Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Brindisi erects plaque to Jewish refugees of 1956

It is exactly 50 years since the bulk of the Jewish community of Egypt was sent into exile in the aftermath of the Suez crisis. On 29th November 1956 Jewish refugees expelled from Egypt disembarked from the ship Achylleos at Brindisi. They have not forgotten the warm welcome they received from the locals. (With thanks: Moise)

On the initiative of one of those refugees, Carolina Delburgo, the Puglia region and the Brindisi council have decided to erect a commemorative plaque. The plaque - a ship's prow in the shape of a Menorah - carries the following inscription:

"At dawn on 29th November 1956 the ship Achylleos, sailing from Egypt , anchored in Brindisi harbour. She was carrying Jewish refugees, some of them Italian nationals, torn from their homes in the dark and the silence of the night so that none could see them and show solidarity with them. They had all left Egypt and no one was waiting for them in Italy, but they found understanding, solidarity and friendship in Brindisi and at the 'Bocca di Puglie' centre. Sheltered by these walls they regained their confidence and henceforth began to rebuild their lives. This tale is an example of the warmth and solidarity which the inhabitants shared with these exiled and abandoned refugees. This stone plaque represents the gratitude engraved in the hearts of those who have never forgotten."

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