Pages of families and memory

The family pages are arranged according to the "abc..."  order of the surnames

Dr.  Zvi Hatkevitz wrote about his parents:-

Chatkewicz family was transferred by “Aliyah Bet” From Ulm, Sedan Kaserne DP Camp
to Port-de- Bouc and from there to ship "Exodus - 1947" ship in Port de Sete.
At that time Mali Chatkewicz was pregnant.
At the end of the British naval takeover of the ship at Haifa port, the couple was exiled on the “Empire
Rival” British ship via Port-de- Bouc and Gibraltar to the port of Hamburg in Germany.
From the port of Hamburg, they were brought down from the exile ship, together with all
other Ma’apilim and were transferred to Amstau DP camp and from there to 
Sengwarden DP camp.
At Sengwarden DP Camp, their son Zvi was born on November 29, 1947, at the hospital
in Wilhelmshaven.
David, Mali and their son Zvi lived in Sengwarden DP Camp till September 1948.
From there they were transferred to France and arrived to Israel aboard the ship "Kaserta"
on October 10 th 1948.

... When the train stopped, Rachel and a few others decided to look for whatever Jewish community remained in the city. She felt that they would offer to give them some help. She searched, and found members of the Dror youth movement who offered to help the forty Jewish children among the orphans on the train. The Dror members secretly arrived with trucks and took the Jewish children to a special Jewish children’s home. At the children’s home, the orphans started to learn Hebrew songs and had lessons about Zionism. They were preparing the children for aliya. Slowly, they also let the children know more about the terrible things that had happened in Poland during the war.

Later, Rachel and her sisters were transferred to a Displaced Persons (DP) Camp in Germany, and then they were taken to France, in preparation for their aliya. The aliya had to be a secret because at this time the British governed the area, then known as the Mandate for Palestine, and strictly limited immigration. As a result, Jewish immigration was in violation of British law. This “illegal” immigration was called Ha’apala..

One night in July 1947, the sisters were expected to begin their journey. Unfortunately, Chanka became ill and was unable to travel, but both Rachel and Zvetla climbed into a truck and secretly made their way to the port. They trusted that Chanka would stay in France to recover, and then join them shortly.

When Rachel and Zvetla arrived at the port, they boarded an old, run-down passenger steamship called the “Exodus.”....


The Voyage to Israel on the Exodus: Dvora’s  Memoires


Thursday morning, July 17, 1947, I stood on deck and watched the British warship come close to us, to look us over I suppose. When the British got very close, the Americans who sailed our ship began to sing “The Yanks Are Coming” over the loudspeakers, to make fun of the British. Then they played the English song “Pomp and Circumstance”. Humor and songs were the only weapons we had.

That morning our ship’s name was not yet the Exodus, it was still the S.S. President Warfield, a battered old Chesapeake River boat. Late in the afternoon I saw a friend of mine, a Belgian boy, struggling with a long piece of cloth and some paint. He had explained he was going to paint the name of our ship on the sheet: “Haganah Ship Exodus 1947”, and hang it over the side. He said that he was going to paint it in English and someone else would paint another sheet in Hebrew and hang it over the other side of the ship.

I wanted to help him, so I picked up the paint brush that was next to him. I put the brush in the cooking pot full of paint that he had, and then I stopped. He laughed because he knew what was troubling me. I did not know how to write Exodus in English. He taught me and together we painted the sheet. I was feverish, sick with something, and I was not able to sleep because of the heat.

When I nearly fainted and sat down, he continued the job. When I felt better I took the brush from him again. After a while we finished the job. That is how our ship became Exodus.

Pnina is the only daughter of Felix / Ephraim and Liza Gelbard, born in Russia on June 20, 1945, after her father fled Poland during World War II. Pnina, immigrated to Israel for the first time on the Exodus when she was only two years old.

Recently, when she presented the certificate of the Exodus Camp in Germany, Pnina could be completed a section in her historical sequence.

The certificate states that it was issued in the Am-Stau refugee camp. This means that the Gelbard family was expelled by the British from Haifa on the Empire-Rivel deportation ship.

From the port of Hamburg, the immigrants arrived at the Am-Stau refugee camp at the beginning of September 1947. In late October and November 1947 they were transferred to a winter camp near the village of Sengwarden near the town of Wilhelmshaven.

The family immigrated to Israel for the second time and settled in Jaffa, after the UN resolution on November 29, 1947, for the end of the British mandate in Palestine and the establishing the State of Israel. Ephraim worked in the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality and Lisa took care of everyone at WIZO.

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@2017 – Team to Commemorate the Legacy of the Hagana Ship “Exodus 1947” Immigrants

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