The Exodus Affair: Holocaust Survivors and the Struggle for Palestine

By Aviva Halamish; Ora Cummings | Go to book overview

Foreword

In her book, The Exodus Affair, historian Aviva Halamish clarifies an explains how the illegal immigrant ship Exodus became not only the flagship of her 64 sister ships which sailed "illegally" between the years 1945 and 1948 into the coast of Palestine, with thousands of illegal immigrants on board, but also became a legend which summarized the courage and steadfastness of Holocaust survivors against the destroyers of His Britannic Majesty's Navy.

This fascinating book, a wonderfully exciting blend of precise historical facts with personal and political drama, highlights the following points. First of all, the name Exodus conjures up a kind of motto, which fluttered the hearts of millions of Jews and non-Jews alike. "Exodus" is the Latin name for the second of the five books of Moses; it is a name which harbors within it the vast biblical ethos of the Jewish liberation from slavery to freedom. This ship, previously called President Warfield, was honored with a name which resounded like the blowing of a ram's horn. The other illegal immigrant ships, including the Ulua, which I had the privilege of commanding, were given less vibrant names.

A second factor which raised the profile of the ship to legendary status was the battle between Exodus and the British warships off the Palestine coast-a war of the weak against the power of the Empire -- which received widespread international press coverage. More than in any of the other violent confrontations which accompanied much of the illegal immigrant operation, this time the blood of the dead and the cries of the injured were seen and heard the world over.

A third factor, which powerfully reinforced the two previous ones, was the development of the Exodus Affair into an international struggle. The unsuccessful British attempt at sending the illegal immigrants in deportation ships back to their port of departure in France and, following this débâcle, expelling them to detention camps in Germany -- which just a few years before had been the country in which the hell of the Holocaust

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The Exodus Affair: Holocaust Survivors and the Struggle for Palestine
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Illustrations ix
  • List of Abbreviations xi
  • Key to Coded Names xii
  • Foreword xiii
  • Preface xv
  • Acknowledgements xvii
  • Introduction xix
  • 1: Crisis 1
  • 2: "The Yanks Are Coming" 15
  • 3: Crescendo 26
  • 4: A Ship for All Jews 43
  • 5: The Bird Flew the Coop 52
  • 6: Seven Days on the Seven Seas 66
  • 7: The Battle 75
  • 8: Where Now? 103
  • 9: We Shall Not Land! 112
  • 10: A Floating Concentration Camp 122
  • 11: Not by Bread Alone 132
  • 12: In the Shadow of Unscop and Terror 140
  • 13: From Catharsis to Apathy 160
  • 14: The Last Weapon 171
  • 15: A Change of Scene 185
  • 16: Each and Every One of You is Dear to Us" 202
  • 17: They'Ve Done It Again 218
  • 18: All Jews Are Comrades 226
  • 19: The Second Aliyah 241
  • 20: Who, Then, Was the Victor? 252
  • Notes 275
  • Glossary 293
  • Works Cited 296
  • Index 303
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