Remembering the MS St. Louis

George Spitz, Gilda's father-in-law, en route to Cuba in 1939. (Photo courtesy Gilda Spitz)

Today marks the 82nd anniversary of the ill-fated voyage of the MS St. Louis, which carried more than 900 Jewish refugees across the Atlantic, from Europe to North America. After being denied entry to Cuba, the United States and Canada, the ship returned to European soil, where at least 200 passengers would later be killed by invading Nazi forces. Gilda Spitz, whose husband’s father, aunt and grandmother were on the ship, joins to discuss the event’s legacy and how her in-laws survived the saga.

Plus, we hear from Steve Epstein in Ashkelon, Israel, about what life is like with rockets flying overhead. A rocket hit a house across the street from him—one of 14 rockets fired from gaza to hit targets in Ashkelon, including an empty school. Steve explains what it was like running to a nearby shelter with ambulance sirens blaring throughout the neighbourhood.

What we talked about:

  • Read about Canada’s sole survivor from the MS St. Louis at the old CJN website
  • Read the full text of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s apology to victims of the MS St. Louis
  • Learn more about Canada’s reaction to the MS St. Louis at the Pier 21 website
  • Read how the “Iron Dome” is saving lives in Israel at

The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Victoria Redden is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. Find more great Jewish podcasts at

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