The Dora was the only illegal ship (Aliyah Bet) to leave from Northern Europe with Jewish refugees before the war. Described in the local press at the time 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.
Photo: Utrechts Volksblad 17/07/1939
The following article 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 multiple articles from the contemporary press, and finally, from recollections from my mother.
Mossad LeAliyah Bet
With the increase of anti-Jewish measures in Nazi Germany, the need for Jewish immigration grew more urgent. At the same time, it was becoming increasingly difficult for these refugees to obtain visas to 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 support the transport of 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 "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 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 (Shay), 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 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 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 first 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, the Haganah decided to create a new immigration route in Northern Europe and as early as December 1938 or January 1939 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.
Around that time, the British Government had been applying pressure on the Greek Government to halt immigration to Palestine, so men of Aliyah Bet had began to look for ships in Northern Europe - in Copenhagen, Oslo and other Scandinavian ports, although at first nothing came out of these efforts.
Several agents of Mossad leAliyah Bet arrived from Palestine to Europe to organize the clandestine departure of German Jewish refugees from Holland. Their leader was the German-born Gideon Rufer. His assistant was Shmarya Zameret (Tsameret), a young American-born member of Kibbutz Bet Hashita from the central office of the illegal immigration organization in Paris, who travelled on a US passport under his birth name of Grey.
Copenhagen: June - July 1939
Gideon Ruffer and Shmarya Zameret travelled to Copenhagen to find a suitable ship, and in June arranged the purchase (or chartered?) of the SS Tjaldur with the help of two Greek brothers who had previous experience with smuggling during the Spanish Civil War, Pierre and Constantine (Kosta) Atychides. The Dora was purchased by the Atychides brothers on 21.06.1939 after some serious financials difficulties and a long negotiation with the Greeks.Gideon Ruffer and Shmarya Zameret travelled to Copenhagen to find a suitable ship with the help of two Greek brothers, Pierre and Constantine (Kosta) Atychides. The brothers were Parisian citizens who had previous experience with smuggling during the Spanish Civil War, and agreed to take the job for the right amount of money, to buy and take care of the supply, then to bring the ship to Palestine.
In June, they found the SS Tjaldur, and, after some serious financials difficulties and long negotiations with the Greeks, the vessel was purchased by the Atychides brothers on 21.06.1939. The Tjaldur was a relatively small steamer (584 gross tons, 199 feet by 30 feet, 11.5 knots) built in 1898. Originally built as a passengers ship, it had later been transformed into a merchant ship that transported, among other things, cattle, but 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, life jackets, a kitchen, lavatories and showers. The engines were cleaned and a sophisticated radio system was put in place that would help coordinate with the Haganah HQs.
The trip, in planning for several months already (it had first been mentioned in December of 1938), had been delayed several times, and Shmarya Zameret had to reassure the Dutch government that the Palestine pioneers would soon leave Holland as planned.
My mother had been offered a place on a ship after her parents had been deported to Poland (so 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.
David Cohen, the Chairman of the Refugee Committee, was kept in the dark about the plans for the Dora because he was known to be against any illegal activities. Other members and associates of the Committee, such as Gertrude van Tijn, were ready 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.
A group of about 50* (*actually 75 boarded the Dora) young pioneers from the work village of Wieringermeer had been selected to leave with the Dora and were moved to small villages close to Amsterdam (Beverwijk, Assendelft and Heemskerk) where they would remain until the departure. Because there had been so many delays with the Dora, there were concerns that their extended presence in the villages would draw attention on their plans.
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 would leave the next day, as soon as the ship would enter the harbor.
In the course of outfitting the ship, disputes with the crew and friction between the Dutch and the Palestinians jeopardized the venture. At one point, the Zionist leader, Chaim Weizmann, had to intervene to restore peace among the organizers.
After about three weeks of renovations and repairs, the Dora was finally ready and left Copenhagen for Amsterdam.
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 passenger who spoke Dutch.
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 where 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, nor were they supposed to know.
Everything seemed to be going well until people 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 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 the 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 whether the Dora was capable of carrying a large number of passengers to Palestine and refused to let the Halutzim board the ship.
The members of the Refugee Committee were mostly wealthy, assimilated Jews who "followed the rules" and represented the Jewish Community with 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 problems these delays would cause with the Dutch Government, as they had given their word that the halutzim would be leaving without delay. 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 Zameret 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.
He spoke to Gertrude van Tijn, and asked her to try to convince Kramarsky. Zameret 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.
But then new complications arose. The dock workers who had brought the coal aboard 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.
Because of all the noise from the journalists complaining about the conditions of the ship, the harbormaster received the order to inspect the ship. Shmarya Zameret spoke to the harbormaster and explained the real 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, Zameret 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 everybody was leaving 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.
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.
Gertrude van Tijn, Siegfried Kramarsky, Salomon Flörsheim and Ru Cohen (the founder and head of the Deventer Association) were all there. 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 had to sign a form attesting they were embarking of their own free will. Behind a police cordon, the haverim (comrades), in groups of ten or twenty, boarded small launches that took them to the Dora, waiting a hundred yards from the quay. People sang Jewish songs, both those who were leaving, and members of the Refugee Committee. A few of the civil servants of the immigration police even teared up. The immigration police seemed amazed to see some Dutch people among the halutzim.
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
"In groups of ten or twenty, the refugees go onboard, escorted by policemen."
Photo: Utrechts Volksblad 18/07/1939
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 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 Zameret, who was to travel by train to meet the ship in Antwerp. The goodbyes between Zameret 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. Zameret 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 Zameret 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." Zameret 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 Zameret in Antwerp, and angrily argued with him about the condition of the Dora and that there weren't enough beds onboard. Zameret 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 more people would board the Dora, and threatened to take 100 Halutzim off in Antwerp and send them back to the Netherlands. Shmarya Zameret, 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.
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.
Photo: De Maasbode Van Woensdag, 19 July 1939
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.
Meanwhile, in Paris, the Haganah had 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 with the trip, putting the entire expedition at risk.
Kosta and Zameret 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. They would have to leave Antwerp the next morning on a motorboat for Vlissingen.
It was now July 18th and Zameret 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., Zameret 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, with one of its four lifeboats
Photo: De Telegraaf, 19 July 1939
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, Algiers, as well as one Jewish guy - an 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 Hagannah HQ, Yekutiel Fekete.
The passsengers were organized according to their group affiliations, with leaders for each group.
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. Among the passengers on the Dora was a doctor, who turned out to be a morphine addict.
On July 29th, the Dora entered the Mediterranean Sea and crossed the Strait of Gibraltar. The Lloyd observation station, watching Gibraltar, reported its entry to the Palestine C.I.D (Criminal Investigation Department). There 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 went past the Suez Canal, and then sailed on towards Turkey.
Why the British authorities didn't stop the Dora is difficult to understand. With the amount of press coverage surrounding the Dora, and with most observers giving little credence to the stated Siam destination, there is no question that the British Intelligence was aware of the voyage of the Dora, and be suspicious of its destination. Once the Dora entered the Mediteranean, the only way to reach Siam was to enter the Suez Canal. Sailing past Suez and heading towards Turkey should have alerted the British intelligence that the Dora's official destination was just a cover, and that the Palestine was the obvious goal. Why were the British so easy to fool? Was the British navy so overwhelmed, understaffed, or incompetent?
The Dora reached the southern coast of Turkey. It was now full moon, which made a secret landing impossible. 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 Harkoni mentions the port of Mersin. Maybe the Dora made several stops in Turkey.)
The Dora would spend approximately one week in Turkey, waiting for the appropriate conditions to attempt the final leg of the trip. While in Turkey, no one was allowed to disembark.
Others mention instead that the Turkish police paid a visit to the Dora and that passengers were not allowed to go disembark. Hillel Yarkoni wrote: "Under the threat of guns, none of the people onboard were permitted to leave the ship.", but without clarifying whose guns were involved - the Turkish police, or the Hagannah men onboard.
By now, the Dora was running low on food and water provisions, so the police did allow a boat to bring drinking water and watermelons to the Dora. Hillel Yarknoni wrote: "the ship entered the port of Mersin in Turkey to get some supplies, mainly water and food."
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."
Eventually, the Haganah on board lost patience and decided to move forward, despite the orders from Palestine. Just as the ship had started to move, it stopped again. Because the trip had taken longer than planned, the Greek crew demanded more money. Under the command of the captain, armed with big kitchen knives, they started a mutiny. They could only just be kept from sabotaging the antenna. Negotiations and collecting money from the passengers brought a solution. Just to be safe, the captain was locked up for the rest of the trip. Hillel Yarkoni also didn't mention any money chaning hands; he wrote: "A rebellion by the Greek sailors took place [...], but the Danish captain's calm helped restore order".
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."
Finally, on August 11, 1939, the Dora received the signal that the coast was clear and that they could attempt to land. A moment later, a British warship appeared 300 meters away, and all aboard the Dora grew tense, 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.
Palestine - August 12th
The landing was set to take place on the beach of Shefayim, a kibbutz about 15kms north of Tel Aviv. The location was 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.
First, Tzvi Spector swam to the shore to make sure the path was clear. Then the immigrants climbed down using rope ladders and got into small boats - I assume the four lifeboats - , with young men from naval unit of the Hagannah rowing them to land, then bringing the boats back to the Dora for the next group. As they got close to the land, the olim waded in the water for the last steps.
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 “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!"
At the same moment, in Tel Aviv, the head of Mossad leAliyah Bet and Golda Meir met to follow 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 illegal ship 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 good night to our hosts, Golda Meir and Leah Biskin, and went about our business.”
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 Hagannah'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" 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 "Kefar Shemariahu", and were later distributed in various absorption centers.
The path followed by the Dora
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 at the time, and it's a wonder that this unwelcome publicity didn't lead to the interception of the Dora by the British navy.
Between July 14 and July 25, no less than 60 news articles and disptaches 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.
Nottingham Evening Post. July 17, 1939.
The Scotsman. July 19, 1939.
"From the shore hundreds of men and women, and also cattle, could be seen on deck".
Daily Herald. July 20, 1939.
The Belfast NewsLetter. July 21, 1939.
Article on the Dora, De Sumatra Post, July 24, 1939.
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 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, dedication, 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.
Ship manager on the Dora, age: 23.
Born in Jerusalem in 1916
Tzvi Spector 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.
Emergency Captain on the Dora, age: 23.
Born in 1915 in Tel Aviv-Yafo.
By the time of the Dora, he 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 accomodations, 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: Raphael)
Led the planning of the Dora voyage with the help of Shmarya Zameret. 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.
Shmarya Zameret (Tsameret)
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 the USA, the eldest son of Jewish Russian immigrants, Zameret immigrated to Palestine on his own as 16 year-old. A member of Kibbutz Bet Hashita, he joined Mossad leAliyah Bet around 1939 and operated from the central office in Paris. He travelled on a US passport under his birth name of "Grey".
In 1940, Zameret 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 Italy and was involved in training and immigration (Bricha) of survivors in Italy in 1947. (Wertheimer: From 1945 to 1948, Shmarya Zameret served as commander of Marseille station.)
See also: Shmarya Zameret
His younger brother, Joe Zameret, lost his life fighting in the Spanish Civil War with the Lincoln Brigades. See Joe Zameret
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.
Served as Gideoni (Wireless Radio Operator) on the Dora.
Born in Jerusalem.
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.
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 was a founder and senior officer of both Mossad leAliyah Bet and Palmach (lieutenant general commander).
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)
Took part in the disembarkment of the passengers of the Dora.
Born 1919 in Germany, made Aliya in 1936 with Youth Aliya. At first lived in Kibbutz Naan, then in Kibbutz Ashdot Yaakov. Joined Kibbutz Revivim in 1939 in Rishon Letzion. Yoel Golomb was selected in July 1939 by the kibbutz to take part in the first naval course of the Hagana. 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.
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, participated in the first naval course in the Exhibition Halls in Tel Aviv. While attending the course he participated in helping take immigrants off the ship “Dora”, in August 1939, 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.
Participated in disembarking the immigrants off the “Chana Senesh” in December 1945 at Nahariya.
Dov 'Berchik' Magen
Took part in the disembarkment of the passengers of the Dora.
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 "Wedgwood", with 1,259 immigrants, and of the Pan Crescent (renamed "Atzmaut") in 1947.
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.
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 concentration camp Westerbork 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.
Covered the cost of the Dora voyage with his business partner Salomon Flörsheim, and possibly others.
Born in Lubeck, Germany, in 1893, 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.
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 via the Dutch camp Westerbork, to the Thereisenstadt concentration camp, 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 on Chanuka, 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 a very active philanthropist, who not only practiced a great deal of charity, but did it with no fanfare. In the late 30’s, he urged family and friends to flee Hitler’s Germany. Usually his home was 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 he saved many families from the clutches of the Holocaust.
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
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 added 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. The list doesn't appear to be complete for three reasons:
- Unlike the Antwerp list, the Amsterdam lists doesn't seem to have been created by the police but to have been compiled by several pioneer organizations and groups, mainly hechalutz, Mizrachi, Deventer, Werkdorp Wieringermeer;
- While previous estimates, including contemporary reports in the press, give the number of passengers from Amsterdam at around 300, with Gertrude van Tijn, who took part in the rescue operation, citing 310 passengers, only 182 names appear on the Amsterdam lists;
- Several reports mention the presence of children on the Dora (Yoel Golomb, Gershon Jonas, and Flip Cohen - although he mentions them boarding in Antwerp), but none appear on the lists that have been found.
My assumption then is that there were more passengers in Amsterdam than these 182 names (the Antwerp list is assumed to be complete), and that these additional passengers were not listed because they were outside of these pioneer groups - possibly wealthy passengers who could afford to pay for their passage, including families with children.
Possibly a confirmation that the list is incomplete are the two passengers known to have left Amsterdam for Palestine by boat in July 1939 and were still at sea by August 8th.
Note: Four names on these lists were crossed out, without further explanation. My assumption is that these are people who didn't board the Dora after all - maybe decided at the last minute not to go forward.
Although incomplete, the Amsterdam list includes useful demographic data on the passengers:
80% (146) of the passengers were men, with only 20% (36) women.
69% (126) were German, 9% (16) Dutch, 8% (14) Polish, and 7% (13) "stateless". It is not clear if these "stateless" passengers were of Polish or German origin. The remaining nationalities are: 3% (6) Hungarian, 1% (2) Czechoslovak, one passenger from the Danzig and one from England, and three unknown.
Of the 182 names,
- 76, the largest group, came from Werkdorp Wieringermeer, a large hachshara center that held 300 halutzim
- 59 (or 60), from the Deventer Association, distributed over several locations
- 29 from the Mizrachi (religious Zionist) Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz in Beverwijk
- 7 with the Enschede Hachscharah Agudas Yisroel
- 3 with Kibbutz Misrachi (religious Zionist) in Franeker
- 2 from Berg-Stichting, Laren
A few individuals came from a few additional locations: Markelo, Almen, Zenderen, Zeddam and Delden.
|Name||Organization, Group||Group||Last adress?||D.O.B||City||Nationality||Notes|
|Abram, Susanne||The Deventer Society (Amsterdam)||Amsterdam||Henriette, Korte Meerhuizenstr. 3||26.8.12||Amsterdam||Polish|
|Abramczyk, Bruno||The Deventer Society (Amsterdam)||Amsterdam||"De Vondelhof"
|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 www.aachener-nachrichten.de, 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)
||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."
Photo (c) www.aufrichtigs.com
|Bagainski, Margot||The Deventer Society (Gouda)||Gouda||Ridder van Katzweg 61||10.11.19||Berlin||German|
|Baum, Charlotte||Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk||Amsterdam||Kasernestr. 4||28.7.19||Beuthen||Stateless|
||The Deventer Society||MIDDELBEEK bij Voorst||bij Frederiks
Papenstraat 45, Deventer
Changed his name in Israel to: Alon Gideon
|Beifuss, Berthold||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||15.1.17||Lusphe (Laasphe)||German||
Berthold Beifus, born in Laasphe, Germany in 1917. Left Germany one day before his 19th birthday in 1936 for the Netherlands. Frm 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.
|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|
|Benjamin, Julius||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||24.3.21||Königsberg||German||
Complete (or changed?) name: Benjamin Yehuda Julius.
||The Deventer Society (Almelo)||Almelo: Erve "De Kooi"||tijd. Celebesstraat 49E Den Haag||1.1.17||Barmen||German||
Changed name to Binyamin Ozi Rudulph
|Berger, Otto||Markelo: Op het Reef Kerkspeelchor K. 51||G.W.A Brunnekreeft, Op, 't Reef, Kerspel
Goor K.51. Gem. Markelo
|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.
|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|
|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)
||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 then 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.
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") (Uri)||Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk||Amsterdam||Kastanjeplein 3||30.5.18||Amsterdam||Dutch||
"(In 1939) Philip (Uri) Cohen, brother of Samuel Cohen left for Palestine. Uri left with the Dora [...]"
"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."
Changed name to Cohen Uri in Israel
|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"
"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 ?)||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||7.7.21||Przemysl||German|
|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 November 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
|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)||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||12.2.18||Berlin||German||
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||The Deventer Society||25.5.15||London||English|
|Gross, Simon||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||14.5.18||Wien||German|
||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||2.1.14||Breslau||Stateless||
Martin Grünpeter's photograph by Roman Vishniak, (c) Erven Vishniac / International Center of Photography New York.
|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||Dusseldorf||German||
Changed his first name to Heineberg Gavriel in Israel.
|Hirsch, Eva||The Deventer Society (Apeldoorn)||APELDOORN: "Het Apeldoornsche Bosch"||15.9.16||Berlin||German|
|Hirsch, Issy||Enschede Hachscharah Agudas Yisroel||13.11.19||Dusseldorf||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|
(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|
|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)
||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 testimonies by Gershon Jonas recorded by his family ca. 2003-2008, and ca. 2012. Via Annette Jonas Galula.
|Kahn, Siegbert||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||5.7.20||Lichtenfels||Stateless|
|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 - maybe didn't board?|
|* Katz, Ignatz||Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk||Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord||* name crossed out - maybe didn't board?|
|Katz, Susi||Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk||Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord||25.7.18||Posen||German||
Born in Fuessen, Germany.
||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||15.7.20||Berlin||Stateless||
Gerhard Katzenstein appears in one photograph taken by Roman Vishniak in the training camp Werkdorp Wieringermeer in 1939. See Joods Cultureel Kwartier.
Gerhard Katzenstein's photograph by Roman Vishniak, (c) Erven Vishniac / International Center of Photography New York.
Changed his name in Israel to Nevo Gershom
|Kaufmann, Ellen||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||28.1.20||Berlin||German|
||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||22.9.18||Berlin||Stateless||
Ernst Kaufmann appears in two photographs taken by Roman Vishniak in the training camp Werkdorp Wieringermeer in 1939. See Joods Cultureel Kwartier.
Ernst Kaufmann's photograph by Roman Vishniak, (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.||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||14.12.17||Breslau||German|
|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, Eddy (Eduard)||(Zenderen)||ZENDEREN; near Borne||1.5.17||Den Haag||Dutch||
"Born 31-05-1917 in The Hague. Deceased 28-01-2009 in Israel.
He stayed in Hasselo no. 55 with the family Jan Lambertus Snuverink on the farm 'De Bongerd' from June 1938 until February 1939. Eduard/Eddy came from Diepenveen to Hasselo, then he went to the Smit family in Zenderen. From the about thirty pioneers who lived in the municipality of Borne, ten stayed at this address in the course of the years. In July 1939 Eduard left to 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||7.10.12||Essen||Polish|
|Levy, Hans||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||6.7.18||Berlin||German|
|Lewinsky, Hans, Arnold||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||6.12.19||Neustettin||German|
|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|
||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||20.10.21||Dusseldorf||German||
Hans Loeb appears in two photographs taken by Roman Vishniak in the training camp Werkdorp Wieringermeer in 1939. See Joods Cultureel Kwartier.
Hans Loeb's photo by Roman Vishniak, (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
|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||Wisseck||German|
||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||27.5.20||Lüdinghausen||German||
Changed name in Israel to Mainzer Omri (Robert)
|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 (Matuszak)||The Deventer Society (Assenburg)||ASSENBURG: "Heemskerk"||Jeugdherberg, "Assumberg", Heemskerk||24.7.17||Gelsenkirchen||Polish|
|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
"Born 04-08-1920 Hamburg, Germany. He stayed, coming from Weerselo, from late June 1939 to mid July 1939 in 'De Korenbloem' before leaving for Palestine."
Possibly: Kurt Nattenheimer (Netta), who married Gerda Gila Lipper and lived on Kibbutz Gal'ed. see geni.com. One of the founders of Kibbutz Gal'ed was Giora Yoseftal who had been involved in the early stages of the Dora trip. See: wikipedia.org
|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,
||Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk||Beverwijk: Velsen-Noord||15.8.19||Marktbreid||German||
Came to Holland in 1936 from Frankfurt. Belonged to Mizrachi Kibbutz Dat-va-Eretz, Beverwijk (Religious Zionist)
Changed his name in Israel to Mordechai Oppenheimer. Lived in the moshav Kfar HaRoeh and worked for the Israeli Ministry of (?)
|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|
||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: hoorlogsdodendinkelland.nl
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|
|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, 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 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 Amsterdam. In July 1939 he left for Palestine.
His mother died in the Holocaust, the fate of the further family is unknown."
|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
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|
||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||19.8.19||Heilbronn||German||
Kurt Scheuer appears on several photographs taken by Roman Vishniak in the training camp Werkdorp Wieringermeer in 1939. See Joods Cultureel Kwartier.
Kurt Scheuer's photo by Roman Vishniak, (c) Erven Vishniac / International Center of Photography New York.
Portrait photo from maapilim.org
|Schönenbaum, Heinz (Schönebaum) (Later changed name to: Ilan Chanoch)||The Deventer Society (Deventer)||DEVENTER||Papenstraat 45
B. Oosterink, Brinkweg 28, Rheden
Changed his name in Israel to Ilan Chanoch.
|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|
|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|
|Simonie, Heinz (Simonis ?)||(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|
|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.
|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)||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||Werkdorp Wieringermeer||4.5.20||Berlin||German||
Changed name in Israel to Kochavi Raphael (Rafi)
|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|
|Timmendorfer, Heinrich||The Deventer Society (Amsterdam)||Amsterdam||Uithoornstr. 44||7.4.17||Pless,||German|
|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|
|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.
||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 Mandate 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 ship 'Dora', his brother Max accompanied him. At the last moment he let himself be talked to stay in the Netherlands to give co-guidance to the Palestine pioneers. In early 1942 Max Windmüller ended up Camp Westerbork, 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
|ZobeI, 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.
107 men, 64 women
|Name||Date of Birth||Notes|
|Arndt, Erna||14.11.1906||Erna Koenigsberger, born November 1906 in Liegnitz, Poland. Married Georg Arndt in 1929. One daughter: Rosemarie Arndt. (Source: Jewishgen)|
|Arndt, Georg||30.5.1896||Georg Arndt, born in May 1896 in Regenwalde, Poland. Married Erna Koenigsberger in 1929. One daughter: Rosemarie Arndt. (Source: Jewishgen)|
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, (10th October, 1943.)
The address is : 18b, King George Street, Tel Aviv
Place of birth: Germany
|Gallewski , Josef||21.5.1917|
|Goldberg, Ruth||7.7.??||(year unreadable)|
|Goldenhar, Abraham (Goldenhaar)
Photo source: Foreign Police files, A177.761, via Janiv Stamberger
|Goldenhar, Hanni (Hani Einhorn)
Photo source: Foreign Police files, A177.761, via Janiv Stamberger
|Gutmann, Eva||16.3?.1920||(month not clear)|
|Halpern, Leo||31.12.192? (1920?)||(year not clear)|
photo source: maapilim
|Katz, Lous (Louis?)||22.7.1904|
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 - did she want to go?. She made her way across Germany into Belgian illegally (she was a statelss 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.
|Malz, Emil||2.10.1915 *||Year unclear|
|Maml(ot?), Rosa||23.4.1905||(first name unreadable)|
Changed his name in Israel to Pinchas Sachsenhaus.
Born in Munich
Possibly same person as Miriam Sachsenhaus; wife of Pinchas (Philip) Sachsenhaus.
Maiden name: Berkhausen.
Born in Lünen, Germany.
Born in Obbach, Unterfranken, Bayern, Germany, November 12, 1915.
Deported to Dachau after Kristallnacht. Escaped to Palestine, then emigrated to the USA. Died in Chicago, 1996.
Married name, changed first name in Israel to: Neuhaus Yael.
Born in Germany.
Günter Stillmann (born: 2nd May 1912, † 27.01.1986), a Jewish communist and German resistance fighter. His resistance work included printing pamphlets, providing assistance to detaines and acting as messenger courrier for the for the KPD.
"After the pogroms of the Nazis, he travelled to Palestine, but came back after a short time."
He returned to Germany in 1948. As a Jewish communist, he decided to live in the GDR. He is buried in the cemetery of the Socialists in Berlin-Friedichsfelde.
Günter Stillmann: Berlin - Palästina und zurück Erinnerungen
Born in Aurich, Lower Saxony, Germany.
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 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.
Additional Passengers (Confirmed)
This list includes the names of Dora passengers not included in the Amsterdam or Antwerp lists. Assuming these passengers boarded in Amsterdam as the Antwerp list seems to be an official, complete list, unlike the list from Amsterdam.
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: 8
|Name||D.O.B||Place of birth||Notes|
According to www.aachener-nachrichten.de, Samuel Altberger "left on an illegal emigration ship together with his younger brother Karl". Karl Atberger was on the Dora.
Samuel, called Sanny Altberger, born in 1912. One of nine children of a family from the Czech-Hungarian border area. Fled to Holland, thenemigrated 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 troupe. 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 urvived 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.
Simon Berlinger. Following his release from the Buchenwald camp, came to Holland where he was the director of De Vondelhof, an orphanage set up in 1938 by the Youth Aliyah in Amsterdam for refugee children from Austria and Germany.
His passage on the Dora is mentioned by two sources:
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: www.joodsmonument.nl/
|Brant, Lutz (Bar Neta, Shaul)||Germany||
Changed his name in Israel: Bar Neta, Shaul
Changed his name in Israel to Mohl, Raphael
|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.
|Erster, Jakob (previous first name: Oskar)||22/11/1903||Nowosielec, Galicia, Poland||
|Waller, Heinz (Haim)||21/05/1920||Schwiebus, Germany||
Changed his name in Israel to Waller, Haim
Appears on geni.com as Heinz (Chaim) Waller, but different date - born 1918
Also listed on www.heimatkreis-zuellichau-schwiebus.de as Waller, Chaim (Heinz) 21.05.1920
|Weinberg, Lutz||26/05/1920||Berlin, Germany||
Changed name in Israel to Karmi Dan
Additional Passengers (Possibly Duplicates)
Passenger names from maapilim.org 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.
Total number: 4
|Name||D.O.B||Place of birth||Notes|
This could be an unlisted passenger, or could be the Hebraized name of one of these passengers:
Justus Cohen, Paul Cohen or Artur Cohen.
This could be the same person as Frydmann, Mejer
(Friedmann, Meyer), although listed as Polish, and was born in 1917.
Additional Passengers (Unconfirmed)
Based on circumstancial evidence, the following people *may* have boarded the Dora in Amsterdam.
|Name||Group||Last adress?||D.O.B||Place of Birth||Notes|
|Schulim FRIEDMANN||July 23, 1913||Rossosz, Poland||
"Hertha Helena SCHWARZ and her partner Schulim FRIEDMANN 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.)
|Hertha Helena SCHWARZ||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.)
- Special Thanks:
- Chaya Brasz, for graciously allowing me to post a translation of her article on the Dora
- Bernd Philipsen, for the scans of contemporary newspaper 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.
- Annette Jonas Galula, for the transcript of her uncle Gershon (Gerhard) Jonas's memories of his passage to Palestine on the Dora.
- Myriam Daru, for connecting me to descendants and discovering names of unlisted passengers.
- Erik Post, for translating the Dora article
- Liron Katz, for translating Hillel Yarkoni's article
- Related Links:
- The Dora on Maapilim.org
- Partial list of Dora passengers
- Yoel Golomb's testimony
- The "Dora" - The story of the illegal immigrant ship.(Hebrew) Sfinot maapilim me’alef ad tav. Tel Aviv, 2005.
- Palyam.org: 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)". . Master thesis History Department University of Ghent 2012-2013..
- Purchase of the Dora: www.turkusteamers.com
- Fate of Tzvi Spector and Amiram Shochat: info.palmach.org.il
- "Dodenschip Dora; Een oude kolenboot redde honderden Joden ondanks Nederlandse tegenwerking". Vrij Nederland, May 1, 1993.
- "From Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel".. Schocken, 2017
- The Ambiguity of Virtue: Gertrude van Tijn and the fate of the Dutch Jews. Harvard University Press, 2014
- Haapala - Clandestine Immigration, 1931-1948. Ministry of Defence Publishing House and IDF Museum. English edition: 1987
- The Gate Breakers. Herzl Press/Sharon Books/Thomas Yoseloff, 1963
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. I want to hear from you if you have any testimonies, photos, corrections, additions or feedback to share.
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.