MIAMI BEACH, FL (November 30, 2009) — Mere miles from where the SS St. Louis’s asylum efforts were rebuked in 1939 by the U.S. government, more than 36 surviving passengers (nearly 50% of those still living) will re-assemble from around the globe alongside representatives of 13 prominent world organizations and institutions, world and U.S. dignitaries, and Jewish community leaders to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the ship’s fated voyage on Sunday, December 13, 2009 at 10:30 a.m. at the Eden Roc Renaissance Resort in Miami Beach, Florida (www.thestlouisproject.com). Global historical significance is found in this rare, never before assembly joined together by The National Foundation for Jewish Continuity, Inc. (NFJC) to acknowledge this watershed moment in world history and honor the SS St. Louis survivors for their heroism.
It was in May 1939 that the SS St. Louis left Hamburg, Germany with more than 900 hopeful Jewish refugees on board. Bound for Cuba, these Jews who had survived the Kristallnacht pogrom believed they were headed for a better life. Despite having valid visas, Cuba turned them away. On June 6th, after 12 days of waiting in the port of Havana and off the Miami coast, the United States government made the ill-fated decision to refuse admittance. This ship of destiny carried the fate of millions. When the American, Canadian and Cuban governments refused to accept the Jews it sent a clear message to Adolf Hitler that the Jewish people were expendable. The SS St. Louis returned to Europe, where most of the passengers found themselves under Nazi rule and many later perished in the Holocaust.
A RARE ASSEMBLY TO WRITE ANOTHER INDELIBLE LANDMARK PAGE IN WORLD HISTORY
In recognition of the global significance of this historic assembly and to sign the US Senate Resolution 111, the first-ever US acknowledgement Resolution of the tragedy of that voyage, 36 surviving passengers--ranging in age from 71 to 91--are traveling to re-unite from as far as Tel Aviv, Israel; Manchester, England; and Toronto, Canada and from 27 U.S. cities: Arizona (Tucson), California (Camarillo, San Mateo, Ventura), Colorado (Denver),Florida (Aventura, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach), Georgia (Atlanta), Illinois (Northbrook, Chicago), Michigan (Kalamazoo), New Jersey (Highland Park, Lakehurst, Neptune, Paramus), New York (Bronx, Buffalo, Forest Hills, Ithaca, Kew Gardens, Princeton Junction), Ohio (Loveland), Pennsylvania (Elkins Park), Tennessee (Memphis), Washington (Seattle), and Wisconsin (Menomonee Falls)..
The landmark United States Senate Resolution 111 legislation was sponsored by U.S.. Senator Herb Kohl [WI], co-sponsored by Senator George V. Voinovich [OH], Senator Sam Brownback [KS], and Senator Ron Wyden [OR], and then unanimously passed by the U.S. Senate on May 19, 2009 that acknowledges the ramifications of the U.S. refusal to grant more than 900 Jewish refugees onboard a safe haven from Nazi persecution (view video: http://thestlouisproject.com/?page_id=144). World institutions accepting the signed resolution at the commemorative event for their preservation and public display will include an unprecedented group of world institutions: the U..S. Center for Legislative Archives (National Archives) that houses the most significant Congressional documents; United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; State of Israel; Yad Vashem; Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance; USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education; Oskar Schindler Family Archives [Schindler’s List]; Jewish Museum of Berlin; American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC); Jewish Museum of Florida; and The National Foundation For Jewish Continuity, Inc.
Participating special guests, speakers and dignitaries include the 36 surviving passengers, including SS St. Louis Passengers: Herbert Karliner, Liesl Loeb, and Col. Phil Freund (U.S. Army Retired); US Congressman Ron Klein,a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who will receive the Passengers’ Appreciation Award; Ofer Bavly, Consul General of the State of Israel; Klaus H. D. Ranner, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany; Richard Hunt, Director for The U.S. Center for Legislative Archives (National Archives); Scott Miller, Director of Curatorial Affairs of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; Linda Slavin, Southern Director, Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance; Ari Zev, Director of Administration, USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History And Education; Eric Fusfield, Deputy Director of the Center for Human Rights and Public Policy, B’nai B’rith International; Rev. Rosemary Schindler, Trustee: Oskar Schindler Family Archives; Aaron Bernstein, Southern Director for the American Society for Yad Vashem; Dr. Irving A. Smokler, President, American Jewish Joint Distribution Center (JDC), the largest international Jewish humanitarian aid organization in the world today; Marcia Jo Zerivitz, Founding Executive Director, Jewish Museum of Florida; Robert Krakow,playwright/documentarian, Trustee for the U.S. Senate Resolution 111; and Howard Kaye, President, NFJC.
The program will open with luncheon program with speakers, including surviving SS St. Louis passengers and Rev. Rosemary Schindler, relative of Oskar Schindler. It will follow with the debut of Robert Krakow’s original thought-provoking play, “The Trial of Franklin D. Roosevelt” set before the Eternal Court of Justice exploring the historical and political forces influencing Roosevelt’s policies regarding the plight of Jewish refugees. The program concludes with a Hanukkah Menorah lighting with SS St. Louis passengers and a special beachfront dedication ceremony.
US CONGRESSMAN RON KLEIN TO RECEIVE “PASSENGER APPRECIATION” AWARD
Following the passenger-signing and presentation ceremony, U.S. Congressman Ron Klein, who represents Florida’s 22nd Congressional District and serves as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee for which he is the Vice Chair of the Middle East Subcommittee, will be presented the “Passengers’ Appreciation” Award in recognition of his efforts in authoring and spearheading the passage of the Florida State Holocaust Education Act while he served as Florida State Senator that mandated the teaching of the lessons of the Holocaust in all of the state’s public schools.
“This unprecedented historic assembly with the surviving St. Louis passengers publicly signing the landmark U.S. Senate Resolution 111 among world and U.S. dignitaries will serve as further testimony to the fact that the SS St. Louis voyage was an internationally significant turning point in world history, its ramifications, and its relevance today as intolerance, bigotry, and genocide continue on a global scale,” noted Howard Kaye, president of The National Foundation for Jewish Continuity, Inc. “ Being held on the second day of Hanukkah gives added meaning to this rare gathering when the Jewish community unites with world leaders as Jewish adults and teens personally witness and engage in becoming an active part of writing a new page world history, connecting them with their heritage to protect, honor and extol the virtues of their birthright and legacy for future generations. We look forward to honoring of these “real life” heroes and their families who fought devastating odds seven decades ago, and felt it important to travel far distances in their senior years--while many are in declining health--to once again unite to bear witness to the watershed voyage so that the world and future generations best understand the SS St. Louis’s place in world history.”
Event Committee includes Jon and Bonnie (Sparaga) Kaye, board members of The National Foundation For Jewish Continuity, Inc.; Arlene Herson, national chair of the Legacy of Light Society of the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.; Nancy and Barry Dershaw, Next Generations; Rabbi Barry J. Konovitch, event chairman for the 50th Anniversary Of The SS St. Louis Voyage; Betty Heisler Samuels, Historian And Author: “The Last Minyan To Leave Havana”; Estrella Behar; Rabbi Yossi Denburg; Dr. Irvin And Katherine Fleishman; Mitchell Fogel, Esq.; Guy Fronstin, Esq.; Melissa Fronstin; Chuck Gaspari, Esq.; Ruth Ann Kalish; Alan Kaye; Pamela Kaye; Leslie Kantor; Ralph Kier; Gary Lesser, Esq.; Stephen Lippy; Barry Mankow; Jay Shapiro, and Elizabeth Weprin.
Individual tickets range from $250 (general seating) and $350 (premium seating) to $500 (Heritage seating that includes a private meet, greet, and photos with survivors and dignitaries); reserved tables and sponsorship opportunities are available. To purchase tickets, visit www.thestlouisproject.com, call NFJC (561) 417-5099, or email email@example.com. For sponsorship opportunities, visit www.thestlouisproject.comor contact Jon Kaye firstname.lastname@example.org at Kaye Communications, Inc., 561-392-5166.
The National Foundation for Jewish Continuity, Inc.’s (NFJC) mission is to promote, encourage, and preserve Jewish continuity through the arts. It was established to educate, and enlighten the various sectors and generations of the Jewish community on the significant worth/value of their Jewish birthright and challenge them to participate in protecting and continuing to honor the virtues of that birthright and legacy for future generations. NFJC works to achieve its vision through its development and/or underwriting of special events and educational programs, initiating meaningful partnerships and alliances in and outside of the Jewish community, and fulfilling grants using the arts -- from the performing to the fine arts -- as the primary medium. Headquartered in Boca Raton, NFJC is a non-profit private foundation that has applied for tax exempt status as a 501(c)(3) charity with the IRS. IRS approval is pending. Upon receiving its exempt status the Foundation will notify donors of the deductible/non-deductible portion of their contribution. For more information, contact The National Foundation for Jewish Continuity, Inc. at (561) 417-5099 or via email@example.com.