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  

“On November 24th, 1940, escorted by a convoy of British ships and mine sweepers, the Atlantic was towed into Haifa port. Instead of a couple of weeks, the voyage had taken nearly four months. The British ordered us to stand in rows, the women and the elderly in front. It was whispered that we were going to be put on another ship and taken to an island in the Indian Ocean, but no one knew what to believe.” (Beda Mayer)
”A big ship, which I later found out was the Patria, towered mysteriously ahead of us against the blue sky. There had been an explosion, and the Patria had keeled over and sunk.” (Hanna Mayer)
Over 250 refugees lost their lives in that explosion. ”We were herded off the Atlantic and driven out of the port in covered trucks. We, the men, were brought to Atlit, a converted army camp near Haifa. Our only contact with the outside world were the ‘gaffirs,’ local employees of His Majesty’s government; they told us we were at a place called Atlit and passed on messages that we must do all in our power to stop the British from deporting us.” (Beda Mayer)
The mood of the refugees held at Atlit, including the Patria survivors, was one of despair. A roof over their heads they had, army beds to sleep in, English tea and porridge, but again a prison – surrounded by barbed wire fences, guarded day and night. “We are clearly pawns in the imperial game which the British are playing in Palestine,” they were saying. “The Balfour Declaration is forgotten…”



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