Exodus Ship Survivor Making Aliyah at Age 88

Frances Greenberg tried to make Aliyah in 1947 on the Exodus. The British shipped her to Germany. After 59 years, she is fulfilling her dream.

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Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu,

The Ship Exodus
The Ship Exodus
Israel News Photo: (file)

Exodus ship survivor Frances Greenberg, 88, of Pittsburgh, will be one of 210 new immigrants to arrive in Israel on Tuesday. The Nefesh B'Nefesh (NBN) flight is scheduled to arrive at 7 a.m., and dignitaries and the press will welcome the olim (new immigrants) at the Terminal One facility at Ben Gurion International Airport.

Mrs. Greenberg tried to come on aliyah in 1947 after having survived the Holocaust by fleeing from Poland to Siberia. She left a displaced persons camp in the middle of the night and boarded the Exodus for Israel. The British army torpedoed and tear-gassed the ship, killing several passengers. The others, including Mrs. Greenberg, were forced to return to France and then to Germany rather than arrive in Israel and increase the Jewish presence in Palestine, which it occupied under a League of Nations mandate.

The Nazis had wiped out her family. After returning to Germany, she met and married her husband Isak. She survived a nearly fatal illness, and the couple moved to Pittsburgh, where her sister lived, in 1949.
They have two children, and her desire to move to Israel grew after her daughter married and moved to Israel 36 years ago. She was widowed a year ago and decided to make arrangements to be close to her daughter and grandchildren in the Jewish state.

Charley Levine, a spokesman for the Nefesh B'Nefesh group that helps Jews make aliyah, said that "once you hit 70-plus, it is extremely rare" for people to move to Israel. However, at least two women from Baltimore and London made aliyah at the age of 99 in the past two years, and the known record is held by a woman who moved from New York at the age of 102.
Mrs. Greenberg will be living in a retirement community near her daughter's home in Raanana. "A lot of people say I am a gutsy old woman," she said. "But I really hope that I will make a new life there," she told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette