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Eretz Israel Refugees in Alexandria, Egypt

From December 19, 1914 to September 23, 1915, a total of 11,277 refugees from Eretz Israel reached Alexandria. This is the only list found so far.

From the beginning of WW I, as Eretz Israel was cut off from the world and as the Turks were defeated on the Russian front, the situation of the Jews living in the country worsened each day. Many Jews simply died of hunger and disease. Moreover, some 11,000 Jews who had foreign citizenship (i.e. non-Turkish), were expelled from Eretz Israel. They arrived in Egypt, the nearest place where they would be welcome.
On December 18, 1914 , M. Petroff, the Imperial Consul of Russia, requested that M. Idelvitch immediately inform the members of the Committee of the Alexandria Jewish Community that the Italian ship “Fiorino” had just arrived from Jaffa to Port Said with 698 Jewish Russian refugees from Palestine on board. The Consul asked the Community to take care of these refugees.
They immediately organized the refugees’ disembarkation, taking care of the paper work for customs, arranging lodgings, preparing food, and collecting funds. The refugees were first accommodated in some forty hotels.
From December 19, 1914 to September 23, 1915, a total of 11,277 refugees reached Alexandria.
The Egyptian government proved very helpful, regarding refugee accommodations. Since the lists were not formally organized, personal data included on each refugee varies. Among information that might be included were the surname and name, the age, the place of birth, the number of souls in the family, the profession of the family head. Most of the documents were in Hebrew - perhaps written by one of the exiles- while others were in French (the language then current among Alexandria Jews) and Russian, for those who intended to immigrate to Australia as Russian citizens.
All the transliterated lists have been put into an Excel file.
These precious records are part of the collection of the Jewish and National Library Archives Department. (ARC 4° V932).
Unfortunately, they only cover some 2,500-3,000 souls, more or less a quarter of all the Eretz Israel exiles who reached Alexandria in January 1915.
1. The Yishuv during WWI. Encyclopedia Hebraica, Vol.6 ,515-518. (Hebrew)
2. Document written by on January 28, 1916 by David Idelovitch to Victor Maggiar, President of the Assistance Committee to the Refugees from Palestine in Alexandria,. (JUNL Archives Department, No. Arc 4 V932/6).
Pictures of the USS Tennessee (Armored Cruiser #10 - Renamed Memphis in 1916) which took refugees from Jaffa, Palestine to Alexandria, Egypt.
Project Coordinator Mathilde A. Tagger
Dec 2007
The copyright of the Web information in this particular database, Eretz Israel Jewish Refugees in Alexandria, in its entirety, belongs to the National & University Library, Jerusalem, Israel. No section may be copied without the prior written permission of the National & University Library, Jerusalem, Israel.

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