Flag of the Exodus auctioned to Holocaust museum

Jewish brothers buy Israeli flag of legendary ship that sought to bring Holocaust survivors home to Israel, donate it to Holocaust museum.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

SS Exodus
SS Exodus
Wikimedia Commons

The flag of an iconic ship that tried to take Jewish Holocaust survivors to Israel under the British Mandate is destined for a museum in the United States, an auction house said Thursday.

The SS Exodus was the most famous of hundreds of ships that sought to transport European Jews to their ancient homeland immediately after World War II, an effort that was met with great resistance by the occupying British forces.

The Israeli flag that flew from the ship was sold in Jerusalem for $144,000 to two Jewish American brothers in the real estate business, the auction house involved in the sale confirmed.

The flag was to be auctioned publicly, but was removed after the brothers reached an agreement to buy it and then donate it to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

Meron Eren, owner of the Kedem Auction House in Jerusalem that handled the sale, said he was glad the flag would be available for those wanting to learn about the Holocaust.

"My personal preference is to always have national institutions as the buyers of historical items, who will leave the items accessible to the general public, and I am glad that this is the case with the Exodus's flag," he said.

The Exodus sailed to Israel in 1947 with 4,500 Jewish survivors of Nazi death camps on board.

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

The images of Holocaust survivors being held behind barbed wire fences caused uproar and helped increase support for the Jewish return to Israel.

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

AFP contributed to this report.