Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

British Correspondent Describes How ‘haganah’ Landed the Immigrants

December 27, 1945
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A dramatic eye-witness description of how 300 "noncertificated" immigrants landed in Palestine last night from a vessel which had been at sea for two weeks, is given today by Jon Kimche, Palestine correspondent of the Reuter news agency.

"I was called soon after midnight by a public relations officer of the ‘Haganah’ and was told that the landing was being carried out," the British correspondent cabled from Haifa. "A car called for me and took me out of the city as soon as the curfew was lifted at 5:30 A.M.

"All approaches to the landing area were still guarded by ‘Haganah’ Officials. Apparently the vessel bringing the immigrants had evaded a shadowing British plane during a storm on Christmas Eve, and as a result the landing beach was changed at the last moment. There were no small boats to take the arriving Jews ashore and the schooner had to come close inshore and foundered. Girls and women aboard cried as there seemed to be no chance of getting ashore in view of the stormy waters. But ‘Haganah’ stevedores constructed a rope bridge and the last passenger landed soon after midnight. In the distance the sweeping searchlights of British destroyers could be seen, but did not come close.

"The sea was running rough, and the immigrants were soaked to the skin, but there were 250 complete sets of clothing waiting for them. At the most all were be- tween 15 and 35. Some had been on their way for nine months, from Poland and Eastern Europe. One girl had been in Auschwitz and Mauthausen concentration camps and a group of boys had come from Dacnau.

"Today all these newcomers were already being absorbed in settlements and elsewhere in Palestine, and ‘Haganah’ officials declared they would intensify their efforts and rapidly increase the number of immigrants coming to Palestine."

The Reuter correspondent reports that the landing was carried out twenty miles north of Haifa "within a quarter of a mile of the encampment of a unit of the Arab Legion." The vessel evaded two destroyers, a number of police boats and search-lights along the coast.

On the sandy shore of the Jewish colony of Nahariah, where the landing took place, a number of U.S. Air Force life preservers, popularly called "Mae Wests", were found, the correspondent writes.

Recommended from JTA