The Exodus 1947: The Real Story

Screenshot 2023 07 18 at 6.04.13 PM

by Jeff Dunetz at

In July 1947 The President Warfield Left France And Became The Exodus 1947

July 18, 1947, a ship carrying Holocaust victims, called The Exodus 1947, arrived at the port of Haifa after being boarded by the British 25 miles from the land of their prayers. Forget what you saw in the movie “Exodus” Paul Newman wasn’t there, and the British were much more brutal than portrayed in the film. They clubbed, shot, and found other ways to punish their Jewish victims whose only crime was trying to reach the eternal homeland of the Jewish Nation.

Decommissioned in 1946, the ship The President Warfield was bought for $8,000 as scrap by the Western Trading Company (a front for the Haganah, which later became the Israel Defense Forces).  Jewish-American Sam (the Banana Man) Zemurray was instrumental in obtaining the ship for the Haganah, which would explain its Honduran registration. It was said that  Mr. Zemurray’s United Fruit Company pretty much owned Honduras. President Warfield was refitted in Baltimore and sailed for France on February 25, 1947, where it picked up over 4,500 Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany and left for the Holy Land.

Still called President Warfield, the ship to become the Exodus 1947 left Sète France sometime between two and four in the morning of July 11, 1947. It flew a Honduran flag and claimed to be headed for Istanbul but was headed for British mandate Palestine. It carried 4,515 passengers, including 1,600 men, 1,282 women, and 1,672 children and teenagers. The Palmach skipper Ike Aronowicz was its captain, and Haganah commissioner Yossi Harel was the commander. The ship was operated by 35 volunteers, primarily American Jews.

Ironically The President Warfield was named after Solomon Davies Warfield, president of the Baltimore Steam Packet Company, a steamship line that owned the ship. Warfield was the uncle of Wallis Warfield Simpson, the woman for whom King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom abdicated his throne in 1937. I suppose the British got their revenge with the brutal way they treated the passengers of Exodus 1947

During the journey, the people in The Exodus 1947 prepared to be intercepted. The ship was divided into sections staffed by different groups, and each went through practice resistance sessions.

On July 17, 1947

In an unimaginable display of aggression, two British destroyers rammed the ship from both sides, damaging the hull, railings and lifeboats. As British marines began to board, the Zionist blue-white flag with the Star of David was raised and the wooden planks carrying the name President Warfield were flipped over to reveal the ship’s new name, Haganah Ship – Exodus 1947, and “Hatikvah” was sung over and over.

The refugees used tin cans, screwdrivers, potatoes, bottles, wooden boards, and metal bars as weapons.

The British used tear gas and pistols, and the uneven battle raged for more than 2 hours. An American Jewish crew member and two passengers were killed. Dozens suffered bullet wounds and other injuries.

The Jews simply wanted to go home.

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