Limina: A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies

Article: Pirbhai-Jetha

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Neelam Pirbhai-Jetha

Université de Mascareignes, Mauritius



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Looking for Home: A Study of Banishment and Exile of Jews in Mauritius During the Second World War


In December 1939, Jews from various European countries, fleeing Nazi anti-Semitism, arrived in Slovakia. From there, they were to enter Palestine clandestinely. However, they had to wait till 28 August 1940 to start their journey with only two small suitcases each. After many hardships, they embarked on the Atlantic, the Milos and the Pacific, which stopped at Haifa, Palestine. In Haifa, they were refused entrance by the British Colonial government, and many were transferred instead to the Patria, a ship which was bombed in the port by the Haganah leaders to prevent it from leaving Palestine.2 The survivors of the Patria were admitted to Palestine, but most passengers of the Atlantic were transferred on other ships and, once again, were forced to take to the sea, unaware of their destination. On 26 December 1940, 1581 passengers of the Johann de Witt and the Nieuw Zeeland arrived on the island of Mauritius.

Keywords: Jews; refugees; exile; Mauritius; Second World War; home; non-fictional writing; fictional literature

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Limina: A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies

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