WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 12th: IMMUTABLE MEMORIES: The Jewish Experience And The Holocaust. Introduced by the Rev. Nancy Hamlin Soukup, RWU Multifaith Chaplain Complicit | Directed by: Michael Schwartz | 61 min. | USA | 2014 On September 24, 2012, at the direction of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Deputy Secretary William Burns, issued the first ever apology to the surviving passengers of the Jewish refugee ship, SS St Louis.
The St. Louis left the Hamburg, Germany on May 13, 1939, bound for Havana, Cuba, and seeking refuge from Nazi tyranny. Upon arriving in Havana in late May 1939, the passengers were refused entry into Cuba. The captain of the luxury liner, Gustav Schroeder, turned northward and steered the vessel to within sight of the Miami coastline where he and the passengers formally pleaded with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the State Department to grant them safe harbor and freedom from the Nazi web of terror. The US refused and the ship was forced to return to Europe where many of the passengers perished in the Auschwitz death camp. The story became a symbol of America and Canada’s indifference to the plight of the Jews suffering under Hitler. The documentary explores the political backstory of why Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull refused to grant safe harbor to the passengers thus giving them a death sentence when they returned to Europe. The documentary incorporates segments of the State Department ceremony including scenes from The Trial of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The film also includes archival footage of the ship’s voyage as well as never before seen interviews with the surviving passengers of the SS St Louis and an exclusive interview with Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat.
Featuring a discussion with Rev. Soukup, who has studied the Holocaust as part of her research on religious and refugee movements from 1939 to 1951. Currently, she is completing her study about the Unitarian Service Committee’s work in Europe as a refugee and rescue organization working as war commences and later as one of many religious and secular relief organizations throughout Europe after the war. Its founders, the Rev. Waitstill Sharp and Martha Sharp, are only two of three Americans honored among Yad Vashem’s Righteous Among the Nations for saving Jews from the Nazi regime. Rev. Soukup holds an M.A. in human rights history from Boston College and is completing her Doctorate of Ministry at Andover Newton Theological School.
Location: Architecture 132 Roger Williams University, One Old Ferry Road, Bristol, RI