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September 05, 1986 - Image 18

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-09-05

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Stormy Seas


Continued from preceding page

rus, but the British reverted
to their pre-war policy of re-
turning illegal ships to their
port of departure. Upon re-
turning to France, the French
offered citizenship to anyone
who voluntarily came off the
ship but refused to allow the
British to forcibly remove
anyone. Few left.
Planes flew overhead in
Sette harbor, dropping candy
bars and flowers to the refu-
gees. Monks were allowed
aboard with freshly-baked
loaves of bread. Many of the
monks were Haganah men in
disguise and the loaves of
bread contained messages
and words of encouragement.
Haganah ordered Weinsaft
off the ship along with two
other crew members.
A diversion was created at
night as Harry and the
others jumped overboard.
Weinsaft returned to the
United States to help raise
funds and make appeals for
the refugees, whom the
British finally took to Ham-
burg, Germany and placed in
a displaced persons camp.



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The voyage of the Exodus
was an important event in
the world and Israeli history.
"It was the straw that broke
the camel's back," Marks
said. "Soon after, they (the
British) gave up the man-
date." The Exodus is credited
as a major factor in making
the world realize the need for
a Jewish state.

Marks remembers, "I was
told, 'Everything from now on
in your life goes downhill.'
The aliyah — the ships —
that was the high point in
my life."
Marks continued to help
bring ships and people to Is-
rael. After the War of Inde-
pendence he returned to Cin-
cinnati, where he lives now,
and owns a real estate firm.
Weinsaft continued to help
Israel raise funds and buy
arms during the War of Inde-
pendence, returning to the
United States in 1950 to re-
sume his private life. He
went to Israel in 1956 and
again in 1967 to help fight
for her survival. ❑

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Friday, September 5, 1986


Born and raised in Vie-
nna, Austria, Harry Wein-
saft witnessed the deter-
iorating situation of the
Jews. Early in 1939 he went
to the United States Em-
bassy, where he stood in
line to get into the phone
room with its telephone
books from the entire
United States. Harry knew
of a Weinsaft in Kansas
City, but he needed the ad-
dress to ask the unrelated
American to sponsor him so
that he could apply for a
visa. Unable to help, the
American Weinsaft sent the
letter to another relative,
who showed it to Tom Pen-
dergast, the Democratic
party political boss of Kan-
sas City. Pendergast offered
to send it to his "boy in
Washington," Senator
Harry Truman.
Weinsaft received his
visa, signed by Truman,
soon after. He emigrated to
the United States in 1939.
In 1940 he joined the U.S.
Army and became a citizen
in 1942 in Denver while
training for the ski troops,
part of the 10th Mountain
Following the Exodus
mission, Harry worked for
the speakers bureau of the
United Jewish Appeal and

the Jewish Agency for
Palestine, helping to raise
money and procure arms.
Returning to the United
States in 1950, Weinsaft
worked as a representative
of a national paint company
for the Detroit region, and
later opened his own paint
store. In 1965, after admir-
ing art all his life, Weinsaft
became an art auctioneer,
opening his art gallery at
the Kingsley Inn which he
still owns and operates.
When Otto Preminger
was filming Exodus in Is-
rael, he contacted Weinsaft
and crew members who
were in Israel to read the
script and work as technical
advisers. But the "advisers"
found the screenplay did not
tell the true story of Exodus
1947. Preminger felt they
didn't appreciate what the
story was going to do for the
Jewish people. Sub-
sequently, none of the crew
worked on the film.
In 1967, fearing another
outbreak of fighting, Wein-
saft went to Israel to help,
staying at Kibbutz Ofakim
where his sister and parents
Today, Weinsaft lives in
Detroit near his two daugh-
ters and their families. ❑

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