30 THE QUEENS COURIER • OCTOBER 1, 2015 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT www.queenscourier.com REMEMBERING THE FUTURE OUR 1938 IMMIGRATION PROBLEM REPEATED QUEENS LIBRARY Enrich Your Life® presents Songs from Latin America Argentinian-born singer and musician Irene Failenbogen joins us to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month with songs from Latin America. Light refreshments will be served. Seating is limited; first come, first served. Admission is free. www.queenslibrary.org This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Douglaston/Little Neck Community Library. Queens Library is an independent, not-for-profit corporation and is not affiliated with any other library system. 1706-8/15 Thursday, October 1 4:00 p.m. Douglaston/Little Neck 249-01 Northern Boulevard 718-225-8414 Train: LIRR /Bus: Q12, N20, N21 QUEENS LIBRARY Enrich Your Life® presents Long-time Douglaston resident and film director Stuart Hersh screens his acclaimed documentary La Raza, about the history and culture of Mexican-Americans. Light refreshments will be served. Seating is limited; first come, first served. Thursday, October 8 6:00 p.m. Douglaston/Little Neck 249-01 Northern Boulevard 718-225-8414 Train: LIRR /Bus: Q12, N20, N21 Admission is free. www.queenslibrary.org This event is sponsored by the Friends of Douglaston/Little Neck Community Library in conjunction with The Douglaston and Little Neck Historical Society. Queens Library is an independent, not-for-profit corporation and is not affiliated with any other library system. 1710-8/15 BY DR. ARTHUR FLUG “When I saw the picture of the 3-year-old boy lying facedown in the water, it brought back memories of my immigrant experience that I wished had not been awakened.” This is how Jane Keibel, a Holocaust survivor and Kew Gardens resident began the story of her family’s search for freedom in 1938. It was after Kristallnacht, an unrestrained reign of destruction on synagogues, Jewish businesses and households, that caused her father to undertake a plan of escape that would bring 15-year-old Keibel, her sister and her parents to America. Stripped of all possessions, her father was able to purchase tickets aboard the M.S. St. Louis to Cuba. From there they would wait until their visa applications were approved and sail to the America. Jane describes the feeling among the passengers as one of “cautious elation.” Yet she remembers a number of passengers with “shaven heads and slow movement.” These were the Jews who had been released from Dachau, Germany’s fi rst concentration camp. As the ship approached Havana, a sense of joy overtook the passengers. It was short-lived. The Cuban government refused to let the passengers land and for the next fi ve days, one word seemed to permeate all conversations aboard the St. Louis: suicide. Being denied landing in Havana, the ship sailed towards Miami. Yet again, these immigrants were denied entry into the United States. “This was the land of freedom. Telegrams were sent to President Roosevelt asking for his help. We children wrote to Mrs. Roosevelt,” Keibel explained. The correspondence went unanswered; the ship turned back toward Europe. Suicide prevention committees were created to oversee the passengers. No one wanted to return home, yet no one was aware of what was to become “the fi nal solution.” As the St. Louis approached Europe, a rescue plan was devised. The passengers were divided into groups of approximately 230. One group disembarked in England and the remaining three went on to France, Belgium and Holland. Keibel and her family landed in France. The children in the group were separated from their parents and settled in a home run by a social service agency. The adults went into a similar setup. These homes were located outside Paris, where they lived in relative safety with occasional German air raids forcing them into shelters. Approximately four months later, their immigration visas were obtained and Keibel and her family set sail from Le Havre to New York City. Yet of the passengers who returned to Europe, approximately 40 percent died in the Nazi death machine. The similarities with today are both striking and appalling. We have yet to see who today’s heroes will be and what decisions will be made. Dr. Arthur Flug is the former executive director of the Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Center at Queensborough Community College in Bayside.
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