Story by Elena Makarova

  People from Lund
  Big news
  Striptease for dessert
  A role
  El Paradiso in Jerusalem
  Time Machine
  Old age
  Cloud Catcher
  Mauritius  Odyssey     Refugees      Slobodarna       Voyage under the Panama flag    Defense Regulations    Holy Land    Deportation    British Prison    Fritz Haendel  

“Ten days later at about four in the morning the police marched into our huts in Atlit and ordered us out. We ignored the order and lay naked on the floor. If they wanted us they’d have to take us by force. And they did. Kicking us and hitting us with fists and truncheons, they grabbed us one by one and rolled us in blankets – brown blankets marked PP: Palestine Police. They dragged us along the ground, then tossed us like sacks of potatoes into the waiting trucks. For the first time, I wept. I looked at Fritz and the others. Everyone was crying. It was the worst thing we’d been through. The port and the whole of Haifa were dead. We didn’t see a soul on the street. Haifa was a ghost town.” (Beda)
At the port they were pushed onto two large troop-carriers, the Johannes de Witt and the New Zealand. The ships set off due south the same day, December 10th. The men were kept deep in the hold, the women on the lower deck in a different part of the ship. “After a few days in the ship’s hold we were allowed out for about an hour a day. We were dressed as if for Purim – a carnival, in blankets, rags and women’s clothes. We couldn’t help laughing.” (Beda) “We asked the crew what was this island Mauritius we’d heard we were going to. It was a jungle, they said, where lions and tigers roamed about. A very dangerous place to live.” (Hanna Mayer) The convoy sailed through the Suez Canal down the Red Sea, to the Indian Ocean. 1600 refugees reached Port-Louis harbor, Mauritius, on December 26, 1940; for the Czech group who left Prague in November 1939 this voyage had lasted over a year.



      Boarding Pass to Paradise. Artists Peretz Beda Mayer and Fritz Haendel.  © Elena Makarova, 2005. For Contacts: Elena Makarova