FAMAGUSTA, Cyprus (Feb. 10)
Another dreary chapter in the lives of thousands of Jewish refugees ended happily today when the last group of detainees left the Xylotymbou camp to board the Israeli vessel Atzmauth (Independence) for the short voyage to Haifa. The last group included 1,595 men, women and children.
As the party began boarding tracks for the trip to the Famagusta docks, British soldiers and their erstwhile prisoners embraced, pounded each other on the shoulders and posed for snapshots arm-in-arm. As the truck convoy started the troops waved farewell enthusiastically and shouted: “Shalom.” Even the merchants in the area surrounding the camp, who will suffer heavy financial losses with the departure of the refugees, expressed happiness that the Jews were at last “going home.”
Similar scenes took place on the dock. As the Atzmauth eased away from the pier the passengers shouted and waved to the Greeks, while the hundreds of islanders responsed by cheering. Thus ended the 29-month history of the British detention camps on Cyprus. In all, some 10,280 Jews left Cyprus since the reversal of the detention policy.
The Cypriot press today headlined the announcement of the Israeli Government that it was contributing $l4,000 for the erection of a youth center at Famagusta in grateful appreciation of the friendly attitude displayed by the local population to-ward the detainees. Acknowledging the gift, Famagusta’s mayor declared that his people had always sympathized with the Jewish cause.