Rivlin marks 70th anniversary of last Jewish camps in Cyprus

President flies to Cyprus to mark 70 years since the closure of British detention camps for Jews, holding talks with Cyprus president.


Rivlin with Anastasiades.
Rivlin with Anastasiades.
Kobi Gidon, GPO

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin flew in to Cyprus Tuesday to mark 70 years since the closure of British detention camps on the island for Jews trying to reach British Mandate Palestine after World War II.

He was to visit a monument in Nicosia dedicated to the 2,200 children of Holocaust survivors who were born in the British colonial camps between 1946 and 1949.

Rivlin also held talks with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades.

Cyprus and Israel aim to upgrade relations, "especially on energy, security, economy, tourism, research and innovation", tweeted Anastasiades.

Britain, the colonial power in Cyprus and Mandatory Palestine at the time, detained about 52,000 Holocaust survivors on Cyprus, mostly young orphans, and housed them in tents.

The monument is situated at a present-day army camp that was known as the British Military Hospital.

Those detained had been intercepted at sea by British mandate authorities as they approached Mandatory Palestine, and they were held in 12 camps on the nearby island.

The camps were closed a year after the 1948 establishment of the state of Israel.

"Some of the babies born in Cyprus... are now Israeli citizens in their early 70s... Today, there is a very active organization of 'Cyprus babies' in Israel," the Jerusalem Post said Monday.