Meet the Survivors and Heroes

Photo of Malvina, Annette, and their mother, Rose, peering out of a porthole on the Steamship Quanza.  

They await their destiny as thier father, who arrived in the US a year earlier, peers up at them from the docks in Virginia.

 

Photo courtesy of the

Virginian Pilot

September, 11, 1940

This is the little known story about 86 holocaust victims escaping war torn Europe in 1940 on the Steamship Quanza.  These refugees were refused entry in the US and Mexico and faced the grim prospect of returning to Europe.  They eventually found freedom on the shore of Hampton Roads, VA in 1940 with the help of a Virginian lawyer, JL Morewitz, Eleanor Roosevelt and a State Department employee, Patrick Murphy Malin.  

 

JL Morewitz, Esq. held the ship at port while community activists took the fight up the the White House.   Patrick Murphy Malin stood up to his State Department superior, Breckinridge Long, and succeeded in freeing the 86 refugees.   These were some of the last refugees allowed into the US until we re-opened the doors to refugees towards the end of WWII.

 

Thus far, we have captured 22 hours of compelling interviews with the refugees and those who knew of the heroes that helped them on thier journey to freedom.

 

In "Voyage of Hope," we meet the diplomat who forged passports in Portugal, the persistant lawyer and his team who held the ship at the Virginia port,  and the community activists who helped  save these refugees.  The survivors stories speak volumes about the inherit goodness of others at a time when the world seemed against them.

 

 

The film is also about America's response to Holocaust refugees.  This incident sparked grave concern in the White House. Many Americans worried about immigrants taking their jobs, acting as spys for communists, or propelling the country into war.  

Passengers Simone, 13, Harvey, 15 and Irving, 15 yrs old  

Antwerp, Belgium in 1937 

As a result, President Roosevelt held a "hands off" policy to keep the American public happy and only a few refugees were allowed into the US until the end of the war.