July 08, 2007

The Real Exodus

From The Real Exodus:

Ike Aronowitz, 83, is former captain of the illegal immigrant ship Exodus. He is known to the world as the blond, blue-eyed Paul Newman, who played Aronowitz in Otto Preminger's 1960 film Exodus, based on Leon Uris' blockbuster novel. Both film and book tell the story of the postwar illegal immigration ships bearing a human cargo of Holocaust survivors who tried to break the British blockade of Palestine in the last days of the Mandate. But it was a fairy tale. In Uris' version, the Jewish refugees, stranded on Cyprus, are saved by a sympathetic British general who convinces the British government to allow the ship to land. In real life, the British army boarded, killed three people, loaded the passengers on to prison ships and took them back to Hamburg, Germany, where they were re-incarcerated in refugee camps. It was a PR catastrophe. "Back to the Reich," one U.S. newspaper put it. "Return to the death land," said another.