Refugees will reach Elbe today
Stars and Stripes September 6, 1947
HAMBURG, Sept. 5 — The three British refugee ships carrying 4,400 Exodus 1947 Jewish emigrants will arrive at the mouth of the Elbe River tomorrow afternoon and debarkation of the first ship will begin Sunday morning, British officials announced here tonight.
While British Army authorities tightened security measures, Jewish organizations in the British Zone defied a British "ultimatum" to assist at the landing of the refugees and announced they would boycott the operation.
Two hundred newsmen and photographers assembled here today for a briefing by British officials. "Only at the very last resort will weapons be used," Vaughn Berry, regional commissioner for Hamburg in charge of the debarkation, told the group. "If the refugees cannot be persuaded to get off the ships, I will personally address them by loudspeaker."
Berry said that after all peaceful means have been exhausted, he would ask the Sherwood Foresters Regt. to enforce the debarkation. Tear gas and fire hoses are ready to be used if necessary, he added, but no troops will carry weapons on board any of the ships.
Ocean Vigour, with about 1,500 refugees on board, will debark first at 6 a.m. Sunday and all passengers will be transported by train to one of the two camps ready for their arrival near Lubeck, about 40 miles from Hamburg. The other two ships, the Runnymede Park and the Empire Rival, will be unloaded Monday and Tuesday.
When they leave the ships, the refugees will pass through examination enclosures to the trains drawn up alongside the pier. They will be escorted to the trains by British soldiers, and will receive food and a hot drink as soon as they are seated on the train.
DeCrespigny sold the camps consisted of Niessen huts, wood huts and tents with stretcher-type beds. 'Their meals at the camp will be the normal German ration plus half a hospital ration which will raise the number of calories to 2,800 a day.
Intelligence teams will screen all the refugees in the next two weeks to decide those eligible for IRO aid, and those who will have to return to the German economy.
The refugees were taken from their ship the Exodus 1947 while en route to Palestine last month and transferred to the three British vessels. Their refusal to debark in France led the British to order their return to Germany.