We, the families and descendents of the Ma'apilim on the Hagana ship “Exodus 1947”, will forever remember and tell the story of our parents, and what the British did to our families between the year 1946 and 1948.
We will do everything possible so that their story and their legacy will be told forever by future generations.
*("Ma'apilim" - Jewish Holocaust survivors who clandestinely immigrated to Palestine despite the British Mandate’s restrictions.)
To further these vision and goals we have volunteered, friends, Ma'apilim, members of the second and third generation, as a team which will do all that is necessary. As a personal obligation. Each one of us will donate, as much as possible of their stamina, time, and even fortune, to collect as much of the materials that have been written, recorded, and filmed over the years from any available source. All this in order to make these materials available to the general public and especially to the young people of future generations.
The team has set up a group facebook page: Exodus 1947-2017. It is busy in an extensive search of internet source, contacting institutional bodies such as the Jewish Agency’ the World Zionist Organization, Zionist federations in Israel and abroad, government ministries, museums dealing with the founding of the State of Israel and the legacy of the Holocaust and the illegal immigration. In addition, the team initiates events and lectures to the general public, as well as to the High School educational system, both secular and religious.
The team will operate an internet site which will concentrate the materials which are discovered every day. The site is interactive and not merely informative .
The site will enable the representatives of the immigrant families, wherever they are, to add digitized materials such as photographs, MS-WORD or PDF files, video and audio segments, etc.)
The site includes a subsection named “Family Pages”, where families can insert any material related to their family history from the years 1945-1949, the immigration of their family during the years of the founding of Israel.
Some highlights of the site www.exudus-1947.com (the site’s internet address) .
The site publishes personal stories as told by the people themselves. The site’s editorial staff cannot verify these details. All stories are the personal responsibility of their writers.
Contents which do not deal with the escape from Europe, the running of the British blockade, and the immigration to Israel will not be included in the site.
Family pages will be fully accessible to all viewers of the site.
As more material is submitted, the site will be further updated.
Materials will be inserted only by the site manager.
The site includes a search tool which enables the location of any material and reference inserted, such as photographs and names.
As of now, the site contains a list of approximately 3000 Ma'apilim who were on the Exodus 1947, as well as of the children born during the voyage and in the Exodus camps in Germany.
Our aim is to reach all 4554 Ma'apilim, and this end the site’s staff requests that you share this section with all your Facebook friends. With a joint effort we can reach all families of the Exodus families who lived through the events of the escape from Europe, defying the British embargo on Jewish immigration, and the eventual homecoming to Israel.
View the site at www.exodus-1947.com. We will be happy to receive all comments and suggestions on the “Contact Us” page.
Daniel Levy, Manager and Site Constructor,
Itzik Rosman and Zvi Hatkevitz, Contents Editors.
Jacob Reiss, Translator, translating the site into English.
Michaela Wedel, Translator, translating the site into Germen.
I couldn’t implement the site commemorating the legacy of heroism of the Exodus immigrants, without feeling the experiences of my parents, Hans and Regina (Yohanan and Rivka) Loewy on their path to Israel. I myself immigrated as an embryo in my mother’s early months of pregnancy. I arrived at Hamburg in my mother’s 5th month of pregnancy, and was born on the 5th of January, 1948, at the Emden refugee camp, or as my birth certificate says, the maternity hospital in the nearby town of Aurich.
Two months before I started to implement the internet site I visited the town of Sète in the South of France, from which the ship President Warfield sailed to Palestine with its 4554 passengers. In this visit, again. I was greatly excited by the actual contact with the French people who supported, encouraged, and sympathized with the immigrants all along their path, from the entry to France, through the camps around Marseilles where they waited to embark, as well as the site near Salon by the River Rhône. In addition, standing on the St. Louis Pier at the Sète harbor, where my parents stood 70 years ago and begged to board the ship after they were refused access. The refusal was due to the fact that their group, the teams of young French Jewish youths who accompanied the convoys of lorries from Marseilles environs to Sète harbor, 200 km. away, were not scheduled by the Illegal Immigration authorities to immigrate on this departure. They were due for other assignments later on, helping the illegal immigration organizers in the Marseilles vicinity. They spent the entire day bringing the convoys to Sète harbor, and guiding them inside the harbor to the St. Louis Pier where the President Warfield was anchored.
Only at 11PM in the evening of July 10, 1947. 3 hours before the ship set off from the pier, were they allowed to board, as the final couple aboard. They compromise that enabled their boarding was that my father, who spoke several languages perfectly - German, French, English, Yidddish, and Hebrew – would serve as an interpreter between the Jewish command team from Palestine, and especially for Ike, Yossi Harel, and Azriel Einav Hagideoni, versus the immigrant leaders headed by Mordechai Rosman.
Later on, when my parents were transferred to the deportation ship Runnymede Park, to which Mordechai Rosman was also transferred, my father was selected to serve as his interpreter versus the English General Gregson who commanded the convoy of deportation vessel from the Runnymede Park. While sailing from Sète to Haifa my father was on the Exodus command bridge, updating his diary from this vantage point. My father kept updating his diary throughout the voyage of the Runnymeade Park to Hamburg, and then to the Paffendorf and Emden refugee camps.
After I was born, when my parents understood that they would be the last to return to Palestine from the Emden camp, they left the camp in March 1948 and travelled by train to the Displaced Persons camps near the town of Weilheim, where there was a group of Ma’apilim destined to immigrate to Palestine on the ship Altalena. At Weilheim they were prevented from boarding the Altalena, this time – because of me. Parents with a four-month old baby could not be allowed on the Altalena because the ship was scheduled to carry all the military equipment that was stored and maintained at Weilheim for the newly-formed Israeli Army. They were not allowed on board the Altalena.
My parents finally reached Israel only in June 1949, because my father’s mother suddenly died of a stroke in London. Before they could come to Israel, they had to travel to London in order to release my father’s 12-year-old brother Michael from the orphanage,. They feared that if he stayed in the orphanage they would never find him again. The rescue of Michael from the orphanage is another of the hard episodes experienced by my parents on their way to Israel.
My parents never spoke much about their journey to Israel. At home, I only heard segments of the story. Unfortunately, my father passed away 15 year ago from lung cancer. My mother still lives with us, completely lucid at the age of 90. After the death of my father I received his diaries and the summary of events he recorded and transferred to the Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum, in Haifa.
For the past two years I have been learning the story of my parents’ immigration to Israel and re-assembling their story, aided by day-long discussions with my mother, as well as the books written by:
Aviva Halamish –“The True Story of the Exodus”,
Bracha Habbas – “The Ship that Won”,
Jacques Derogy – “A new Light on the Exudus Affair”,
and “The Law of Return” ( in French “La Loi du Retour” ),
as well as internet publications in the sites of the Palyam, Hagana, the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., and others.
The most heartwarming segments I read were the personal stories of the Ma’apilim and their families on the Facebook site Exodus 1947-2017 opened by Isaac Rosman (son of Mordechai Rosman) and by Dr. Zvi Hatkevitz.
I wish to convey my special thanks to the Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum, in Haifa, which contains the original painting of this site’s Theme picture. The museum’s staff permitted us to photograph the painting and enter it as the theme picture of the “Legacy Site of the Exodus 1947 Clandestine Immigrants”.
The above painting shows the floodlit Exodus flanked by two British destroyers, after it was rammed by them at least once. The painting is “The Chosen One”, by the American painter Tom W. Freeman (1953-2015), drawn in watercolors in 1997 for the Exodus 50th year commemoration. The painting measures 57.6cm X 86.36 cm (23” X 34”).
Tom W. Freeman’s official intenet site is http://www.tomfreemanart.com/biography.html . Additional magnificent paintings of his may be found on this site, located by Google, and at https://goo.gl/cxQyRD .
I wish to convey my special thanks also to Jacob Reiss, Translator, for volunteering and translating the site into English and
I wish to convey my special thanks also to Michaela Wedel, Translator, for volunteering and translating the site into English.
Written by Daniel Levy, Manager and Site Constructor August 2017.
Monica Levin - Worthy Member of the Exodus Family
A few days before the Exodus commemorating ceremony Itzik Rosman and myself met at the Dan Carmel Hotel in Haifa with Mrs. Monica Levin who arrived Israel to participate in the ceremony of 70 years of the Exodus 1947 voyage to Erez Israel.
It was an exciting meeting in which we told Mrs. Levin about the activities of the steering committee of the events of 70 years for the voyage of the Exodus.
Monica and her husband Norman, presented their activities in the United States and in Israel.
It was important for us to establish close contact with the couple in order to document and deliver to future generations the role of Monica's father - Louis S. "Shorty" Levin in the Exodus saga.
Monica's father owned the ship "President Warfield" and sold her to the Chinese-American Industrial Co. that was a straw company, as a cover for the Haganah's purchasing activity.
Later, the "President Warfield" became the "Exodus - 1947"
Despite the fact that the program of the ceremony was ready and closed, we saw a special need to open the program and add Monica Levin to the speakers.
Monica's speech was defined by all participants of the ceremony as amazing and exiting speech which touched all hearts.
We received from Monica a generous donation, with a promise to continue to donate routinely throughout the year.
On behalf of the entire Exodus family we thank Monica and Norman very much for assisting us.
As the person who is in charge of the direct contact with Monica, I promised her to keep in touch and update her with our future planning and other events we will organize.
Written by: Dr. Zvi Hatkevitz 7 Oct 2017