Haifa (Jan. 18)
Over 900 “visaless” Jews disembarked this morning from the 500-ton motor ship Enzo Sereni, after High Commissioner Sir Alan Cunningham had ruled that the refugee passengers must leave the vessel, which was captured in Palestinian waters last night by two British destroyers.
The Jews, who embarked in Italy twelve days ago, were immediately transferred to the Athlit clearance camp. Despite the rigors of the trip, which was made under appalling conditions, due to overcrowding, all but five of them appeared well. The five were taken to hospitals. Some 366 women were among the passengers.
Strong police and military detachments, supported by tanks and Bren gun carriers surrounded the port area as the refugees left the ship. First down the gangplank was Zvi Arenstein of Munkacevo, Hungary, carrying a blue-and-white Zionist flag, which, incidentally, was described in today’s official account of the landing as “a flag of unknown nationality.” En route to Athlit, the detainees chattered happily and sang Hatikvah.
The Enzo Sereni, which is named after a Jewish parachutist who was captured behind the Nazi lines in Italy and executed, was spotted by British reconnaissance planes, which notified the destroyers. The vessel was escorted into Haifa Bay and held there until the High Commissioner’s ruling was received.
The captain and crew of the ship have been arrested, and the vessel placed under a naval guard, in accordance with recently promulgated regulations making punishable by fines and imprisonment the transportation into Palestine of so called illegal immigrants.