The Dora was the only illegal ship (Aliyah Bet) to leave from Northern Europe with Jewish refugees before the war. Described in the press as a "Death Ship", a "wreck practically falling apart", it managed to reach the shores of Palestine despite the British Navy embargo and saved hundred of lives, including the life of my mother, Toni Katz.


The Dora

Photo: Utrechts Volksblad 17/07/1939

This page was originally based on Chaya Brasz's article "Dodenschip Dora; Een oude kolenboot redde honderden Joden ondanks Nederlandse tegenwerking" ("The "Death Ship" Dora: the coal ship that saved hundred of Jews"), which was condensed and edited for clarity. Additional information was culled from several books and online articles listed in the reference section; from articles published in the contemporary press, and finally, from the recollections of my mother and from organizers and passengers who sailed the Dora.

Mossad LeAliyah Bet

Following Hitler's rise to power in 1933, the increasingly harsh anti-Jewish measures in Nazi Germany made the need for Jewish immigration more and more urgent. At the same time, it became increasingly difficult for refugees to obtain visas for any destination. As for Palestine, then under British mandate, Great Britain announced in late 1938 that it would reduce Jewish migration to Palestine to a total of 75,000 over the next 5 years.

In response to the newly enacted restrictions put in place by the British government with its "White Paper", a new branch of the Haganah, Mossad LeAliyah Bet, was created in late 1938 with the goal of organizing illegal immigration to Palestine.

An organization was quickly put in place in several European countries to support this effort, with the center of operations set in Paris. This organization had to recruit funds, collect intelligence, acquire (i.e. charter) ships, transform and equip ships to transport large numbers of immigrants: install beds and other necessities,set up sophisticated radio systems, supply them with large quantities of food, water and fuel, hire crews, transport immigrants to ports of departure, arrange sailing permits, all of this while avoiding the suspicion of local authorities and evading detection by the British Navy.

During the first year of operations, Mossad LeAliyah Bet managed to launch 10 ships from Mediterranean and Black Sea ports and bring so-called "illegal" immigrants to the shores of Palestine despite the British embargo.

Several groups provided operational and logistical support through each stage. First were "guides", men who accompanied the ships during the crossings. They were young people who had gained sailing experience on rowboats on the River Yarkon, and had to be ready to act as emergency captains whenever problems arose with the official crews (often veteran Greek seamen). One such sailor was Amiram Shochat, who would take part in the Dora voyage and was by then already a veteran of these illegal trips.

Then were members of Shai (“Sherut Yediot”), the Haganah Intelligence Service, who gathered information about the British police anti-immigration plans, often from Jews who worked in their offices, and supplied the Mosad with the routes to evade the British.

Another crucial group was the Haganah radio communication wing, with members operating on the ships, at disembarkation points, and at the Haganah center in Tel Aviv. With efficient transmitters and receivers installed on each ship sailing to Palestine, they were able to coordinate between ship and shore, allowing the vessels to receive precise information on British naval movements and dodge the coastal patrols. Temporary communication stations were also set up on the landing beaches to guide the ships.

Last but not least were the several disembarkation crews who brought the refugees from ships to shore, then helped them fan out to various settlements, while armed groups were on the lookout for the British forces. A number of Haganah units were involved in the landings. Disembarkation was handled by Palyam units with seagoing experience. Generally, the ships approached as close as possible to shore, so that those who knew how to swim could make their own way to shore. The others were carried in boats or on the backs of helpers. Palmach units guarded the beach while Gadna (Youth Corps) and HIM (Guard Corps, comprised of older Haganah members) patrolled the wider area, and dispersed the immigrants to different Jewish settlements. Since success depended on preventing discovery by the British, great importance was attached to the speed at which the immigrants were swallowed up in the settlements. In many cases the Haganah supplied them with appropriate identity papers.

The Refugee Situation in the Netherlands

Since the beginning of Hitler's takeover of power in Germany in 1933, the Netherlands had taken in about 15,000 Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria. After Kristallnacht at the end of 1938, the Dutch government allowed 150 halutzim to enter the country, on condition that they would leave the country within a year. By that time, there were a little over 1,000 young people in hachshara - agrarian training in preparation for emigration to Palestine - in the Netherlands. Gertrude van Tijn, the head of the Emigration Department of the Committee for Jewish Refugees, reported to the Joint (American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, aka JDC) at the end of November that about four thousand legal refugees had entered the Netherlands since Kristallnacht. By February 1939, she estimated that there were twenty-three thousand German-Jewish refugees in the Netherlands, while the government put the number to thirty thousand.

Two organizations provided support to Jewish refugees from Germany: the Deventer Association ("Vereniging tot Vakopleiding van Palestina Pioniers": "The Association for Professional Training of Palestine Pioneers"), and the Committee for Jewish Refugees. They obtained entrance visas for young refugees, then placed them among Dutch farmers and in the Werkdorp ("work village") Nieuwesluis in Wieringer, Werkdorp Wieringermeer, where they received agricultural and professional training for immigration to Palestine.

Following the sudden influx of German refugees in Holland after Kristallnacht and the decision of the British Government to pressure the Greek Government to halt immigration to Palestine, the Haganah decided to create a new immigration route in Northern Europe. As early as December 1938 or January 1939, they started to discuss the possibility of shipping a group of 300 halutzim from Holland, 150 from Belgium, and another 100 from France from a North European port.

Several agents of Mossad leAliyah Bet arrived from Palestine to Europe to organize "Operation North" (מבצע הצפון), the clandestine departure of German Jewish refugees from Holland. In charge of the operation was Gideon Rufer (Gideon Raphael), in charge of logistics was Gustav Horn from Kibbutz Hazorea. From the central office of Mossad le Aliyah Bet office in Paris, Shmarya Tzameret, a 23 year-old American-born member of Kibbutz Beit Hashita, was tasked with organizing the Dora trip. Other agents involved in the planning of the operation and purchase of the Dora included Ze'ev Shind, Yehuda Berginski, Danny Sheind, Amiram Shochat and Zvi Spector, who would lead the Dora during the trip.

Copenhagen: June - July 1939

Mossad officials led by Yehuda Berginski spent several months looking for a suitable ship that could sail from the North Sea, through the Atlantic Ocean and across the Mediterranean up to Palestine with hundreds of passengers.

They eventually found a Greek family willing to embark on the adventure: Pierre and Constantine (Kosta) Atychides, two Greek brothers who had previous smuggling experience during the Spanish Civil War. They would purchase a ship (with Mossad money), equip it and sail it all they way to Palestine.

After long negotiations, Gideon Ruffer and Shmarya Tzameret finally arranged the purchase of the SS Tjaldur in Copenhagen on June 21st, 1939.


The Tjaldur


The Tjaldur


Built in 1898 in Glasgow under the name VEGA, then renamed Tjaldur in 1904, it was a relatively small steamer (584 gross tons, 199 feet by 30 feet, 11.5 knots) that previously sailed between the ports of the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. Originally a passengers ship, it had later been transformed into a merchant ship that transported, among other things, cattle, but it still held a certificate to transport passengers and was deemed appropriate as its mechanics were in good shape.

After the purchase, it was renamed the Dora and would sail under Panamanian flag. In Copenhagen, it was fitted to transport passengers with the addition of 175 iron bunk beds on several levels, life jackets, a second kosher kitchen, lavatories and showers. On the deck, a wooden room was added to accommodate a doctor, a nurse and a small hospital. The engines were cleaned and a sophisticated radio system was put in place that would help coordinate with the Haganah HQs.

In the course of outfitting the ship, disputes with the crew and friction between the Dutch and the Palestinians threatened to jeopardize the venture. At one point, Chaim Weizmann, the Zionist leader, had to intervene to restore peace among the organizers.

In July, after about three weeks of renovations and repairs, the Dora was finally ready and left Copenhagen for Amsterdam.

Just as the Dora had started to move, the captain's son, who was supposed to conduct the voyage on behalf of the ship's owners, tripped and broke his leg, and the Dora had to return to Copenhagen so he could be taken to a hospital. After the delay caused by this mishap, the Dora finally left Copenhagen, passing through the Kiel Canal.

As the Dora left, Tzameret and Costa took a train to Antwerp to hire additional crew and purchase more lifeboats. On his end, Gideon Rufer announced that the pioneers in Amsterdam were ready to go. Once the Dora arrived in Amsterdam, the plan was to get more coal and food and be ready to leave in a few hours without being noticed.

In a closed meeting of HeChalutz members from the work village of Wieringermeer, seventy-three candidates had learned that they had been selected to leave via illegal aliyah and would sail in nine days. In preparation for their voyage, they had been moved to temporary accommodations in Beverwijk, Assendelft and Heemskerk, small villages close to Amsterdam, where they were to remain in hiding until their departure.

The trip, first discussed in December 1938, and in planning for half a year, had been delayed for so long that Shmarya Tzameret had to reassure the Dutch Government that the halutzim would soon leave Holland as planned.

My mother had been offered a place on a ship after her parents had been deported to Poland (this could have been as early as December 1938), but there had been multiple, seemingly endless, delays. She went into hiding with friends and neighbors for three to four months, waiting for a departure date. At last received the sign to leave and went to Belgium, crossing the border illegally. She then spent one month in Belgium waiting for the Dora to arrive.

In Antwerp, the situation was worse: 150 people who had crossed the Belgian border illegally had been there for more than six weeks. The police arrested them every day, after which they were released, because they promised they to leave the next day, as soon as the ship would enter the harbor. Around the same time, the Belgian government passed a law to the effect that illegal refugees had to be sent back.

My mother recalled that during her stay in Antwerp, she stayed with a group of young men and women in the appartment of a wealthy Jewish family who were away on vacation for the summer. One day, a neighbor alerted the police of the presence of illegal aliens in the building. The police came and arrested the young men, but unaware that there were four girls on the second floor, didn't find them and they were not arrested. At the end of each day, the young men would be released against a promise that they would soon leave Belgium. The next day, still there, they would be arrested again. This continued until they finally got ready to board the Dora. The girls, not wanting any more problems with the police, left the house and went back to stay at the hechalutz house.

David Cohen, the Chairman of the Refugee Committee, was kept in the dark about the plans for the Dora because he was known to disapprove illegal activities. Other members and associates of the Committee however, such as Gertrude van Tijn, were willing to cross the line into illegality, and would provide their help and support throughout the entire duration of the operation. Since funds from the Joint could not be used for "illegal" enterprises, Gertude's Dutch associates fronted the £3,000 (approximately $240,000 in 2018) needed to cover expenses for the trip.

Amsterdam: July 13 - July 16

The Dora arrived in the Amsterdam harbor on July 13th. Gideon Rufer went to the shipbroker on the Geldersekade canal to purchase the provisions needed for the trip. He took along with him Flip Cohen, a young Dutch passenger to be his translator.

Uri Kochba (Walter Koch, head of the Hechalutz movement) said:

"I was sent to the bakery, and had them bake special kosher bread that would stay good for a long time. We* ate that onboard until it became moldy. After that, we switched to biscuits."

Note: *the source for the quote must be incorrect. As far as I know, Uri Kochba did not board the Dora. He was arrested in the Netherlands in 1940. However, others have documented that the passengers did survive on biscuits and salty water towards the end of the trip.

This is when he met Amiram Shochat for the first time, one of the three people from the Haganah who had organized the trip of the Dora. Amiram warned him in Hebrew: "Don't talk to anyone in the crew". The Danish crew didn't know about the illegal nature of the trip, and were not supposed to know.

According to Yekutiel Fekete, the crew was composed as follow: The owner and captain of the ship was a 70-year-old Greek who hated the English and claimed "The British Empire will collapse and the English will go back to being fishermen and coal miners. This will be their fate.". Maybe his hatred for the British was part of the reason he agreed to serve on the Dora. The first officer was a younger Greek driven by greed, who had brought his wife on a voyage. The second officer was named Danny, a hardworking man who did all the work and treated us and the immigrants well. The third and fourth officers were Amiram Shochat from Tel-Aviv, for whom this was the third voyage, and Zvi Spector from Jerusalem, who was on his first mission. The official wireless was a Spanish exile from the Civil War, while Yekutiel Fekete was the wireless operator in charge of connecting with the Haganah.

Everything seemed to be going well until emissaries from the Refugee Committee came to inspect the ship. Gertrude van Tijn and one of her colleagues from the Committee, Siegfried Kramarsky, a German-Jewish banker residing in the Netherlands who was financing part of the trip, came to satisfy themselves that the Dora was fit for the voyage. Siegfried Kramarsky, along with Salo (Salomon) Jakob Flörsheim - another banker and philantropist - and a few other members of the Refugee Committee, had paid the 115,000 guilders (approximately $1.1 million in 2018) the trip would cost, and felt responsible for the success and safety of the trip.

They arrived just as coal was being loaded, so the ship was covered in a cloud of soot. They had expected a passenger ship; when they saw the decrepit hulk of the Dora, they were shocked. They questioned aloud whether the Dora was capable of carrying a large number of passengers through the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and to Palestine and considered withdrawing their support, then refused to let the Halutzim board the ship.

The members of the Refugee Committee were mostly wealthy, assimilated Jews who represented the Jewish Community to the government. Their idea of what a ship should look like didn't fit with the reality of illegal immigration. They were also upset by all the delays so far and concerned by the issues these delays would cause with the Dutch Government, as they had given their word that the halutzim would be leaving without delay. They had some contempt for "Ostjuden", the people who had organized the trip, saying "Ostjuden don't keep their word". They also suspected that the paperwork for the ship might be fakes acquired on the black market, and blamed the Haganah for the poor condition of the ship.

Shmarya Tzameret was astonished by what he heard from these assimilated, law-abiding Jews who, with their haughty attitude, made decisions regarding the halutzim. In his report to the Mossad LeAliyah Bet, he noted that these people were so removed from the problems of the Jewish people. After the remark about the OstJuden, he only spoke English.

He spoke to Gertrude van Tijn who supported the illegal scheme and whom he saw as a woman of great inteligence, and asked her to try to convince Kramarsky. Tzameret explained to her why the trip had been delayed so many times, told her that the Dora was a solid ship which had passed the inspection by the official authorities, and that the insurance papers were in order. In the end, the Refugee Committee gave in and agreed to let the trip continue.

Read All About It!

Soon after, new complications arose. The dock workers who had brought the coal aboard the Dora had noticed the bunk beds in the holds, and had alerted the editors of the Communist Party's newspaper about the "scandalous" conditions aboard that "Death Ship". The next day, the Volksdagblad ("the People's Daily") published a long article accusing the Dutch government of forcing Jews to leave in unsafe condition aboard a "wreck of a ship" with "slave trade quarters" sail, which, they were sure, would drown with the hundreds of refugees aboard. Other newspapers started to write about the "Ship of the Dead". In the Amsterdam harbor, photographers aboard small boats circled around the Dora.

The Dutch government's official position was that it knew nothing about the preparations regarding the Dora's departure, and clearly wanted to keep it that way. Feeling overwhelmed with the sudden influx of Jewish refugees from Germany, it was willing to close its eyes on any irregularities to facilitate the removal of at least some of them. Rufer met Hendrik van Boeijen, the Minister of the Interior, who approved the operation and ensured that officials turned a blind eye to what was happening.

As a result of the reports in the press, the harbormaster received the order to inspect the Dora. Shmarya Tzameret met with the harbormaster and revealed the reason for the trip, and after the Dora had gone through a new inspection by the Dutch authorities, the harbormaster gave his authorization to sail, but made a list of minor improvements needed before the Dora could leave.

To Gertrude's relief, Dutch marine inspectors visited the ship and pronounced the Dora seaworthy, on condition that some minor repairs be made and that additional lifeboats be brought aboard in Antwerp.

Since there were only 350 beds and 300 people were supposed to board from Amsterdam, Tzameret told the harbormaster that only 50 more people would be boarding from Antwerp.

The Dutch government declared the following day that they weren't expelling any refugees, and that they would all leave from their own free will. The Communist Volksdagblad nevertheless denounced the apparent collusion between the authorities and the Refugee Committee in sending a "second St Louis" on a "death journey".

With the boat deemed seaworthy by the Amsterdam naval authorities, preparations for embarking the hundreds of halutzim dispersed over various villages and communities now went under way.

Jacob Oppenheimer, a hechalutz with the Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz (Religious Zionist), recalled:

"The Dutch immigration police wanted to get rid of us, but they were afraid of the publicity. The relationship with England wasn't too good, and the British of course didn't want any immigration. So in 1939, all of a sudden we were brought to Heemskerk (15 miles from Amsterdam), where we had to wait for a couple of weeks. Of course we knew where we were going. On July 14th, I was brought to the house of Dr. Pinkhof in Amsterdam. I was very religious and couldn't travel on Shabbat. His house wasn't far from the harbor, so on Saturday, they came and picked me up and took me straight to the Dora."

"It was a small ship, full of people, but we never felt unsafe on the ship. The only danger we feared would come from the British."

Flip Cohen was with another group of Halutzim in Beverwijk, a town about 15 miles from Amsterdam. He remembered:

On Saturday, I ordered some taxis. We went with the whole group. That evening, I was home for a just little while. My mother said, "Are you leaving today?" We said: "See you in Eretz Israel". I took my backpack and left.

Apart from my younger brother Samuel, I never saw them again. I came back to the Netherlands in 1945 as a soldier with the Jewish Brigade. I found Samuel in the Portuguese Israelite Hospital. He was just back from Bergen Belsen. All the others had been murdered.

Halutzim dancing the hora before sailing to Mandate Palestine aboard the Dora.

Dutch chalutzim dancing the "hora" in the park of the Assemburg Castle in Heemskerk, before sailing to Mandate Palestine aboard the Dora, 1939.
Courtesy of The Ghetto Fighters' House Museum, Israel.

The halutzim were shuttled with busses all day Saturday from their hiding places to the harborside Lloyd hotel, which served as a refugee center, and was surrounded by the police.

Raphael Kochavi wrote:

After finally giving the signal to move, we boarded the buses that were waiting for us at the farm entrances. It was July 15, 1939.

At night we arrived at the spacious customs hall at the port. Surrounded by Dutch security personnel, all the illegal immigrants gathered together.

Lloyd Hotel

Lloyd Hotel, Amsterdam.

Photo: Utrechts Volksblad 18/07/1939

The leaders of the Jewish Refugee Committee and organizers of the trip, including Gertrude van Tijn, Siegfried Kramarsky, Salomon Flörsheim and Ru Cohen came to send off the refugees and wish them good luck. After fiery speeches, a Hatikvah concluded the ceremony.

Also present were the heads of the immigration police from The Hague and from Amsterdam who had come to control the boarding with 35 civil servants and policemen. All passengers under the age of 21 had to sign a form attesting they were embarking of their own free will. Behind a police cordon, the halutzim, in groups of ten or twenty, boarded small launches that took them to the Dora, waiting a hundred yards from the quay. .

Kochavi remembers differently: instead of launches, he describes the immigrants boarding the Dora directly from the pier:

In order to go in the belly of the ship, we had to go down a slippery sloping ramp onto a narrow deck. We were instructed in Hebrew to move on to the cargo hold which was illuminated by dim lights.

The Dora in Amsterdam.

The Dora in Amsterdam.

"Authorities, shipping inspectors and others go on board for a final inspection before the departure signal."

Photo: Utrechts Volksblad 18/07/1939

Passengers boarding the Dora in Amsterdam.

"In groups of ten or twenty, the refugees go onboard, escorted by policemen."

Photo: Utrechts Volksblad 18/07/1939

Passengers boarding the Dora in Amsterdam

Passengers boarding The Dora

Photo: Photo: De Sumatra Post, 24 July 1939


"The Dora did not leave until 5 o'clock at night, three hours later than planned. They had been waiting for seven refugees from Enschede who were coming by car and had gotten lost."

Photo: Utrechts Volksblad 18/07/1939

At dusk, the Dora was moved to the Handelskade (the pier). The police cordoned off the pier to keep the press away, but the authorities were afraid that the Communists would come to demonstrate. Everybody knew what was going on, and when a young woman without papers managed to move through the police cordon, they just let her go aboard without any trouble. A high degree of complicity between the authorities and the organizers was evident. As Zvi Spector, the Haganah chief of the operation, was about to board, the commanding officer of the Dutch immigration police raised a glass and proposed three toasts — to Queen Wilhelmina, to the success of the voyage, and to an independent Jewish state.

The Dora in Amsterdam

The Dora in Amsterdam.

"The Dora crew hastened to cover the name of the ship with tarpaulin, apparently to prevent anyone knowing which ship was moving across the IJ through the nocturnal darkness."

Photo: Utrechts Volksblad 18/07/1939

In the early hours of Sunday, July 16, 1939, the Dora sailed from Amsterdam with about three hundred passengers. Most were Jewish refugees from Germany, including about 75 students from Wieringen. Some were Dutch Zionists who had undergone agricultural training in other hachsharot. All were adults, mainly young men. One of the forty or so women was in her sixth month of pregnancy.

Gertrude bade an emotional farewell to the passengers and to Tzameret, who was to travel by train to meet the ship in Antwerp. The goodbyes between Tzameret and the Refugee Committee on the other hand were not particularly cordial. Kramarsky announced that he planned to go to Antwerp to ensure that the lifeboats requested by the Amsterdam harbormaster were brought on board, and that too many passengers wouldn't go aboard. Tzameret and Rufer tried to tell him this wasn't necessary, but to no avail.

Antwerp: July 17

The Dora arrived in Antwerp on July 17th. Shmarya Tzameret wrote in his report: "I spoke to a high-level Dutch civil servant who said that he wasn't interested in the plans of the Haganah, and that the only concern of the government was that the ship would disappear with the refugees as soon as possible." Tzameret had ordered that the passengers from Antwerp should board the Dora as soon as possible, but didn't tell Kramarsky, and continued the negotiations with people from the Refugee Committee. When Kramarsky arrived in Antwerp, he was furious to find out that a hundred and fifty people planned to board the ship, instead of the the fifty that had been previously agreed upon. He again threatened to withdraw financial support.

Kramarsky later met with Tzameret in Antwerp, and angrily argued with him about the condition of the Dora and that there weren't enough beds onboard. Tzameret explained that beds were put side to side, two by two, so they could fit three people. He added that the refugees who were in Belgium illegally had no other option but to board the ship and leave under any conditions: otherwise, they would be sent back to concentration camps in Germany. But the Refugee Committee had given its word to the Dutch government that no more than fifty additional people would board the Dora, and threatened to take 100 Halutzim off in Antwerp and send them back to the Netherlands. Shmarya Tzameret, to Kramarsky's fury, boarded all 170 new passengers regardless.

Siegfried Kramarsky went to the harbormaster and demanded that one hundred people be taken off the ship. The harbormaster, a devout Christian who saw the return of the Jewish people to the Promised Land as a Biblical fulfillment, became a spokesman for the halutzim. He told Kramarsky not to worry, that it wasn't such an imposition if the refugees suffered a little for a couple of weeks if it meant that they would reach the coast of the Promised Land. Kramarsky then threatened to call the Dutch Governement and ask them to take diplomatic action. This angered the harbormaster who refused to talk to the Dutchman any further. As last resort, Kramarsky went to the ship and tried to convince the halutzim to not go on the trip, but the passengers explained that they were happy with the situation on the ship, so he finally gave up and drove away, seething.

My mother recalled seeing the Dora for the first time: When the halutzim in her group saw the Dora in the Antwerp harbor, they said the ship was too small for so many people, and not suitable for such a long trip. She replied ("naive as I was" she said in retrospect): "Of course! This is just a small boat which will take us to the real ship, which must be somewhere on the high seas. They don't want to bring the real ship in the harbor because it would give it away..." But she was wrong. That "little boat" was in fact the very ship that would take her and about 480 others to Palestine.

In the meantime, unannounced, the Belgian Security Agency had sent a tugboat which started to move the Dora to Vlissingen, and the Dora left Antwerp on July 17th.

Vlissingen: July 18 - July 19

The Dora was now moored on the waterways of Vlissingen, where it remained for two days.


The Dora, anchored off the waterways of Vlissingen. Originally published on 19 July 1939 in De Maasbode Van Woensdag.

New problems arose: Kosta was demanding more money for the trip, one of the engine mechanics had missed the ship, and a newly hired Belgian radio operator didn't show up after having found what the actual goal of the trip was.

In the meantime, the Haganah in Paris decided that the Dora would not pick up the hundred refugees in Le Havre in France after all because there had already been too many delays, putting the entire expedition at risk. Yekutiel Fekete mentions in his recollections of the trip another reason: the ship was already full and there was no room for any more passengers.

Kosta and Tzameret found a new radio operator, a Spanish Communist who used to smuggle weapons to Spain during the Civil War and was now stranded in Antwerp without papers after his ship had left without him. Kosta, the Spaniard and the mechanics took a taxi to Vlissingen, but were turned away: the Greek didn't have a visa, and the Spaniard didn't have a passport. The four of them would have to leave Antwerp the next morning on a motorboat for Vlissingen.

It was now July 18th and Tzameret wanted the Dora to leave as soon as possible. He was concerned that the Dutch press in Vlissingen and the Refugee Committee would find out that the Dora was back in Dutch waters, and that the Dutch government might decide under public pressure to prevent the departure because there were too many people aboard.

At 5 a.m., Tzameret observed the Dora from the Vlissingen dike through his binoculars. There were fishermen and a little boy on the dike. The kid said: "You see the ship? That's a 'death ship', a ship full of Jewish refugees from Germany that will sink, for sure." It was as if everybody in the Netherlands knew about the Dora, even the children.

Meanwhile, more articles appeared in the local press about the "mysterious refugee ship". While the Dora was anchored off the coast of Vlissingen, a journalist from the Daily Herald had come aboard. He wrote that the passengers slept on the deck on straw mats, and had told him they were going to Bangkok, or Siam. The news drew the attention of the British government, and the British representative Nevile Bland made inquiries at the Foreign office in the Netherlands, pointing out that immigration to Palestine was illegal. The Foreign Office responded that the ship had given as its destination Siam, and that they weren't aware of any another destination.

The Algemeen Handelsblad reported the departure of the Dora with 500 Jewish passengers. The destination of the ship was said to be Bangkok, yet the reporter didn't seem to believe that this was the real destination.

The article described the accommodations for the passengers:

"The passengers were hanging over the railing, talking to each other, and others were busy working. However, no answer was given to the questions we asked. The whole thing made a rather sad impression.”

"As there seemed to be no room for all passengers, many had to be satisfied with a berth in the straw on the fore or afterdeck. Large sails were stretched over these decks.”

The same day, the Haagsche Courant wrote:

"Little credence is given to the claim that the ship will go to Siam, and a veil of mystery surrounds the ship.”

Surprisingly, despite the secret nature of the Dora's voyage, a reporter from the Haagsche Courant was allowed onboard. He wrote:

"The crew was busy trying the lifeboats with the assistance from the passengers. However, it was very primitive and it took a lot of time and effort to lower a boat, and the boat was not even manned. Moreover, the unpainted lifeboats don’t give a reassuring impression.”

What the reporter probably witnessed was the passengers practicing lowering the lifeboats to disembark on the shores of Palestine. Since the Dora would land not in a harbor but on a beach, the passengers would have to transfer to the lifeboats to reach the land.

The Dora ship

Illegal immigrands, members of the HeChalutz aboard a lifeboats. August 1939

Photo: Shimon Mahler, 1939 (c) The Ghetto Fighters' House Museum.

The Dora ship

Illegal immigrands, members of the HeChalutz aboard a lifeboats. August 1939.

Photo: Shimon Mahler, 1939 (c) The Ghetto Fighters' House Museum.

The Dora ship

The Dora, with one of its four lifeboats

Photo: De Telegraaf, 19 July 1939

Cows on the deck of the Dora?!

The most surprising fact mentioned in this article is the presence of cattle on the Dora:

"On the front and back decks, the Jewish refugees sat under large sails. On the forepart were some cows, next to which men and women lived in the straw."

The same information was also picked up in "The Scotsman" on July 19: "From the shore hundreds of men and women, and also cattle, could be seen on deck".

The same day, the Volksdagblad (the Communist People's Daily) shared its belief that the ship was not seaworthy and that the government in the Netherlands should grant the refugees asylum. The journalist believed that the Dora was anchored in Vlissingen because of the rough weather from the previous days - confirming that the Dora was ill-equipped to take to the sea. With a dramatic tone, he predicted that once the "wreck" of the Dora moved into the open sea, it would turn into real "Death Ship”, wandering from port to port, without a final destination. Insisting that the Dora was too small to accommodate 420 passengers - for proof the dozens of refugees forced to sleep on deck on straw - the article ended with a call to action:

"The public opinion in the country must be shaken... It is a shame that this ship left the Netherlands. The only solution is: right of asylum in the Netherlands... or the clear guarantee that these unfortunates can find accommodation in another country...”

Another newspaper, the Zaans Volksblad, declared that "the veil of mystery around the refugee ship 'Dora' is getting thicker”, and suspected that the ship might be waiting for more clement weather before taking to the sea. It added that the passengers, who were not allowed to disembark, were lying on straw on the deck, because "on a ship of such dimensions, it is not possible to properly accommodate 400 people”.

It added that "In the afternoon there was a boat drill on deck, which is somewhat comical, taking into account how absolutely inadequate the rescue material is. The women were washing and trying to create some order in the chaos on board, by sweeping and removing the worst dirt.”

After having spent almost two days anchored in Vlissingen for no apparent reason, the Utrechts Volksblad explained that the delay had been caused by the captain waiting for the arrival of a crew member whom he could not miss and who could only get on board today. What that journalist saw from the shore with binoculars was "not an encouraging spectacle”, and that "the hundreds [...] now on this ship, are compressed on a much too small space.”

Following the reports in the press, Louis de Visser, Chairman of the House of Commons and a member of the Communist Party, raised questions at the end of July for Prof. Gerbrandy, the Minister of Justice. He asked him if he had forced the Jewish Committee to take such action, argued that the refugees shouldn't leave if they couldn't secure a destination, and that they should be allowed back to the Netherlands if needed. Minister Gerbrandy denied having had any knowledge of the Dora. In the meantime, the government representative for refugees, Mr. B.G.A. Smeets, unhappy about the conditions on the Dora, sent a letter to the Justice Ministry, dated July 22, 1939, in which he accused the Jewish Committee of "irresponsible behavior":

"What I understand makes me ask if the government shouldn't have just prevented the ship from leaving. It was too crowded. Refugees are sleeping under sails on the upper deck, on straw. One storm and they will be gone. There isn't enough safety equipment, four little boats for 20 people each. In Amsterdam the ship was already overloaded, and in Antwerp another 100 refugees were added. [...] You should realize that illegal immigration with ships has already been causing much trouble everywhere. Ships that aren't allowed into harbors, that are at sea for months, that have the plague on board - for example the odyssey with the St Louis, which was actually a comfortable ship, while the Dora..."

On July 20th, in London, the "Daily Herald” published an article with two photos of the Dora. The Herald’s reporter described having gone on board the Dora and reported:

"...Her holds packed with human cargo, she was a passenger ship carrying 500 Jewish refugees to a destination that nobody seems to know... The Greek captain was silent about the ships’ destination. He said he had "sealed orders".

The harbormaster said "We accept no responsibility for that ramshackle ship. She got her certificate of seaworthiness in Amsterdam – so good luck to her.”

Here is what he saw:

"The Dora has two lifeboats on each side, each capable of taking 15 passengers. Should she meet disaster, the poor state the lifeboats are in leaves little hope of even 60 escaping in them. It would not take a hurricane to sink the Dora either. Her portholes are only secured with old rubber bands."

None of the passengers seems to mind the dangers and discomforts. “What does it matter,” one of them said to me, “as long as we find freedom again?” If the land to which they are going refuses to take them, they will have to return to their port of embarkation."

“Where are we going to?” somebody answered when I questioned him. “To Siam.” “To Bangkok.” said another.

Passengers later recalled the lack of space on the Dora. My mother said that they had slept on wooden planks, three people lying head to foot, with about 30cm (12") per person, while Gershon Jonas remembered that "the ship was very crowded, we slept on the floor."

On the way to Palestine: July 19 - August 12

On Wednesday, July 19, at around 11:15 a.m., the Dora left Vlissingen and at long last began its voyage to Palestine. According to Gertrude van Tijn, the ship was "overloaded, ill-equipped, not very well provisioned", but was finally on its way, starting its four-week voyage across the English Channel, the Atlantic and then the Mediterranean, where it would have to avoid the British blockade to unload its human cargo on the shores of Palestine.

The ship was manned by a multinational crew, composed mainly of Greeks and Danes. Officially, the chief captain was the elder Arteshides, however the officer who would in fact in charge during this voyage was a Danish captain. The rest of the crew was from France, Algeria, as well as one Jewish immigrant from Russia who was a waiter in the officers' dinning room. The radio operator was a Spaniard, and the doctor on board from among the passengers turned out to be a morphine addict.

Three Haganah members went along: the ship manager, Tzvi Spector, the emergency captain, Amiram Shohat, and in charge of the radio connection with the Haganah HQ, Yekutiel Fekete.

The passsengers were organized according to their group affiliations, with leaders for each group.

According to Regina Merkel, there were two kitchens: one kosher and one non-kosher.

The following day, the Dora was spotted sailing past the Isle of Wight in the English Channel, as reported by the "Lloyds List and Shipping Gazette".

The Dora then entered the Atlantic Ocean and sailed southward, towards the Gulf of Biscay. A region known for rough seas, fierce weather and high waves, the Dora experienced violent storms during which many of its passengers became sea-sick.

The Dora continued, maintaining eye contact with the coasts of Spain and Portugal. Raphael Kochavi recalled "At night, Lisbon lights twinkled in the distance". Around that time, he also remembered sighting a ship flying the swastika flag.

On July 29th, the Dora entered the Mediterranean Sea and crossed the Strait of Gibraltar. The Lloyd observation station, tasked with watching Gibraltar, reported its entry to the Palestine C.I.D (Criminal Investigation Department) and the British ordered the ship to identify itself. At the first signs of danger, the Greek Captain would send the refugees below deck into the hold of the ship, lest they be seen by British lookouts. The Greek declared it was a Panamanian ship on its way to Siam. The British accepted this explanation because ships with illegal immigrants never came through the Strait of Gibraltar, instead came from the French Riviera, the Italian Coast, or the Coast of the Black Adriatic Sea.

The Dora then passed along the shores of Algiers and Tunisia which, as Yekutiel Fekete recalled, "shone in full magic under the full moon", then sailed on from there between Sicily and Malta, and on towards the island of Crete.

The Dora then went past the Suez Canal, and sailed on towards Turkey.


Yekutiel Fekete wrote:

"The journey is getting longer. The wireless connection to Eretz Israel has not yet been established. There is a shortage of food and water. It's hot, very hot. It's impossible to stay in the belly of the ship and everyone is huddled on the decks and sleeps there. Impossible. No patience. The shortage of water and food is worsening. The decision was made to anchor in a small port on the coast of Turkey and stock up on water and food. Coal is also needed, but not available."

Gershon Jonas: "There was a leak in the water pipes and no more food. [...] At one point, we drank only boiled salt water mixed with tea and ate only biscuits."

The Dora reached the southern coast of Turkey. It was now full moon, which made a secret landing in Palestine impossible anyway. The Dora radioed the Haganah in Palestine, and the crew was ordered to drop anchor off the Turkish coast at Finike* and wait until the new moon. (* Others mention Antalya; Hillel Yarkoni mentions the port of Mersin. Maybe the Dora made several stops in Turkey.)

Hillel Yarknoni wrote: "The ship entered the port of Mersin in Turkey to get some supplies, mainly water and food."

The Dora would spend approximately one week in Turkey, waiting for the appropriate conditions to attempt the final leg of the trip. The Turkish police paid a visit to the Dora and declared that passengers were not allowed to disembark. Hillel Yarkoni wrote: "Under the threat of guns, none of the people onboard were permitted to leave the ship.".

My mother recalled that the local Jewish community asked them to let some men come ashore so they could have a minyan, but the group leaders refused to let anyone get off the boat.

The police did allow a boat to bring drinking water and watermelons to the Dora. Fekete recalled: "Food, water and especially plenty of watermelons were purchased".

My mother recalled that one day, locals brought water and watermelons on small boats. She noticed them standing with their bare feet in the water being distributed to the ship, so she stayed away from it. She recalled that they had been drinking slightly salty water for the entire trip, so everyone rushed to drink the fresh water. Later, those who had drunk the water all got sick. My mother, on the other hand, had had so much watermelon that she declared she could never it again after.

The exact sequence of the next events is somewhat confusing as recollections about the final part of the trip vary.

According to Yekutiel Fekete, the ship then left Turkey and sailed for a day or two. As the Dora left the bay, it crossed path with the Tiger Hill, another illegal immigrant ship carrying over 1400 refugees:

"The illegal immigrants on board both ships are huddled on the side facing the other ship. The ships lean sideways at a dangerous angle, passing next to each other. A spontaneous rendition of the 'Hatikvah' bursts from the mouths of the immigrants."

According to Yekutiel Fekete, the original plan had been to use a smaller ship to bring the passengers to the shore while the Dora would safely return to the high sea, reducing the risk of the expensive ship being captured by the British. By now, the wireless connection with the Haganah had been established and brought the news that the small ship was not available after all. The Haganah crew on board discussed with the shipowner how to proceed with a direct landing of the illegal immigrants to shore, when and where to sail to arrive on a dark night without a moon, while waiting for instructions from the Haganah.

Rebellion on the Dora

Soon after the Dora resumed sailing, a rebellion broke out and the Dora stopped moving. The sailors, armed with kitchen knives, demanded additional payment, because the trip taken longer than the two weeks originally agreed upon. In addition, the new plan calling for the Dora to land the passengers directly on the coast meant added risk of being seized by the British and extended the duration of the voyage even further.

The rebellion ended quickly, although explanation on how it was resolved varies. According to Yekutiel Ferke, negotiations and passengers collecting money resolved the issue. Hillel Yarkoni simply noted that "the Danish captain's calm helped restore order", without mentioning money changing hands, while my mother remembered that a show of force on the part of the Haganah had put an end to the rebellion.

Gershon Jonas: "In Turkey, the Greek Captain got cold feet. He thought the British would capture his ship, or that he would be arrested. We had been at sea for two weeks, and another week in Turkey when the Greek sailors said, 'We only got paid for two weeks, and we’ve been three weeks on the way. We won’t continue until we get more money.' Four hundred dollars was collected from the Jewish passengers."

My mother remembered the rebellion being brief. She recalled that a few Haganah men had walked around with their guns showing, and that it had been enough to end the rebellion and restore calm within the crew. She didn't mention money having been collected by passengers. In her case, anyway, she would have had nothing to contribute, having left Germany with "nothing more than a backpack with a blanket and a pair of shoes".

Just to be safe, the first captain, who had joined the rebellion, was locked up with his wife for the rest of the trip.

Finally, on August 11, 1939, the Dora received the signal that the coast was clear and that they could attempt to land. To evade detection and look inconspicuous like any dilapidated cargo ship, all passengers were sent down to the belly of the ship and the deck portholes closed.

Soon after, a new danger arose. About 80 kilometers south of Cyprus, an aircraft carrier accompanied by destroyers appeared. A destroyer approached the Dora, illuminating it with its spotlights. Asked to identify itself and its destination, the Dora replied it was just a regular cargo ship headed to a Lebanese port.

Others described the event differently: "A British warship appeared 300 meters away, but the warship left soon after without having detected the Dora. Looking southward in the darkness of the night, the olim could see the lights from Tel Aviv, while the searchlights of the police boat almost touched the ship. Everyone on board was quiet."

The Landing - August 12th

The following day the Dora finally arrived near Eretz Israel. Sailing in the evening along the coast, it adjusted its speed to reach the designated landing beach by nightfall.

The landing had been set to take place on the beach of Shefayim, a kibbutz about 15kms north of Tel Aviv. The location had been chosen for being both approachable, close to a Jewish settlement and far from British military and police installations.

The Haganah was in charge of disembarkation, and the man responsible on behalf of the Mosad was David (Davidka) Nameri, a kibbutznik from Ashdot Ya'akov.

Mordechai Naor describes the landing of another ship, the Poseidon, in 1938. I assume the process was similar for the landing of the Dora and helps convey how much effort and coordination was required to ensure the success of the final phase of the trip:

On the shore, several groups from the Haganah were gathered to assist with the landing of the passengers:

Teams of rowers to transfer the immigrants to shore;
A "water-team" - to assist them from the boats to the beach;
Guides - to bring them to a rendezvous;
A communication team between the shore and the Haganah center in Tel Aviv;
A group to transport the immigrants to the different settlements, and
A first aid unit.

In addition, there also was an armed patrol, illegally armed, to warn of any police activity and prevent it, if necessary.

All night long its passengers were brought ashore and quickly dispersed to adjacent settlements.

Mordechai Naor later details the disembarking of the Artemisia, a small (less than 100 passengers) early illegal vessel (1937). Again, I assume a similar procedure was in place for the Dora, although at a larger scale.

That entire day was taken up with meticulous last-minute preparations for debarkation. The passengers were split up into groups of ten, each group having as its leader one of its members. Men were placed alongside the ladders to supervise the descent. Lifebelts were assembled in one spot in the event there might be a need for them. The boats were checked last of all. Everything was ready for a smooth debarkation. A few hours remained until nightfall, so the ship kept at a safe distance from the shore. Only after it became dark, and the prearranged signals were visible, did the ship drop anchor at a distance of 200 yards from the beach.

The first boat was (sent) to assay the situation on shore and return with rowers. The six best swimmers from among the pioneers were equipped with lifebelts and lowered into the boat, then pulled for shore. After twenty minutes the boat returned with the rowers in it, and it was full speed ahead with debarkation. The immigrants were ferried to shore, group by group, according to the prearranged schedule. After two hours the last boat returned and the crew members took their posts without delay. The anchor was lifted and the ship sailed away.

The Dora dropped anchor and a boat was sent from the ship to the shore. (According to another source: "First, Tzvi Spector swam to the shore to make sure the path was clear.") The boat returned with members of the naval unit of the Haganah. They got on the ship, all the boats were lowered and, group by group, the transfer of the illegal immigrants began.

The immigrants climbed down using rope ladders and got into small boats, with the young men from naval unit of the Haganah rowing them to land, then bringing the boats back to the Dora for the next group. As they got close to the beach, the refugees jumped from the boats into the water and walked the last few tens of meters in the shallow water, to the soft sand.

Yoel Golomb, took part in the landing of the Dora and helped the immigrants come ashore. He recalled:

"During the month of September*, a ship with Olim came into shore and we brought the Olim to Shefayim at night, in complete secrecy. That was an unforgettable experience. We unloaded the Olim, men, women, and children who climbed down the side of the ship on rope ladders. We then brought them into shore. This seemed like a simple operation but [...] we were informed that a British naval vessel had been sighted and was approaching; we managed to get all the lifeboats back onto the deck, except one which we tied to the ship. The ship was named Dora and [...] came from Holland. The ship turned and headed back to Europe and we swam to shore. [...] A message was received from the Dora some time afterwards, saying that it was neither captured nor detained."

*Note: actually August.

Gershon Jonas: "We jumped in the water, the children were taken by boat, and we got to the shore. Haganah soldiers were on land with rifles... I had never seen that before!"

My mother said she jumped in the water - I assume from one of the rowboats, and I assume carrying her backpack. On the beach they were met by a group who gave them clothes and new ids in case the British police arrived. From there they were taken to the kibbutzim where they would spend the beginning of their new lives in Israel.

Yekutiel Fekete described the "exemplary" organization on the shore to manage the landing and dispersal of the passengers of the Dora:

On the beach there is a field phone connected to one of the houses where a wireless transmitter is set up to maintain contact with the ship. The members of the naval company take care of transporting the immigrants from the ship to the shore. Groups of guards are blocking a section of the beach to delay the possible arrival of the British police. Some men have flooded dirt roads so that cars cannot pass, others are responsible for the rapid dispersal of groups in the surrounding communities. 

At the same moment, in Tel Aviv, the head of Mossad leAliyah Bet and Golda Meir followed the arrival of the Dora:

Francine Klagsbrun: "Shaul Avigur, the head of Mossad leAliyah Bet, and a co-worker slipped into Golda Meir’s apartment on Hayarkon Street. [...] He had decided to monitor the landing of the Dora from the shortwave radio center in the Meyerson (Meir) apartment.

When the Dora reached its destination, the commander on the ground, David Nameri, signaled its arrival. The signals were relayed to the wireless in the Meyerson apartment, where Avigur could receive and send coded messages to the ship. In one heart-stopping moment for everyone in the flat, a British police boat with searchlights ablaze almost spotted the immigrant ship as it neared the coast, but the ship stayed hidden in the blackness of the night. When all seemed safe, it dropped off its passengers, who silently made their way on foot to Kfar Shmaryahu, a nearby agricultural village. The captain lifted anchor and sailed westward into the dark, to begin another mission. "In the early morning hours,” Avigur reported years later, "we said goodnight to our hosts, Golda Meir and Leah Biskin, and went about our business.”

My mother wondered how they had managed to land without being detected, and if the British authorities had been bribed to look the other way. She said that the British soldiers found the Dora in the morning, and that it was the last trip the ship made. Actually the Dora was not found by the British, and it sailed away, although it indeed never ran another voyage to Palestine.

There is a discrepancy between what Gershon Jonas and my mother recalled on the one hand ("The Dora was found in the morning"), and what Yoel Golomb and others (the source for Francine Klagsbrun) describe on the other hand ("The Dora sailed away"). Since the new immigrants were spirited away before dawn, it is likely that what they both "remembered" was actually something they were told afterwards, maybe in the kibbutz. It's possible also that what *was* found in the morning was the one rowing boat that hadn't been brought back to the deck.

Gershon Jonas: "The Jewish settlements surrounding the ship’s landing area had a festival; they invited the British and got them drunk. Just an empty ship left on shore the next morning was what the British patrol encountered the next morning."

Brach Habas mentions (p.89) that Shai, the Haganah's secret information service, "staged criminal decoy operations in settlements in the coastal area, drawing the police away from the vicinity of debarking immigrants. They obtained advance information concerning patrol-boat movements and were able to intercept messages sent by British spies to the roving patrols. These instructions, as well as the orders given the border police and the lookout towers, greatly facilitated debarkation proceedings. Shai agents kept close track of the wireless communications betwen the lookout towers and the roving patrols. The young men even knew the signals intended for police airplanes and warships."

Yoel Golomb: "The rope that tied the (row)boat to the ship broke and the boat was 'lost at sea'. Davidka Nameri [...] chose me and another fellow to go out looking for the missing boat. [...] We could see the boat far out in the water. I swam out and [...] I managed to get it back to shore and we buried it in the sand."

At 2 a.m., the Dora announced that everybody had unboarded. The Haganah telegraphed Uri Kochba that "the delivery was successful and the mother is healthy". Back in the Netherlands,Gertrude van Tijn was notified by telegraph of the successful landing. She passed the message on to minister Van Boeijen, who could finally breathe a sigh of relief: the Netherlands had gotten rid of 300 refugees without damaging its relationship with Great Britain, and it hadn't cost the treasury a penny.

After landing, the new immigrants were first concentrated in Kfar Shemariahu, and were later distributed in various absorption centers.

One on the immigrants, Regina "Gina" Premo, recalled receiving a fake ID card to help her blend into ther new environment. Likelise, my mother had mentioned being given feake ID papers - although I always understood that this had happened upon her landing on the beach,

map - Dora

The path followed by the Dora


Yekutiel Feteke got off the Dora and was replaced by another wireless operator, Shlomo Lavi. Zvi Spector too got off the ship, replaced by Amiram Shochat. The ship then went out to sea and sailed west.  At first, the ship had been intended to bring the members of the Zionist Congress from Marseille to Israel.  Then the plan was changed and the ship sailed to Algeria. There, the defense personnel got out of it and returned to Israel.

Three weeks later, Germany invaded Poland, marking the beginning of World War Two, and with it the wholesale destruction of Jewish life in Europe.

According to the agreement with the Arteshides brothers, the Dora was supposed to do a second trip, but this agreement was not honored. Only after legal battle some of the money that had been paid in advance to the Greek family was paid back.

The Dora was later captured by the Germans and was at their service between 1941-1942. On December 21st 1942, it was sunken by a British warship near the Djerba harbor in Tunis.

The Dora in the News

Although it was supposed to be kept secret, the departure of the Dora was widely reported in the Dutch, Belgian and British press, and it's a wonder that this unwelcome scrutiny didn't lead to the interception of the Dora by the British Navy.

Between July 14 and July 25, no less than 60 dispatches and articles about the departure of the Dora appeared in the press in the Netherlands, some of them including photos of the passengers and of the ship. At least eight articles appeared in the British press, and several more in Belgium.

Article on the Dora, Nottingham Evening Post, July 17, 1939.

Nottingham Evening Post. July 17, 1939.

The Scotsman, July 19, 1939.

The Scotsman. July 19, 1939.

"From the shore hundreds of men and women, and also cattle, could be seen on deck".

Article on the Dora, Nottingham Evening Post, July 17, 1939.

Daily Herald. July 20, 1939.

The Scotsman, July 21, 1939.

The Belfast NewsLetter. July 21, 1939.

Article on the Dora, De Sumatra Post, July 24, 1939.

Article on the Dora, De Sumatra Post, July 24, 1939.

Dramatis Personae

Moving almost 500 refugees from Northern Europe to Palestine on the eve of WW2 and bringing them safely to Palestine despite the British blockade required complex planning, difficult negotiations, and the covert coordination of hundreds of refugees spread over multiple hiding places over two countries. The Dora would not have succeeded in reaching the shores of Palestine without the work and dedication of the many people involved.

Here is a list of some of the key people who, with their courage, skills, and generosity, helped save the lives of almost 500 refugees on the eve of WW2.

This section is in memory of the people who made it happen and who deserve our thanks as descendants of the passengers of the Dora.

Name Notes

Tzvi Spector

Tzvi Spector

Ship manager on the Dora, age: 23.

Tzvi Spector was born in Jerusalem in 1916. The Dora was his first mission with Aliyah Bet.

In 1941 Tzvi Spector became a founding member of the Palmach. He disappeared at sea on May 18, 1941, during the first mission carried out by the Palmach as part of the cooperation between the Jewish Yishuv in Mandatory Palestine and the British during World War II ("Operation Boatswain", also known as "The 23 Who Went Down at Sea"). Twenty-three volunteers from the Palmach took part and boarded a British boat with explosives. The mission was to blow up oil refineries in Tripoli, Lebanon, then under Vichy rule, in a bid to deny fuel to Wehrmacht planes and thwart Axis operations in the region. All twenty-three members of the operation vanished before reaching their destination, possibly due to an explosion of unknown origin. Tzvi Spector was the commander of that operation and was 24 years old. Another volunteer among the twenty-three who died in that operation was Amiram Shochat, the emergency captain of the Dora.

See and

Amiram Shochat

Amiram Shochat

Emergency Captain on the Dora, age: 23.

Born in 1915 in Tel Aviv-Yafo.

By the time of the Dora, Amiram Shochat was already a veteran of Mossad leAliyah Bet. He had first served as guide on the Artemisia in 1937, when his job had consisted of appraising the ship, examining its engine, sleeping accommodations, food-storage facilities, etc.

Amiram Shochat disappeared at sea on May 18, 1941, during the first mission carried out by the Palmach as part of the cooperation between the Jewish Yishuv in Mandatory Palestine and the British during World War II ("Operation Boatswain", also known as "The 23 Who Went Down at Sea"). Twenty-three volunteers from the Palmach took part and boarded a British boat with explosives. The mission was to blow up oil refineries in Tripoli, Lebanon, then under Vichy rule, in a bid to deny fuel to Wehrmacht planes and thwart Axis operations in the region. All twenty-three members of the operation vanished before reaching their destination, possibly due to an explosion of unknown origin. Amiram Shochat was 26 years old. The commander of that operation was Tzvi Spector - the manager of the Dora.

An illegal ship was named in his honor in 1946.


Gideon Rufer (later: Gideon Raphael)

Gideon Rufer (later: Raphael)

Led the planning of the Dora voyage with the help of Shmarya Tzameret. Age: 26.

German-born Gideon Rufer, later known as Gideon Raphael. In 1933, when the Nazis rose to power in Germany, he escaped to France, where he studied at an agricultural school in Toulouse, and in 1934, he made aliyah to Palestine, where he was one of the founders of kibbutz HaZore'a.

Rafael joined the Haganah, and was a commander during the 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine. He was later sent to Europe on missions to help illegally smuggle European Jews into Palestine in defiance of British immigration restrictions. In 1940, he was sent to Rhodes by the Haganah to negotiate with a representative of Adolf Eichmann for the transfer of 40,000 German Jews to Palestine, but the plan fell apart.

During World War II, he enlisted in the British Army, and fought in the Syria-Lebanon Campaign. After he was discharged in 1943, he began working for the Jewish Agency. He worked in intelligence, as a liaison with Allied forces and Jewish populations in Europe. In 1945, he assisted in preparing the Jewish case for the Nuremberg Trials. He also directed efforts to recover lost Jewish property in Europe and participated in rescue effort in Italy after the end of WW2.

Upon Israeli independence in 1948, he was one of three founding members of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, and served as an aide to Moshe Sharett. He later became an adviser to the Israeli delegation at the United Nations. From 1953 to 1957, he was in charge of United Nations and Middle Eastern affairs at the Israeli Foreign Ministry. He conducted secret negotiations with Arab officials, and maintained these secret contacts into the 1970s. In 1957, he was appointed Israel's ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg, and permanent observer in European and UN institutions in Geneva. He served in these positions until 1960. In 1967, he became Israeli ambassador to the UN, and was serving in this position during the Six-Day War. In 1968, he returned to Israel, and was Director-General of the Foreign Ministry until 1972.

In 1973, he was appointed Israel's ambassador to the United Kingdom, and served in this position until 1977, when he returned to Israel and retired from the Foreign Ministry in 1978. He subsequently published a book about his career.

He died in Jerusalem in 1999.

See: and

Shmarya Tzameret (Tsameret)

Shmarya Tzameret

Oversaw the purchase of the Dora and all operational details up to the departure of the Dora, along with Gideon Rufer. Age: 28.

Born in 1910 in Cleveland, USA, the eldest son of Jewish Russian immigrants, Tzameret made Aliya on his own as 15 year-old after his father's death. One of the founders of Kibbutz Bet Hashita in 1936, he joined Mossad leAliyah Bet in 1939 and operated from the central office in Paris.

In 1940, Tzameret took part in failed negotiations with Eichman to try to let a large number of Jews immigrate from Germany. (Bracha Habas, p 128).

After the war, he was sent to Europe to resume his activities organizing illegal immigration of Jewish survivors (Bricha), first from Italy then from Marseille. From 1945 to 1947, he served as commander of the Marseille station.

As part of his activities with Mossad LeAliyah Bet, Shmarya Tzameret was involved with the ships "Dora" (July 1939), "Darian 2" (March 1941), "Tel Hai" (March 1946), "Yagur" (July 1946), "Chaim Arlozorov" (February 1947), "Exodus" (July 1947), and "Independence" (December 1947).

Shmarya was married to Hadasa and had 4 children. He died in 1964 in a work accident at the olive factory of his Kibutz, Beit-Hashita.

See, (video), and

His younger brother, Joe Tzameret, lost his life fighting in the Spanish Civil War with the Lincoln Brigades. See Joe Tzameret

Uri Kochba (Walter Koch)

Emissary of the Hechalutz movement from Palestine in the Netherlands. Age: 29

Uri Kochba (Walter Koch) was born in 1910 in Lissa (Leszno), on the German-Polish border. His family emigrated to Germany following WW1. A member of Zionist youth movements, he made aliyah in 1934 and joined Kibbutz Naan.

In 1938, Kochba was sent to the Netherlands as an emissary of the Hechalutz Zionist movement, in order to assist Jews emigrating to Palestine.

In June 1940, following the German invasion of the Netherlands, Kochba was arrested as a British subject and was interned in a series of detention camps. He was liberated on May 10, 1945.

After his liberation he returned to kibbutz Naan. Uri Kochba died in November 2001.


Yekutiel Fekete (יקותיאל פקטה) (Fekte, Pakta, Pekte, Pekta)

Served as Gideoni (Wireless Radio Operator) on the Dora.

Born in 1915 in Hungary, his family made Aliya in 1928 and came to Jerusalem. He received a master's degree in mathematics, physics and philosophy from the Hebrew University. After joining the Haganah, he took a signaling course then built a primitive transmitter, creating the first wireless connection between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, and later to Gush Etzion. In 1939 he was sent to Europe to help organize the rescue of Jews and returned on the Dora.

In 1951 he established the Bezeq School of Telecommunication in Jerusalem. He retired from his position as director in 1981. He died in 2001.

He wrote about the story of the Dora on the occasion of the 50th anniversary in 1989.


David (Davidka) Nameri

David (Davidka) Nameri

Oversaw the disembarkation of the Dora in Palestine. Age: 30.

David Nameri was born in Skidzieĺ, Belarus, in 1908. He made aliyah in 1926 at age 18. He worked at drying out the swamps, then moved to kibbutz Gesher and kibbutz Ashdot Yaakov.

He joined the Haganah, then was in charge of the Stockade and Watchtower campaign ("Wall and Tower" settlements) in the Bet Shean Valley and Jordan Valley between 1936 and 1939.

David Nameri was a founder and senior officer of both Mossad leAliyah Bet and Palmach (lieutenant general commander).

He took part in the earliest Aliyah Bet operations, overseeing the disembarkation of the Poseidon and the Artemisia, both in 1937. He scouted locations where boats could come ashore, improved the radio communication system between ships and shore, and organized the disembarkation phase of the ships.

"David Nameri, Operations officer of 'Hamossad for Aliyah Bet,' was responsible for the last stage of the Haapala – disembarking the immigrants from the ships and receiving them on the country's shores. The Fourth Palmach Battalion was assigned to secure the area where the Haapala ships arrived and their disembarkation to shore. The moment a report came about the departure of a Haapala ship from Europe, the Fourth Battalion HQ was responsible to prepare for its arrival. The HQ decided on the disembarkation point, gathered men and arms, planned the security of the shore and the roads leading to it and prepared a list of the neighboring settlements to absorb the immigrants." (Source:

From 1947 to 1949, Davidka Nameri was sent by the Jewish Agency to the United States to work in procurement. He and his family returned to Israel in 1949 and went to Kibbutz Ashdot Yaakov. Nameri was the executive officer in charge of immigration by sea, land or air. He oversaw Operation Wings, the aerial immigration of Jews of Baghdad, Iraq. From 1960 to 1965, Nameri was chief executive of the Ministry of Transportation.

Davidka Nameri died in 1966.

Davidka's wife, Dvora, became a radio operator (Gideonit) for the Haganah in 1939 and contributed to monitoring and deciphering British secret messages from a Haganah's listening post. She later wrote a book in his memory: “David Nameri; By Him and About Him” (Kibbutz Meuchad, 1974)

Sources:, and Brach Habas.

Yoel Golomb

Took part in the disembarkment of the passengers of the Dora.

Born 1919 in Germany, Golomb came to Eretz Israel in 1936 with Youth Aliya. He first lived in Kibbutz Naan, then in Kibbutz Ashdot Yaakov, and later joined Kibbutz Revivim in 1939 in Rishon Letzion. Yoel Golomb was selected in July 1939 by the kibbutz to participate in the first naval course of the Haganah. The course was designed to train sailors to help in Aliya Bet. Training consisted of rowing and sailing in the Yarkon River and at sea, swimming, lifesaving, and other seamanship tasks.

After the outbreak of WW2, took further naval training, this time focusing on sabotage tactics for land and sea, in order to help the British in their fight against the Nazis and joined the British Navy in 1941.


Shani, Chaim (Sergei)

Took part in the disembarkment of the passengers of the Dora.

Born 1920, made Aliya in 1935. Lived in Tel Aviv and belonged to the Noar Haoved movement. In 1939, he participated in the first naval course in the Exhibition Halls in Tel Aviv. In August 1939, while attending the course, he helped take immigrants off the Dora when it landed at Shefayim.

Lived in Kibbutz Naan, then in Kibbutz Ashdot Yaakov. Joined Kibbutz Revivim in 1939 in Rishon Letzion. Volunteered for the Palmach in 1941 and was attached to F Company at Kfar Gileadi under the command of Yitzchak Rabin.

He later participated in disembarking the immigrants off the “Chana Senesh” in December 1945 at Nahariya.


Dov 'Berchik' Magen
Dov 'Berchik' Magen

Took part in the disembarkment of the passengers of the Dora.

Born 1915 Panza, Russia; Came to Palestine in 1935.

Quoted by Chaim Shani: "Berchik also took part in that (Dora) operation."

He was an instructor of the Palyam's 'No. 1 Naval Officers' course, in 1945 with Shmuel Tankus. In June 1946, Dov (Berchik) Magen was the commander for the "Josiah Wedgwood", with 1,259 immigrants, and of the Pan Crescent (renamed "Atzmaut") in 1947.


Shaul Avigur

Shaul Avigur

Head of Mosad leAliyah Bet. Monitored the landing of the Dora from Golda Meir's apartment.

Prior to leading Mossad leAliyah Bet, Shaul Avigur had been among the defenders of Tel Hai in 1920. Since 1933 he had been the coordinator the Haganah and was instrumental in forming SHAI, the intelligence wing of the Haganah along with Reuven Shiloah in 1934.

A senior Haganah member experienced in underground work and held in high esteem, Avigur joined Mossad leAliyah Bet in 1939, and was key in the success of the efforts of illegal immigration.

During Israel's War of Independence, he acted as David Ben-Gurion's deputy defense minister. In 1953 he was appointed the founding head of Lishkat Hakesher, also known as "Nativ", an Israeli organization that maintained contact with Jews in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. He headed the organization until 1970.

See wikipedia

Gertrude van Tijn

Gertrude van Tijn

Gertrude van Tijn helped organize the voyage of the Dora, despite the opposition of the chairman of the Committee for Jewish Refugees, David Cohen.

Born in Braunschweig, Germany, in 1891, she came to the Netherlands in 1915. A Zionist since 1916, she started working for JNF in 1917.

In April 1933 she began to assist with the growing number of Jewish refugees from Germany. She then became the representative of the Joint Distribution Committee in Holland and a member of an advisory committee of the League of Nations' Commission for Refugees. She joined the Committee for Jewish Refugees, and helped organize Jewish emigration from Germany between 1933 and 1940. A key member of the Committee, she oversaw everyday operations, was responsible for managing the finances, headed its emigration department, and became the contact person for foreign aid organizations.

She was the co-founder and secretary of Werkdorp Nieuwesluis (the Work Village in Wieringen), a farm founded in 1934 in the Wieringermeer polder in North Holland that trained refugees of varying ages and vocations in agricultural work as well as construction, the raising of cattle and poultry, domestic work, gardening, cabinetry, locksmithing, and other practical work.

She declined the opportunity to leave the Netherlands during the German invasion of May 1940, and continued her work with the Committee until its dissolution in March 1941. In September 1943 she was sent to the Westerbork concentration camp and then Bergen-Belsen. In July 1944 she was among those Jews exchanged from Bergen-Belsen for Germans in Palestine. Afterwards the Dutch government in exile offered her a position in London to work with displaced Jews; she traveled through liberated Europe and Switzerland in this capacity until the end of the war.

She died in Portland, USA, in 1974.


Siegfried Kramarsky

Siegfried Kramarsky

Covered the cost of the Dora voyage with his business partner Salomon Flörsheim, and possibly others.

Born in 1893 in Lubeck, Germany, Siegfried Kramarsky was a German banker, art collector and philanthropist. He settled in Amsterdam in 1923. With his partner, Salomon Flörsheim, Kramarsky took over the "Lisser & Rosenkranz" bank in Amsterdam which he headed from 1923 until 1938.

From 1933 to 1939, Kramarsky was active in enlisting support for Jewish victims of the Hitler regime who had fled to the Netherlands.

While in Amsterdam, Kramarsky compiled a large art collection that included works by Cezanne, Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir, Seurat, Gauguin, and Vincent van Gogh, including the Portrait of Dr. Gachet which was sold in 1990 by his heirs for $82.5 million, making it one of the most expensive paintings in the world.

Siegfried Kramarsky and his family came to the United States after fleeing the Netherlands in 1940, aided by Dr. Chaim Weizmann, a family friend who later became the first president of Israel.

His wife, Lola Popper Kramarsky, was active in the Youth Aliyah movement and was president of Hadassah from 1960 to 1964.

Siegfried Kramarsky died in Manhattan in 1961.

See wikipedia

Salo (Salomon) Jakob Flörsheim

Participated in financing the Dora voyage with his business partner Siegfried Kramarsky, and possibly others.

Born in 1893 in Hamburg, Germany. Died in 1979 (86) in Kfar Shmaryahu, Israel

S. J. Flörsheim and his family emigrated to Amsterdam, Netherlands around 1922, and he continued to work in private banking and brokerage business in Amsterdam, where he joined with another emigrant from Hamburg, Mr. Siegfried Kramarsky, a well known art collector.

In 1944 the Flörsheims were deported first to the Westerbork camp, then to Thereisenstadt, where they survived the war. Salo and his wife Eva made Aliyah during the 50’s and settled in Kfar Shmaryahu, where Eva passed away in 1975, and Salo in 1979.

He befriended many Rabbis, scholars, and community leaders, and was personally acquainted with the early leaders of the State of Israel, including presidents Weizmann and Ben Zvi.

He was an active philanthropist who practiced charity without fanfare. In the late 30’s, he urged family and friends to flee Hitler’s Germany. His home was often the refugees’ first stop, for a day, week or month, and for those who could not afford it, he even paid for the trip, thus saving many families from the Holocaust.


Saly Mayer

Saly Mayer

Contributed to financing the voyage of the Dora.

Saly Mayer, 1882-1950. Swiss businessman, friend of Gertrude van Tijn. Chairman of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities from 1936 to 1943, and Representative of the Joint Distribution Committee in Switzerland from 1942.

In the spring and summer of 1944, Saly Mayer was approached by the Nazis who offered to spare the life of Hungarian Jews in exchange of 10,000 trucks and supplies. Although the deal ultimately fell through, Saly Mayer is credited with saving thousands (up to 200,000) of Hungarian Jews by employing "every imaginable dilatory tactic" over several months of negotiations. He "walked the tightrope of negotiating with the Nazis to save Hungarian Jews while refusing the Nazis' requests for resources that would have prolonged the war."

After the end of the war he became a middleman on behalf of the Joint in financing illegal immigration to Palestine.

Source: Wasserstein, "The Ambiguity of Virtue", p 65 (on the financing of the Dora)


Rudolf "Ru" Cohen

Rudolf 'Ru' Cohen

Head of the Deventer Association, the second largest group of pioneers who boarded the Dora in Amsterdam

Brother of David Cohen, from Deventer, Netherlands. Ru Cohen founded the Deventer Association for Vocational Training for Palestine Pioneers in 1918 in Deventer, and continued to be its driving force until his end.

The goal of the Deventer Association was to provide agricultural and vocational training (hachshara) for Jewish boys and girls in preparation for immigration to Palestine. The "Palestine pioneers" (Halutzim) were placed with farmers near Deventer or with a furniture makers. Originally designed for Jewish youth from the Netherlands, the organization took on refugees from Germany and Eastern Europe in the late 1930's.

Ru Cohen was deported and died in Bergen-Belsen in 1945.

List of refugees who boarded the Dora in Amsterdam, 16 July 1939

Source: Dutch National Archive (Courtesy Rina Offenbach, Director BeNetivei Haapalah, Illegal Immigrant Database and Information Center, Atlit Detention Camp, Israel.)

I compiled the Amsterdam list below from several lists provided to the authorities by Jewish organizations. This list doesn't seem however to be complete for several reasons:

  • 182 names appear on the Amsterdam lists. However, contemporary reports from the press and later accounts from organizers put the total number of passengers in Amsterdam at about 300, with Gertrude van Tijn citing 310 passengers.
  • The Amsterdam lists seem to have been created not by the police but to compiled by several pioneer organizations and groups, mainly hechalutz, Mizrachi, Deventer, Werkdorp Wieringermeer. Hence passengers from outside these groups may have been unreported.
  • Several reports mention the presence of children on the Dora (Yoel Golomb, Gershon Jonas, and Flip Cohen - although Cohen mentions them boarding in Antwerp), but none appear on the lists that have been found so far.
  • Over the years, a few people have contacted me with information about relatives who boarded from Amsterdam whose names don't appear these lists.

The conclusion then is that there were more passengers in Amsterdam than these 182 names, and that these additional passengers were not listed because they were outside of these pioneer groups - possibly wealthy families who could afford to pay, or important (or well-connected) individuals.

Note: Four names on these lists were crossed out, without further explanation. My assumption is that these are people who may have decided at the last minute to not board the Dora, or were unable to do so.

For the list of additional passengers who boarded from Amsterdam, see further below under "Additional Passengers".

Although incomplete, the Amsterdam list includes interesting demographic data on the passengers:


  • Men: 80% (146)
  • Women: 20% (36)


  • German: 69% (126)
  • Dutch: 9% (16)
  • Polish: 8% (14)
  • "Stateless": 7% (13). (It is not clear if these "stateless" passengers were of Polish or German origin.)
  • Hungarian: 3% (6)
  • Czechoslovak: 1% (2)
  • Danzig: 0.5% (1)
  • England: 0.5% (1)
  • Unknown: 1.5% (3)


  • 76*: Werkdorp Wieringermeer, a large hachshara center that held 300 halutzim.
    (* according to the list provided to the auhtorities by the Wieringermeer Werkdorp. This number may have been inflated and include several refugees not affiliated with the Werkdorp.)
  • 59 (or 60): the Deventer Association, distributed over several locations
  • 29: the Mizrachi (religious Zionist) Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz in Beverwijk
  • 7: the Enschede Hachscharah Agudas Yisroel
  • 3: Kibbutz Misrachi (religious Zionist) in Franeker
  • 2: Berg-Stichting, Laren (Jewish orphanage)

A few individuals came from a additional locations: Markelo, Almen, Zenderen, Zeddam and Delden.

Name Organization, Group Group Last adress? D.O.B Place of Birth Nationality Notes
Abram, Susanne The Deventer Society (Amsterdam) Amsterdam Henriette, Korte Meerhuizenstr. 3 26.8.12 Amsterdam Polish

Susanne Abram (Susanna Henriette Abram) married Max Benima on 14 june 1939 in Amsterdam. Max Benima was also a passenger on the Dora.

Her parents Simon Abram and Gesiena Nieweg were killed in 1942 and so was her brother Heiman Abram in 1943.
(Source: and

Abramczyk, Bruno The Deventer Society (Amsterdam) Amsterdam "De Vondelhof"
Frederikstr. 18
2.12.19 Jastrow German

Bruno Abramczyk belonged to the Maccabi Hatzair organization and did his hachshara in the Landwerk Halbe in February 1938.

Adler, Alfred Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 3.1.12 Lauterbach Stateless
Altberger, Karl The Deventer Society F.H. Evers "De Eekhorst", Hummelo 18.11.19 Köln Czechoslovak

Also appears as "Alterberger" on one list. Later changed name to Ruben / Reuben Alterberger.

Born in Köln in 1919. One of nine children, he grew up in an orphanage in Cologne after the death of his parents in 1927 and 1929. Fled to Holland in 1938, emigrated to Palestine from there in 1939. Lived in Naharia in Israel in 1999.


According to, his brother Samuel Altberger was also aboard the Dora: "[Samuel] left on an illegal emigration ship together with his younger brother Karl".

Appel, Rosa Enschede Hachscharah Agudas Yisroel Euterpestr. 41 Amsterdam-Z 27.9.14 Naumburg German
Aufrichtig, Hedwig (Hedy)
Aufrichtig, Hedwig
The Deventer Society (Den Haag) Den Haag L. Beestenmarkt 135 23.7.16 Wien German

Hedwig (Hedy) Aufrichtig, born 23 July 1916 in Vienna, Austria, died 15 November 1999 in London, England.

"Hedi Aufrichtig escaped from Europe on [the Dora] to Palestine, where she offended her Jewish milieu by marrying Hanna Ibrhim Khalil of Bethlehem and Jerusalem, a Palestinian Arab. They had three daughters. [...] The fulfilment of the Zionist dream by the Jews of Palestine forced her to start a second life in Cyprus, and then a third in London. A huge swathe of Hedi's in-laws were driven out of their homeland in 1947-1948."

All information from and

Photo (c)

Bagainski, Margot The Deventer Society (Gouda) Gouda Ridder van Katzweg 61 10.11.19 Berlin German

Margot Sophie Bagainski, born in Berlin November 10 1919, the daughter of Hermann Bagainski and Helene Bagainski, née Ruschin. Between October 1937 and 1938, Margot attended hachshara in Havelberg. She boarded the Dora with her husband, Heinrich Timendorfer. In Israel, Margot Timendorfer changed her name to Miriam Timnah.

Margot's father Hermann was shot in 1942. Her two brothers were killed by the Nazis: Julius in Chełmno in 1942, and Arno in 1944, at the age of 19. Her stepmother Margarete and two half-siblings survived the war and later moved to a kibbutz.


Baum, Charlotte Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Amsterdam Kasernestr. 4 28.7.19 Beuthen Stateless
Baum, Günter
Günter Baum, Alon Gideon
The Deventer Society MIDDELBEEK bij Voorst bij Frederiks

Papenstraat 45, Deventer
22.12.18 Waltrop German

Originally from Waltrop, Westphalia, moved to the Netherlands in 1936.

Günter Baum changed his name in Israel to Alon Gideon. He died in 1972 in Kiriat Motzkin, Israel. (Source and photo;

Beifuss, Berthold Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 15.1.17 Laasphe German

Berthold Beifuss, born in Laasphe, Germany in 1917. Left Germany one day before his 19th birthday in 1936 for the Netherlands. From there he emigrated to Palestine in 1939. There he changed his name to Baruch Lavi and lived in Kibbutz Dorot.

He died in Kibbutz Dorot in 2001.

(Source: and Kibbutz Dorot Archive, via

Bekker, Hymann Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord 24.10.18 Den Haag Dutch
Benedik, Franz (Benedikt) The Deventer Society (Deventer) Deventer Papenstraat 45, Deventer 21.3.18 Unterberg German
Benima, Max The Deventer Society (Rotterdam) Rotterdam 20.9.13 Amsterdam Dutch

Max Frederik Leopold Benima married Susanna Henriette Abram on 14 june 1939 in Amsterdam. Susanna Abram was another passenger on the Dora.

Benjamin, Julius Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 24.3.21 Königsberg German

Complete (or changed?) name: Benjamin Yehuda Julius.
(Source and photo

Benjamin, Rudolf
Rudolf Benjamin, Binyamin Ozi Rudulph
The Deventer Society (Almelo) Almelo: Erve "De Kooi" tijd. Celebesstraat 49E Den Haag 1.1.17 Barmen German

Changed name to Binyamin Ozi Rudulph
(Source and photo

Berger, Otto Markelo: Op het Reef Kerkspeelchor K. 51 G.W.A Brunnekreeft, Op, 't Reef, Kerspel
Goor K.51. Gem. Markelo
5.3.12 Zoornik Czechoslovak
Bergmann, Jaacob (Jakob) Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 16.1.14 Gr. Rackchen German
Besser, Wolfgang Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 22.8.21 Breslau German
Bienstock, Fritz (Binstock) Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 23.3.21 Wien German
Bing, Marianne Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 1.3.21 Nürnberg German

Married name and/or changed name in Israel to: Mor Bing Miriam.
(Source and photo

Birnbaum, Ruth, Bertha Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 12.5.22 Hamelen German
Birnbrey, Rosel The Deventer Society (Herwikerwaard) HERWIKERWAARD p.a. Veldhorst 23.11.21 Stettin German
Blau, Hanna Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 7.2.21 Köln Stateless

Hanna Blau attended the Gut Winkel hachshara center in Spreenhagen near Berlin in 1937-1938. She fled Germany and came to Holland in early 1938. No further information available.


Blumenfeld, Erich The Deventer Society (Assenburg) ASSENBURG: "Heemskerk" 29.7.12 Huesen German
Blumenstein, Chana The Deventer Society (Voorschoten) VOORSCHOTEN Veurssche weg 348 19.12.19 München German
Boehm, Walther (Walter) Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 17.8.19 Breslau German
Bonze Mirjam (or Bomze, Marie?) Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 18.4.21 Wien German
Braun, Ruth Kibbutz Misrachi, Franeker Franeker, Harlingerweg 45 (Kibbutz Misrachi) 22.4.20 Nürnberg German
Brock, Ernst The Deventer Society (Colmschate) COLMSCHATE G. Beekman, De Snippeling C.6 Colmschate 3.8.16 Frauenkirchen German
Brück, Walter (Walther)
Walter Brück
Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 1.12.19 Bingen German

Born in Bingen, Germany, December 7, 1919.

Walter Brück left Bingen in April 1936 and went to Switzerland. From there, he went to Holland, where he joined the agrarian training camp in Werkdorp Wieringermeer. He was fortunate to be able to flee from Amsterdam via Antwerp to [Israel] on 16 July 1939 with the Dora, the last ship that left Holland for Palestine.

His cousin Bernhard/Bernard Natt wrote: "He wanted his sister Lotti to come too [on the Dora]. But she did not want to go so far away from her mother in Bingen, so she refused and stayed in the Werkdorp."

In Israel he took the name David Barkai and lived in Kibbutz Hazorea. Married Esther M. Bergmann (d.1972). Remarried to Chava. Three children: Tair Barkai, Rea Barkai and Yaval Barkai. He died in 1989 Kibbutz Hazorea.

His sister Lotte Brück was deported to Auschwitz on the very first transport from Westerbork of 15 July 1942, declared dead September 30th 1942. His mother Elisabeth "Lili" Natt died in 1942 in death camp, possibly Belzec or Sobibor.

Source: and

Photo and additional information: Myriam Daru

Calmann, Ludwig (Kalman), (Callman) Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 12.5.17 Ratibor German
Chambon, Wilhelmina Berg-Stichting, Laren Berg-Stichting, Laren (North Holland) 7.4.15 Groningen Dutch
Cohen, Justus Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Amsterdam Amstellaan 235 28.3.18 Groningen Dutch
Cohen, Paul The Deventer Society (Utrecht) UTRECHT Croeselaan 144 15.3.11 Dinslaken German
Cohen, Philipp (Flip) (Later: Uri Cohen) Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Amsterdam Kastanjeplein 3 30.5.18 Amsterdam Dutch

Philip ("Flip") Cohen later changed his name to Uri Cohen.
(Source and photo, and

Cohn, Bernd Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 27.5.19 Berlin German
Cohn, Heinz Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 27.2.20 Berlin German
Daube, Elie Enschede Hachscharah Agudas Yisroel 21.1.15 Königsbad German
Dinner, Sara Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord 13.12.11 Amsterdam Dutch
Ebel, Siegismund (Sigismund) The Deventer Society (Amsterdam) Amsterdam "De Vondelhof"
Frederikstr. 18
28.7.15 Buithen German

"Born on 28-07-1915 in Beuthen, Germany, now Poland. He stayed on the farm on Deurningen no. 17 with the Arnold ten Kate family in the municipality of Weerselo from November 1936 to April 1938. Sigismund came from London to Deurningen. He left for the club building at Brink 70 in Deventer. From here he went to Klarenbeek near Voorst and later to the youth hostel in 'De Assumburg' in Heemskerk. From May 1939 he worked at the 'youth aliyah' the Vondelhof in Amsterdam, after which he left for Palestine with the Dora in 1939."


Englard, Leo (Leiba)
Leo Englard Photo: 1945-1946
Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 7.7.21 Przemyśl (Pshemishl) German

Leo Englard, born July 7, 1921 in Pshemishl, Poland, lived in Berlin. He attended school until the age of fourteen and a half, at which point he started to work, assumedly as an apprentice or trainee.
(Source: index card from the National Association of Jews in Germany (Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland):

Starting in November 1936, Englard went to Hachshara, first in Munich, then Schniebinchen, then Elgut in Silesia. After Kristallnacht (November 9, 1938), he fled to the Netherlands where he continued his Hachshara in Wieringen.

In Israel, he changed his name to Arie. Englard served in the Jewish Brigade during the war. In 1947, he married Fanny Dominitz, a German Holocaust survivor. The couple had known each other in Germany and had corresponded throughout the war. The couple had two daughters and lived in Moshav Beit Hanan. Leo Englard died in 2004. Leo Englard's mother and sister were killed in Auschwitz in 1943.
(Sources: and

Fischer, Ernst, Jacob (Almen: Het Laren) ALMEN: Het Laren p.a. Woestenenk 17.8.18 Frankenthal German

Ernst Fischer did his hachshara in Jägerslust (Flensburg) until Kristallnacht in November 1938. After the November 9-10 attack, he was incarcerated in Sachsenhausen. He was released on December 28, 1938.

Förder, Ernst Kibbutz Misrachi, Franeker Franeker, Harlingerweg 45 (Kibbutz Misrachi) 8.1.18 Beuthen German
Frydmann, Mejer (Friedmann, Meyer) Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord 5.11.17 Postawie Polish
Geisel, Siegfried Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 16.10.10 Bullay German
Goldbach, Ilse Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord 25.11.14 Marktbreid German

Married name: Horin Elza; previous married name: Frank

Ilse Goldbach was born 25 Nov 1914 in Marktbreit, and fled to the Netherlands in March 1939.

Goldschmidt, Arno Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 25.8.07 Recksdorf German
Goldschmidt, Julius, Ernst Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 30.03.20 Berkach German
Goldstein, Lilo (Liselotte, Lieselotte) Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 12.2.18 Berlin German

Lieselotte Goldstein, born February 12, 1918 in Berlin. She attended a hachshara center in Germany in 1937-1938 (unknown location).

Married name: Tachover Lilu (Lilo?)


Gottlieb, Mary (married name: Weisskopf Miriam) Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 15.12.21 Wien German

Married name: Weisskopf Miriam. Married to Herward Weisskopf (Herward Zvi Weisskopf), another passenger on the Dora.

Goudsmit, Marianne The Deventer Society (Amsterdam) Amsterdam Pres. Brandtstr. 74 13.9.18 Amsterdam Polish
Griver, Norris
Norris Griver Photo: 1940, Tel-Aviv
The Deventer Society 25.5.15 London English

"My father was Norris Griver. He was an ardent Zionist and wanted to get to Palestine. I believe he was associated with Habonim, and spent some time at the David Eder Farm in Sussex, UK, for hachshara. As a UK citizen, he had a valid visa to Palestine, but it was used by a European refugee, so he had to get to Palestine illegally.

After leaving London, he spent a few months in Europe, in Paris and in Amsterdam. To the best of my knowledge, he was waiting for a way to get to Palestine for the whole of this period, and I assume the waiting was under the auspices of the organizations arranging Aliyah Bet. He eventually got to Palestine on the Dora."

"On landing, he was taken to Raanana, and then he joined the Kibbutz Anglo-Balti, which was in Binyamina at the time and eventually set up Kibbutz Kfar Blum in the Upper Galilee."

"On 7th May 1940 he joined the British Army at Sarafand (today Tsrifin) and served in the Middle East until the end of 1944, when he was posted to the UK. After VE Day he served in Belgium, Holland and Germany and was finally demobilised in London in early 1946. He married in 1947 in London where he set up a successful electrical contracting business, and lived there till his death in February 2000. His two children live in Israel."

(Source: Photo and message from his son, Jon Griver, May 2021)

Gross, Simon Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 14.5.18 Wien German
Grünpeter, Martin
Martin Grünpeter
Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 2.1.14 Breslau Stateless

Martin Grünpeter appears in several photographs taken by Roman Vishniac in the training camp Werkdorp Wieringermeer in 1939. See Joods Cultureel Kwartier.

Martin Grünpeter's photograph by Roman Vishniac, (c) Erven Vishniac / International Center of Photography New York.

"Martin Grünpeter possibly changed his name to Mordechai Sela and lived in Kibuz Bet Hashita".

Source: Rob Warnars, documentarist of Werkdorp; via Knut Bergbauer.

Mordechai Sela is listed in

Grünberger, Philip The Deventer Society (Assenburg) ASSENBURG: "Heemskerk" Jeugdherberg, "Assumberg", Heemskerk 3.1.13 Boskowitz German
Gusdorf, Hans, Rudolf Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 10.4.21 Berlin German

Changed his name in Israel to: Gidron Reuven (Haro)

Gutmann, Gustav Gerhard Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 28.9.20 Berlin German
Guttmann, Heinemann Enschede Hachscharah Agudas Yisroel 13.12.15 Burgreppach German

Changed his name in Israel to: Gutman Elhanan.

Haas, Edwin Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 13.1.20 Manheim German
Heineberg, Walther (Walter) Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 28.7.20 Düsseldorf German

Changed his name to Gavriel Heineberg in Israel.
Source: Kibbutz Dorot Archive, via

Hirsch, Eva The Deventer Society (Apeldoorn) APELDOORN: "Het Apeldoornsche Bosch" 15.9.16 Berlin German
Hirsch, Issy Enschede Hachscharah Agudas Yisroel 13.11.19 Düsseldorf German
Hirsch, Manfred Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 29.3.20 Berlin German

Changed name in Israel to Refaeli Moshe

Hochberger, Abraham Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord 21.6.18 Wien German
Hoffmann, Heinz (Changed his name in Israel: Chaim Bar-Tikva) Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord 6.11.16 Schreiberhau German

Born on November 6, 1916 in Schreiberhaus (Lower Silesia). Died age 95 on 19. November 2011.

Heinz Hoffmann left Germany in 1936, and followed his agricultural training required for immigration to Palestine in Denmark from May 1936 to 1938. He then went to Amsterdam, from where he emigrated to Palestine on board the Dora in 1939. In Israel, he worked for almost 30 years with the shipping company "ZIM". He lived in Kiriat Yam since 1949. In addition to his work with Zim, he held various honorary posts, was a preacher and led the main synagogue of the city Kiriat Yam.

He had a son, several grandchildren and a large number of great-grandchildren.


Horowitz, Marcus (Max) Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 17.1.14 Frankfort German

Assuming this is the same person as Horvitz Mordechai.

Israel, Manfred Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 7.9.20 Schlawe German

"Manfred Israel was in the Werkleute group in Werkdorp. He changed his name to Moshe in Israel. He is the author of "Waehle sagt mir die Erinnerung" (Moshe Israel, Altius Verlag, 1996), a collection of poems, a play, and a diary.

Source: Knut Bergbauer

Moshe (Manfred) Israel, born in 1920 in Schlawe, a small town not far from Stolp in the former Pomeranian, left Germany in the Spring of 1938 and reached Palestine via the Netherlands in the summer of 1939. He first lived in kibbutz Hasorea, then became a member of kibbutz Kefar Menahem in 1942.


Jacob, Leopold Siegfried The Deventer Society (Assenburg) ASSENBURG: "Heemskerk" 10.6.17 Berlin German
Jacobsohn, Ernst Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 18.7.16 Hamburg German
Jonas, Max Gerhard (later: Gershon)
Gerhard (Gershon) Jonas
Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 16.4.21 Berlin German

Born in Berlin in April 1921.

After completing school in 1937, Gerhard attended a private Jewish school to learn English in order to attend University in England. Having become an ardent Zionist, he decided to go to Palestine instead. He left Germany in September 1938 for Holland to follow agricultural training in Werkdorp Wieringermeer, then made the decision to go to Palestine against his mother's wishes in January 1939.

Changed his name to Gershon in Palestine.

"I was sent to the kibbutz ‘Kfar Ruppin’ in the Jordan Valley in November 1939. It was very hot and very primitive. We lived in a wooden house, six in one room; there was also a tent. Up until 1943 I was farming, draining swamps and planting bushes. [...] In 1943 I volunteered for the Palmach. A unit was established of young German Jews to act as guerillas behind German lines, (in case) the war would reach Palestine. [...] In 1944 I volunteered to the ‘Jewish Brigade’ along with 5,000 other Jews in Palestine.”

Gershon died in 2012 in Bnei Dror, Israel.

Source: oral account by Gershon Jonas recorded by his family ca. 2003-2008, and ca. 2012. Via Annette Jonas Galula.

Kahn, Siegbert (Cohen, Simcha) Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 5.7.20 Lichtenfels, Germany Stateless

Siegbert Kahn left Germany in October 1936 for Werkdorp Nieuwesluis (Werkdorp Wieringermeer).

He changed his name to Simcha Cohen in Israel.
(Source: Steven Kahn)

Kampf, Heinrich Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 24.2.16 Wien German
Kapelner Heinrich (Kapellner) Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 31.3.20 Köln Polish
Katz, Abraham (Maybe same as Katz, Albert?) The Deventer Society (Weelsche Broek) WEELSCHE BROEK p.a. Gerritsen 1.7.16 Nyirgelse Hungarian
Katz, Albert (Maybe same as Katz, Abraham) (Assuming Deventer society, based on the address: Papenstraat 45, Deventer) Papenstraat 45, Deventer Hungarian
* Katz, Benjamin Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord * Name crossed out on list; maybe did not board the Dora.
* Katz, Ignatz Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord * Name crossed out on list; maybe did not board the Dora.
Katz, Susi Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord 25.7.18 Posen German

Born in Fuessen, Germany.
Married name: Bar Shalom Shulamit (Zuzi)

Katzenstein, Gerhard (later: Gershom Nevo)
Gerhard Katzenstein
Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 15.7.20* (05/07/1920) Berlin Stateless

Gershom Nevo was born Gerhard Katzenstein in Berlin in 1920 to an assimilated Jewish family, although his maternal grandfather was a rabbi in Poland. His father was a journalist, publicist and activist in the Social Democratic Party, and party representative on the Berlin City Council. When the Nazis came to power, he was forced to flee and the family dispersed. Gerhard was in hachsharah training in southern Germany. He later moved to Werkdorp Wieringermeer in the Netherlands, before boarding the Dora and immigrating to Israel.

Immediately after his aliyah, he joined his friends in the Habonah group in Hadera, then help establish Kibbutz Dorot in 1941. Gershom married Haviva (Erika) Boimel in 1943. The couple had three children. In 1960, the family changed its name from Katzenstein to Nevo. He died in 2010.


Photo retrieved from, taken in Werkdorp Wieringermeer ca. 1939.

Gerhard Katzenstein appears on a photograph taken by Roman Vishniac in the training camp Werkdorp Wieringermeer in 1939. See Joods Cultureel Kwartier.

Kaufmann, Ellen Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 28.1.20 Berlin German
Kaufmann, Ernst
Ernst Kaufmann
Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 22.9.18 Berlin Stateless

Ernst Kaufmann appears in two photographs taken by Roman Vishniac in the training camp Werkdorp Wieringermeer in 1939. See Joods Cultureel Kwartier.

Ernst Kaufmann's photograph by Roman Vishniac, (c) Erven Vishniac / International Center of Photography New York.

Kleestadt, Hans (Klestadt) Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 19.4.20 Geseke German
* Kohn, Mozes (?) * Handwritten list, name hard to read.
* Name crossed out on list; maybe did not board the Dora.
Kornicker, Peter, J. (later: Dan Karni) Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 14.12.17 Breslau German

Peter Kornicker was born in 1917 in Breslau, the son of a lawyer and notary, Georg Kornicker. He went to Holland to do his Hachschara. In Israel, he changed his name to Dan Karni. At first, he resided in a kibbutz. He then joined the Jewish Brigade from 1942 to 1946, and sustained a serious injury in combat. He later joined the Israel Army, which he did not leave until the age of 55. An official in the Ashkelon City Council, he also volunteered for the police department and for Magen David Adom. He lived in Ashkelon and died in 1986.

(Source: Mitteilungen des Verbandes Ehemaliger Breslauer, via Knut Bergbauer.)

Lampelz, Saul Enschede Hachscharah Agudas Yisroel 27.10.20 Stuttgart Polish
Landsberger, Walter The Deventer Society (Klarenbeek bij Voorst) KLARENBEEK bij Voorst Papenstraat 45, Deventer 20.3.20 Goslar German
Leefsma, Eduard (Eddy) (Zenderen) ZENDEREN; near Borne 1.5.17 Den Haag Dutch

"Born 31-05-1917 in The Hague. Deceased 28-01-2009 in Israel.

Eduard Leefsma stayed in Hasselo no. 55 with the family of Jan Lambertus Snuverink on the farm 'De Bongerd' from June 1938 to February 1939. He came from Diepenveen to Hasselo, then stayed with the Smit family in Zenderen. From the about thirty pioneers who lived in the municipality of Borne, ten stayed at this address over the years. In July 1939 Eduard left for Palestine on the 'Dora'. He later married the widow Clara Helena Goldschmidt-Leefsma. They had two children together. His parents, sister Ella and brothers Raphaël and Frits all died in concentration camp Sobibor, Poland."


Eddy Leefsma's letters and documents (1939-1995) are in Yad Vashem: "Eddy Leefsma, born in Utrecht, 1917, (who) made aliyah to Eretz Israel in 1939."

Lesser, Eva The Deventer Society (Assenburg) ASSENBURG: "Heemskerk" 26.4.19 Berlin German
Levie, Kurt The Deventer Society (Amsterdam) Amsterdam 7.10.20* Essen Polish

Kurt Levie was born in Essen on October 7 1920 (* marked as 1912 on the list of Amsterdam passengers, but 1920 is most likely correct as it appears on two different hachshara lists.). A Dutch national, he attended hachshara in Lehrgut Gut Winkel (Germany) from 1935 to 1937. His residence was listed as Kaldenkirchen, near the Dutch border in 1936, and lived in the Netherlands in 1938.


Levy, Hans Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 6.7.18 Berlin German
Lewinsky, Hans, Arnold Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 6.12.19 Neustettin German

Hans Lewinsky attended hachshara in Lehrgut Gut Winkel (Germany) starting in August 1935. His residence in 1936 was listed as Polzin.


Lewinsohn, Kurt (Curt) The Deventer Society (Assenburg) ASSENBURG: "Heemskerk" Jeugdherberg, "Assumberg", Heemskerk ?.12.12 Osterode German
Lewy, Ruth (Levy) Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord 22.3.21 - German
Litten, Harry Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 20.2.10 Posen German
Loeb, Hans
Hans Loeb
Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 20.10.21 Düsseldorf German

Hans Loeb appears in two photographs taken by Roman Vishniac in the training camp Werkdorp Wieringermeer in 1939. See Joods Cultureel Kwartier.

Hans Loeb's photo by Roman Vishniac, (c) Erven Vishniac / International Center of Photography New York.

Loewenthal, Bernhard Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 22.7.20 Schoneberg German
Loszynski, Ernst The Deventer Society (Hall, bij Eerbeek) HALL, bij Eerbeek. p.a. H. J. Maaldering 23.
Papenstraat 45, Deventer
23.4.19 Breslau German
Luft, Günter The Deventer Society (Amsterdam) Amsterdam Topaasstr. 7. p/a. Koopman 21.9.12 Lubschan German
Mainzer, Alfred The Deventer Society (Hummelo) HUMMELO J.E. Hupkes, Op de Kip, A, 109 Hummelo 25.3.20 Wissek German

Alfred Mainzer was born in Wissek, Prussia (now Wysoka, Poland). He lived in Baden-Baden (Baden-Oos) and attended Hachshara in Germany together with his twin brother Herbert Mainzer.
His brother left Baden-Oos in 1938 with the intention to emigrate to Australia.
(Sources: and

Mainzer, Robert
Robert Mainzer, Omri
Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 27.5.20 Lüdinghausen German

Robert Mainzer left Lüdinghausen for the Netherlands in October 1936 to follow his hachshara in Werkdorp Wieringermeer.

He changed name in Israel to Omri Mainzer.
(Source and photo:

Maks, Rita The Deventer Society (Assenburg) ASSENBURG: "Heemskerk" 23.10.14 Haarlem Dutch
Margulius, Heinz Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 28.5.21 Berlin German
Marx, Ernst The Deventer Society (Assenburg) ASSENBURG: "Heemskerk" Jeugdherberg, "Assumberg", Heemskerk 30.9.16 Erfurt German
Masur, Klaus Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 29.2.20 Breslau German
Mattuscak, David (David Matuszak) The Deventer Society (Assenburg) ASSENBURG: "Heemskerk" Jeugdherberg, "Assumberg", Heemskerk 24.7.17 Gelsenkirchen Polish

David Matuszak, born in Gelsenkirchen, lived in Köln.

Mendelsohn, Kurt Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 31.1.21 Gr. Strelitz German
Meyer, Behrend (Meyer Berend, Leo), (Mayer, Berend Leo) Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord 26.2.14 Hamburg German
Münzer, Walter The Deventer Society (Assenburg) ASSENBURG: "Heemskerk" Jeugdherberg, "Assumberg", Heemskerk 28.4.12 Berlin German

"Born 28-04-1912 in Berlin, Germany. Walter stayed in Hasselo no. 60 at the Gerhardus Leuveld family farm 'de Kogelboer' in the municipality of Weerselo, from February 1937 to February 1939. He came to the Netherlands from Berlin. He was a pioneer of the Deventer Association and stayed before he came to Hasselo in the association building at Brink 70. After his stay in Hasselo he left for the youth hostel 'De Assumburg' in Heemskerk.

His father died in 1933, his mother was a victim of the Holocaust. His sister Dorothea survived the war, she left for Palestine."


Naftalie, Erich Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 3.5.20 Dortmund German
Nattenheimer, Kurt The Deventer Society (Hasselo) HASSELO 5 p.a. Sanderman

Papenstraat 45, Deventers
4.8.20 Hamburg German

Born 04-08-1920 Hamburg, Kurt Nattenheimer moved to Bad Oldesloe in 1937 and worked as a messenger. He was incarcerated in Buchenwald for two weeks following Kristallnacht.

He left Germany and went to the Netherlands where he became a pioneer with the Deventer Association. He lived in Weerselo until the end of June 1939. From there he went to "De Korenbloem" in Deventer, where he stayed until mid-July, before leaving for Palestine on board the Dora.

In Palestine, he joined the Jewish-Israeli Police Brigade. His parents emigrated to Chicago in 1939, where his father died in 1942.

Sources:, and

Possibly: Kurt Nattenheimer (Netta), who married Gerda Gila Lipper and lived on Kibbutz Gal'ed. see One of the founders of Kibbutz Gal'ed was Giora Yoseftal who had been involved in the early stages of the Dora trip. See:

Niedermann, Simon E. (Ernst) Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 8.9.20 Frankfort German
Noahfeldt, Wolfram (Noafeldt) Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 2.4.21 Königsberg German
Nussbaum, Paul, Karl (Paul) Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 27.3.20 Berlin German
Ochs, Rudolf The Deventer Society (Ellecom) ELLECOM G. Frederiks,
Binnenweg 25,
Frederiks. p.a.
30.6.18 St. Ingwert German
Oppenheimer, Marcus (Markus)
Marcus Oppenheimer, Mordechai Oppenheimer
Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord 15.8.19 Marktbreid German

Came to Holland in 1936 from Frankfurt. Belonged to the Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk (Religious Zionist).

Other source has: Markus Oppenheimer, born 16 August 1919 in Maktbreid, emigrated to Amsterdam in February 1939.

Changed his name in Israel to Mordechai Oppenheimer. Lived in the moshav Kfar HaRoeh and worked for the Israeli Ministry of (?)
(Source and photo:

Oppenheimer, Walter (Oppenheim ?) Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord 30.12.17 - Stateless
Polak, Edmund (Pollack) The Deventer Society (Voorst) VOORST Gasthuismolensteeg 14, Amsterdam 23.11.13 Wien German
Radzewski, Bernd Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 14.3.16 Wriesen German
Rath, Simon
Simon Rath
The Deventer Society (Assenburg) ASSENBURG: "Heemskerk" Jeugdherberg, "Assumberg", Heemskerk 31.8.19 Stanislawo Stateless

"Born 31-08-1919 in Stanislav, Russia. Deceased in 2010 in Omer, Israel.

He stayed on the farm on Hasselo no. 46 (municipality of Weerselo) with the family Jan Willem Huiskes from June 1937 to February 1938. He came here from Amsterdam, where his parents lived. After his stay in Hasselo he left for Brummen and a year later to Heemskerk. He left in July 1939 to Palestine with the 'Dora'. He married Deborah Schönfeld.

His parents and his brother Gerchon survived the war. His brother Rubin and sister Erna died with her family in the Holocaust.

Source and photo:

Rawet, Samuel
Alternate name: Rawet, Samuel Judel
Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord 12.2.18 Altona Polish
Reens, Elias (Eliahu) Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Amsterdam Pl.Muidergr. 27 3.1.13 Amsterdam Dutch

Name: Reens Eliyahu

Riez, Hermann Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord 9.9.20 - Hungarian
Roodveldt, Jakob Berg-Stichting, Laren Berg-Stichting, Laren 3.9.15 Amsterdam Dutch
Roodveldt, Mietje Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Amsterdam 5.5.14 Amsterdam Dutch
Rooz, Isaak (Isaac) Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord 22.2.19 - Hungarian
Rosen, Bernhard Enschede Hachscharah Agudas Yisroel 15.11.20 Magdeburg Stateless
Rosenberg, Heinz Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 29.6.17 Thorn German Assuming this is the same person as Heinrich Rosenberg as he was born in Thorn
Heinrich Rosenberg did his hachshara in Jägerslust (Flensburg) until November 1938.
Rosenberger, Emil The Deventer Society (Vierakker) VIERAKKER H. Wagenvoort, Vierakker 12.1.10 Iwan Unger German
Rosenblatt, Eli Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 30.6.21 - German
Rosenfeld, Josef, Joachim (Janos J. ?) The Deventer Society (Assenburg) ASSENBURG: "Heemskerk" Jeugdherberg, "Assumberg", Heemskerk 24.12.13 Breslau Hungarian
Rottenberg, Lucia (Luzia) Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 22.8.21 Wien German
Rottenberg, Rubin Enschede Hachscharah Agudas Yisroel 10.12.15 Berlin Polish
* Rubinstajn, Hanna (Rubinstein, Channa, Chana) Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Amsterdam Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord 16.7.17 Lodz Polish

* Name crossed out on list; maybe did not board the Dora.

Hanna Rubinstein, born in Lodz July 1917. Moved to Breslau January 1936

Ruhemann, Ursula The Deventer Society (Zandvoort) ZANDVOORT p.a. Waldeck Breederoodeweg 45 a. 28.2.21 Berlin German
Russ, Günter The Deventer Society (Amsterdam) Amsterdam Gasthuismolensteeg 14, Amsterdam 21.6.14 Berlin German

Born 21-06-1914 in Berlin-Schöneberg, Germany.

Günter was a pioneer of the Deventer Association. In January 1937 he lived for a short time, together with Walter Münzer* (*another Dora passenger), in the association building at the Brink 70 in Deventer. Before coming to this address, he had lived at two other addresses in the municipality of Weerselo, namely Hasselo No. 42 and Deurningen No. 21.

Günter stayed on the farm of the Sanderman family in Hasselo No. 5 (municipality of Weerselo) from November 1938 to February 1939, after which he left for Weesperstraat 2 in Amsterdam. At this address was located the building of "Hagnosas Ourechiem", the Association to Support Emigration. In July 1939 he left for Palestine on the Dora.

His father Moritz Russ died in Berlin in 1941. His mother Jettel Kaiser was gassed in the extermination camp Chelmno (Kulmhof).

Source: and

Sallein, Werner Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 8.2.18 Berlin German
Sanders, Adolf The Deventer Society (Enschede) ENSCHEDE Prinsenstraat 12 27.2.17 Arnhem Dutch

Alternate name: Benjamin (Amos) Adolf Sanders
(Source: geni)

Changed name to Sanders Amos ("previous first name: Benjamin")

Schelasnitzki, Horst (Schelanitzky)
Kibbutz Misrachi, Franeker Franeker, Harlingerweg 45 (Kibbutz Misrachi) 1.6.21 Darkehmen German
Scheuer, Kurt
Kurt Scheuer
Kurt Scheuer
Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 19.8.19 Heilbronn German

Kurt Scheuer appears on several photographs taken by Roman Vishniac in the training camp Werkdorp Wieringermeer in 1939. See Joods Cultureel Kwartier.

Kurt Scheuer's photo by Roman Vishniac, (c) Erven Vishniac / International Center of Photography New York.

Portrait photo from

Schönenbaum, Heinz (Schönebaum) (Later changed name to: Ilan Chanoch) The Deventer Society (Deventer) DEVENTER Papenstraat 45

B. Oosterink, Brinkweg 28, Rheden
23.4.17 Heurden German

Changed his name in Israel to Ilan Chanoch.
(Source: (broken link))

Selka, Hermann Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 11.9.19 Frankfurt German

Changed name in Israel to Selka Zwi.

Siegel, Kurt Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 6.7.21 Altona German

Kurt Siegel's name appears on a list of the Jüdische Jugendhilfe from April 1937, indicating that he attended a hachshara center in Germany that year. He was a member of Hashomer Hatzair. (On this list, his birth date is July 8, 1921.)

Sigal, Markus Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord 24.4.18 Groningen Dutch
Silberstein, Hermann Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 27.1.21 Berlin German
Simonis, Heinz (Zeddam) ZEDDAM Gasthuismolensteeg 14, Amsterdam 30.4.19 Berlin German
Singer, Ascher Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord 16.12.20* Ustrzyki Polish

Ascher Singer, born 26 December 1920 in Ustrzyki Dolne, Poland. (Source: index card from the National Association of Jews in Germany ("Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland"):

Singer, Michael The Deventer Society (Assenburg) ASSENBURG: "Heemskerk" Jeugdherberg, "Assumberg", Heemskerk 4.2.12 Baden German
Sondheimer, Ewald The Deventer Society (Amsterdam) Amsterdam Frederikstr. I8 a. 16.8.19 Neuhof German

"Born 16-08-1919 in Neuhof-Fulda, Germany. Deceased 21-11-1996 in Beit Yitzchak, Israel. He stayed on a farm on Deurningen no. 17 with the Arnold ten Kate family in the municipality of Weerselo from October 1936 to April 1938. Ewald was a pioneer of the Deventer Association. He was the youngest of a family of three children. The family left for Hünfeld in 1929 and to Kassel in May 1933. Ewald left for the Netherlands in 1936, the rest of the family followed a year later. He then came to Deurningen as a farmer in October 1936 and then moved to the club building at Brink 70 in Deventer. He became very active with the Hachshara movement. Ewald lived among others in the 'youth aliyah' the Vondelhof.

After coming to Eretz Israel, Ewald changed his name to Shlomo and founded a new kibbutz with other pioneers from the Dora. He lived there with his wife Hava Eva Levy, whom he knew from the Netherlands and with whom he married in Palestine. After a few years they left for Emek Hefer, where they started their own settlement Nira. Their two children were born here. Their farm became a great success and an example for many others. In the 1970s, he engaged more in local politics and soon rose to leadership positions. In his function as "Regional Council deputy" he actively participated in the exchange between Israel and Germany. He died in 1996. His sister Liesel Wijnman and her family died in the Holocaust. His sister Elli survived and moved back to Germany in 1957 with her family.

Source: and

Sonnenberg, Fritz Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 14.8.21 Koblenz German
Spatz, Max (Maks) Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord 1.4.20 Worms Polish
Spitzer, Gerda The Deventer Society (Assenburg) ASSENBURG: "Heemskerk" 26.8.18 Baden German
Spuch, Oskar (Oscar) The Deventer Society (Assenburg) ASSENBURG: "Heemskerk" Jeugdherberg, "Assumberg", Heemskerk 2.1.18 Wieden Polish
Steiner, Ladislaw (Laszlo) The Deventer Society (Deventer) DEVENTER Papenstraat 45, Deventer 5.11.11 Hüdin Hungarian
Steinhof, Ludwig The Deventer Society (Gouda) GOUDA Catharina-Hoeve,R.v. Catsweg 61, Gouda 13.11.17 Mattesberg German
Stern, Günter Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 29.9.21 Breslau German
Sternberg, Rafael (Raphael Kochavi) Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 4.5.20 Berlin German

Changed name in Israel to Raphael (Rafi) Kochavi

Rafael Sternberg was born in Berlin in 1920 and grew up in a Zionist home. He studied at the Theodor Herzl Zionist School, learned Hebrew which he spoke and wrote fluently, and was a member of the Kadima and later Habonim youth movements. In 1936, at the age of 16, he arrived for hachsharah training in the Werkdorp Wieringermeer in the Netherlands. Together with his friends, he immigrated to Israel on the Dora and arrived directly at Kibbutz Haboneh (?) (הבונה) in Hadera.

Rafael Kochavi lived in Kibbutz Dorot where he was a teacher. He married Chava (Pines?) Hirsch in 1951. He had two daughters and four sons. He died in 1981.

Sternfeld, Fritz Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 15.8.14 Halle German
Stoppelmann, Max Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord 19.5.19 Hamburg German
Stopper, Arthur Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 25.12.20 Bochum Stateless
Strassburger, Berthold Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 13.10.18 Ulm German
Strauss, Hans Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord 8.11.14 Westemburg German
Strauss, Josef The Deventer Society (Krajenburg bij Hengelo) KRAJENBURG bij HENGELO Papenstraat 45, Deventer 5.4.16 Bamberg German
Taubes, Mirjam Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 13.11.19 Baden German
Tausz, Jene (Jennö) The Deventer Society (Assenburg) ASSENBURG: "Heemskerk" Jeugdherberg, "Assumberg", Heemskerk 30.7.18 Pápa Hungarian

"He came from Budapest on 16 June 1938 to the association building at the Brink 70 in Deventer and left for Deurningen a week later."


Teichmann, Benno Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 19.10.21 Breslau German

"Benno Teichmann did his Hachshara training in Ellguth (Upper Silesia, the leader there was Giora Josephtal). He was interned in KZ Buchenwald after Novemberpogrom, then fled to the Netherlands. He later wrote a report about Ellguth for Yad Vashem."

Source: Knut Bergbauer

Timmendorfer, Heinrich (alt spelling: Timendorfer) The Deventer Society (Amsterdam) Amsterdam Uithoornstr. 44 7.4.17 Pless German

Heinrich Timendorfer was a member of Maccabi Hatzair. He joined the the hachshara center in Havelberg in July 1938. His wife Margot (née Bagainski) sailed with him on the Dora.

van Amerongen, Emil The Deventer Society (Buurssen, em. Haaksbergen) Buurssen (em. Haaksbergen) 13.6.18 Haarlem Dutch
Verdoner, Alida The Deventer Society (Amsterdam) Amsterdam 22.?.18 Amsterdam Dutch
Wajntrob, Dwojra (Waintrob, Dwoire, Deborah) Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord 6.10.17 Warschau Polish

Possibly Dwojra Wajntot, born 6 July 1917 in Warsaw, from a post-war employment record dated 1934 in Fulda.

Warschawzik, Ernst The Deventer Society (Hengelo) HENGELO Deldenerstr. 57 4.5.19 Kopenhagen Danzig

Name (?): Iron Varshevchik David Ernest

Weinberg, Carla (Karla) Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 29.6.09 Hamburg German
Weinberg, Klaus Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 27.5.16 Wupperthal German
Weinberg, Ruth Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 2.3.22 Dortmund German
Weisskopf, Herwarth (Herward) Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 7.3.17 Ratiber German

Weisskopf Zvi Herward, married Mary Gottlieb (Miriam Weisskopf), another passenger on the Dora.

Windmuller, Isaak
Isaak Windmuller
The Deventer Society 29.10.15 Emden Stateless

Born 23 October 1915 in Emden, Germany. Deceased 1 January 1999 in Israël.

Isaak Windmüller and his family left Germany in 1933 and moved to the Netherlands. He then left Holland on the Dora and arrived in Mandatatory Palestine in August 1939. During the war he served in the British army. After 1945, Isaak Windmüller found a new home in Israel. He died in 1999.

When Isaak embarked on the Dora, his brother Max accompanied him. At the last moment, Max let himself be talked into staying in the Netherlands to give co-guidance to the Palestine pioneers. In early 1942 Max Windmüller was incarcerated in the Westerbork Camp, from where he escaped. Later that year he joined the resistance group of Joop Westerweel. Max Windmüller was involved in the escape route to Spain that the Westerweel group organized for Palestine pioneers. It is estimated that around 400 of them, including his own brother Emil, were saved from certain death thanks to his work. He was betrayed and arrested while attempting to free Palestine pioneers from a prison in Paris. Deported to Buchenwald, he was killed by a guard during the death march to Dachau on April 21, 1945, one day before the column of prisoners were to be liberated by the US army, and two weeks before the end of the war.


Wittner, Franz Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 7.9.16 - German
Wodlenberg, Rita The Deventer Society (Brummen) BRUMMEN p.a. Beker 23.7.20 Elberfeldt German
Wolff, Fritz The Deventer Society (Deurningen) DEURNINGEN H. Leufeld, Deutningen H.6o 1.10.14 Bingerbrück German
Wolff, Willy, Günter (Delden) Delden: Wiene G.79 G.Wijnbergen,G.79, Wiene, Ambt-Delden 15.2.18 Strigau German
Wolkowicz, Szyje, (Wollkowicz, Szyje) Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk Amsterdam Jekerstr. 5 4.3.19 Zelow Stateless
Worms, Hetty The Deventer Society (Den Haag) DEN HAAG 15.12.16 Amsterdam Dutch
Wreschinsky, Walter (Wreschinski) The Deventer Society (Warnsveld) WARNSVELD Rouvenhorst
Gasthuismolensteeg 14, Amsterdam
26.10.20 Berlin German
Zobel, AIfred Werkdorp Wieringermeer Werkdorp Wieringermeer 4.2.11 Berlin German

List of refugees who boarded the Dora in Antwerp, 19 July 1939

Source: The Foreign Police in Belgium ARA; Foreign Police files, A177.761 (via Janiv Stamberger)

The list contains 171 names, with 107 men and 64 women.

Note: the Antwerp list only contains passengers' names and dates of birth. All additional information is derived from other sources.

Name Date of Birth Place of Birth Nationality Notes
Arndt, Erna 14.11.1906 Liegnitz, Poland Erna Koenigsberger, born November 1906 in Liegnitz, Poland. Married Georg Arndt in 1929. One daughter: Rosemarie Arndt. (Source: Jewishgen)
Arndt, Georg 30.5.1896 Regenwalde, Poland Georg Arndt, born in May 1896 in Regenwalde, Poland. Married Erna Koenigsberger in 1929. One daughter: Rosemarie Arndt. (Source: Jewishgen)
Aron, Hella 8.12.1920
Atlasz, Ilse 14.7.1904
Austern, lsrael 18.4.1908

Israel Austern's name appears in the Palestine Gazette of 25th November, 1943, for the registration of a newly formed business partnership named Sabon "Esther" dealing in perfumery and cosmetic goods, located 18b, King George Street, Tel Aviv.

Bauer, Hilde 18.1.1919 Gießen

Hilda Bauer was born in Gießen and moved to Frankfurt/Main in 1934 (Source:

She was married to Walter Krauthammer, another Dora passenger. (Source:

Beer, Berthold 8.9.1907
Berger, Felix 29.3.1917
Bier, Anni 31.10.1914
Boehm, Gert 3.10.1920
Brand, Grete 8.4.1911
Brand, Manfred 30.5.1909
Bronstein, Gregor 12.2.1921
Buchaster, Berta 27.10.1913
Buchaster, Marja 9.4.1911
Buchaster, Nathan 13.9.1912
Burak, Paul 30.7.1900 Germany German


Celnik, Abram 14.5.1894
Celnik, Ziporja 18.3.1892
Cisinski, Heinz 30.3.1915
Cohen, Artur 16.11.1901
Danziger, Bruno 1.12.1906
Dorn, Netanel 30.8.1916
Eichwald, Theodor 14.6.1902
Eisner, Salli 4.6.1916
Feldmann, Chana 2.5.1909
Fink, Isidor 3.12.1919
Finn, Hilde (Hilde Judith Finn) 13.10.1917 (listed as 3.10.1917 on the Antwerp list) Berlin Stateless

Hilde Finn was born in Berlin, 13 October 1917. She attended a 10-day leadership course ("führerkursus") in the Gut Winkel Hachshara in April 1936.

Hilde Judith Finn, by then a "stateless" resident of Berlin, attended the Hachshara center of Ahrensdorf (Hachschara-Landwerk Ahrensdorf) from September 1936 to Janury 1937. The "reason for departure (from Ahrensdorf)" is marked as "hard to classify".
(Source: and

Frank, Robert 15.3.1902 Vienna

Robert Frank is listed in the records of the "Vermögensverkehrstelle" (Assets Transfer Office) of the Nazi-era "Ministerium für Handel und Verkehr" (Ministry of Commerce and Transportation). A decree concerning the Reporting of Jewish assets of April 26, 1938 required all Jewish citizens to report their total domestic and foreign assets, where such assets exceeded 5,000 Reichsmarks, and the Vermögensverkehrstelle was created three weeks later to oversee the transfer of such Jewish assets into Aryan hands.

His name also appears in the Dachau Concentration Camp Alphabetical Prisoner List, date unknown.

Fuchs, Paul 29.3.1908
Fuchs, Frieda 3.12.1907
Fuerst, Gisela 30.12.1909
Fuerst, Osias 13.10.1898
Gallewski, Josef 21.5.1917
Gaenser, Ella 19.2.1921
Gerson, Julius 10.1.1903
Goldberg, Ruth 7.7.?? (year unreadable)
Goldenhar, Abraham (Goldenhaar)
Abraham Goldenhaar

Hashomer Hatzair

Photo source: Foreign Police files, A177.761, via Janiv Stamberger

Goldenhar, Hanni (Hani Einhorn)
Isaak Windmuller

Hashomer Hatzair

Photo source: Foreign Police files, A177.761, via Janiv Stamberger

Goldstein, Arthur 5.1.1920
Goldstein, Joseph 26.12.1915
Goldstein, Kadisch 27.8.1910
Gotthilf, Herbert 22.8.1910 Bärwalde German

Herbert Gotthilf belonged to Maccabi Hatzair and joined the Havelberg Hachshara training center in May 1938.

Grun, Mendel 16.6.1915
Gutmann, Eva 16.8.1920 Berlin

Born 16 August 1920 in Berlin, the daughter of Siegfried Gutmann, merchant.

Gutmann, Naumi 10.5.1920
Haase, Kurt 23.1.1905
Haase, Gisela 29.4.1903
Halpern, Leo 31.12.1920 Berlin

Leo Halpern, born in Berlin 31 December 1920.

Hanauer, Lothar 30.3.1907
Hecht, Herbert 5.9.1912
Hecht, Rut 29.6.1912
Heimann, Sally 25.12.1907
Heller, Dora 23.6.1920
Herzberg, Samuel 26.2.1912

photo source: maapilim

Heumann, Erna 21.4.1913
Honik, Szarlotte 9.5.1917
Hoffmann, Erich 4.4.1916 Wolbeck

Born in Wolbeck, April 4, 1916.
Note: In Brilling's Westphalian Jews list, he is recorded as having emigrated to France on 21 February 1939. This is incorrect, or may indicate that he intended to go to France but changed his destination for Antwerp.

Hoffmann, Theodor 28.3.1902
Horowitz, Jakob 19.1.1902
Inowlodzka, Ruchla 1914
Jacobowicz, Hirsch 22.12.1912
Jordan, Alfred
Alfred Jordan
25.10.1920 Berlin

Born 25 Oct 1920 in Berlin.

Jordan recorded a testimony for the USC Shoah Foundation (English, duration: 2hrs) Visual History Archive. Unfortunately, the video is not available online.

Kattkitzki, Erich 19.1.1906
Katz, Elisabeth 16.10.1906

Married to Louis Leonardo Katz. (Source: Joke Stans)

Katz, Louis 22.7.1904

Married to Elisabeth Katz. (Source: Joke Stans)

Katz, Toni
Toni Katz (Abraham)
30.9.1919 Sokal, Poland "Stateless", formerly Polish

Toni Katz did her hachshara in Flensburg, Germany, which was cut short by the events of Kristallnacht. Back home in Gera, she hid with friends for several months until she received a notice that a boat was beeing readied for Palestine. She made her way across Germany into Belgian illegally (she was a stateless Jew, and so couldn't get an visa) and spent a month in Belgium, further waiting for the arrival of the Dora. She first lived in a kibbutz in Raanana, then started a new kibbutz in Maoz Chaim. Later moved to Tel Aviv, then in the early 50's went to Paris, where she resided until her death.

Kaufmann, Frieda 4.1.1906
Kleinschmidt, Herbert 30.12.1921
Koopman, Hans 4.1.1915
Koopman, Feiga 7.6.1916
Kominski, Rita 26.4.1915
Kratz, Fritz 20.1.1909

Incarcerated in the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp in Orianenburg. Released on 24 December 1938.

Krauthammer, Walter 28.1.1912 Velbert "stateless"

Walter Krauthammer was born in Velbert, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. He came to the Hachsharah training facility in Gut Winkel near Spreenhagen in April 1936. During that time, he was listed as "stateless" and his residence was Bottropp. He was married to Hilde Bauer, another Dora passenger. He died in Hazafon, Israel.

Sources:, and

Kugelmass, Max 30.9.1910
Kuschnerow, Rosel 16.11.1920
Lampen, Hermann 19.5.1919
Landy, Alfred 15.8.1920
Langsam, Elsa 11.8.1912
Lazar, David 25.10.1915
Lehmann, Walter 18.11.1896
Lewin, Marie 21.6.1913
Lewin, Richard 28.1.1904
Levy, Marie 31.5.1920
Littauer, Else 23.7.1908
Littauer, Jakob 15.7.1904

Incarcerated in Sachsenhausen under "preventive detention" 27-28 September 1938.
(Source: and )

Loewenstein, Kurt 8.5.1902
Loewenstein, Herbert 21.4.1921
Mahler, Sigismund (Shimon) 18.6.1915

The following is a brief summary of Shimon Mahler recollections regarding the Dora. There are a number of documents describing his activities at the time that need to be translated and included here.

Sigismund Mahler (later: Shimon Mahler) was active in the Dror youth movement in Antwerpen, beginning in 1933.

Starting in early 1939, he took an active part in organizing the departure of members of the HeChalutz movement from Antwerpen aboard the Dora.

After arriving in Palestine, he took part in the founding of Kibbutz Beit Oren in Magdiel. In October 1942, he enlisted in the British army. later joining the Jewish Brigade.

In 1946, he came to the Netherlands as a representative of the United Kibbutz Movement (HaKibbutz haMeuchad, and represented the organization abroad until 1967.

Shimon Mahler took two photos aboard the Dora included on this page.

(Source and photos: Ghetto Fighters House Archive)

Malz, Emil 2.10.1915 Przeworsk Polish

Emil Malz belonged to Maccabi Hatzair and started his Hachshara training 4 January 1938 (location unknown). His residence then was Saarbrücken.

Maml(ot?), Rosa 23.4.1905 (first name unreadable)
Margules, Erna 18.3.1915
Marx, Klara 19.10.1919
Mendel, Willi 13.6.1920 Wronke German

Born in Wronke (Prussia until 1919; today: Wronki, Poland), Willi Mendel attended the Havelberg Hachshara training center for 10 months, from January to October 1937. He then left for Urfeld/Bonn.

Milich, Meusche 3.4.1914 Rava (*)

Possibly Max Milich, born 3 Apr 1914 in Rava. (*Rava could be Rava-Ruska in Poland / Ukraine, or Rawa Mazowiecka, Poland). He attended a Hachshara training facility in Germany (location and dates unknown). No further details available.

Mirowski, Nathan 3.4.1916
Mirowski, Zypra 30.5.1916
Mitelberg, Eliezer 19.1.1916
Neufeld, Richard 16.5.1912
Neurath, Artur 17.4.1905
Nussbaum, Thekla 26.12.1907
Offen, Juljusz (Julius) 4.4.1922 Hamburg Polish

Profession: bank official (bankbeamter)

Ohlhausen, Fritz 2.9.1919
Peiper, Hans 8.7.1913 (3 Jul 1913)

Born 3 Jul 1913

Place of Incarceration:Sachsenhausen; Date of Entry; 15 Dec 1938
Perlmutter, Gizela 8.1.1897
Protter, Benno
Benno Protter Photo: 1946.
3.1.1914 Koln Polish (assumed because of deportation) Hermann (Benno) Proter was born in Koln on January 3, 1914. He and his father Lieppold were deported to Poland on October 1938 and were brought to Zbaszyn. They later managed to go to Gdansk (Danzig) from where they boarded a ship to Holland. From there they reached Antwerp by train in January 1939. Hermann (Benno) boarded the Dora with his sister Selma.
Source and photo: Shlomit Proter
Protter, Selma
Selma Protter Photo: 1946
6.4.1921 Photo source: Shlomit Proter
Rachwalsky, Gerhard 25.2.1912
Rauner, Hugo 10.2.1915 Hargesheim

"Hugo escaped right after Kristallnacht, in 1938. He told his parents he would pick them up to go to Israel and asked them to wait for him beneath the town clock on a certain day, but when he arrived, the neighbors told him that the Nazis had already taken them."

Hugo's three siblings, Erika, Walter and Wolfgang also managed to escape to Palestine. Hugo's father, Arthur was deported in 1942 to Theresienstadt, where he was killed. His wife Augusta also perished in the Holocaust.
(Source: Testimony of Osnat Lester in

Hugo died in 1997 in Netaniya, Israel.

Rechtschaffen, Jakob 13.4.1922
Reifer, Toni 12.6.1916
Reig, Simon 11.1.1909
Roer, Kurt 31.1.1907
Rosenthal, Ernst 10.12.1901
Rothschild, Emil 17.3.1915
Rothschild, Charlotte 17.3.1915
Rymald, Adolf 8.6.1921
Sachsenhaus, Philipp 14.2.1912 Munich

Changed his name in Israel to Pinchas Sachsenhaus. Born in Munich

Sachsenhaus, Irmgard 17.5.1911

Possibly same person as Miriam Sachsenhaus; wife of Pinchas (Philip) Sachsenhaus. Maiden name: Berkhausen. Born in Lünen, Germany.

Sapierstein, Isaak 5.2.1916
Segal, Lipa 29.1.1905
Segal, Srul 10.2.1911
Simon, Adalbert 26.7.1892
Simon, Bettina 12.11.1901
Sokolski, Karol 14.2.1919
Schaefer, Kurt 23.4.1915
Schaefer, Ester 26.4.1916
Schieber, Schiffre 25.1.1910
Schlorch, Erich
Samuel Herzberg
12.11.1915 Obbach, Unterfranken, Bayern,

Born in Obbach, Unterfranken, Bayern, Germany, November 12, 1915.

Deported to Dachau after Kristallnacht. Emigrated to Palestine, then to the USA. Died in Chicago, 1996.
(Source and photo:

Schwarz, Bernhard 5.11.1918
Schwarz, Ester 2.12.1918
Schwarz, Kaete 9.10.1912
Schwarz, Theodor 14.11.1916
Spiegel, Samuel 2.10.1913
Spitz, Walter 27.11.1908
Staendig, Charlotte 26.1.1921 Germany

Married name, changed first name in Israel to: Neuhaus Yael. Born in Germany.

Chana Stendig (maiden name Diener), born in Kolomir

Staub, Leizor 7.6.1913
Staub, Hanna 29.2.1916
Stein, Peppi 22.1.1921
Steinhauer, Max 13.1.1910
Stern, Albert 30.7.1916
Stillmann, Guenther
Guenther Stillmann
2.5.1912 Berlin

Günter Stillmann was a Jewish communist and German resistance fighter. His resistance work included printing pamphlets, providing assistance to detaines and acting as messenger courrier for the German Communist Party.

"After the Nazi pogrom, he travelled to Palestine, but came back after a short time. [...]
He escaped from Germany in 1939 and first went to Brazil, but realized that it was difficult to survive there as a migrant worker [...]. He (then?) left Europe illegally with a ship and emigrated to Palestine."

Guenter Stillmann was organizational secretary of the Communist Party in Tel Aviv. He returned to East Germany in 1948 and later worked as a journalist in East Berlin. He wrote a memoir: "Berlin - Palästina und zurück Erinnerungen" (Berlin Dietz, 1989.) He died in 1986.

Sources: and
1933 photo:
See also: "Generation Exodus: The Fate of Young Jewish Refugees from Nazi Germany", by Walter Laqueur.

Storch, Hillel 16.1.1899

Hillel Storch is listed in the records of the "Vermögensverkehrstelle" (Assets Transfer Office) of the Nazi-era "Ministerium für Handel und Verkehr" (Ministry of Commerce and Transportation). A decree concerning the Reporting of Jewish assets of April 26, 1938 required all Jewish citizens to report their total domestic and foreign assets, where such assets exceeded 5,000 Reichsmarks, and the Vermögensverkehrstelle was created three weeks later to oversee the transfer of such Jewish assets into Aryan hands.

Assuming this is the same person as "Heinrich Storch", born on 16.1.1899 and incarcerated in Sachsenhausen, 2 Dec 1938.

Strauss, Kurt 5.2.1909
Struck, Adelheid 18.5.1911
Stoppelmann, Siegfried 5.10.1913 Aurich, Lower Saxony

Born in Aurich, Lower Saxony, Germany.
Following Kristallnacht (November 10, 1938), he was incarcerated in the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. Released with the promise of leaving Germany within 24 hours, he instead hid for three weeks in a pigeon shed. He was then taken to Antwerp with others "in a box with the inscription 'Beware of Glass'". From there he took a boat to Palestine (the Dora).

In 1957, Siegfried, his wife Edith (formerly Kahn) and their son Gerschon moved back to Germany, to the state of Bremen. He was a member of the board of the Israelite Community of Bremen, then chairman of the community. He received the Federal Cross of Merit First Class presented by the mayor of Bremen. He died December 31, 2002 (89), Bremen, Germany.


Treu, Guenther 7.11.1911
Ucko, Hermann 26.11.1910
Ucko, Annemarie 29.6.1916
Unger, Karl 6.4.1915
Wadler, Adolf 25.8.1899
Wadler, Netti 4.7.1907
Wassertheil, Esterer 6.3.1917
Weil, Susi 18.11.1914
Weiss, Ludwig 2.4.1915
Werner, Heinz 9.6.1912
Winterfeld, Artur 3.10.1916
Wolff, Arnold 4.3.1914

Incarcerated in Sachsenhausen (inmate list 12 Dec 1938)

Wolff, Ernst 19.6.1905
Wolff, Ilse 12.1.1911
Wolff, Irma 7.2.1906
Zajac, Adolf 19.12.1920
Zinn, Abraham 22.3.1904
Deresiewicz, Mordohe 15.6.1905

Assuming this is Markus Deresiewicz, born 15 June 1905, whose name is listed in the records of the "Vermögensverkehrstelle" (Assets Transfer Office) of the Nazi-era "Ministerium für Handel und Verkehr" (Ministry of Commerce and Transportation). A decree concerning the Reporting of Jewish assets of April 26, 1938 required all Jewish citizens to report their total domestic and foreign assets, where such assets exceeded 5,000 Reichsmarks, and the Vermögensverkehrstelle was created three weeks later to oversee the transfer of such Jewish assets into Aryan hands.

Markus Deresiewicz (15.06.1905) and Anna Deresiewicz (11.10.1905) also appear on a list of unclaimed Holocaust-era assets, derived from the Austrian State Archives in Vienna. When the Germans occupied Vienna in 1938, they required all Jewish residents to complete a detailed declaration of valuables, including bank accounts, insurance policies, real estate, art, etc.

From these two lists, one can assume that Mordohe (Markus) and Anna Deresiewicz were Austrian citizens (or at least resided in Austria after the March 1938 anschluss), and were refugees with the means to buy a place on the Dora, as opposed to halutzim.

Deresiewicz, Anna 11.10.1909 (1905)

Assuming the correct date of birth is 11.10.1905 and that this is Anna Deresiewicz, born 11 October 1905, whose name is listed in the records of the "Vermögensverkehrstelle" (Assets Transfer Office) of the Nazi-era "Ministerium für Handel und Verkehr" (Ministry of Commerce and Transportation). A decree concerning the Reporting of Jewish assets of April 26, 1938 required all Jewish citizens to report their total domestic and foreign assets, where such assets exceeded 5,000 Reichsmarks, and the Vermögensverkehrstelle was created three weeks later to oversee the transfer of such Jewish assets into Aryan hands.

Schlosser, Josef 21.3.1919
Wallach, Siegfried
Siegfried Wallach Photo: 1948
25.5.1921 Vienna

Whereas most passengers of the Dora belonged to Zionist organizations and embraced the ideal of building a Jewish homeland, some were just refugees desperate to leave Europe.

A 1948 application for financial aid from the Joint in Italy provides an interesting summary of the trajectory of Siegfried Wallach, a refugee who seems to have been one such passenger.

Born in Vienna in 1921, Wallach was a commercial high school student and an apprentice with a transport shipping company. Five months after the Anschluss, he fled Austria and arrived in Brussels illegally in September 1938, where he received assistance from the Joint. In November, he was interned by the Belgian authorities as alien in Merksplas, a refugee camp near Antwerp, where he remained until August 1939, at which time he boarded the Dora.

After his arrival in Palestine, he lived in Ma'ale HaHamisha, a "tower and stockade" kibbutz founded one year earlier. A year and a half later, he left the kibbutz and moved to Haifa where his brother Wilhelm lived. In November 1941 he enlisted in the British Army as a private (driver-mechanic) and was stationed in Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Lybia and Malta, before coming to Italy with his unit in December 1943. He remained stationed in Italy until 1947, at which time he was sent to Palestine for demobilization and went back to Haifa.

As stated in his application with the Joint, "As (he had) married an Italian subject, after demobilization, returned to Italy to join his wife. (...) No intention to settle in Palestine because no(t) Zionist". A month after his return to Rome, his son Ricardo was born.

In March 1948, he went to Vienna, unsuccesfully looking for traces of his parents. He declared that he also "wanted to look for conditions in Austria for an eventual settling down, but as didn't like the situation (antisemitism and covered Nazism), left Vienna for good and no intention to bring his wife and child."

In November 1948, while working for the Joint in Rome, he filed an application requesting financial aid to immigrate to "either the USA, Australia or New Zealand".

(Photo and Source:

Bezner, Markus 21.3.1910
Landau, Regine 31.11.1897
Hacker, Adolf 31.10.1902 Erfurt

Born in Erfurt, Thuringia, Germany. Later (?) changed name to Abraham Hacker. Died in Israel in 1989.

Hacker, Marie 16.6.1907 Eisleben

Born in Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Maiden name Mary Burak. Died in Israel in 1980.

Additional Passengers

This list includes the names of Dora passengers not included in the Amsterdam or Antwerp lists. Assuming most of these passengers boarded in Amsterdam as the Antwerp list seems to be an official, complete list, unlike the Amsterdam list.

Since there were an estimated 300 to 350 passengers in Amsterdam, but the existing lists contain only 182 names, there may have been 120 to 170 passengers who came aboard in Amsterdam who did not belong to pioneering groups. These may have been wealthy individuals or families, and/or leaders of various organizations.

Total number: 15

Additional passengers who boarded in Amsterdam

Name D.O.B Place of Birth Notes
Altberger, Samuel Köln

According to, Samuel Altberger "left on an illegal emigration ship together with his younger brother Karl". Karl Atberger was on the Dora.

Samuel, called Sanny (or Sammy) Altberger, born in 1912. One of nine children of a family from the Czech-Hungarian border area. Fled to Holland, then emigrated to Palestine from there in 1939 on the Dora with his brother Karl Altberger.

In 1939, Samuel decided to return to Europe to fight against the Nazis. He wanted to join a Czech volunteer troup. In southern France, however, he was seized and locked up in a detention center. Deported from the Drancy camp to the Auschwitz-Birkenau on August 12, 1942, he survived two and a half years in the coal mines of Auschwitz. He was then sent to Theresienstadt after a "death march". After the war, he emigrated to the United States.


Berlinger, Simon

Following his release from the Buchenwald camp, Simon Berlinger came to Holland. There he became the director of De Vondelhof, an orphanage un Amsterdam that had been set up in 1938 by the Youth Aliyah for refugee children from Austria and Germany.

His passage on the Dora is mentioned by two sources:

  • - "Vorig jaar in Jeruzalem: Israël en de Palestinapioniers", by Lisette Lewin: "'Incredible!' said Simon Berlinger in Haifa when I remarked that he had been lucky to win a place on the Dora as a young German chalutz."
  • - The Ghetto Fighters House Archives

Source: Myriam Daru

Other sources mention his educational work in Germany, but nothing about Amsterdam or details of escape. Assuming it is the same person, but need confirmation.

Born in Berlichingen, Germany, in 1914, died 2010. Head of the Jewish district school in Braunsbach. After the 1938 November Pogromnacht, was interned in Buchenwald, from where he was released after three months, with the order to leave Germany. Fled to Palestine in 1939. Lived in Haifa. Campaigned until his death for the reconciliation between Jews and Germans. The Rabbinatsmuseum in Braunsbach was renamed "Simon-Berlinger-Haus" in his honor.

Other mentions of Simon Berlinger as Cantor, Religion teacher and youth leader from 1934 to 1936.

Additional sources:

Cosmann, Fritz (Shimon) March 10, 1910 Recklinghausen, Germany

Fritz (Shimon) Cosmann, was born in Recklinghausen (Westphalia), Germany, on March 10, 1910. His parents Otto an Anna Cosmann were prosperous merchants who owned a large department store which sold clothing, fabrics, curtains and rugs. Fritz studied law at the University of Heidelberg. After Hitler’s seizure of power, Fritz - who had until then had llittle to no connection to Judaism or Zionism - joined Hechalutz, the Zionist pioneering organization. He then left Germany and came to the Netherlands, where he attended the hachshara program in the Wieringermeer polder between February 1936 and January 1938. During that time he changed his name to Shimon, probably the name he had been given at birth, but hadn't used until then. His whereabouts between January and July 1938 are unknown.

His departure for Palestine aboard the Dora on July 15, 1939 is recorded in the local municipal registers.

Upon his arrival in Palestine, Shimon's group was at first assigned for further farm training in kibbutz Ramat Hashavim near Kfar Saba in the Sharon Valley. His group was later sent to Gvar'am, a new Kibbutz founded in 1942, in the northern edge of the Negev desert between Ashkelon and the Gaza Strip.

In 1948, Shimon married Mien (Mink) Zion. The couple had two children: Gad (1950) and Ilana Bilha (1952). In the late 1950s, Shimon became secretary of the kibbutz, the highest leadership position. In 1965 Shimon and Mien left the Kibbutz and moved to Kiryat Tivon, near Haifa. He worked in the Haifa's central office for “Wiedergutmachung" until his retirement in 1980. Shimon died on October 25, 2001. His son Gad died during the October Yom Kipur War.

Source: Marcelle Zion, niece of Fritz Cosmann. Jerusalem. (2020)

Elsoffer, Siegfried Adolf 1918 Berlin

Siegfried Adolf Elsoffer, called "Friedel", was born June 1918 in Berlin. He joined Hashomer Hatzair, where he met his future wife Regina ("Gina") Milgram. Gina and Friedel tied the knot in the presence of a hastily arranged minyan. The day after the wedding, they left Berlin via train headed West to Holland. There they stayed in a hotel where foreigners had to report to the police. One morning, the guards came to their hotel room and arrested Friedel.

Friedel was let go against the promise to leave the Netherlands. The couple then moved to a refugee hotel in Amsterdam, staying with a group of young refugees - 17 to 19/20 years old (One person was 33)

One evening in July, someone came with a list of names and said - "you, you, you and you, come". They walked from the Hotel to the harbour, it was pretty quick, maybe a 10 minutes stroll.

Friedel and Regina had a daughter in Palestine in 1940. Friedel served in the British Army and was a POW in the Altengrabow camp. After his release, he immigrated to the UK around 1947 and changed his name to George Samuel Elsoffer. He lived in Surrey abd died there in 1967.
(Source: Mimi Premo)

Elsoffer, Regina ("Gina") (nee Milgram) 1920 Katowice

Regina (maiden name Milgram, July 1,1920 in Kattowitz) spent her late childhood and teenage years in Berlin. She joined Hashomer Hatzair, where she would meet her future husband Siegfried ("Friedel") Elsoffer. Gina wanted to leave Germany after Kristallnacht, but her parents, especially her father, did not permit her to leave unless she married, so she married Friedel in the presence of a hastily arranged minyan. The day after the wedding, the couple left Berlin via train and headed West to Holland.

Her parents had wanted to see them off at the train station, but Gina had refused, explaining that they needed to be unobtrusive when they left, and that she knew that her parents would be emotional at the station if they saw them off. She never saw her parents again.

In Holland, Gina went to the Gerrit Rietveld Academie art school to continue her apprenticeship. The young couple stayed in a hotel where foreigners had to report to the police. One morning, the guards came to their hotel room and arrested Friedel as an illegal immigrant. Gina and Friedel were (then) both in a refugee camp for illegal immigrants during their time in Holland, until they were ready to leave on the Dora.

After their arrival in Israel, Gina decided the kibbutz life was not her style, and moved in with a relative in Haifa. Gina and Friedel had a daughter in Palestine in 1940. After her husband left, sher remained in Nahariya.

Gina later remarried, had more children and eventually immigrated to the USA in the 1950s with her husband and children. Regina (now called Gina Merkel) turned 100 in 2020 and lives in New Jersey (2020). She is in good health, still sharp and has such a clear memory.

Gina’s mother and sister were killed in the Shoah. Her older sister Laja (Lotte) along with her husband and their young daughter were murdered during the war. Her older brother Gedalja (Gedalya) was arrested with his father Simon in October of 1939, taken to Sachsenhausen, and then deported to Lublin. From there he was likely murdered at Majdanek. Two of her brothers survived the war. Her oldest brother Joel Milgram was hidden in Berlin by his future wife from 1941 until the end of the war. He immigrated to the United States with her and her daughters in the late 1940’s, and died there in his 90s. Her younger brother Jakob (Yaakov) left with Youth Aliya and lived in Givat Brenner, where he spent the rest of his life.
(Source: Mimi Premo)

Färber, Bernard 20 May 1901 Oswiecim

"Cirl Fradel Hoffnung and Bernard Färber fled from Germany to Holland in May 1939. They came to Palestine on the Dora. They left their baby daughter Mindel (born in Düsseldorf, 5 April 1939) behind, not expecting the Germans to invade as they did in May 1940. Mindel Färber lived in the Jewish Orphanage in Leiden from 1941 to 1943; She was then sent to the Westerbork camp in March 1943, but was saved by having a Palestine Certificate. She was later deported to Bergen Belsen, then was sent on a transport to Palestine as part of an exchange program at the end of June/early July 1944, where she was collected by her mother in the Atlit camp, then reunited with her parents in Haifa."

(Sources: Jaap W. Focke. Additional source:

FRIEDMANN, Schulim July 23, 1913 Rossosz, Poland

Schulim FRIEDMANN and her partner Hertha Helena SCHWARZ left Amsterdam for Palestine by ship in July 1939. Schulim FRIEDMANN's departure for Palestine in July 1939 is recorded in Stadsarchief Amsterdam.

(Source: Henny Houweling-Zwart, Hertha Schwarz's niece.)

Hoffnung, Cirl Fradel 14 October 1909 Potgorze

"Cirl Fradel Hoffnung and Bernard Färber fled from Germany to Holland in May 1939. They came to Palestine on the Dora. They left their baby daughter Mindel (born in Düsseldorf, 5 April 1939) behind, not expecting the Germans to invade as they did in May 1940. Mindel Färber lived in the Jewish Orphanage in Leiden from 1941 to 1943; She was then sent to the Westerbork camp in March 1943, but was saved by having a Palestine Certificate. She was later deported to Bergen Belsen, then was sent on a transport to Palestine as part of an exchange program at the end of June/early July 1944, where she was collected by her mother in the Atlit camp, then reunited with her parents in Haifa."

(Sources: Jaap W. Focke. Additional source:

Oppenheimer, Jacob Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Jacob Oppenheimer came to Holland in 1936 from Frankfurt am Main.

He said: "In 1939, we were brought to Heemskerk (15 miles from Amsterdam), where we had to wait for a couple of weeks. On July 14th, I was brought to the house of Dr. Pinkhof in Amsterdam. I was very religious and couldn't travel on Shabbat. The house wasn't far from the harbor, so on Saturday, they came and picked me up and they took me straight to the Dora. It was a small ship, full of people, but we never felt unsafe on the ship. The only danger we feared would come from the British."

He later lived in the moshav Kfar HaRoeh and worked for the Israeli Ministry of (?)

Source: Chaya Brasz.

SCHWARZ, Hertha Helena August 8, 1910 Bonn

Hertha Helena SCHWARZ and her partner Schulim FRIEDMANN left Amsterdam for Palestine by ship in July 1939. Herta celebrated her birthday (August 8th) on the ship, according to her daughter. She died California 1996.

(Source: Henny Houweling-Zwart, Hertha Schwarz's niece.)

Additional passengers who boarded either in Amsterdam or Antwerp

Name D.O.B Place of Birth Notes
Brant, Lutz (Bar Neta, Shaul) Germany

Changed his name in Israel: Bar Neta, Shaul

Erster, Jakob (previous first name: Oskar) 22/11/1903 Nowosielec, Galicia, Poland


Mohl, Ernst 1909 Germany

Changed his name in Israel to Mohl, Raphael

Waller, Heinz (Haim) 21/05/1920 Schwiebus, Germany

Changed his name in Israel to Waller, Haim

Appears on as Heinz (Chaim) Waller, born in Schwiebus (Swiebodzinbut) but with a different date (1918)
"Son of Sally Waller and Rosa Waller; Husband of Pnina Waller; Brother of Herbert Waller. Resided in Hod haScharon, Israel until 2017."

Also listed on as Waller, Chaim (Heinz) 21.05.1920
"Since 2018, resides in 36001 NOFIT, Israel"

Weinberg, Lutz 26/05/1920 Berlin, Germany

Changed name in Israel to Karmi Dan

Additional Passengers (Possibly Duplicates)

Passenger names from not in the Amsterdam or Antwerp lists. Since these are all hebraized names, they could be duplicates of passengers already listed under their original German names in the Amsterdam or Antwerp lists.

Name D.O.B Place of Birth Notes
Friedman, Meir 1918 Lithuania

This could be the same person as Frydmann, Mejer (Friedmann, Meyer), although listed as Polish, and was born in 1917.

Melamed, Zeev 26/06/1907 Poland


Special thanks to the following researchers:
Chaya Brasz, for graciously allowing me to post a translation of her article on the Dora
Bernd Philipsen, for the scans of contemporary press articles about the Dora
Janiv Stamberger, for the Antwerp passengers list. (Source: The Foreign Police in Belgium ARA; Foreign Police files, A177.761)
Rina Offenbach, Director BeNetivei Haapalah, Illegal immigrant database and information center, Atlit Detention Camp, Israel, for the original Amsterdam passengers lists.
Knut Bergbauer, for providing information on several passengers of the Dora.
Jaap W. Focke, for alerting me about the story of Cirl Fradel Hoffnung and Bernard Färber.
Special thanks to the following people who shared the stories of their relatives:
Myriam Daru, for information on her relative Walter Brück (David Barkai) (2018)
Annette Jonas Galula, for the transcript of her uncle Gershon (Gerhard) Jonas's memories of his passage to Palestine on the Dora. (2018)
Marcelle Zion, for sharing the story of her uncle Fritz Cosmann. (2020)
Steven Kahn, for information on Siegbert Kahn (Simcha Cohen) (2019)
Shlomit Proter, for information on Hermann (Benno) Proter. (2020)
Henny Houweling-Zwart, for information on Hertha Helena Schwarz and Schulim Friedmann. (2018)
Mimi Premo, for sharing the stories of Siegfried ("Friedel") Elsoffer and Regina ("Gina") Merkel (Nee Milgram). (2020)
Jon Griver, for sharing the story of his father, Norris Griver. (2021)
Additional thanks to these contributors for their help:
Erik Post, for translating Chaya Brasz's Dora article
Liron Katz, for translating Hillel Yarkoni's article
Cor Bart, for identifying the location of the youth group dancing the hora
Primary Sources
Yoel Golomb's recollections
Yekutiel Fekete's reminiscences on the 50th anniversary of the Dora:
The "Dora" - The story of the illegal immigrant ship.(Hebrew) Hillel Yarkoni. Sfinot maapilim me’alef ad tav. Tel Aviv, 2005.
Related Links:
The Dora on (Hebrew)
Partial list of Dora passengers on the site (Hebrew) Ha'Mossad Le'Aliyah Bet
Wertheimer Haapalah Project
Paul H. Silverstone's Aliyah Bet Project
"Be Strong and Brave! A small youth movement in a sea of history. The Hashomer Hatzair Antwerp (1920-1948)". Janiv Stamberger. Master thesis History Department University of Ghent 2012-2013..
Purchase of the Dora:
Fate of Tzvi Spector and Amiram Shochat:
Chaya Brasz.
Former Director of the Center for Research on Dutch Jewry, Ben-Zion Dinur Institute for Research in Jewish History.
"Dodenschip Dora; Een oude kolenboot redde honderden Joden ondanks Nederlandse tegenwerking". Vrij Nederland, May 1, 1993.
Mordechai Naor Haapala - Clandestine Immigration, 1931-1948. Ministry of Defence Publishing House and IDF Museum. English edition: 1987
Bracha Habas The Gate Breakers. Herzl Press/Sharon Books/Thomas Yoseloff, 1963
Bernard Wasserstein The Ambiguity of Virtue: Gertrude van Tijn and the fate of the Dutch Jews. Harvard University Press, 2014
Francine Klagsbrun "From Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel".. Schocken, 2017

Please contact me if you have any more information to contribute to this page. I am particularly interested in hearing from descendants of passengers, organizers or crew members, or have any documents to share about the Dora.

Please contact me if you want to use content from this page. I am always happy to share my work but ask you contact me first and credit the source.

This family history project started September 2009.
All photos and documents belong to the author and are © Daniel Abraham, except for maps and where indicated.
This is a work in progress. Please contact me if you have any more information to contribute.

Last Modified: Thursday, May 20, 2021