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Voyage of the Damned

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  353 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
El 13 de mayo de 1939 zarpaba de Hamburgo el trasatlántico St. Louis, uno de los últimos buques que salieron de la Alemania nazi antes de que estallara la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Llevaba a bordo a 937 judíos - algunos de los cuales habían estado ya en campos de concentración-, que creían haber comprado visados de entrada en Cuba. Había comenzado el viaje de los malditos.
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 7th 2006 by Konecky & Konecky (first published January 1st 1974)
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Apr 13, 2016 Dem rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites

I came across this book purely by chance while researching a different book.
This is a shocking True Story of Hope, Betrayal and Nazi Terror.

German ocean Liner The St. Louis set sail from Hamburg to Cuba on May 13, 1939. The vessel was carrying 937 Jewish refugees seeking asylum from the Nazi death camps. The ship was under the command of a very capable and compassionate Captain called Gustav Schröder and the destination was Cuba where asylum was requested and granted for the passengers . Howev
It seems almost trite to talk about what happened to the passengers of the St. Louis as *tragic*, given the enormity of the Holocaust (and, especially since some at least survived the ordeal), and yet, there's the added element of worldwide rejection. Here are Jews who escaped and yet were not accepted, most notably not by the United States. Their ship turns into an unintentional floating concentration camp. As the author says, they find themselves bereft of the most fundamental
Apr 18, 2010 Graceann rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Graceann by: My husband
Shelves: history
What an astounding, compelling, infuriating book. It is no mean feat to take a story where the ending is, or should be, well known, and make it suspenseful, but Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan Witts do exactly that here. Published in 1974, when there were survivors still present to share their memories, VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED tells the story of "the ship that shamed the world." The St. Louis left Hamburg, Germany in May 1939 with 900 Jewish refugees aboard. Their destination was Havana, Cuba and, to ...more
Hillary Waldbaum
Mar 16, 2013 Hillary Waldbaum rated it really liked it
I recently visited the Holocaust museum in Washington D.C. It was so hard and sad to see the graphic images. What I learned from the museum is that it was not only the Jews who were persecuted for their religion and looks but anyone who looked different than what Hitler thought they should.

I read this book as I believe my brother-in-laws father was a young boy on the SS St Louis. I wanted to read the plight of what he went through. I now see there were so many hands in the cookie jar.

I have alw
Nov 07, 2010 Duane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Following the tragic voyage of the St. Louis and the Jewish refugees that were aboard, you'll learn that the Nazis weren't the only ones who felt Jews were less then human. Bound for Cuba, you'll read about individual people who make this tragic story so heartwrenching and infuriating. From the captain who realized the ordeal he was in charge of, to the corrupt Cuban officials who only thought of money and power, there are so many interesting and complex people in this story you'll find yourself ...more
Apr 18, 2016 Jane rated it really liked it

I purchased this book years ago because the title intrigued me. Now that I am reading about World War II this year, I selected it from my library. This book doesn't have much good to say about all the nations that turned their backs on the plight of Jews fleeing Germany and the threat of extermination in Nazi concentration camps. This group of almost 1000 Jewish refugees was transported around the seas on the St. Louis, a German luxury liner, while the kind captain (Gustav Schroeder) and authori
Jun 29, 2014 Heather rated it it was amazing
Captivating and educational, Thomas and Witts managed to keep me interested in the change of events at beginning of World War II. I thought they did a great job recapturing the mood of the people and how they had to adjust to the circumstances they lived through.

Although a historical fiction, "Voyage of the Damned" is based off of true events and is written around historical documentation of a real occurrence. The people interviewed and real pictures from the event are referred to throughout the
Jan 28, 2014 Jamie rated it liked it
A very interesting, worthwhile read, the story of the 900 or so Jewish refugees banished from their homeland, Germany in the spring/summer of 1939.

Stylistically, the book reads like a soap opera or a play, dramatizing the 'good' and 'evil' characters on the ship, from their departure in Hamburg to the arrival in Havana, and finally, the sad return back to Europe. I found this to be a bit fluffy for my taste. Captain Schroeder is an interesting character...a German Navy captain that earnestly tr
Oct 17, 2010 Barbara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: holocaust-ww-2
I read this book many years ago, but have not forgotten this painful story. Many are familiar with the saga of the S.S.St.Louis, which purportedly was to rescue Jewish refugees from Nazi Europe and deliver them to safe haven. The narration conveys the frustration, fear and outrageous, unjustifiable manipulations these people encountered in their numerous attempts to flee. Despite the fact that I had known of this ship, I was horrified to discover that Democratic USA was a party to these shamef ...more
I have to admit that I'd never heard of the SS St Louis before I picked up this book, and had only vaguely heard of the title of the book, with no real associations.

Later, in some other source (I believe it was The Terrible Secret) I got some background information about why refugees were not permitted to land in places like Cuba, or Canada, or the US. Basically, the fear was that refugees would flee wholesale, spread their horror stories, and force the US and other governments into precipitate
May 27, 2012 Lynn rated it liked it
It always feels strange to say I "liked" a book about the atrocities of Nazi-torn Germany. This older book was recommended by a friend who shares my interest in that era, though, and I'm glad that I took her advice and read it, because it answered a lot of questions for me.

I have always wondered how the rest of the world could sit by for so long and do nothing while hundreds of thousands of Jews were sent to concentration camps and ultimately put to death by the Nazis. This book answers that que
Audra Spiven
Aug 18, 2013 Audra Spiven rated it really liked it
Shelves: holocaust
I read this book in preparation for a library event focusing on the St. Louis (the name of the ship that carries the passengers on the titular damned voyage).

Though not an exciting read, it was extremely interesting, and - as one would expect of a book with a Holocaust theme - extremely sad. When I got about halfway or three quarters of the way through, I took a break of several weeks. I can't tell if the break was that I was getting bored with the non-action (after all, a book the plot of which
Jenny Karraker
Nov 18, 2013 Jenny Karraker rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book about the voyage of the St. Louis, carrying Jewish passengers to Cuba, where they hoped to settle or move to the United States. The cruelty of the Nazis was nothing new, but I was surprised to learn about the corruption and greed of Cuba at that time. To enter Cuba, passengers were required by the Cuban government to buy a $500 visa. However, The Cuban director of immigration Manuel Benitez concocted a plan to sell the Jews a cheaper $150 landing permit, which was totally bog ...more
Oct 08, 2014 Ravi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I dont usually read Non-Fiction and i dont usually give 5 stars to a book.
This was a truly compelling and touching story.There is no other living being other than the human race that inflict this amount of atrocity to another human being.
I hope stories like these stop at the Nazi regime and it remains in history.
Kent L. Phillips
Feb 03, 2016 Kent L. Phillips rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didnt know that

I find the study of WWII Germany extremely interesting. This book opened a new chapter in my understanding of what was going on in the background. It is yet another example of how humans seem out of touch with the basic fundamentals of civilization.
Feb 25, 2016 Donna rated it really liked it
Captivating and compelling. A history lesson presented in a very readable form. I had no idea that this had ever occurred. I did occassionally get lost in the abundance of names and politics, but it didn't affect my enjoyment of the book. A very haunting story.
David Lowther
Feb 12, 2013 David Lowther rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very sound account of one of the most disgraceful stories of the immediate pre second world war period. Nine hundred passengers, a majority of them Jewish refugees from Germany sail to Cuba expecting to be allowed to stay there while they wait permission to enter the United States. You should read the book to discover what happens next.

The authors' have done their homework extremely well, using interviews from those who were there, newsreels, newspaper coverage and other sources to pr
Apr 09, 2013 Kay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing book about a dreadful episode just before the Second World War. As the number of people trying to flee Nazi Germany increased, other countries became less and less happy to accept the refugees because of the strain it put on their own economies and social systems. In May/June 1939 one particular ship, the SS Louis, with 937 passengers aboard was refused permission to dock and offload in Cuba and this book follows the voyage day by day together with the discussions and negotiat ...more
Jan 06, 2016 Edward rated it really liked it
What a great (yet incredibly tragic and heartbreaking) story. This is one of those important historical events that isn't normally talked about in history classes. I was transported onto the ship with those passengers and riveted to the story, rooting for them, wondering what the outcome would be. I simply cannot imagine the horrors these people had to endure, being at the mercy of governments that would not take them in and knowing if the ship was turned around they would surely all be extermin ...more
Mar 01, 2013 Crystal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recounts the events of 900+ German Jews ordered to leave their home country of Germany and sail to Cuba. Of course, they are first bilked of all money, their own and more from friends abroad. But they were never meant to be received in Cuba nor elsewhere because the Germans under Hitler's wicked spell cast the spell across the Atlantic through propaganda and so incited hate and fear of the refugees. Excellent writing because of the extent and honesty the authors went to get first hand accounts f ...more
Nov 18, 2015 Alicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A tragic but true story.
Aug 06, 2016 Diana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, evaluated-no
Although not especially well written, this book fills a niche by directly addressing the feelings and observations of those actually involved in this sad example of the way the humans, especially those in positions of power react to popular pressure when making decisions about those without power and at risk. I could not help but see parallels in to the treatment of those trying to escape the tragedy playing itself out in the Middle East now. now, as then, the United States is on the wrong side ...more
Nov 19, 2014 Joel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm re-reading "Voyage of the Damned" in part because of the current influx of child refugees from Central America...children seeking asylum in the US...and our disgusting response. This book is a strong reminder of what it means to deny a group of people, especially children, even the most basic of human needs, that of being valued and wanted. I would recommend this book to everyone, especially if you are struggling to come to terms with the situation at the border.
All I can say is after reading this book, it makes you feel ashamed to be an American. Especially during the time this event took place. The only good that comes through this event is done by a few people who more than deserve to be recognized for their noncomformity (the captain and his crew especially). Nothing is more horrific than what humans do to each other.
Lauris Burns
Dec 28, 2015 Lauris Burns rated it it was amazing
When will we ever learn? 900 desperate refugees wander the ocean for weeks because no one will allow the Jews into their country. Most of them would have lived if the United States or Cuba had accepted them. Strongly suggested reading for everyone today.
Dec 16, 2015 Rose rated it it was ok
I would like to have given this book a 5, but I felt overwhelmed by the negotiation details and timelines. I applaud the authors for bringing this story to light, but felt it was focusing on the chronology of the events at the expense of the personal.
Mar 15, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it
Fascinating historical work about a ship full of Jewish refugees in 1939 - it's a horrific chapter in history. The author does an excellent job of telling diverse stories of the various passengers & crew while still keeping the narrative thread.
Jan 07, 2016 Jennifer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This was an interesting account of 900+ Jewish refugees trying to escape pre-WWII Germany, only to find their passage corrupted by international politics and greed. Yet another insight into this disturbing chapter in human history.
Aug 24, 2014 Liza rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-nook
I enjoy reading historical accounts that are written narratively, and this book did not disappoint. Though the subject matter was both tragic and frustrating, I'm so glad I read this and highly recommend it.
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Gordon Thomas (born 1933) is a Welsh author who has written more than fifty books.
Thomas was born in Wales, in a cemetery keeper's cottage where his grandmother lived. He had his first story published at nine years old in a Boy's Own Paper competition. With his father in the RAF, he traveled widely and was educated at the Cairo High School, the Maritz Brothers (in Port Elizabeth, South Africa) and
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