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Worksheet: Group 2


Read the letter written by St Louis passenger Julius Hermann to his family in New York from May 30th 1939. How did Julius Hermann describe the atmosphere on the St. Louis? How did he deal with the situation in comparison to other passengers?

Transcript of the Letter written by Julius Hermann, 30.5.1939

[Translation from German]

Middle of the Harbor
Havana, 30 May 39
6:30 PM

My dear New Yorkers,

You can imagine the excitement on board because we have not yet heard of any results from the negotiations. Since 5 PM the committees are again sitting down at the negotiating table, but the Cubans have a lot of time. An English ship, also with Jewish émigrés on board, also could not land and is on its way to Mexico and will try to drop them off here on the return trip.

An attorney, Loewy, from Breslau, who is traveling with his wife, 19-year-old daughter, and 17-year-old son, slashed his wrists and with lightning speed jumped over the railing into the water. The sailor who jumped in immediately after him had to exert all his strength to hold the resisting, life weary (nerve shattered) passenger until a boat, which just picked up garbage, could haul him on board. Even there he resisted and tore further at his wrist. Hopefully, a solution will be found soon, where we can land, it doesn’t matter in which country. One already has to have nerves like a horse to be able to get through everything.

Paul Salmon came out 4-5 times with the boats and sends you his greetings. The many boat passengers come to reassure without being able to bring any news. Goodwill and tension shorten the time.

With 1000 greetings and kisses and stay healthy as will I.

Till we meet again.

Your Julius

Just now another boat comes, a man with a megaphone is speaking, everyone should remain calm, as soon as it is possible we will be able to enter Havana. Sedatives.


After transfers to camps at Gurs and Les Milles, Julius was sent with 235 other prisoners to Drancy, a transit camp in Paris, on August 11, 1942. Three days later, he was deported to Auschwitz, where he perished. His wife, daughter, and other relatives were deported on December 11, 1941, to the Riga ghetto, where they were probably killed.

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