Exodus (HM2HCT)

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N 32° 48.81', W 35° 1.347'

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The Ship that launched a Nation.

The S.S. Exodus was an American Aliyah Bet ship crewed by American volunteers together with Haganah operatives from pre-state Israel. Her mission was to rescue Holocaust survivors trapped in Europe after the murder of 6 million Jews, bringing them to British Mandatory Palestine.

Despite the promises made in the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the British prevented Jewish immigration to Palestine through a naval blockade.

On July 18, 1947, the unarmed Exodus, carrying 4,515 Holocaust survivors, tried to breach the British blockade. In international waters, two British destroyers rammed the ship, threatening to sink the Exodus. British Marines boarded, killed three, including an American Machal crewman, Bill Bernstein; 147 refugees were injured. The Jews resisted bravely.

Captured, the Exodus was taken to the Port of Haifa where the traumatized refugees were transferred to British prison ships and forcibly returned to camps in Germany. World news captured the tragic events in Haifa, garnering international sympathy to the Jewish plight.

In Jerusalem, the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine deliberated the Palestine question. They declined to consider Holocaust refugee testimony. An eyewitness aboard the Exodus was American Methodist Minister Reverend John Stanley Grauel. The Haganah smuggled Grauel to Jerusalem

to tell the Committee the story of the Exodus. The Committee agreed to go to Germany and consider survivor testimonies. That testimony changed the Committee's recommendation to the United Nations from against to in favor of Partition.

Four months later, November 29, 1947, the United Nations voted to end British control of Palestine setting the stage for the rebirth of a Jewish State alongside an Arab State. American journalist Ruth Gruber named the Exodus, "The Ship that Launched a Nation."

In August 1952, the Exodus was scuttled near the Haifa harbor after a disastrous fire. She lies there to this day.
Series This marker is part of the series
Year Placed2017
Placed ByJewish American Society for Historic Preservation, Port of Haifa, World Machal, Haganah, American Veterans of Israel Legacy Corp, Exodus 1947-2017
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, May 31st, 2019 at 2:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)25S E 310658 N 3632423
Decimal Degrees32.81350000, -35.02245000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 32° 48.81', W 35° 1.347'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds32° 48' 48.6" N, 35° 1' 20.82" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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