In early May 1939, the United States government refused to admit the roughly 900 Jewish refugees on board the SS St. Louis then circling off the coast of Florida. The ship was forced to return to Europe, and while some passengers found refuge in other countries, many died in the Holocaust.
In our roles as the Directors of two regional hubs for the academic study of Jewish life and culture, we are committed to speaking out when history threatens to repeat itself as we believe it does with the January 2017 US ban on refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries. We urge our country not to let the lessons of Jewish history go unheeded—a point emphasized by the fact that the refugee ban was issued on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
-Nan Goodman, Director, Program in Jewish Studies, CU (Boulder, CO)
-Sarah Pessin, Director, Center for Judaic Studies, DU (Denver, CO)