In 1939, the SS St Louis embarked on a voyage to Cuba carrying 900 Jewish refugees. Upon arriving in Havana, the passengers were dismayed to learn that their visas had been revoked and that the Cuban government was refusing to allow entry into the country.
The captain then steered the St Louis towards the Florida coast, but the US authorities also refused it the right to dock, despite direct appeals to President Franklin Roosevelt.
The ship returned to Europe with the disappointed and frightened passengers. Some were able to find temporary safety in France and in England.
Two-hundred-and-fifty-four other passengers from the St Louis were not so fortunate and were killed as the Nazis swept across Western Europe.
SS St Louis