Two Destroyers Rescue 240 Shipwrecked Jews; Heavy Seas Stall Mercy Mission
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Two Destroyers Rescue 240 Shipwrecked Jews; Heavy Seas Stall Mercy Mission

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The British destroyer Chevron and a Greek destroyer tonight took 240 of the 800 shipwrecked Jews off the island of Sirini for temporary shelter from the driving rains which have been drenching the castaways for several days, while a second Greek destroyer was speeding through heavy seas to bring eight wounded Jews to a hospital in Rhodes.

A Palestine Government communique announced that further rescue work had to be halted because of the increasingly bad weather. Meanwhile, a British landing ship equipped with an emergency hospital left Malta today for the tiny island. British naval sources estimate that the rescue may not be completed for a week. A Jewish Agency team of three doctors, two nurses and an Agency representative took off today for Rhodes in a Royal Air Force plane. They will continue their journey to Sirini by sea.


Meanwhile, informed circles here report that the Palestine Government has decided to admit to Palestine all sick and wounded among the castaways as well as children, pregnant women and aged persons. It has also been learned that High Commissioner Sir Alan G. Cunningham has requested instructions from London on whether to admit the remainder of the 800 castaways.

Circles close to the government point out that the legal status of the refugees is unclear because they landed on an Italian island. Although the island is under British military control, it has not yet been decided whether the British emergency regulations concerning visaless immigrants en route to Palestine apply in this case.

The Hebrew press today expressed its gratitude for the British aid being given the Jewish refugees and suggested that all the immigrants be admitted to the country after they are rescued. A Jewish Agency spokesman today voiced the thanks of the “entire Jewish people” for the assistance of the various military and governmental units involved in the mercy mission.

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