The Exodus Affair: Holocaust Survivors and the Struggle for Palestine

By Aviva Halamish; Ora Cummings | Go to book overview

Preface

It was sheer chance that led me on board Exodus, many years after the wrecked ship had sunk to the bottom of the sea, but her name was known world wide. I had been asked, to my great surprise, to write a monograph on the Exodus Affair, as part of a research project on the illegal immigration of Jews into Palestine (Ha'apalah). "But surely," I said, "everything that needs to be known about that legendary ship, which was one of the symbols of the struggle for a Jewish state, has already been told. What else is there to tell about the affair?" It was not long before I found out how wrong I was.

Indeed, I found that most of what had been written on Exodus before was either lacking or inaccurate. Early writings had been based on the personal accounts of people who had taken part in the operation, and these are by nature problematic, because of the limitations of human memory and the partial observation of those who participated in certain aspects of the events only. Moreover, most of these accounts were recorded when Exodus had already become a symbol and even a myth, and there was a tendency to combine facts, on the one hand, with commentary, analysis, evaluation, polemic and even wishful thinking, on the other. Another weakness lay in the use of archival sources. For the first thirty years following the affair, the writers were aided, if at all, by documents available from the Jewish side only. But even books written after British documents became available to the researchers contained ingrained errors, which require amendment and revision in order to present things in as accurate a way as possible. And, as in any other affair which took place many years before and which has had layer upon layer of stories told about it, so too in the case of Exodus it was necessary to examine what had been written, to ratify the various versions and details and to review the existing historiography against the "new" primary sources -- those which were revealed only years afterwards.

I was soon bewitched by the Exodus Affair. I found myself carried

-xv-

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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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