Russel Neiss, a Jewish educator from St. Louis, launched a tweetbot Friday, which tweets in the name of a passenger of the MS St. Louis, saying: "The US turned me away at the border in 1939. I was murdered in" and then provides the city, country or death camp where the passenger was murdered by the Nazis.
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The Twitter account @Stl_Manifest, launched for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, tweets at five minute intervals. It provides the picture of the murdered would-be immigrant to the U.S. when one was available. The account is, presumably, not only intended to honor and remember the victims of the Holocaust but also to protest the anti-immigrant policies adopted by U.S. President Donald Trump by highlighting that in the case of some immigrants, barring their entrance to the U.S. is akin to a death sentence.
The St. Louis embarked from Hamburg, Germany to Havana, Cuba on May 13, 1939, carrying 937 passengers, most of whom were Jews fleeing the Nazis. When the ship arrived in Cuba, only a tiny fraction of the passengers were allowed to enter the country. When the negotiations failed and the ship was turned back to Europe, the passengers and Jewish organizations pleaded with the U.S. government to take in the refugees. The U.S. did not heed the pleas and the ship sailed back to Europe. Its passengers disembarked in Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. Over 530 of the passengers found themselves under Nazi control, when Hitler invaded and conquered Western Europe, just under half of the passengers perished in the Holocaust.
Trump has signed several executive actions over the past few days aimed at limiting immigration into the United States. Among these an executive order to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and executive order banning immigrants from a number of predominantly Muslim nations, and on Friday an executive order tightening vetting for those entering the U.S.