June 26, 1997
By Diane Arieff Zaga,
In July 1947, a Chesapeake Bay steamer loaded with 4,500 Holocaust survivors was attacked by the British navy on its way to Palestine. The ship was called Exodus 1947, and its aborted voyage galvanized world opinion in support of the struggle to create a Jewish state.
With their well-researched one-hour documentary, "Exodus 1947," co-directors Elizabeth Rodgers and Robby Henson have created a compelling chronicle of the dramatic events that surrounded that ill-fated journey. The film -- narrated by Morley Safer -- combines the recollections of the ship's crew members and passengers with newsreel footage and other archival material of the period.
We know, of course, how the story ends. Three Jewish refugees were killed and 140 wounded when British warships harshly turned the Exodus away from Palestine, shipping its passengers back to displaced-persons camps in Germany. Many historians argue that the groundswell of sympathy and outrage engendered by that voyage was one factor in the United Nations vote that launched the State of Israel.
"Exodus 1947" makes its screening debut at the Laemmle Sunset 5 Theatres on Saturday, June 28. Funding for the film print was made possible by the Righteous Persons Foundation. Following its run at Laemmle, the film makes its TV debut on KCET, July 6, at 10 p.m.
For Laemmle show times, call (213) 848-3500. For additional information about the film, call (310) 203-1444. n