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Refuge Denied


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Sarah Ogilvie is director of the National Institute of Holocaust Education at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Scott Miller is director of the Benjamin and Vladka Meed Registry of Jewish Holocaust Survivors at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.


The doomed ship St. Louis-carrying German-Jewish refugees and refused permission to dock in Cuba and Florida in 1939-became a potent symbol of global indifference to the fate of European Jewry on the eve of the Holocaust. While 288 of the more than 900 passengers found sanctuary in Great Britain, 620 were forced to return to mainland Europe, and close to half of those passengers sent to Belgium, France and Holland were murdered during the Holocaust. Among the survivors, a Miami-area retired baker and Korean War veteran, Herbert Karliner, got through WWII posing as a Catholic and working as a hired hand for a pro-Vichy farmer near Lyon. Another, Hannelore Klein, who in her 70s confesses to still feeling like a displaced person, was 12 when she was sent to Holland, survived Auschwitz (her mother was gassed) and returned to Amsterdam to live with her grandparents, Theresienstadt survivors. Prodigiously researched and generously illustrated with photographs-most from the St. Louis and the Westerbork internment camp-this valuable contribution to Holocaust studies provides emotionally satisfying closure as the authors, staffers at D.C.'s U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, track the passengers and give a human face to mass tragedy. (Oct. 20) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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