The Exodus Affair: Holocaust Survivors and the Struggle for Palestine

By Aviva Halamish; Ora Cummings | Go to book overview

8. Where Now?

In Haifa, the people were transferred from the Exodus to the three deportation ships more or less peacefully. Here and there, people showed some resistance, but this was soon subdued. People were exhausted from the battle, the gas and smoke and from the journey itself. They were sure that they were about to embark on a short voyage to Cyprus, where they would await their turn to immigrate to Palestine. This is what had been made quite clear to them in the four-language (Hebrew, Yiddish, German and Czech) flyers they had been handed out by the British in Haifa (Exodus File a).

At six o'clock on the morning of Saturday 19 July, the fleet of deportation ships sailed out of Haifa. It was only on Sunday, when it became apparent that the ships had not arrived in Cyprus, that suspicions were aroused of something not being in order and rumors started spreading that the ships were on their way to France. These developments shocked all involved. For the illegal immigrants, who believed while they were still in Europe that the worst thing that could happen to them would be deportation to Cyprus, the news came as a terrible disappointment and completely unanticipated. But why did it come as such a surprise to' the Mossad and the Zionist leadership, who knew for months of Britain's negotiations with European countries about returning illegal immigrant ships to their ports of embarkation? This activity was, admittedly, secret, but at the beginning of June news began reaching the Mossad from various sources that illegal immigrants would no longer be sent to Cyprus, but from then on, they would be returned to their ports of origin.

The first inkling of this reached the Haganah from a British source that told of an agreement to this effect between the governments of France and Britain. The recipient of this information added, in his own writing: "This information must be treated with caution."1 A couple of days later an urgent message arrived about a secret memo sent from the British

-103-

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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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