Memorial plaque for the ‘St Louis’ refugee ship
The plaque commemorates the odyssey of the more than 900 German-Jewish refugees who left the port of Hamburg on 13 May 1939 on the German ship St Louis and set off for Cuba to flee Nazi persecution.
The Cuban government only allowed 23 of the passengers to enter the country, and the fate that awaited the remaining people on board was initially uncertain. The crew of the ship tried to find another country to take them in. Belgium, Great Britain, France and the Netherlands finally agreed to provide refuge to the passengers, and on 17 June 1939 the St Louis docked in Antwerp.
When the Wehrmacht occupied the Netherlands, Belgium and France in 1940, many of the former refugees were taken prisoner, deported to concentration camps and murdered.