Atlit Detainee Camp – עתלית
I visited the Atlit Detainee Camp, having heard by word to mouth about the grand, new digital audio-video presentation on the 1940’s vessel in the museum. Many groups of all ages come to visit this important site. We met a group of American born children who are studying in a High School in Israel. One of my family members was able to describe, in English, the moving experience of her parents, Holocaust survivors, who arriving in Palestine legally with a “certificate” (visa), were detained in the Atlit Detention Center and were interrogated by the British Mandate forces as if they were German spies.
The Atlit detainee camp was a detention camp established by the authorities of the British Mandate for Palestine at the end of the 1930s in what is now Israel’s northern coast, 20 kilometers (12 mi) south of Haifa. The camp was established to prevent Jewish refugees from entering Palestine. Tens of thousands of Jewish immigrants were interned at the camp, which was surrounded by barbed wire and watchtowers.
The Atlit camp is now a museum of the history of Ha’apala. Atlit was declared a National Heritage Site in 1987.
On the site there is: a recently purchased ship, similar in size and appearance to those used to transport immigrants to Israel, especially from Europe. This provides a more authentic experience for visitors to understand the events connected with the camp. Visitors can view a model of the original camp, restored barracks, where prisoners lived, the main reception facility where new immigrants went through the trauma of removing their clothes for disinfection and had to shower before being admitted, memorial to those that perished en-route by sea and land on their way to the Land of Israel as well as one of the barracks that has been made into a computerized information database known as “BeNetivei Ha’apalah” (in the pathways of immigration). It contains information about all the immigrants and ships that set out for the shores of the land of Israel.
Sunday – Thursday 9.00-17.00 Friday 9.00-13.00
The guided tour is two hours and reservations must be coordinated with the museum.