Following World War II, Britain continued its pre-war policy of keeping Jews out of the Land of Israel, enforcing it more strictly than ever. Peter Martell writes:
Between August 1946 and February 1949, more than 52,000 Jews taken off 39 boats were detained in a dozen camps in Cyprus. . . . The British wanted the cramped camps to be a “deterrent” aimed at “breaking the power of the ‘Hebrew resistance movement’ in Palestine,” Yad Vashem said. More than 400 people died of sickness. It is a history that Arie Zeev Raskin, the chief rabbi of Cyprus—where, he says, several thousand Jews pray at the synagogue each year—wants to “teach to the next generation.”
When he discovered a farmer using one of the camps’ last remaining metal huts as a tractor shed, Raskin made it the centerpiece of the Jewish museum of Cyprus he is building in the port city of Larnaca. “The huts were boiling hot in summer, and freezing in winter,” Raskin said.
In the camps, some 80 percent were aged between thirteen and thirty-five, “among the more spirited and lively survivors of the Holocaust,” said Yad Vashem, which added that 2,200 babies were born in the camps.
Some Cypriots, also resentful of British rule, worked with Jewish militia forces [like the Haganah, which were involved in organizing clandestine aliyah]. Key among them was Prodromos Papavassiliou, who after fighting fascist forces in North Africa with Britain’s Cyprus Regiment was outraged at the camps. . . . Prodromos helped hundreds of Jews, hiding those who tunneled out in orange groves and caves, until he could organize boats to smuggle them away from coves near the now-popular tourist resort of Ayia Napa.
Read more on International Business Times: https://www.ibtimes.com/between-holocaust-israel-jews-jailed-cyprus-3270119