BREMEN (Dec. 27)
The 2300-ton “Palmach,” first seagoing vessel constructed in Germany for a firm of private Israeli shipowners under the terms of the reparations agreement, was taken over by the Atid Navigation Company in a ceremony outside German territorial waters near here.
Jenn Borchardt, director of the firm, was on board when the freighter was handed over to the Israel Purchasing Mission in Germany, represented by the head of its Consular Section, Yssakhar Ben Yaakov. The latter entered the vessel on the Israel shipping rolls and transferred ownership to Mr. Borchardt, whereupon the Israel flag was raised and Hatikvah sung by the crew as well as the guests.
The “Palmach” will be engaged mainly in coastwise Mediterranean shipping and in freight runs to certain European ports. She is equipped with all modern navigational facilities, including radar. She was built in the nearby Elsfleth shipyard, which specially adapted her to the carrying of citrus fruit in season and of lumber during the rest of the year.
After loading reparations goods in the local harbor, the “Palmach” will proceed to Haifa, where she is expected to arrive in mid-January. She is under the command of Captain “Ike” Aronovich, who was in charge of the “Exodus” that, 10 years ago, was sent back to Germany by the British when it sought to bring Jewish DP’s from Germany to the Jewish homeland. The Israeli crew of 17 is drawn mostly from the membership of Kibbuz Me’uchad, the union of cooperative settlements.
The Atid company is a family enterprise owned by the Borchardts, at one time a well-known Jewish shipping group in Hamburg. Last year, the Borchardts were the first private shipowners to place an order within the framework of the German Israel reparations pact, and a sister ship of the “Palmach” is at present under construction for their account. Previously, all freighters, passenger liners and combined vessels built in Germany as reparations deliveries were commissioned by Zim-Shoham, Israel national shipping line.