Guide to the S.S. Navemar - Saul Sperling Collection
AR 3857

Processed by Leanora Lange

Leo Baeck Institute

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 744-6400

Fax: (212) 988-1305



© 2014  Leo Baeck Institute
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Leanora Lange in January 2014. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Sperling, Saul
Title: S.S. Navemar - Saul Sperling Collection
Abstract: This collection contains the papers of lawyer Saul Sperling related to the lawsuit brought by passengers of the S.S. Navemar against the owners of the ship in 1941-1942 for death, personal injury, and property damage that occurred during the difficult journey. Many passengers were Jewish refugees fleeing Europe. Materials include Saul Sperling’s notes, correspondence, legal documents, and bills.
Languages: The collection is in English.
Quantity: 0.25 linear feet
Identification: AR 3857
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Historical Note

The S.S. Navemar was a Spanish merchant ship that operated during World War II. The ship departed from Seville, Spain on July 30, 1941 with over 1,000 Jewish refugees aboard, far more than it was equipped to carry. During the 48-day voyage, illness and hunger afflicted the refugees. Six died on board, and a seventh died upon arrival in New York. The S.S. Navemar arrived in New York on September 12, 1941. Almost immediately after arrival in New York, passengers began organizing a law suit against the company that owned the S.S. Navemar, the Compania Española de Navegacion Maritima. Passengers made claims for personal injury, damage to personal property, and death. The lawyer Saul Sperling represented 251 of the 578 passenger-claimants in this case. The S.S. Navemar was sunk in January of 1942, allegedly by an Axis U-boat.

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Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of files of Saul Sperling, the lawyer for many of the plaintiffs in the case brought by passengers of the S.S. Navemar against the owners of the ship, Compania Española de Navegacion Maritima. The collection includes notes, correspondence, legal papers, and bills. The notes are handwritten by Saul Sperling and relate to the case. Most of the notes are dated and numbered, ranging from September 16, 1941 to February 16, 1945. The correspondence is with lawyers, clients, and officials. The lawyers included in the correspondence include Louis Arnold, Mr. Stewart of Foley & Martin, Edwin Bourke, Myron Kleban, and Maurice Kreis. The legal papers include powers of attorney, sworn statements, and interview transcripts, and lists of claims. Other materials used in the case and included in this collection alongside the legal papers are addresses of passengers, pages of the ship’s log book, and questionnaires.

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The collection is arranged by document type.

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

This collection is open to researchers.

Access Information

Readers may access the collection by visiting the Lillian Goldman Reading Room at the Center for Jewish History. We recommend reserving the collection in advance; please visit the LBI Online Catalog and click on the "Request" button.

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Access Points

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Related Material

The LBI Archives holds the following collections that relate to the Navemar case:

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Separated Material

Photographs in this collection have been separated to the LBI Photograph Collection and can be viewed online: Photographs from the S.S. Navemar - Saul Sperling Collection

A folder of clippings related to the Navemar case was separated to the LBI Clippings Collection, where it can be found under the collection number AR 3857C.

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Digitization Note

The collection was digitized and made accessible in its entirety.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); S.S. Navemar - Saul Sperling Collection; AR 3857; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Processing Information

Materials were rehoused into acid-free archival folders. Envelopes that contained no further information than what could be found on their related pieces of correspondence were removed.

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Container List


S.S. Navemar - Saul Sperling Collection, 1941-1953

1 1 Notes written by Saul Sperling undated, 1941 September 16 - 1945 February 16
1 2 Correspondence 1941-1942
1 3 Correspondence 1943-1953
1 4 Legal papers, papers used for case undated, 1941-1942
1 5 Bills and related correspondence 1941-1945
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