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MS St. Louis black and white luggage tag used by a Jewish refugee family

Object | Accession Number: 2010.336.2

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    Brief Narrative
    Black and white luggage tag used by 8 year old Evelyn Klein, her mother, Maria Hermanda, and her stepfather, Nicolaus (Miklos) during their voyage aboard the Ms St. Louis to Havana, Cuba, on May 13-27, 1939. By 1939, many Jews were seeking to escape areas of Europe that were controlled by Nazi Germany. In 1939, the Klein family, residents of Hungary, acquired landing permits for Cuba and entry visas for the United States and sailed on the luxury liner from Hamburg to Havana. The majority of the 937 passengers were Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. When the ship arrived on May 27, the Cuban government declared that only 28 passengers had valid landing permits. The Klein family was among those allowed to disembark. For over a week, the passengers on board the ship petitioned Cuba and the US to give them refuge; however, on June 6, the boat had to sail back to Europe. The Klein family remained in Havana until 1941, when they emigrated to the United States.
    use:  1939 May 13-1939 May 27
    received: St. Louis (Ship); Hamburg (Germany)
    en route: St. Louis (Ship); Havana (Cuba)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Don Altman
    front, black ink : N.̊ / 932 / M. S. ,, St. Louis‘’ Habana
    front, right edge, black ink : en poder del Comisario para ser e [held by the Commissioner to be e]
    front, upper right corner, black ink : PRINTED IN U . S . A.
    reverse, top, bold, black ink : HAMBURG – AMERICAN LINE
    reverse, left, around grommet, black ink : (DENNISON MFG. CO. U.S.A.) EC
    reverse, center, within logo, black ink : H A / P / A G
    reverse, center, right, black ink : PIERS No’s. 84 & 86 (bold) / FOOT OF WEST 44th & 46th STREETS / NEW YORK CITY
    Subject: Evelyn Altman
    Evelyn Klein Altman was born on June 12, 1930, near Vienna, Austria, to Maria Hermanda. Her mother later married Miklos (Nicolaus) Klein and she and Evelyn adopted his last name. By 1939, many Jews were seeking to escape countries and regions that, like Austria, were under the control of Nazi Germany, or, like Hungary, were close allies. In 1939, the Kleins acquired entry visas and landing permits for Havana, Cuba, and purchased tickets for the Hamburg-Amerika luxury liner, Ms. St. Louis. The family left Hamburg, Germany, for Havana aboard the ship on May 13, 1939. They reached Havana on May 27. The Kleins were among the 28 passengers, out of 937, whose landing permits for Cuba and visas for the United States were considered valid by the Cuban government. The ship, with the remaining passengers, nearly all Jewish refugees from Nazi controlled countries, was forced to return to Europe. The Kleins disembarked in Havana, where they stayed until 1941 when they left for the United States. Hermanda died in 1988. Evelyn married and had three children. She died in Denver, Colorado, age 71, on July 5, 2001.

    Physical Details

    English Spanish
    Identifying Artifacts
    Object Type
    Luggage tags (aat)
    Physical Description
    Rectangular white cardboard luggage tag with angled corners. On the left side is a punch hole with a paper and metal grommet with a white string tied through it. The graphics are in black ink. One side has a design in 3 horizontal sections separated by lined borders: at the top is English text; in the center, 2 ovals formed from a rope border, the smaller on the left contains a logo; the other has an address; the third section has 2 lines of directions. On the reverse, a rectangular white paper label has been applied over the printed tag. It has a large number and the ship name and destination in the center and a line of small text in Spanish printed vertically on the right.
    overall: Height: 2.875 inches (7.303 cm) | Width: 6.375 inches (16.192 cm)
    overall : cardboard, metal, string, paper, ink, adhesive

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Corporate Name
    St. Louis (Ship)

    Administrative Notes

    The MS St. Louis travel label was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2010 by Don Altman, the husband of Evelyn Klein Altman.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-06-02 09:16:46
    This page:

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