Friday, October 30, 2009

The National Foundation for Jewish Continuity, Inc. Presents Landmark Commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the SS St. Louis Voyage

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Seventy years ago the steamship St. Louis idled at anchor within sight of the Miami Beach coastline in June 1939 with more than 900 Jewish refugees onboard who were fleeing Nazi persecution and seeking a safe haven in the United States. When refuge was denied, the impact of that fateful decision had dire consequences that changed the world forever. To mark the 70th anniversary of this watershed moment in world history, The National Foundation For Jewish Continuity, Inc. is hosting a passenger reunion and “history-making” commemorative event on December 13, 2009 at 10:30 a.m. at the Eden Roc Renaissance Resort in Miami Beach, Florida, with the program unfolding mere miles from where the SS St. Louis’ asylum efforts were rebuked by the U.S. government.

Official Passenger-Signing of U.S. Senate Resolution 111, Debut of Original Play “The Trial of Franklin D. Roosevelt”, Menorah Lighting, and Beachfront Dedication Ceremony To Be Featured

Central to the event program will be the official historic passenger-signing ceremony of United States Senate Resolution 111, legislation sponsored by U.S. Senator Herb Kohl [WI], co-sponsored by Senator George V. Voinovich [OH], Senator Sam Brownback [KS], and Senator Ron Wyden [OR], and then unanimously passed by the U.S. Senate on May 19, 2009. Passenger-signed copies will then be presented to several world institutions for preservation and public display. These include the United States National Archives “Legislative Treasures Vault” that houses the most significant Congressional documents; United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; State of Israel; Yad Vashem; Jewish Museum of Berlin and Oskar Schindler Family Archives [Schindler’s List].

The event program will open with a special exhibition on the SS St. Louis presented in cooperation with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and luncheon program with various speakers, including surviving SS St. Louis passengers and Rev. Rosemary Schindler, relative of Oskar Schindler. It will follow with the debut of Robert Krakow’s original thought-provoking play, “The Trial of Franklin D. Roosevelt” for which the audience serves as the jury. The trial is set before the Eternal Court of Justice and explores the historical and political forces influencing Roosevelt’s policies regarding the plight of Jewish refugees and protectionist efforts in Europe. The program concludes with a Hanukkah Menorah lighting with SS St. Louis passengers and a special beachfront dedication ceremony.

Dignitaries and Presenters To Participate

* SS St. Louis Passengers: Herbert Karliner, Liesl Loeb, and Col. Phil Freund (U.S. Army Retired) and many more surviving survivors assembled from around the world will share stories about that fateful voyage and the impact of the American refusal on the global Jewish population and the world.
* Rev. Rosemary Schindler, Relative of Oskar Schindler and Trustee of the Oskar Schindler Family Archives
* Richard Hunt, Director for The U.S. Center for Legislative Archives (National Archives)
* Scott Miller, Director of Curatorial Affairs of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
* Ofer Bavly, Consul General of the State of Israel
* Klaus H. D. Ranner, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany representing his country and the Jewish Museum of Berlin
* Aaron Bernstein, Southern Director for the American Society for Yad Vashem
* Leadership from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Center (JDC), the largest international Jewish humanitarian aid organization in the world today
* The Honorable Ron Klein, United States Congressman-Florida and a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who will receive the Passengers Appreciation Award for his efforts in authoring and spearheading the passage of the Florida State Holocaust Education Act that mandated the teaching of the lessons of the Holocaust in all of the state’s public schools.
* Robert Krakow, Playwright/Documentarian and Trustee for the U.S. Senate Resolution 111
* Howard Kaye, President, The National Foundation For Jewish Continuity, Inc.
* Event Committee: Includes Jon And Bonnie (Sparaga) Kaye, The National Foundation For Jewish Continuity, Inc. board members; Arlene Herson, national chair of the Legacy of Light Society of the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.; Nancy and Barry Dershaw, Next Generations; Rabbi Barry J. Konovitch, event chairman for the 50th Anniversary Of The SS St. Louis Voyage; Betty Heisler Samuels, Historian And Author: “The Last Minyan To Leave Havana”; Estrella Behar, Rabbi Yossi Denburg; Dr. Irvin And Katherine Fleishman; Guy Fronstin, Esq.; Melissa Fronstin; Chuck Gaspari, Esq.; Ruth Ann Kalish; Pamela Kaye; Leslie Kantor; Ralph Kier; Gary Lesser, Esq.; and Elizabeth Weprin.

Program To Educate, Honor, Question, And Challenge

According to The National Foundation for Jewish Continuity, Inc. President Howard Kaye, “The 70th anniversary event will educate U.S. and international audiences on this significant turning point in world history, its ramifications, and its relevance today as intolerance, bigotry, and genocide continue on a global scale.”

He added that the event will both honor the survivors who individually and collectively bear witness to the SS St. Louis voyage’s watershed event in world history as well as support The National Foundation For Jewish Continuity’s efforts to encourage Jewish adults and teens to contemplate the worth/value of their birthright and challenge them to participate in protecting and continuing to honor and extol the virtues of that birthright and legacy for future generations.

Signing And Performance at Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County To Follow Eden Roc Commemorative Event

As the commemoration at the Eden Roc developed, Kaye was moved to ensure that his own local community also had the opportunity to learn about the Steamship St. Louis and to honor the surviving passengers. He found a home for the project at the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County where the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Federation will be hosting a special evening in Boca Raton on Monday, December 14th, featuring a signing ceremony of United States Senate Resolution 111, and a private performance of Krakow’s “The False Witness” with the trial of Adolf Hitler. The Boca Raton event is made possible with generous support from Pamela & Howard Kaye, The Foundation for Jewish Continuity, Inc. and Rani H. Garfinkle, in loving memory of her beloved husband Sandor Garfinkle.

Tickets and Sponsorships For December 13th Event At Eden Roc

Tickets for December 13th for The National Foundation of Jewish Continuity, Inc.’s 70th Anniversary of the SS St. Louis Voyage, Passenger Reunion and Commemorative Event at the Eden Roc are $500 per person for Heritage level seating that includes a private meet, greet, and photos with survivors and dignitaries; $350 per person for premium seating; $250 per person for general seating; $5,000 for a Heritage sponsor table of 10; $3,500 for a Premium sponsor table of 10; and $2,500 for table of 10 in general seating. Sponsorship opportunities range from title sponsor and event sponsors to hosting a surviving passenger for the weekend, hosting the Menorah lighting ceremony, etc.

For more information on the event and to purchase tickets, contact The National Foundation For Jewish Continuity, Inc., headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, at (561) 417-5099, email to or visit For participation and sponsorship opportunities, visit or contact Jon Kaye or Bonnier Kaye at Kaye Communications, Inc., 561-392-5166.

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