Journey of the Damned

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German title Journey of the Damned
Original title Voyage of the Damned
Country of production England
original language English
Publishing year 1976
length 155 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Stuart Rosenberg
script David Butler ,
Steve Shagan
production Robert Fryer
music Lalo Schifrin
camera Billy Williams
cut Tom Priestley ,
Desmond Saunders

Journey of the Damned is the title of a film drama produced in 1976, the plot of which reconstructs the odyssey of the St. Louis , a historically documented episode shortly before the start of the Second World War . The book Voyage of the Damned by Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan-Witts served as a template .


The German ship St. Louis set sail from Hamburg in May 1939 . His destination is Cuba . On board are 937 Jews - refugees from anti-Semitism and the increasingly aggressive racial policy of the Nazis . However, both the Cuban and, later, the US government do not allow the Jews to disembark in the respective states. US President Franklin D. Roosevelt invokes the Immigration Act of 1924 , which only allows a certain quota of immigrants. An odyssey begins for the Jewish people on board. When stateless people were also denied entry into Canada , the St. Louis turned and headed back to Europe.

Captain Gustav Schröder finds a confidante in the doctor Kreisler. Kreisler travels with his wife Denise, who forges a friendship with fellow traveler Lillian Rosen. Her husband, Karl Rosen, cuts his wrists and is taken to a hospital in Havana. Both daughter, Anna Rosen, begin a romance with the ship's attendant Max Günther. The young couple is afraid of returning to Germany: Max and Anna poison each other. Lillian Rosen is desperate, but finds consolation in Denise Kreisler. The old Hauser couple receives a visit on board from their daughter, Mila Hauser, who lives in Havana. Mila works as a luxury prostitute in Cuba to raise money for her parents. Mila sleeps with influential politicians and can help David Strauss, who lives in Cuba, to get his two young daughters off board. In addition to Mila Hauser, it is the Jew Morris Troper, who lives in the USA, who can help Captain Schröder and his passengers. After the US refused to save the Jewish passengers, they can disembark in Antwerp. The Kreisler, Hauser and Rosen couples survived the war. The Nazi Schiendick, who came on board at the beginning, was shot by the British towards the end of the war.

Background information

  • The film was shot on locations in Spain and England; initially parts of the shooting in Yugoslavia were planned.
  • It was Oskar Werner's last film.


"The film depicts the historical ship journey using the tried and tested means of star cinema."


The film was nominated for an Oscar in three categories in 1977 , but came away empty-handed:

The film was also nominated in six categories for the Golden Globe Award , of which it won one:


  • Gordon Thomas, Max Morgan-Witts: The Ship of the Damned. The odyssey of St. Louis (original title: Voyage of the Damned ). German by Helmut Kossodo . Edition Bergh and WMP publishing house delivery service , Tübingen and Zug (Switzerland) 1976, 382 pages, ISBN 3-88065-044-6 .
  • Georg JE Mautner Markhof: The St. Louis drama. Background and riddle of a mysterious operation by the Third Reich . Leopold Stocker Verlag, Graz - Stuttgart 2001, 200 pages, ISBN 3-7020-0931-0 .

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