British Troops Praised in Holocaust-Survivors Controversy

The Birmingham Post (England), May 5, 2008 | Go to article overview

British Troops Praised in Holocaust-Survivors Controversy


British troops who oversaw the controversial disembarkation of more than 4,000 Jews against their will into Germany in 1947 were praised for acting humanely by their commander in spite of negative press reports about the operation, documents disclosed today revealed.

The commander in charge of the disembarkation, a Lt Col Gregson, claimed "no other troops could have done it as well and humanely as these British ones did" in comments made on the struggle to remove Holocaust survivors from one of three ships which had docked in Hamburg. His remarks were revealed in papers released by the National Archives in Kew, south west London, under the Freedom of Information Act.

The military operation, codenamed Operation Oasis, followed the British government's refusal to allow the refugees into Palestine on board the ship Exodus 1947 - an incident which received worldwide attention and is said to have paved the way for the creation of the state of Israel. The immigrants were determined to get into Palestine, but were turned back to France, from where they had sailed. They were eventually sent to Germany, where they were put in camps in the north of the country.

The documents reveal detailed accounts of British military commanders who oversaw the arrival of the ships containing the immigrants - the Ocean Vigour, the Empire Rival and the Runnymede Park - at Hamburg. …

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