Tags: SS St. Louis

937: Voyage of the Doomed

The play tells the story of a Jewish family’s attempt to escape war-torn Europe aboard the passenger liner SS St. Louis. The title refers to the 937 passengers onboard the ship, 900 of which were Jewish. Milligan uses coats and shadow play to silently portray a father trying to shelter his son from the desperation of their plight.


Based on the actual experiences of German Jews on the S.S. St. Louis who were forced to return to Europe, because they could not disembark in Cuba or the United States, where almost half perished in the Holocaust. In Exodus, Jews trying to escape Europe during the Shoah cannot find refuge and must return.

Sotto Voce

A young Jewish-Cuban researcher, Saquiel, is visiting New York and sets out to recover memories of the ill-fated SS St. Louis that left Germany in 1939 on its way to Cuba. His grandaunt was one of the Jewish refugees on board who were fleeing Nazi persecution. When the refugees were refused entry to Cuba, the U.S. and Canada, the ship returned to Europe where its passengers were doled out to countries that would take them. 254 subsequently died in the Holocaust. In his search to find out more about the voyage, Saquiel contacts Bernadette, an 80-year-old, Berlin-born author whose first love was also on board the SS St. Louis. Bemadette doesn't like to leave her New York apartment, so Saquiel contacts her by phone and email, and she reluctantly shares her story. As Bemadette recounts her memories, Saquiel assumes the place of her lover, and they embark on an affair of the imagination.