May 8, 2014 Voyage of the St. Louis Subject of Jewish American Heritage Month Program

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On May 13, 1939, the S.S. St. Louis left from Hamburg, Germany, carrying over 900 Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany. Turned away from Cuba, the U.S. and Canada, the ship returned to Europe, leaving its passengers to face the impending Holocaust.

To mark the 75th anniversary of “the voyage of the damned” during Jewish American Heritage Month, the Library will present a panel discussion with Holocaust scholar Diane Afoumado and radio host Martin Goldsmith, moderated by veteran journalist Marvin Kalb.

The program will be held at noon on Monday, May 19 in the Whittall Pavilion, located on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building at 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. The event, which is presented by the Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access Directorate in Library Services and the Hebrew Language Table, is free and open to the public; tickets are not required.

Afoumado is chief of the International Tracing Service at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. She received a master’s degree and doctorate in contemporary history from the University of Paris X, Nanterre. During her fellowship at the Holocaust Museum, she was a historian at the Center of Jewish Documentation in Paris. For her Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies Fellowship, she conducted research for her project “The St. Louis Odyssey through the Eyes of Captain Schroeder.”

Goldsmith, host of “Symphony Hall” on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, recently wrote the book “Alex’s Wake: A Voyage of Betrayal and a Journey of Remembrance,” about his family’s connection to the St. Louis. Goldsmith traces the experiences of his grandfather and uncle aboard the ship, their return to Germany and eventual deaths at Auschwitz. In his previous book, “The Inextinguishable Symphony,” the classical-music host tells the story of his musician parents’ meeting as members of the all-Jewish Kulturbund in Nazi Germany.

Marvin Kalb spent 30 years as an award-winning reporter for CBS News and NBC News. He has written or coauthored nine nonfiction books. He is currently a nonresident senior fellow with the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution and senior adviser at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. He focuses on the impact of media on public policy and politics, and is also an expert in national security, with a focus on U.S. relations with Russia, Europe and the Middle East. His most recent book is “The Road to War: Presidential Commitments Honored and Betrayed” (Brookings Institution Press, 2013).

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PR 14-076
ISSN 0731-3527