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Malvina lived in Antwerp, Belgium in 1940. WATCH VIDEO as she talks about the demoralizing anti-semitism in her school. . . .
Irving Redel was 17 years old when he fled Brussels, Belgium in 1940. WATCH VIDEO about how difficult it was for him to obtain permission to leave Europe. . .
13 year old Simone and her family fled Belgium and arrived on US shores during WWII, only to be turned away. They were refugees on the Steamship Quanza when it arrived in the port of New York. She says that she felt like “Nobody wanted us." .
Aristides de Sousa Mendes
Sousa Mendes was the Portuguese Ambassador in France. Against his government's orders, he issued thousands of visas to refugees - saving up to 30,000 lives. Approximately 10,000 of these visas were issued to Jews. Mendes explained his actions by saying: “If thousands of Jews are suffering because of one Christian [Hitler], surely one Christian may suffer for so many Jews.” .
Asst. Sec. Breckinridge Long
Assistant Secretary of State Breckinridge Long made it very difficult for new refugees to come into the country. He was worried that they were a threat to homeland security and that there were potential Nazis and communist spies aboard the ship. The SS Quanza passengers were some of the last refugees allowed into the US until the end of WWII. . . .
Sallie Rome & JL Morewitz, Esq.
JL Morewitz and his wife, Sally Rome Morewitz, were maritime lawyers from Newport News, VA. When the SS Quanza docked at the Norfolk Harbor, the husband and wife duo worked tirelessly to have the passengers on the ship released. While JL advocated in court to hold the ship at port, Sally worked behind the scenes, managing paperwork and conducting research. Sally Morewitz is the first woman to graduate from the William & Mary Law School.
Council of Jewish Women
After refugees were turned away from New York and Mexico, the Steamship Quanza made its way to Norfolk, VA to refuel and return its passengers to Europe. When the ship arrived in Norfolk, the National Council of Jewish Women heard that war refugees were being held hostage. Wanting to comfort the families, they prepared and delivered Kosher meals to them and housed them in their homes.
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt convinced FDR to have the immigration status of the SS Quanza refugees evaluated. State Department sent Patrick Murphy Malin to assess the situation in the port of Hampton Roads in Norfolk, VA.
Annette was 3 years old when the SS Quanza arrived on the shores of the US. She says that she can imagine what current refugee children are feeling when they are separated from their parents.