Steamship Quanza

Author(s): &

A play written in seventeen scenes, that chronicles the true story of the S.S. Quanza, a steamship that carried Jewish refugees from Lisbon in 1940. Not permitted to disembark in Mexico, the ship arrived in Hampton Roads, Virginia with over eighty Jewish passengers, where two married U.S. Jewish attorneys fought to keep them from returning to Europe. Finally, due to the intervention of Eleanor Roosevelt, they were able to leave the ship. The play includes historical figures, such as Rabbi Stephen Wise, Breckinridge Long, and Eleanor Roosevelt as well as fictional versions of actual persons, including the attorneys.
Format: Historical drama
Cast Size: 6M/4F
Character breakdown
Ben Abrams: Late 30s. A lawyer. Son of immigrant Russian Jews.

Darcy Abrams: Late 30s. A lawyer. Ben’s wife. Raised in Virginia, granddaughter of German JewsDavid Abrams: 15. Ben and Darcy’s son.Gerhardt Wolff: Mid-50s. Prosperous German Jew.

Anna Wolff: Late teens. Gerhardt’s daughter.

Ida Lipschultz: Late 20s. Polish Jew from small village./JULIA MILLSTEIN: Mid-30s. Darcy Abrams’ sister-in-law.

Helman Levy: Early 30s. Hungarian Jewish musician/RAY GIBBON Late 30s. Garage owner in Hampton Roads.

Patrick Malin: Late 20s. Official of the President’s Advisory Committee on Political Refugees./Tom McPherson: Early 30s. A dockworker in Virginia.

Breckinridge Long**    50s. Assistant Secretary of State/ Judge Luther Way     50s. Federal District Judge, Norfolk, Virginia.
Eleanor Roosevelt/Mary Jane Sutcliffe   40s. Society columnist and wife of local publisher



See Gene A. Plunka Staging Holocaust Resistance. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, pp. 135–154.

Original or Prominent Production: Chicago Dramatists Workshop, 1991
Original Source Material: S.S. Quanza incident - historical documents
Nationality of Author:
Original Language: English

Palgrave Macmillan, 2012

Production Rights Holder:

Susan Lieberman & Stephen J Morewitz

Experience(s) Chronicled: |

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