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Congregation Or Shalom’s 13th Annual Kristallnacht Commemoration

On August 9th, 1940, a ship called the S.S. Quanza left Portugal, filled with Jewish refugees frantically trying to escape Nazi-occupied Europe.  The ship docked at Vera Cruz, Mexico, where their visas indicated that they would be allowed to land.  The Mexican authorities, however, questioned the validity of the visas of 86 of the refugees and prohibited them from coming ashore.  One of the passengers, a teenager, said in a telegram to his family, “…We are trapped on this boat and we must now go back to hell.”  Before heading back to Europe, the SS Quanza anchored briefly at Norfolk harbor, Virginia, to load up on coal.  That refueling stop reversed the fate of the refugees:  A Virginian maritime lawyer by the name of Jacob Morewitz, upon learning of their plight, worked feverishly to find a way to enable their rescue.  He succeeded.  And those 86 refugees never forgot what he did for them.

How were the passengers of the SS Quanza saved?  Come, learn and discuss!  On Sunday morning November 17, 2019, 9 AM, Congregation Or Shalom, 205 Old Grassy Hill Road, Orange will honor the courageous activism of Jacob Morewitz at its 13th Annual Kristallnacht Community Commemoration.

The highlight of the morning’s program will take place when members of the Morewitz family receive a U.S. Senate Commendation from Senator Richard Blumenthal on behalf of their late father & grandfather.  Guest speakers will include:  Michael Dobbs of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and author of the new book, “The Unwanted”; Victoria Redel, daughter of a Quanza survivor, and author of a book based on the ship’s story.  In addition, the new and acclaimed documentary on the story of the SS Quanza, “Nobody Wants Us”, will be screened by its filmmaker Laura Seltzer-Duny.  All are welcome.  Free and open to the public.  This program is made possible by a generous donation from the Men’s Club Yellow Candle Fund.  Please join us for this exciting community event!  Free parking and shuttle bus will be available at High Plains Community Center.

For more information:  203-799-2341; Email: • website:

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