Gilt-plated demitasse spoon embossed with the MS St Louis

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Washington, United States

Gilded demitasse spoon with an engraved ship image and enamel company logo used prewar on the MS St. Louis. This German ocean liner has become a symbol of the world's, and especially the United States, indifference to the fate of Jews in a Europe dominated by Nazi Germany. On May 13, 1939, the ship left Hamburg, Germany, for Havana, Cuba, with 937 passengers, nearly all Jews fleeing Germany. In Havana, only 28 people were allowed to disembark. For a week, the ship remained in port, amid desperate negotiations with Cuban and US authorities. On June 2, it was forced to leave. It drifted for 5 days near the Florida coast until all pleas to the US were rejected, due to strict quota limits and isolationist sentiment. It docked in Antwerp, Belgium, on June 17. Jewish aid organizations had negotiated with European governments to admit the passengers rather than return them to Germany. All those admitted to the United Kingdom, 288, survived; nearly half of those admitted to Belgium, France, and the Netherlands, 278, survived; the rest perished.


  • Title: Gilt-plated demitasse spoon embossed with the MS St Louis
  • Provenance: The spoon was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1991 by Henry Kahn.
  • Subject Keywords: Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) Jewish refugees--Germany. World War, 1939-1945--Refugees.
  • Type: Household Utensils
  • Rights: Permanent Collection
  • External Link: See the full record at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Medium: Gold gilt-plated silver demitasse spoon with a narrow, shallow, oval bowl embossed with the image of the masted bow of an ocean liner, with remnants of blue paint, and the name ST. Louis at the tip. The pedestal shaped neck narrows along the stem, then widens into an arched support for a blue enameled oval medallion with 3 decorative edge knobs. The company logo of a ship's anchor overlaid with a shield lettered HAPAG is painted in gold on the blue field.

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