The Exodus Affair: Holocaust Survivors and the Struggle for Palestine

By Aviva Halamish; Ora Cummings | Go to book overview

15. A Change of Scene

A new wave of protests broke out when the rest of the world got news of Britain's intention to deport the Exodus immigrants to Germany, sharper even than its predecessor, which had followed their return from Haifa to France. Altogether, some 200 letters and telegrams were received by the Foreign and Colonial Offices and the Prime Minister, protesting the way Britain was dealing with the Exodus Affair. These came mostly from Jewish and Zionist organizations in England and other countries and a considerable number of them were a double protest -- the first having been at the end of July. More than half of the protests were sent only after the immigrants had landed in Hamburg.

On 22 August 1947, a telegram arrived from Bern, Switzerland, addressed to the Foreign and Colonial Ministers. The writer, Mrs Vera Weizmann, justified her "last moment" appeal to them by the fact of her being a "woman and mother of two sons who fought in the last war in the British army and RAF for freedom, justice and equal rights for all human beings. One of them never returned." She believed that the Exodus people truly wanted -- and not because of Zionist propaganda -- "to flee from places of their tortured memories . . . to survive among their own people . . . . They have nowhere else to go and if life cannot offer them this refuge then life itself loses its meaning." Deporting them to Hamburg seemed to her an act of reprisal and "reprisals never bring any good".1

In the White House, too, and in the State Department in Washington, there was a growing pile of letters protesting Britain's behavior toward the immigrants,2 and anti-British demonstrations took place in several cities in North America, initiated by the Zionist Emergency Council. Attendance at these demonstrations, however, was unimpressive.3 There were no mass rallies this time of the kind which took place in New York on 24 July 1947, nor even more modest ones like that organized by the "American Friends of Haganah" in mid-August, when the Methodist minister, Grauel, returned home. This demonstration, in which some

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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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