, restricted country clubs. it does something similar were to happen today we don't see that same level of anti-semitism.
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now if it were a boat filled with people from other lands given that anti-immigration stance of elected officials it is hard to know what the answer will be a. >> oven like to have your view and/or cents a but would have been to go back to something you said earlier for what would happen would have been. du feel that governments governments, what have we learned over the last 75 years? go to this day-lewisf a and a humanitarian issue.
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it isn't there have spent efforts to take into account a humanitarian need and not to stick to you though lot as rigidly as they have. know what is something similar occurred? >> i am not trying to avoid this as a political advisor but what we have now that we did not have back then is a more clear definition to protect those people in to the world of today and also
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the attempted to understand in terms of humanitarian ends with the refugee crisis so before we reach that point people boarding boats wherever they can, with more and more prevention is done ahead of time to help those people to prevent them from fleeing their own country from being forced. it does not always work with the world of today but with many wars going on. >> and with the role of the media actually if cnn could stay almost live for about
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one week on a uráq ship in the gulf of mexico that had a problem with toilets. [laughter] i wonder if a ship like the st. louis today it was not the mystery we all knew what was happening at the time but a ship like that in the harbor with live television in 24 hours a day i have a feeling it would be a different result. we have about seven minutes for your questions in just raise your hand. >> did i understand correctly the reason why was because of the internal political process? my and understanding is there were german operatives around the area.
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>> the question has to do if there was more to it to the and just the political differences in the cuban government at that time? >> but also it was different to talk about of population during the two years of the 1930's because germany actually sent other countries including the united states to make sure there were not more immigrants there but a combination of reason. excuse me. this combined with the domestic political situation was not in favor of the st. louis passengers but
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mostly the decree issued by the president. >>tmp what about the time or the space they were likely to go back to? >> was it known at the time if they were sent back? >> in 1939 there was no death camp at that time but the u.s. government knows about the concentration camps in germany. but icahn for the races seidman chin day could not do anything based on those policies. the only thing that could have happened was to make an
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exception to make that exception because most of them were registered so it would be the issue of the coal president but i have to say i want to mention something when i told you about the decision of the united states from the government perspective it is a little different but there is another side to balance because it is not black and white but shades of gray. the national archives there are many letters and telegrams sent to roosevelt or the state department asking to let them in for political reasons.
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. . i remember recently how we
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wanted them to stay and what i heard -- >> it was nothing the government was doing but they were in fact interested in what was happening. thank you very much. yes ma'am. >> [inaudible] >> what was the reaction within germany, do we know anything about that? >> as you might imagine, the german propaganda machine went into high gear. when it was discovered that st. louis was turning back to europe, we will have to take these shabby jews back in a deal with them into the world figured out soon thereafter what that
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meant. no less a figure than adolf hitler himself mockingly wrote the reaction to the st. louis. i can only hope and expect that the other world that has such deep sympathy for the jewish criminals with at least be generous enough to convert their sympathy into practical aid. on our part, we are ready to please these criminals at the disposal of other countries even for all i care on luxury ships. so here is adolf hitler again mocking the west for supposedly being so concerned about the jews and yet not taking them in. >> we have time for two more questions. yes ma'am. and then in the back of. >> [inaudible]
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i would like to pass that down and i'd be happy to try. >> well, we know from a number of recent books that isolationist sentiment was very strong. roosevelt did feel it and was very sensitive politically and in 1938 he had been slapped down in the effort to expand the courts. roosevelt and period of time was rather vulnerable. it is an awe-inspiring and in that period of time he did feel the former ability and he was cautious and i suspect that if the issue came before him very
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specifically you have 900 on the ship my gut feeling is he would have said no move on there are more important things to do. one more question, yes ma'am. >> [inaudible] >> changing the mentality of the american jews. >> [inaudible] and i think it is an objection. [inaudible]
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the media does not like to mention how they were much less in the media. how then -- >> your point is how is it possible to change the mentality of the american people. big-time question involving a good bit of time, but i would be happy to ask. would you like to make a comment about that? >> i want to be responsive to the question. >> i would like to echo that there was something of a crying over the st. louis. there were front-page stories above the fold in "the new york times," the "washington post," the st. louis post-dispatch in the first few days of june, 1939
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when the ship was off the coast and whether they would be allowed to disembark the passengers, and hollywood celebrities among them edward g. robinson sent telegrams to the white house and requested the roosevelt administration to allow the boat to land. but once it was heading back to europe, they began a debat thern the jewish community which is still going on today. there were editorials in the jewish daily forward and other jewish media about with at least one editorialist referred to as the shameful conduct of the american joint committee and mentioned lawrence who was charged with negotiating in the cuban government and the president at one point said okay. give us $500 per passenger or a total of $453,000 we will allow
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them to land. and lawrence came back and said well i think this is a little bit of latin american horsetrading so i will offer $443,000. in other words, $10,000 less. and after that, the president said albright did negotiations are over. they must leave the cuban waters tomorrow. so for a figure of $10,000 or $11 per passenger those negotiations broke down. so even had there was debate as to whether or not everything proper has been done. >> of the remarkable thing for me and i'm sure many others about st. louis story is that if you examine the american media throughout the course of world war ii, editors didn't know what
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was going on in europe. very little of it did appear in the press and i did a study once of "the new york times" coverage throughout world war ii and what is remarkable is that "the new york times," the new york paper owned by the family did its very best to bury the story. when they had information that 1.5 million have been killed, information that was very reliable and came from good sources in switzerland and passed on from london to new york. at that time the information was there that is a front-page story. it was put on page 17 and will work to three or four paragraphs. so, there's something not only about the mood of the american people which martin had referred to but what is it that the media reflecting the move of the american people was actually doing? it wasn't its most glorious day.
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but i have a feeling here at the library of congress we have a glorious moment and i want to thank our panelists very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations] we would like to say couple of words. thank you very much. do you want to go to the microphone? >> i think everybody will hear me. [laughter] >> we have to go around. sorry.
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>> by way of defense of the united states, and i'm a very proud citizen in the united states by choice, i would like to commend the congress for finally after 70 years passing a resolution that apologizes to think of the survivors for having turned us away in 1939. so i guess maybe the united states this fall the way it and found it in their power to apologize. and i think you all into the document is he


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