For many of us the story of "Exodus" is based on the film with Paul Newman playing a Jewish "terrorist" trying to get 600 Jewish refugees to Palestine and found the state of Israel. But 70 years ago on 10th July 1947 the ship, then called "President Warfield", left Sete in southern France with 4454 Jewish refugees from Hitler's Germany. Stopping off at Cyprus, the ship was intercepted by Royal Navy ships and three passengers were killed. Many were transported back to France and thence refugee camps in Germany.
Palestine was a British Protectorate and the UK government had set quotas to limit immigration and ease tensions with the resident Palestinian population (also incidentally refusing entry to the UK of many Jewish refugees).
An exhibition of photos, documents and first hand memories is being held in Sete from this weekend.
Plus ca change...
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