Liesl Joseph Loeb was born in Rheydt, (Pronounced “right”) a small industrial city in West Germany, near Düsseldorf.
After the event of Kristall Nacht she and her parents left Germany on the S.S. St. Louis, bound for Havana, Cuba. There they wanted to wait for their quota number to come up, allowing immigration into the USA.
Cuba refused to accept the refugees and the ship was ordered to leave the harbor. Her story of these events and the 40 days at sea comprise the contents of her presentation.
Liesl was educated in Jewish day schools in Europe, attended public schools in Philadelphia, as well as the Philadelphia College of Art. She is a retired graphic designer who keeps busy now with presentations such as this one.
She is a speaker for Philadelphia’s Jewish Community Relations Council and volunteers at Gratz College in the Holocaust Oral History Archives department. She has participated in various filmed documentaries regarding the St. Louis events including the SEA TALES series on A&E and NEWSSTAND on CNN world-wide. Recently she participated in a Documentary about the St. Louis by a major German TV network. The film was shown in Germany and various European countries. An interview for a German magazine also took place a few years ago. German journalists feel that the story has up to now not been publicised enough in their country.
Liesl is a member of Congregation Adath Jeshurun in Elkins Park, PA, and has been active in the past as officer and boardmember of the Philadelphia Branch of National Women’s League for Conservative Judaism.
Liesl is the mother of two children and the proud grandmother of four grandchildren. Liesl was eleven years old and one of over close to two hundred children aboard the St. Louis. Her generation, the children on board, is the last one of the eye witnesses to the Holocaust events, therefore she believes that it is important to speak about her experiences now.