Actor and Lake Hughes resident Paul Koslo co-stars in the 1976 Robert Fryer production of "Voyage of the Damned."
One year earler, in 1975, Koslo purchased The Rock Inn in Lake Hughes, which he owned until his death in January 2019.
Starring Faye Dunaway, Max von Sydow, Oskar Werner, Lee Grant and Sam Wanamaker, "Voyage of the Damned" is the real-life story of the SS St. Louis, aka MS St. Louis, a Nazi-flagged
ship of the Hapsburg-American line that departed from Hamburg in May 1939 with 937 refugees, mostly Jews, seeking asylum in Cuba.
Only 29 were allowed to disembark in Cuba and the rest were turned away. Captain Gustav Schröder (Von Sydow),
a sympathetic German gentile who cared for the welfare of his charges, then set sail along the Atlantic coast where he attempted to negotiate
with the United States and Canada to no avial. With food supplies running low, Schröder steered the ship back to Europe where he was finally allowed to dock in Antwerp, Belgium, in mid-June.
Further negotiations led to the distribution of the refugees among Great Britain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Schröder returned to Hamburg with no passengers.
In 1940, the Nazis invaded France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Of the 620 refugees who emigrated to those countries in 1939, 254 died in the Holocaust.
The German-born Koslo (birth name Manfred Koslowski), who was raised in Canada, plays the real-life Aaron Pozner, a German Jew who had been imprisoned in the concentration camp at Dachau, outside of
Munich, following the Reichskristallnacht incident of November 1938. Pozner, a Hebrew teacher, was released from Dachau in 1939 on condition he leave the country within 14 days. With help from his
family he cobbled together enough money to buy passage on the SS St. Louis.
In the context of "Voyage of the Damned," the climactic moment for Koslo/Pozner comes when Schröder makes the difficult decision to return to Europe. The real-life Pozner led a failed munity.
The muntineers captured the bridge but not the engine room and were overcome.
Pozner reportedly died in a concentration camp.
Schröder never returned to sea. His surviving Jewish passengers assisted him with food and clothing after the war and cleared him of war crimes. He died in 1957. In 1993 the state of Israel
added his name to the list of Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem.
1. Ogilvie, Sarah H., and Scott Miller. "Refuge Denied: The St. Louis Passengers and the Holocaust." Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2006.
2. Thomas, Gordon, and Max Morgan-Witts. "Voyage of the Damned: A Shocking True Story of Hope, Betrayal, and Nazi Terror." New York: Stein and Day, 1974.