WASHINGTON (JTA) – The US State Department presented a program of speeches and a play highlighting the history of the MS St. Louis for about 200 people, including more than 30 Holocaust survivors.

The highlight of the event was the play “The Trial of FDR.” That play is expected to be shown throughout the country to remind people of the story of the 937 German Jewish refugees aboard the St. Louis, a German steamer that left Germany in 1939, heading for Cuba. The ship was denied entry there, and also to the United States and Canada. It then sailed back to Europe, where about one-third of the passengers ultimately died in Auschwitz.

The theatrical presentation focused on the decisions faced by US leaders at the time.

The program Sept. 24 was sponsored by Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Hannah Rosenthal, and Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues Douglas Davidson, and featured remarks by Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns and Foreign Service Director General Linda Thomas-Greenfield.