After the Second World War Jews who had survived the Nazi concentration camps in Europe had few good options regarding their future. Often, their homes were occupied by new tenants and they were not welcomed back to their homes. Some were able to settle in Western Europe or the Western Hemisphere. But for many the Land of Israel was the preferred destination, the Jewish peoples ancient homeland.
Unfortunately British policy at the time restricted immigration. Dozens of ships commanded by the Jewish community’s self-defense organization the Hagana made their from European ports, overflowing with human cargo, to the shores of the Land of Israel. Here offshore many times the British navy intercepted the ships and the refugees aboard were brought to the Detention Center at Atllit.
Today guided tours take us through the camp’s dormitories, showers, and to an actual ship which transported refugees. The camp was closed in 1945 when the Palmah, a part of the Haganah engineered an escape of over 200 prisoners from the camp. As a result, from 1946 until the establishment of the State of Israel illegal refugees were interred on Cyprus.