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Today in Jewish History – Av 18

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In 1946, the British government ordered all illegal immigrants bound for Palestine to be deported to camps on the island of Cyprus. According to the terms of the British White Paper of 1939, immigration to Palestine was limited to 75,000 Jews over a period of 10 years. Following the end of World War II, many Holocaust survivors had nowhere else to go, so they crammed onto old ships bound for the Holy Land. Some ships succeeded in slipping through the British naval blockade and unloading their human cargo on desolate beaches. Several ships sank in tragic circumstances. Other ships were apprehended and the passengers sent to British detention camps — complete with barbed wire, military towers and guards. The Exodus is the most famous immigrant ship from this era. Today, one of the ships, the Af-Al-Pi (“in spite of it all”), stands in a museum in Haifa.

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