Chapter 6:

"Everyone Had Hope"

Quotes from the film:


          “ We always had hope. We were writing to the US State Department. Everyone had someone who knew someone, but it didn’t work. I thought the authorities were going to let us get off the ship in New York. 

But no. We’ll go to Mexico. We’ll make a life in Mexico.  The captain says the ship will take us to Vera Cruz."

~ Irving, 17 years old in 1940

Conversation Starters:

  • One of the passengers said that "We were writing the state department." How do you think people were able to communicate with people off the ship in 1940?

  • Why were these refugees denied entrance in the US and Mexico at that time?

  • What is an immigration quota?

  • How were refugees at this time affected by immigration quotas?

Dig a little deeper...

  • In the midst of all the uncertainty and unsuccessful attempts to reach freedom, Irving remained hopeful. What does this say about the human spirit?

  • In the film, Irving said that Mexico didn't want to let in "rich Jews." Then Annette said that "We didn't have that kind of money." Why do you think the Mexican's made the assumption about the Jews on the ship?

  • What are other examples of racial, religious, or cultural stereotypes? 

  • With regard to hiring a lawyer to secure their freedom, Annette said, "We didn't have that kind of money." Should freedom and safety be rights that are only available to refugees who can afford them?

What can I do?