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United States Department of State to Honor Voyage of the Damned Survivors

On September 24, 2012 the US Department of State will honor surviving passengers of the ill fated ship named Voyage of the Damned, at an historic ceremony. Highlighting the theme of "not leaving our conscience at the door when we come to work"

PRLog - Sep. 4, 2012 - DELRAY BEACH, Fla. -- In 1959 Faye Dunaway was cast in the historically based film, “Voyage of the Damned”.  The film depicted the ill fated voyage of a Jewish refugee ship, the SS St Louis, which was denied safe haven first by Cuba.  After having been denied entry by Cuba, the ship carrying over 900 Jewish refugees escaping Nazi terror were denied safe haven by Secretary of State Cordell Hull.  The film highlighted the moral dilemma facing the Roosevelt administration as Nazi persecution was mounting in Europe.  Denying safe haven to these refugees by the United States sent the message to Hitler that Jews were expendable.  The death of many of these passengers at the hands of Nazi terror was only the beginning of the Holocaust.  The fact that political and diplomatic decisions have human rights implications  is well known to Herbert Karliner, Miami resident, one  of the surviving passengers and Board member of the SS St Louis Legacy Project who lost his two sisters and parents to Nazi terror, when the ship returned to Europe in 1939.
Now, 73 years later, the State Department, under the leadership of Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, will welcome the very same survivors at an historic ceremony on September 24, 2012. The event, according to Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary of State, will “demonstrate this Administration’s commitment to preventing genocide, fighting hatred, and standing up for all forms of Human Rights.  Highlighting the theme of “not leaving our conscience at the door when we come to work,” this program demonstrates the sometimes unintended consequences of government decisions not grounded in protecting Human Rights and advancing American values. “

The ceremony will include;
•   A ceremony honoring the passengers and their special contributions to American society
•   A theatrical performance of Robert Krakow’s provocative play, The Trial of Franklin D Roosevelt directed by one of America’s most talented directors, Eleanor Holdridge
•   A ceremony in which the passengers present a Proclamation of Appreciation to the ambassadors of France, England, Belgium and Holland, the countries that granted them safe haven when they were forced to return to Europe
•   The donation of Senate Resolution 111 to the US Department of State Archives will be dedicated to the memory of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke..  This resolution passed by the US Senate in May 2009, bears the original signatures of 35 surviving passengers and represents the only US acknowledgement of the failure to assist Jewish refugees during the pre-war and wartime period.  
The SS St Louis Legacy Project, Inc.  is a Boca Raton based not for profit foundation whose mission is to bring “education through drama” presentations such as this to universities, high schools and communities throughout the country.  The Foundation creates dialogue and discussions on the critical issues facing contemporary America such as human rights, refugee policy, and racism.  The powerful docudrama programs create excitement and interest for audiences and address the current need for new methods of educating the student whose attention span has been challenged by society’s hyper speed media environment. The Foundation’s recent educational programs, including theatrical performances at Georgetown University and Creighton University, included a panel of surviving passengers who discussed their views on the moral dilemma and human rights implications of the denial of safe haven by the United States as well as their contributions to American society since their entry to the country following the war.

For further information on this historic event contact Ruth Ann Kalish, Vice President SS St Louis Legacy Project, 954 592 5072 and visit stlouislegacyproject.org

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Source:SS St Louis Legacy Project
Location:Delray Beach - Florida - United States
Industry:Human rights
Tags:USDepartmentofState, human rights, history, immigration, moral dilemma
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