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Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum
Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum Review
The rather dull name of this museum belies the dramatic story it tells of the heroic efforts to bring Jewish immigrants to Palestine from war-torn Europe in defiance of British policy.
In 1939, on the eve of World War II, the British issued the so-called White Paper, which effectively strangled Jewish immigration to Palestine. Out of 63 clandestine ships that tried to run the blockade after the war's end, all but five were intercepted, and their passengers were deported to Cyprus. The museum—full of moving stories of courage and tenacity—is centered around the Af Al Pi Chen (Hebrew for "Nevertheless"), a landing craft which attempted to bring 434 Jewish refugees ashore. A photomural and model of the celebrated ship the Exodus recalls the story of the 4,530 refugees aboard who were forcibly transferred back to Germany in 1947, but not before the British forces opened fire on the ship. The history of Israel's navy, told here in impressive detail, begins with the transformation of these clandestine immigration craft into warships.
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