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|List of Photographs|
|1||The DP Camps of Europe||3|
Posted January 7, 2008
Ruth Gruber¿s EXODUS 1947: THE SHIP THAT LAUNCHED A NATION In 1945, President Harry Truman, learning of the horrible DP'Displaced Persons' camps in Germany asked Ernest Bevin, England¿s foreign minister to open the doors of Palestine to 100,000 DP¿s. A committee was formed that voted to open the doors, but Bevin refused. The ship named Exodus 1947, carrying 4,554 refugees, met resistance for this destination of Palestine. As noted in Gruber¿s book, Exodus, 1947: The Ship That Launched A Nation, a predominantly Jewish city, Tel Aviv, was on strike to protest this as it shut down for an entire day. Following this, the ship, landed in Haifa as a battered vessel and Ruth Gruber documented the surge of heartbreak and hope, emotion and enormous anxiety to desperately reach the homeland. Exodus, 1947 came out in America recently and just came out in England after being banned for sixty years. It is now receiving rave reviews. One headline in London¿s Sunday Express read, 'I SAW JEWS FORCED INTO SHIPS FROM DANTE¿S HELL', and the article described the shameless way the Jews were treated. Some reporters wrote the Jews of the Exodus were sent to Cypress. It is not true. Bevin considered Cypress a prison hell hole of sand and wind¿too good for the Jews of the Exodus. They were sent to Germany in three prison ships. Gruber was selected to represent the entire American Press aboard the prison ship Runnymede Park. When she climbed the top deck the Holocaust survivors raised a flag. They had printed the Swastichka on the British Union Jack. Gruber¿s photo of the flag became Life Magazine¿s photo of the week. These Jews were defying not only the British Empire. They were defying the whole world. The refugees managed to escape from the prison camps in Germany and were in Palestine when it became Israel on May 14, 1948. Gruber¿s words paint a picture of what the refugees endured between surviving the Holocaust and being settled afterwards. Her insight into the resourcefulness and creativity of people in the camps revealed a people with a fierce determination to rise above a sad past and still difficult present environment. Exodus 1947: The Ship That Launched A Nation chronicles the journey of hope and desperation for Holocaust survivors. By Phyllis Johnson, author of Being Frank with Anne- a poetic interpretation of Anne Frank's diary - Community Press
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The title of this book caught my attention when I was shopping in B&N for a completely different subject one day. I picked it up on a whim and couldn't put it down. Not only is Ms. Gruber an excellent writer, she is a talented photographer and an eye-witness to some of the finer details in a period of history many are trying to ignore or erase. But cameras do not lie. You cannot fake the kinds of pictures placed on these pages and you can't ignore the survivors of one of the cruelest and evil acts of humankind the world has ever seen. Most of all, the plight of the DP's in post WWII and their desire to make it to the land of their ancestors to make it their home, should raise our awareness that others face similar persecutions and plights today. We can learn from history and this book should help us do just that.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 3, 2003
This very moving book covers the story of the 'Exodus', the unarmed ship carrying more than 4,500 Holocaust survivors seeking refuge in 'British occupied' Palestine during 1947. The ship, a former tourist vessel designed to carry only 400 passengers, is described as having been rammed and boarded by the British Royal Navy which was determined to prevent the Jewish Holocaust survivors from finding refuge in Palestine. The entry of the 'Exodus' into Haifa harbour is further described amidst a British military blockade. But the story in this book is not so much about the ship, but about the individuals on board, their history & personal suffering, together with what faced them following their arrival in 'Palestine' and the process outlined with such clarity in this work, which saw them being used as 'political pawns' by the British Government. The book begins with a description of the 'Displaced Persons' camps of Europe, where those fortunate to survive the 'Concentration Camps' were housed. The book recounts how some 70,000 Holocaust survivors 'found their way out' of the 'Displaced Persons' camps and made the tortuous journey across land borders, forests, mountain ranges, the Alps until they eventually located 'secret' ports in France and Southern Italy where they climbed aboard a motley fleet of virtually obsolete vessels, including cutters, leaky fishing boats, cargo vessels, icebreakers, banana carriers, yachts & steamers (one called Exodus 1947) upon which they embarked upon their desperate journey to reach their ancient homeland of Eretz Israel, the 'Promised Land'. The journey on the 'Exodus' itself is described as being endured under extremely insanitary and unbelievably cramped conditions, whilst always under the threat of being arrested as 'illegal immigrants' during the British blockade. The book is replete with many photographs documenting the above and the story reaches the night of 17th July 1947 when 'Haganah boys' pasted handbills on the shop windows of Netanya, Haifa and Jerusalem depicting the plight of the 'Exodus' and describing it's cargo of 4,554 refugees consisting of 1,600 men, 1,282 women, 1,017 young people and 655 children. The posters also advising readers that the ship had been spotted by the British Navy and that five destroyers and a cruiser were closing in on the vessel. The book documents the subsequent broadcast from the 'Exodus' itself, which related how the Royal Navy had attacked the vessel at a distance of '17 miles from the shores of Palestine' in 'international waters'. The 'Exodus' described as having been rammed from three directions and subjected to gas bombs and gunfire which left one Jewish civilian dead, five dying and some twenty wounded. The boarding of the 'Exodus' by British troops is also detailed. Photographs of the damage to the vessel and the wounded Jewish civilians are also included. The book then describes the plight of the Jewish refugees as they are then forcibly ejected from the 'Exodus'. The ensuing public reaction is also described. As the story proceeds, the book cites the British authorities as describing the prison camps of Cyprus as being 'too good' for the Jewish refugees and outlines how the British 'decided to make an example of them' by returning the Holocaust survivors upon three ships to Port-de-Bouc in Southern France. A measure portrayed in the book as a deterrent to others who would 'dare run the British blockade'. Amidst further British threats to then transfer the Holocaust survivors to Germany the book shows the reaction on board ship as a British flag is painted with a 'swastika' below the Union Jack. The described plight of the refugees is heartbreaking as they are disembarked in Germany where the book recounts so many having been murdered by the Nazi regime. (Being British, having served in our military & studied the Holocaust for many years, I feel very uncomfortable at the described behaviour of my 'compatriots'.) The bWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.