Baltimore, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Exodus 1947: “The ship That Launched a Nation”
Near this spot, the Baltimore steamer President Warfield began her epic voyage into history. Built in 1928 as the flagship of the Old Bay Line, she ran nightly cruises between Baltimore and Norfolk. In 1943 she was given to Britain under the wartime lend-lease program, but joined the U.S. Navy in 1944 as a harbor control vessel off Omaha Beach after the D-day landings.
Purchased as war surplus in 1946, she was outfitted in Baltimore as part of a secret fleet to transport Holocaust survivors through the British blockade against Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel. On July 18, 1947, manned mainly by Americans and carrying over 4,500 refugees, she was attacked by British warships and boarded in international waters. Three men were killed, including the American mate William Bernstein: dozens were wounded. During the struggle the ship’s new name, Exodus 1947, was proclaimed to the world.
The British returned the captured refugees by force to detention camps in occupied Germany. The saga of Exodus 1947 inspired the world to condemn British policy, led to the UN resolution to partition Palestine, and symbolized the birth of Israel. The ship itself, battered and abandoned, burned and sank in the Haifa harbor in 1952.
Between 1946 and 1948 volunteers from the United States and Canada acquired, equipped and manned 10 ships which carried 30,000 refugees through the British blockade.
Erected by the Jewish Museum of Maryland and the Baltimore Zionist District on July 18, 1997. This marker commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the voyage of Exodus 1947.
It is also a memorial to Mose I. Speert who led Baltimore’s efforts to equip refugee transports. We salute the crewmen for their valor and the refugees for their courage.
The four vessels outlined in Baltimore:
Exodus 1947 (originally President Warfield)
Chaim Arlosoroff (Ulua)
Jewish State (Nortbland)
Josiah Wedgewood (Beaubarnois)
Ben Hecht (Abril)
Kibbutz Galuyor (Pan York)
Atzmaut (Pan Crescent)
By Don Morfe, June 14, 2012
1. Exodus 1947: "The ship That Launched a Nation" Marker
Erected 1997 by Jewish Museum of Maryland and the Baltimore Zionist District.
Location. 39° 17.202′ N, 76° 36.378′ W. Marker is in Baltimore, Maryland. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 707 E Pratt Street, Baltimore MD 21202, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Discover Baltimore: Four Centuries of Change (within shouting distance of this marker); Discovering the Jones Falls (within shouting distance of this marker); Dr. William V. Lockwood (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Baltimore Riot Trail (about 400 feet away); The Coast Guard Cutter Taney (about 600 feet away); The Star Spangled Banner Flag was Born Here (about 700 feet away); Lightship Chesapeake (about 700 feet away); Holocaust Memorial (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Baltimore.
Categories. • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 26, 2012, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 568 times since then and 28 times this year. Photo 1. submitted on September 26, 2012, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.