Saturday, May 14, 2011

The dark side of British handling of the Palestine just after the war - a story told by Yoram Kaniuk

„Commander of the Exodus” by Yoram Kaniuk, Jewish writer and journalist is a book that shows the darker and much less known side of the immigration to Palestine of the Holocaust survivors.

It is a story of  brave Palestine-native hero — Yossi Harel, who in the course of 1947-48 brought about 20000 Shoah survivors to Palestine. There would probably be nothing strange in the story if it was not for British Navy and, more generally, British Mandate authorities to actively oppose the coming of the survivors to their land....

Kaniuk, who demonstrates the unusual talent of combining true historical account with a great story telling talent, does not seem to be anvengeful or even biased against British. He just coldly relates the episode of the complicated history o the birth of the state of Israel. This relation is, nevertheless, quite disturbing and embarrassing for the British — who verbally declared support to the Zion Cause, but did very little to help the nascent State to start its life in peace. The ships coming to Palestine from Europe were harassed and often turn back, not without fighting, to Europe. In the most dramatic stories, some Holocaust survivors were sent back to Europe and deported to the former Nazi camps!

Even calling these events „ironic” seems to be outrageous.
I have found the article that tells the true account of these events. The following picture of „Exodus 1947” ship comes from it:


„Commander of the Exodus” does not even try to explain why the events had such a turn there and at that time. The book focuses on the valour of its main hero and the brave people who believed they come to their dreamed off homeland — but were met by hostility of those in whose hands the fate of millions was endowed...

I must admit that I write this review long time after I read the book. And I write it now, because the another great book — that by Winston Churchil („The Second World War”) — sheds some light on the matters, and I will be reviewing it shortly. I will try to give my own theory in that forthcoming review....

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