“Kristallnacht,” on November 9th of 1938,
For German Jews, the Holocaust began.
Their synagogues were burned; they learned hellfire would be their fate.
They would be turned to smoke to the last man.
Shopkeepers windows shattered, hence, “The Night of Broken Glass.”
The Jews were told to pack their bags and go.
The government, our government would not admit the mass
Of stateless, threatened people. We said, “No.”
The few who were admitted had some family living here,
Who had to certify that they would pay.
To every other “stateless person,” it was crystal clear
Though they might die, we’d turn them all away.
The ship, “Saint Louis,” brought some refugees out of harm’s way. (1)
Nine hundred Jews intending to apply
To gain asylum here. Our country turned them all away.
We sent them back to Germany to die.
These European Jews were “others;” that was our excuse.
Religion, language, browner skin will do.
We say, “We’re better than this.” Although, from today’s abuse,
To say, “This isn’t us,” is just not true.
If we would claim, “This isn’t us,” there is an antidote.
Some politicians have to be thrown out.
Don’t tell yourselves, “They’re all the same.” They’re not. We have to vote.
It’s up to us to bring this change about.
The German liner, “St. Louis,” sailed from Hamburg to Cuba in 1939 with a passenger list of over 900 Jewish refugees. The Cubans reneged on an initial agreement and only let 29 disembark. The ship then went to the USA and Canada. Both countries turned it away. Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, did not want to accept that many Jews. The Saint Louis sailed back to Europe. England, France, Belgium, and Holland took most of the passengers. Of those that returned, many died in the Holocaust when Nazi Germany occupied the countries that took them in. See “The Voyage of the Damned,” by Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan-Witts.