Chapter 9:

"Will We Be Sent Back"

Quotes from the film:


          Looking through the porthole was my sister, my mother, and I. And my father was on the dock, and he was reaching with his hand up to us. And the journalist took this photograph."

        ~Annette, 3 years old in 1940

"Malvina Lachmann at 11 years old: I feel like we're never getting off this ship.I just want to be back on land.

A local newspaper reporter interviewed us. Maybe this will help."

~ Malvina, 12 years old in 1940

Class Activities:

Put Yourselves in Their Shoes


On the Steamship Quanza in September 1940:

  • Look at the photo of Annette's and Malvina's mom reaching her hand down to their father's on the dock.

    • How do you think each of the family members felt?

      • Write a paragraph in 11-year-old Malvina's voice

      • Write a paragraph in 3-year-old Annette's voice

      • Write a paragraph in their mother's or father's voice

  • When the Steamship Quanza was in the port of Hampton Roads, VA, the newspapers said that a man jumped ship in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. 

    • What do you imagine he was thinking and feeling at that time? 

      • Write a paragraph in ​his voice.

  • What can I do? 

Class Activity: The White House

  • Breckinridge Long and Eleanor Roosevelt had different perspectives on how to deal with the refugees on the SS Quanza.

    • Write a paragraph and then organize a debate, as if you're the First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt or the Assistant Secretary of State Breckenridge Long. Defend your position to your class. The class is the President of the United States Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Help decide the refugee's fate of these refugees.


  • A year before, the Steamship St. Louis was denied entry into the US, and over 900 passengers were sent back to Europe. 
    • What do you imagine their fate was?​ 
      • If you were a teenager on the St. Louis, what would you say to 11-year-old Malvina, 13-year-old Simone or 17-year-old Irving?​