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Hamburg-Amerika Line orange and white luggage tag used by a Jewish family on the MS St. Louis

Object | Accession Number: 2010.336.3

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    Brief Narrative
    Orange 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, right, black ink : ̊ANTON / HAMBURG
    front, center, white letters in orange : HAMBURG - AMERIKA LINIE
    front, center, within logo, black ink : H A / P / A G
    front, lower center, black ink : GEDAP Nr. 352
    front, lower center, black ink : Printed in Germany Imprimé en Allemagne In Deutschland gedruckt
    reverse, sticker, white and black ink : HAMBURG - AMERIKA LINIE / K
    reverse, sticker, within logo, white on orange : H A / P / A G
    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

    Identifying Artifacts
    Object Type
    Luggage tags (aat)
    Physical Description
    Oval, white cardboard luggage tag with an orange background and narrow white border. At the top is a punch hole with a paper and metal grommet with a white string tied through it. One side has an image of an ocean liner in dark orange and white ink, beneath this is a banner with the company name in German. The remainder has a white shield shaped design with preprinted lines in English, French, German, and Spanish and handwritten text completing the form. On the reverse are red pencilled markings and a circular paper sticker with the company logo in black, blue, and yellow.
    overall: Height: 6.125 inches (15.558 cm) | Width: 4.250 inches (10.795 cm)
    overall : cardboard, metal, string, paper, ink, adhesive, graphite, colored pencil
    front, center, preprinted in black ink, handwritten in pencil : Klein Nicoleuis (handwritten) / NAME NAME NOMBRE / St. Louis (handwritten) / SCHIFF VESSEL VAPOR / 13. V.39 (handwritten) / ABFAHRTSTAG DATE OF SAILING FECHA DE SALIDA / Habana[?] (handwritten) / BESTIMMUNGSHAFEN PORT OF DESTINATION PUERTO DE DESTINO / 2/. (handwritten) / KAMMER ROOM CAMROTE / Nr.
    reverse, red pencil : L / 5

    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:
    2023-07-10 10:40:17
    This page:

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