The story of three teenagers and their families hoping to make it safely onto American soil while trying to escape the Nazi invasion of Europe.

Nobody Wants Us reminds us that anyone can have the misfortune to be a refugee and everyone can make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.

Michael Lewis, Sociology Professor, Christopher Newport University

In September 1940, three teenagers were trapped on a steamship in the port of Hampton Roads, Virginia. Along with over 80 other exhausted refugees, the teens were hoping to be allowed on American soil — where millions of others in distress had safely landed before them. But times had changed. America was turning away refugees at this critical time in history.  Would they be turned away too? Nobody Wants Us is their story.

Through the stories of three teens, we learn about the inherent goodness of others at a time when the world seemed to be against them. With the help of a Virginia maritime lawyer, the First Lady of the United States, and a State Department employee, they eventually found freedom on the shores of Hampton Roads in VA.

Nobody Wants Us tells the story of some of the last refugees allowed into the United States until the end of World War II. With this first-hand account of Holocaust survivors who resettled in the U.S. in 1940, our goal is to create a better understanding of the plight of refugees everywhere.

This is a timely story that parallels how the United States responds to many refugees fleeing war-torn countries over the years. The relevance of this story goes far beyond the historical significance of the S.S. Quanza. It reinforces the concept of helping those in need in any way possible - especially in light of the United States’ response to the refugee crisis today.


Powerful, important, and profoundly moving.  An urgent reminder that courage can be as contagious as fear, and much more meaningful.

Blanche Wiesen Cook, Author of "Eleanor Roosevelt" biographies volumes I, II & III, US History & Women's Studies Professor, John Jay College & City University of NY

Both timeless and all too timely. The film almost demands of us that we have the determination and the decency to pry open the contemporary gates and meet indifference with concern, inaction with effective action, and welcome contemporary refugees.

Michael Berenbaum, World-Renowned Holocaust Scholar, US Holocaust Memorial Museum Director, Sigi Ziering Institute, American Jewish University

PBS is enthusiastic about airing Nobody Wants Us. These immigrants’ flight from genocide to freedom is an important part of world history.

Kate Pearson, Managing Director, Programming & Acquisitions Maryland Public Television

I highly recommend incorporating this film in the classroom! This story and the tragedy it created makes students feel more connected to the plight of refugees everywhere.

Kristen E. Lester, Social Studies Teacher, Woodside High School

An episode in American history that everyone needs to know.

Olivia Mattis, President, The Sousa Mendes Foundation

Gives my students a deeper insight and comparative analysis of the U.S. response to the current refugee crisis and that of WWII.

Nadia Hassan, High School Teacher, AP Government & Founder, Young Leaders Institute