Forget Paul Newman, This Italian Port Tells the Real Story of the Exodus
7 Maggio 2018
LA SPEZIA, Italy — An 11-million-euro redevelopment of the old military docks in this northern Italian port city will destroy the pier where over a thousand Holocaust survivors went on a hunger strike in 1946 when the occupying British forces blocked their illegal ship from sailing to Palestine.
The story of this ship – the Fede – and the hunger strike helped inspire the Leon Uris novel and the Hollywood blockbuster “Exodus” that starred Paul Newman as the Haganah secret agent who led the refugees to British Mandatory Palestine. Yet local historian Alberto Cavanna, who is 56, only discovered last year that illegal immigrant ships were fitted out in the dockyards where he worked for many years.
The real-life ship the Exodus, which made its own voyage in 1947, had been fitted out at nearby Porto Venere before it set sail for France and then to Haifa, from where its passengers were sent back by the British to Marseilles.
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