OVERRIDE

Operation Exodus

From the Nazi Death Camps to the Promised Land: A Perilous Journey That Shaped Israel's Fate

Gordon Thomas

Thomas Dunne Books

The riveting chronicle of Jewish war survivors and their flight on the dramatic voyage of Exodus 1947, the international incident that gained sympathy for the formation of Israel

The underground Jewish group Haganah arranged for the purchase of a small American steamer as part of an ambitious and daring mission: to serve as lifeboat for more than four thousand survivors of Nazi rule and transport them to Palestine. Renamed Exodus 1947, the ship and its young crew left France en route to the future state of Israel. The Holocaust survivors aboard Exodus endured even more hardships when the Royal Navy stopped the ship in international waters, used force in boarding (killing two passengers and one crewmember) and eventually deported its human cargo to internment camps in Germany. The death of the ship’s captain in late 2009 generated headlines throughout the world. Enriched with new survivors’ testimonies and previously unpublished documentation, Operation Exodus is the deeply moving saga of a people who risked all in search for a home.

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Operation Exodus Chapter 1 The House of Secrets

In November 1946 a stocky man with a high-domed forehead, bushy eyebrows and piercing eyes arrived in New York, his fourth visit since the end of the Second World War. He had first come to the city in 1915, then a slim youth with bushy black hair and a knife scar on his arm from an unprovoked attack by an Arab while he was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Each time he had come to America it was to visit, not to stay: his spiritual home was Palestine. His ambition then had been, as it was now, to help build a home for the

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REVIEWS

Praise for Operation Exodus

"The exciting story of the Exodus ship that in 1947 ferried 4,500 Jewish war refugees to the Zionist homeland.

Despite the urgent need for relocating concentration-camp survivors and displaced persons (DP) at the end of World War II, Britain refused to allow more than 1,500 immigrants per month to Palestine. The Jewish underground army, the Haganah, secured the boats necessary for transporting waves of refugees to Palestine, such as the large Chesapeake steamer, President Warfield. Veteran popular historian Thomas (Secret Wars: One Hundred Years of British Intelligence Inside MI5 and MI6, 2009, etc.) moves swiftly from one scene to the other to keep his suspenseful story percolating, using a wealth of information gleaned from official archives, news reports, public records, British intelligence documents and interviews with passengers. The author paints a complete portrait of a variety of settings: within the Haganah headquarters in Tel Aviv’s Allenby Street, as well as its outposts in New York, including the basement of the Copacabana nightclub, called the Kibbutz Fourteen, where Zionist leaders like Golda Meir stayed; DP camps across Europe; and the office of the British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin as he coordinated naval resistance to the “smuggling of illegal immigrants” into Palestine. Thomas looks at the outfitting of the President Warfield by U.S. volunteers, its refitting and slow odyssey in May 1947 from Baltimore harbor to Marseilles, where thousands of refugees at nearby DP camps were ready to board the ship built for holding 400 passengers—all the while tracked by British intelligence. The author then recounts the harrowing trip from July through September, as the now-christened Exodus 1947 was rammed by British destroyers and forcibly boarded, then detoured back to France and Germany before the refugees were finally allowed into Palestine almost a year later.

A fine depiction of the multifaceted context of this cause célèbre."

--Kirkus Reviews

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Gordon Thomas

  • GORDON THOMAS is the author of forty books published worldwide and a leading authority on the international espionage community. He lives in London.
  • Gordon Thomas
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    Operation Exodus

    From the Nazi Death Camps to the Promised Land: A Perilous Journey That Shaped Israel's Fate

    Gordon Thomas

    • e-Book

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    Thomas Dunne Books

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