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First Transport of 742 Jewish Refugees from Portugal and Spain Lands in Palestine

February 3, 1944
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

After being on the high seas for only eight days, the Portuguese liner Nyassa arrived here late yesterday with 742 Jewish refugees from Europe. This is the first transport of Jewish refugees to reach Palestine through the Mediterranean since 1940.

Representatives of the Jewish Agency and of other Jewish organizations met the refugees at the pier and assisted them in the landing formalities. Many of them were taken to temporary quarters while others immediately rejoined their families and friends from whom they had been separated for a number of years, after fleeing to Portugal and Spain from Nazi persecution in various European lands.

The Nyassa sailed from Lisbon on January 23 with 172 passengers and took on an additional 570 Jewish refugees at Cadiz, Spain. The majority of the refugees were stateless, while the remainder were nationals of various occupied countries. The ship was chartered by the Joint Distribution Committee and the refugees were escorted by David J. Schweitzer, special European representative of the Hias-Ica Emigration Association. The Hias contributed $70,000 to the transportation coats.

The Jewish Agency for Palestine today indicated that it intends to allot a number of its current immigration certificates to refugees still in Portugal and Spain. Some of the certificates will be used for Jewish refugees who are held in concentration camps in Italy awaiting liberation.

Palestine authorities today stated that the first Jewish refugee to be permitted to return to Palestine from internment on the Island of Mauritius will be Mrs. Rose Lang whose husband was recently repatriated to England from a German prison camp. Mrs. Lang was among the refugees who were deported from Palestine as illegal immigrants. The Colonial Office said that an exception will be made in her case “in view of the special circumstances.”

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