מחנה עקורים סנגוורדן - Sengwarden

פרטי הקהילה

סיפור הקהילה

Emden and Sengwarden were two DP camps housing Holocaust survivors who in 1947 attempted to immigrate to Palestine on board of ‘Exodus 1947’.

The 4500 passengers of the ship, which left the French port of Sete, near Montpellier on 11 July 1947 were displaced persons who did not have legal permission to enter the British-controlled Palestine. The trip was organized by Hagana- an underground Jewish military organization facilitating illegal transport of Holocaust survivors into Palestine. Almost immediately after living the port, Exodus was seized by the British Royal Navy. In the fight which emerged during taking over of the ship, a crew member and two passengers were killed and many other injured. All of the passengers were deported back to Europe.

The events attracted large media coverage and set off wide international protest. Yet, the British government decided to hold on to its decision of returning the passengers to Germany. The disembarkation of the passengers of the ‘Exodus’ started in Hamburg on Monday 8 September 1947 and had been completed by Wednesday 10 September. Upon landing in Germany the emigrants rejected the DP status as they wanted to be treated as being ‘in transit to Palestine’. They were then transferred to two camps in Lubeck, with 2500 people going to Poppendorf and 2000 to Am Stau. It was only on 18 September, ten days after their arrival that the emigrants were allowed to enter the camps. The living conditions in both of them were appalling. Poppendorf was a transit camp with a capacity of 1000. Since 2500 emigrants were crowded into the camp, a large number of them despite cold weather had to live in tents. Am Stau was slightly less overcrowded, yet the living conditions were not much better and the emigrants were housed in wooden huts. There were no adequate food provisions in any of the camps.

Due to the pressure of international public opinion, in November 1947 the Exodus passengers were moved to Sengwarden and Emden DP camps. Emden Camp in East Fresia was the larger of two camps. It  housed 2500 emigrants who lived in seven three-storey stone barracks based around a central square.

ORT's work in Emden started within a fortnight of the arrival of Exodus passengers. According to the ORT bulletin form Autumn 1947:  ‘On November 17, six trade classes started to function in the Emden and Sengwalden Camps, English Zone of Germany, where the deported ‘1947 Exodus’ refugees were recently transferred from the Popendorf and Am Stau camps. Another 10 classes will be started shortly. 1500 refugees have registered for ORT training in these two camps. Five tons of machinery, tools and raw materials were shipped to the camps. The camp inmates are all eager to prepare themselves for productive life in Palestine.’[1]

Extensive financial help was provided for ORT by other relief organizations in order to enable immediate establishment of the courses. In the end of 1947, the school in Emden trained almost 700 students who enrolled in courses in: dressmaking, men’s tailoring,  metal trades,  electrical trades, auto mechanics, cabinet making, dental technology and first aid. The ORT joinery school in Emeden made badly needed furniture for the dilapidated camp.

The number of students dwindled quickly as  Sengwarden and Emden inhabitants were leaving the camp and re-attempting entry into Palestine. Of the 4,500 former Exodus passengers there were only 1,800 remaining in the two camps by April 1948.

Both of the schools closed by October 1948 after all of the emigrants left Germany.




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