Iconic Israeli flag from Exodus ship up for sale

SS Exodus, which attempted to bring holocaust survivors to Israel in voyage portrayed in Leon Uris book, to fetch at least $100,000.

Tags: Exodus Aliyah
Arutz Sheva Staff ,

SS Exodus
SS Exodus
Wikimedia Commons

The flag of an iconic ship that sought to take Jewish Holocaust survivors to Israel is to be sold for at least $100,000 in Jerusalem, the auction house confirmed Sunday.

The SS Exodus was the most famous of hundreds of ships that sought to transport European Jews to the land that later became the nation of Israel immediately after World War II.

The Exodus sailed to British Mandate Palestine in 1947 with 4,500 Jewish survivors of Nazi camps on board who had no legal immigration certificates.  

The British government invaded the ship shortly before it docked and the families were eventually deported back to British-controlled Germany, where they were held in camps.

Their voyage inspired the 1958 book Exodus by Leon Uris and two years later a movie based on the book and starring Paul Newman.

The Israeli flag that flew from the ship will be sold at a public auction in Jerusalem next month with a starting bid of $100,000 (92,859 euros). The private owner of the flag was not identified.

Asher Gold, a spokesman for the Kedem Auction House that specialises in Jewish memorabilia, said the flag held "major significance to the state of Israel."

"The Exodus affair was covered by the media all over the world and the photos of Holocaust survivors deported behind barbed wire fences caused a severe shock," Gold said.

All of those on the ship eventually made their way back to the state of Israel after its formation in 1948, he added.

For Israelis, the ships carrying European Jews were a crucial part of the coming together of Jews from across the globe in what was called "Aliyah Bet", or second immigration.

Among the other items to be sold on December 2 are a 1935 letter from Albert Einstein about the state of Germany and love letters sent by David Ben-Gurion, Israel's founder, to his mistress.

AFP contributed to this report.