In July 1947 in France, 4,500 Jewish refugees from displaced persons camps in Germany boarded the "Exodus 1947" and attempted to sail (without permission to land) to Palestine, which was under British mandate. The British intercepted the ship off the coast and forced it to anchor in Haifa, where British soldiers removed the Jewish refugees. After British authorities failed to force France to accept the refugees, the refugees were returned to DP camps in Germany. The plight of the "Exodus" passengers became a symbol of the struggle for open immigration into Palestine.
The largest shipload of Zionist refugees, the vessel having been rammed and damaged by a British destroyer in a wild melee, when British sailors fought their way aboard, the "Exodus 1947," an old American Chesapeake Bay steamer, which took aboard 4,500 Zionists bound for Palestine. Taken to the port of Haifa, the refugees will be put aboard another vessel and sent back to France, whence they came. Thirty-five were injured, several killed, including the first mate of the American-Jewish crew. This is a climax in the story of immigrant ships intercepted by the British while bringing Zionist refugees to Palestine.