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Gustav Schroder
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Hero
    (September 27, 1885-January 10, 1959)
    Born in Hadersleben, Germany
    Sea Captain
    Hired by the shipping company HAPAG (Hamburg-Amerikanische Paketfahrt-Aktiengesellschaft), in 1921
    Promoted to 1st officer on the Hansa
    Appointed master of the MS Ozeana (Aug. 1935)
    Best known as Captain of the ill-fated MS St. Louis
    Attempted to save 937 German Jews, who were passengers on his ship, from the Nazis, after they were denied entry to Cuba, the United States and Canada in 1939
    Passengers were finally accepted in various European countries, including Britain, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, the latter three which were later invaded by the Nazis during World War II
    Historians estimate that, after their return to Europe, approximately a quarter of the ship's passengers perished in Nazi concentration camps
    Posthumously honored with the title of 'Righteous Among the Nations' by Yad Vashem and the State of Israel (March 1993).
    Portrayed by Max Von Sydow in 'The Voyage of the Damned' (1976)
    Well, he was a Nazi (albeit a really benevolent one...)
    He apparently departed Hamburg knowing full well that there could be a problem with his passengers' entry visas.
    Many wondered why he circled the Atlantic in search of a docking place for his passengers when the Dominican Republic had expressed its intention to accept as many as 10,000 Jewish refugees (there was less than 1,000 aboard...).
    His drawn out 'St. Louis Voyage' has continually been commandeered by Immigration activists in the context of 'blanket amnesty' (more often than not, the circumstances, while far from a picnic, are not as dire as those under Nazi Germany).
    For example, Gov. Deval Patrick justifying his controversial support for 'Sanctuary Cities' to house illegal immigrants and/or unaccompanied minors, from countries in Central America, fleeing high crime rates by invoking the MS St. Louis and the Holocaust (Jul. 2014).
    Shortly after the passengers were settled in parts of Western Europe, war was declared on Germany, prompting him to dock his ship in neutral Russian territory and flee for Hamburg to escape the Allies (he would be relegated to a desk job during World War II, and would never go to sea again).
    He has been likened to Oskar Schindler.
    He risked his own life for others and had great respect for mankind.
    He was released from de-Nazification proceedings after testimonies from surviving Jewish 'St. Louis' passengers.
    He was awarded the Order of Merit by the Federal German Republic 'for services to the people and the land in the rescue of refugees' (1957).
    He insisted to his 231-man crew that the refugees were paying passengers to be treated with respect.
    This meant that the German Jews, previously banned from public facilities and common luxuries, were able to enjoy the ship's beauty salon, swimming pool, dance hall, and multicourse feasts.
    He allowed the passengers to conduct religious services on board, knowing full well that it would be frowned upon by the Nazis in Germany (case in point, he was stripped of his post when he returned to Germany).
    He even went so far as to order the removal of Hitler's portrait in the Grand Ballroom so that it could better serve as a place of worship (considered a dangerous and unprecedented step).
    He defied orders to immediately return the ship to Hamburg after being turned away by Cuba's government, but he instead opted to turn north in hope of finding safe haven for his passengers in Miami.
    When finally forced to return to Europe, he did so at a deliberately slow pace, going so far as to develop a contingency plan in which the ship would be 'wrecked' off the coast of the British Isle, thereby forcing the government's hand.
    Max Von Sydow leant the widely panned 'Voyage of the Damned' film what little dignity and prestige it had, by playing him.
    The city of Hamburg, Germany, named a street after him, unveiling a detailed plaque at the landing stages of the MS St. Louis (2000).
    His efforts were credited with at least delaying the inevitable for his passengers, who would only have been sent to concentration camps sooner had he not delayed the voyage (but many passengers who escaped to America via Britain, or who survived in occupied territory, likely wouldn't have without him).

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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