The Long Way Home (1997) Movie Script

(Multicom Jingle)
(slow somber music)
(bell rings)
- [Morgan] In the spring of 1945,
as the Allied armies
advanced toward victory,
they stumbled upon the
German concentration camps.
Few are prepared for
the hell they encounter.
(slow dreary music)
- [Woman] The soldiers
came up to the fence
and just stood there looking at us.
I couldn't understand
their behavior at all.
I wish I could tell you how eerie that was
watching them staring at us
in that inexplicable way.
But then I saw one of the
soldiers double over and throw up.
Soon, another was doing
the same, and then another.
And then I understood.
They were looking at us in disgust.
A deep despair came over me.
I felt like Adam when he
first knew he was naked,
horrible and ashamed.
I looked around me and saw myself
and the other prisoners for the first time
through the eyes of those soldiers.
We were disgusting to look
at, no doubt about it.
It's odd isn't it
that I had never realized that before?
A moment after that
first soldier threw up,
a strange thing happened
among the prisoners,
we began turning away from them.
We turned our backs to them.
We didn't want them to see us.
And if a short while before we had
in some dim kind of way
wanted them to come into the camp,
now very strongly we wanted
them to stay where they were.
Or else to go away.
- [Man] When you see them,
there's nothing to
distinguish them, you know.
Shaved heads and sunken
cheeks, there's no way.
It's hard to even see them as human.
Under the circumstances,
you try to avoid seeing them too much.
It's hard to do.
(slow somber music)
- [Woman] I took a few
steps away from the soldiers
when I heard a sound that was terrible,
which I could not at first identify,
even though in some strange, remote way,
it seemed familiar to me.
And I understand.
My daughter was crying.
For the first time in three years,
this little child was crying.
She was crying so hard
that I thought her thin
little body would collapse
under the force of its convulsions.
I tell you, I've never in my life heard
any cry of pain like that child's.
It was the most tragic wail I've known.
And I?
I followed my daughter's example.
I sat down with her and for
several minutes I screamed.
(crowd yells angrily)
- [Man] Control was gone
after the sites we saw.
The men were deliberately wounding guards,
and then turning them
over to the prisoners
and allowing them to have their revenge.
- [Man] Our first act as free
men was to throw ourselves
onto the provisions.
We thought only of that, not of revenge,
not of our families, nothing but bread.
- [Man] When I was liberated,
we ate and ate and ate.
No feeling when it's enough,
just the knowledge that I'm hungry
and maybe tomorrow I won't have.
We didn't know how to stop.
- [Morgan] In their
frenzy to fill themselves,
many survivors ruptured their stomachs.
Others who have hung
so tenaciously to life,
no longer have the strength
to fight off the typhus
and tuberculosis that
raged through the camps.
Within a few weeks of the
arrival of the Allies,
thousands of the liberated
prisoners perish.
At Bergen-Belsen alone,
there are 13,000 corpses to bury.
(slow troubled music)
- [Man] I didn't feel anything at all
except Jesus Christ, Jesus
Christ, Jesus Christ.
I kept saying that to myself
because I couldn't think of anything else.
You got over feeling that
these were people anymore.
They were so thin, so dried up
that they might have been
monkeys or plaster of Paris.
You had to keep saying to yourself,
these are human beings.
Even when you said it, your
mind was not believing it
because nothing like this
had ever happened before.
It just couldn't happen.
(slow chanting music)
(wind howls)
- [Morgan] The liberators razed the camps
and tried to put the mass graves
and the stench of death behind them.
The Jews watch the flames
and wondered what lies ahead.
- [Man] What specimens
of humanity they are,
after the treatment they have received.
I am certain that 90% of those who survive
will never really be normal.
They have suffered too much.
- [Man] It was on the last month.
My brother, older than me, came
to the fence of my barrack,
and told me, "We don't
have the parents anymore.
"The only one you had was me,
but now they take me away.
"We will never meet again.
"I don't believe this
hell will take an end.
"I don't see any light in
the edge of this tunnel.
"You are adult enough."
I was almost eight years old.
"To understand what I'm telling you,
"I want you to know that
if a miracle will happen,
"and they will come and
you will survive this hell,
"there is a place on the
world named Eretz Israel.
"Repeat the name, and don't forget it.
"Eretz Israel, the Land of Israel.
"This is our old homeland.
"This is the place where
they don't kill the Jews.
"So if you survive, tell
anybody whom you meet
"that they have to take you
to that particular place."
Eretz Israel.
("American Patrol" by Glenn Miller)
- [Morgan] In New York, Americans revel
in their victory in Europe.
In London, they crowd the squares to cheer
the end of six long years of war.
Even in Palestine, there's
dancing in the streets.
The day of victory, sad, very sad,
writes David Ben-Gurion in his diary.
Like other leaders of of world Jewry,
the chairman of the
Jewish Agency in Palestine
has watched the war from afar,
helpless to avert the slaughter
of six million European Jews.
(singing in foreign language)
To the Jews, Eretz
Israel is a land in which
they have had a continued
3,000 year presence.
Even after the Romans destroyed Jerusalem
and expelled them in the second century,
Jews remained faithful to
their dream of returning
to their Biblical homeland.
The Arabs invaded Palestine
in the seventh century
and remained there even though
the land was conquered and reconquered.
As more and more Europeans
Jews began to flee
to Palestine to escape Hitler,
the Arabs grew fearful
that the Jews might become a majority.
("Scotland and the Brave" by Harry Lauder)
Since World War I,
Britain has administered
this divided land under a
league of nations mandate,
trying to appease both
the Arabs and the Jews
and protect its own imperial
interests in the Middle East.
Although Britain at first promised
to establish a national
homeland for the Jews,
under pressure from the
Arabs, it changed its policy.
In 1939, the British issued a White Paper
severely restricting Jewish immigration.
In June 1945, the British
were allowing no more
than 1,500 Jews to enter
Palestine each month.
World War II has left Europe in ruins.
In Germany, some 11 million refugees
wander through a nightmare land
of famine, disease, and desperation.
Allied troops tried to impose
some semblance of order
on the anarchy and chaos they find.
(gun fires)
The refugees come from all over
Central and Eastern Europe,
Russia, and the Baltic states.
They include former slave laborers,
concentration camp inmates,
military conscripts,
and prisoners of war.
They are officially classified
as displaced persons.
Jews make up about 100,000 of the DPs,
but as soon as they are
strong enough to travel,
many return home to
search for their families.
- [Woman] The body,
the marvel of the body.
It heals with unbelievable speed.
At the liberation I weighed 62 pounds.
I couldn't stand on my feet.
And months later, I went home on my own.
It is beyond words to describe
what the human body is,
what a human being is.
(slow stirring music)
- I was so anxious to go
home and see if I'm alive,
I hope that my parents and my
brothers will come home too.
I got home, I didn't find anybody yet.
When young men my brother's
age started coming home,
we ran to them as fast
as we had the strength.
And I had a million questions to ask.
Boys, did you work
together with my brothers?
Did you see them?
Did you hear about them?
I didn't know where to
stop, so many questions.
Those young men didn't say a word.
Finally, I stopped asking questions,
and they look at me very sad,
and they said Livia, I'm sorry,
your brothers won't come home.
What, I couldn't believe it.
What do you mean?
And know after 51 years,
I still think how could I be so dumb
for so, being so surprised.
And while I was in
Auschwitz, 3 1/2 months,
I saw daily people being, women,
being killed for no reason at all.
(slow somber music)
- [Man] Our houses were destroyed
because after we were deported,
the Gentiles started to search for gold.
They razed the houses and
dug pits to look for it.
I met one man who I'd
known before the war,
and he asked me, "Why did
the Germans leave you alive?
"Why didn't they turn you into soap?"
After hearing that I understood that
there was no longer a place for me here.
- [Man] We were hated because
we returned from the dead.
They thought of us as dead and buried.
They were quite satisfied
there were no more Jews
and no more Jewish problem.
Our return was a painful surprise to them.
They looked upon us as ghosts.
No one loves ghosts.
- [Woman] The Czechs looked at you,
how dare you come back.
In Poland, the anti-Semitism was worse.
There, they killed you for coming back.
- [Morgan] In a village near Vilna,
five of the few Jews who
have survived the war
are found murdered.
Their bodies are brought
to Vilna for burial.
Stuffed into some of their pockets
is a message written in Polish,
this will be the fate of
all the surviving Jews.
(train hisses and chugs)
By the end of the summer,
millions of refugees find their way back
to their homes and loved ones.
(slow riveting music)
Only the Jews have nowhere to return.
- [Man] All those days we
had struggled to survive,
hour after hour, day after day.
There had been no time to grasp
the enormity of our tragedy.
Now, everything became clear.
No longer were our
families waiting for us.
No homes to go back to.
For us, the victory had come
too late, much too late.
- [Morgan] Homeless and unwanted,
Jewish survivors begin to converge
on America zone of Germany and Austria.
Over 500 assembly centers
are hastily set up
in former slave labor
camps, stables, fields,
wherever the Allies can find space.
The smallest centers
hold 50 to 500 refugees,
the larger, more than 5,000.
The DPs were assigned to camps according
to their country of origin.
Jews are mixed in with
the general population
of displaced persons,
Lithuanians, Latvians,
Ukrainians, Croatians, Estonians,
many who had voluntarily entered Germany
during the war years to aid the Nazis.
The man in the next bed could well be
a Nazi sympathizer, or
collaborator, or even murderer.
American General George S. Patton, Jr.,
insists that every camp be
surrounded by barbed wire
and manned by armed guards
to watch over the detainees.
(slow reserved music)
- [Man] When I look out my
window, I see the barbed wire.
My heart grows cold.
And when I go with my
pop to go get my meals
I feel as though I'm still
in concentration camp.
- [Morgan] Everywhere, DPs lack
basic supplies and amenities.
Food is meager and clothing is scarce.
The occupying troops
are unprepared to deal
with the hundreds of thousands of refugees
who speak a babble of languages
and have suffered unimaginable
anguish and degradation.
Untrained to handle the DPs,
the soldiers fall back
on what they know best,
military discipline.
(man coughs)
(slow melancholic music)
- [Man] I saw that my family was dead,
and the Germans were still alive.
And I asked if there was a
God, how could this happen?
So many people needed a helping hand,
and no one cared.
People committed suicide.
There was no one to help us adjust.
- [Woman] Why am I alive?
I don't know.
Maybe this is a punishment.
At this moment I am
alone, and I have nobody,
and I am living.
- [Woman] We were weak, we were starving.
We were in a state of apathy.
We simply sat and stared into space.
- [Man] It is better to
be a conquered German
than a liberated Jew.
- [Man] I am angry at the world.
The world stood still
when we were burning.
So much pain, so much pain.
How to get rid of it?
- When I arrived in Dachau,
I had no assignment of any kind.
No one told me what to do.
And I watched the doctors and nurses
as they went about their rounds.
And I felt completely lost,
in the sense that here were
people working endlessly
trying to save whatever souls they could.
And I was unable to be part of that team.
I began to walk up and
down the row of barracks
wondering what was I going to do?
And finally, I forced
myself into a barrack.
I opened the door and I
came into this dark room
where the people were still in
their concentration uniforms,
and were still living on shelves.
A voice came from one of the shelves.
And it was a very thin,
weeping voice, and it said,
"I had a brother, we lived together."
And he told me the community
in which they lived.
"And then he left us and
went to the United States,
"and he became a rabbi."
And the voice asked, "Do
you know my brother?"
No name was given,
except as the voice came towards me,
I was attracted by the
timbre of the voice,
the weeping in the voice.
And before the voice was through,
I said, "Yes, I know your brother."
And then the voice said to me,
"Don't say things that are
not true just to console me."
I said, "I'm not consoling you.
"I'm going to bring your brother to you."
And I rushed out of the barracks
because I couldn't cope
with the situation.
I was afraid of it.
But when I got outside,
I was so sure that I had
put the two voices together
that I was satisfied
that I came to Dachau.
If nothing else, what ever
happened, I had done something.
- [Morgan] In reuniting the
survivor and his brother,
now an Army chaplain,
Rabbi Klausner discovers
how he can help the DPs.
What they want most is to reconnect
to their families and their community.
Klausner establishes a
committee of survivors
to compile lists of Jews
still alive in Germany.
The thousands of names are published
under the title Sharit Ha-Platah,
the Surviving Remnant.
The six volumes are sent to
Jews throughout the world,
Europe, America, Palestine.
(mid-tempo lively music)
- [Soldier] Halt!
- [Morgan] Besides the chaplains,
the other representatives
of the free Jewish
world to reach the camps
are soldiers from Palestine.
Near the end of the war,
England reluctantly allows them to fight
with the British Army in Europe
under the banner of the Jewish Brigade.
- [Man] We saw a jeep out
which jumped two soldiers
in uniforms of the Brigade
with stars of David on their sleeves.
The joy was great.
The openness, the connection
between us is something
that happens only once in one's life.
And perhaps only at a specific time,
perhaps only then.
- [Morgan] But like the
Allied liberators before them,
many of the Brigade are appalled
by the condition of the survivors.
- [Man] We found a
community of living persons
who had mental terms
were not much different
from the bodies we had found.
5,000 Jews like these
could turn Eretz Israel
into a lunatic asylum.
I did not believe that these
souls would ever be healed.
(slow soft music)
- [Morgan] The first Jewish
from the concentration camps
to reach Palestine are
children who the Allies ordered
to be removed from Germany without delay.
- A month after our liberation,
we were already on our way
through Germany and France
to go to Eretz Israel.
The British authorities took
us by train from the port
to Atlit, a camp where we
were surrounded with fence
and nobody could enter.
But because we were legal,
all the papers printed our names.
This was the headline, of course.
First survivors of Holocaust
came to Eretz Israel,
all of them orphans.
Our names and the names
of cities we come from
were printed in all the
places in Eretz Israel.
I will never forget the shouts,
the beggings of very many
people surrounding our camp
behind the fence, crying out the names
of their families and their cities.
Greenberg, Warsaw,
Goldberg, Kruker!
And we were only and the first,
the source of information if
we have met them in a ghetto,
in the death camp, in
the concentration camp,
in one of the trains.
- [Morgan] But the world
has other priorities.
(upbeat lively music)
- [Announcer Of Newsreel] The
biggest political surprise
of 40 years was the result
of the general election.
Very few indeed thought
that when the ballot boxes
left for safekeeping
at the police stations,
the count would reveal
the most sensational
landslide since 1906.
- [Morgan] The British voters turn out
Winston Churchill's
wartime Conservative Party
and elect Clement Attlee's Labor Party
to direct the peacetime recovery.
Attlee appoints Ernest Bevin
as foreign secretary
of the new government.
- When I saw thing results this morning,
I uttered a feeling of thankfulness
that the British electorate had put an end
to the very conception
of personal government in this country.
(audience cheers and applauds)
- [Morgan] Jewish leaders have high hopes
that the new government
will ease restrictions
on Jewish immigration to Palestine.
But the economic and social
conditions of post-war England
force Labour to reexamine
its previous policies.
Having spent a quarter
of her national wealth
on the war effort, Britain
is now virtually bankrupt.
With shortages everywhere,
oil becomes a crucial commodity,
and oil is to be found
only in the Arab world.
(slow reserved music)
By the late summer,
reports of the conditions
of the DP camps begin to
reach government officials
in London and Washington.
- A colonel walked in, and he said,
"Chaplain, I have something to tell you,
"there's a very important person coming
"from the United States.
"He's being sent by the president."
He told me that.
"And he's going to visit the sites,
"and my responsibility
was to draw up his agenda,
"and I want to show it to you."
And I looked at it, and
of course, I realized
that he was going to
be not shown the scene.
He realized and I
realized what was going on
between the two of us.
And he told me, "I'm sorry, Chaplain.
"I can't do otherwise in
terms of the military,
"but you can, and I tell
you what I'm going to do.
"I'm gonna bring him to Dachau.
"you're going to be there.
"I'm going to introduce him to you,
"and you take it from there."
- [Morgan] The man Klausner
takes around the camps
is Earl G. Harrison,
the dean of the University
of Pennsylvania Law School,
who has been appointed to
find out how the US Army
is treating the people it
has supposedly liberated.
Harrison is outraged by
what he sees and hears.
(slow dreary music)
- [Earl Portrayer] The camp
is filthy beyond words.
Sanitation is virtually unknown.
With few exceptions, the
people of the camp themselves
appear demoralized beyond
the hope of rehabilitation.
- [Man] We are living
like a litter of puppies
cuddled under the body of their mother.
- [Woman] When I undress at night,
I can't help feeling
everybody's looking at me.
Sometimes, mother holds
the blanket in front of me,
but sometimes she's too tired.
- [Morgan] After visiting 30 camps,
Harrison files an interim report
highly critical of the US Army's
treatment of the survivors.
- [Earl Portrayer] As matters now stand,
we appear to be treating the
Jews as the Nazis treated them,
except that we do not exterminate them.
They are in concentration
camps in large numbers
under our military guards,
instead of SS troops.
One is led to wonder whether
the German people seeing this
are not supposing that we are following,
or at least condoning, Nazi policy.
- [Morgan] Harrison urges
the Army to recognize
the Jews' unique experience
of oppression and persecution
and to house them in separate camps.
He also urges that their food and clothing
be radically improved
and that they not be
subject to Army discipline.
In his final report to President Truman,
Harrison stresses the Jews' desire
to leave Germany and Austria,
and suggests that the British admit
100,000 of them to Palestine.
Truman responds to Harrison's report
by cabling prime Minister Attlee
and requesting, as a humanitarian gesture,
immediate admission of
100,000 refugees to Palestine.
Before the Harrison report
is even made public,
Attlee turns down Truman's request.
(door thuds)
- [Ernest] I'm very sorry
I can't say anymore.
- [Morgan] Five days
later, the Cabinet approves
Foreign Minister Bevin's recommendation
that Jewish immigration
to Palestine remain
at 1,500 persons a month.
(chanting in foreign language)
Yom Kippur, 1945, the
first Day of Atonement
celebrated in freedom by the survivors.
At Feldafing, the first
all-Jewish DP camp,
5,000 Jews come together to pray.
- [Man] The intensity of the prayers
during that Yizkor service is
something I shall never forget.
Wails and crying of young and old,
some mourning for a child
that would never grow old,
others for a parent that would
no longer be there to guide them,
others a brother or sister.
It was as if only mourners
attended these congregations.
- [Morgan] After the service,
the congregants welcome
two surprise guests,
Generals Eisenhower and Patton,
who have come personally
to inspect the camps.
Rabbi Halberstam, the
rabbi of Klausenburg,
presents Eisenhower with salt and bread,
the traditional welcome
extended to a king.
On the inspection tour,
Eisenhower is distressed
by the squalor of the camp.
He makes it clear to Patton
that he wants an immediate
change in conditions.
Although afterwards, Patton
removes the Army military guard
from the DP camps, he notes in his diary
that it is a serious mistake.
- [George Portrayer] If
the Jews were not kept
under guard, they would
not stay in the camps.
They would spread over
the country like locusts
and would eventually have to be rounded up
after quite a few of them had been shot,
quite a few Germans murdered and pillaged.
Harrison and his ilk believe
the DP is a human being
which he is not.
This applies particularly to the Jews
who are lower than animals.
- [Morgan] As the Harrison
Report is released to the press,
Eisenhower transfers Patton,
signaling to all the military
that anyone who does not follow his orders
to treat the Jews differently
will be held accountable.
(mid-tempo band music)
In the United States,
the world's indifference to
the survivors of the Holocaust
unites the Jewish community.
For the first time,
practically every major
Jewish organization
supports a demand for a
homeland in Palestine.
(mid-tempo dramatic music)
In Palestine, the British decision
to maintain restricted immigration
also unites the Jewish community.
Now that the war is over,
three mutually hostile
underground groups ally
to form the Resistance Movement.
The militant Irgun is led
by Polish immigrant Menachem Begin,
whose parents and family were
all murdered by the Nazis.
The Irgun joins with
the smaller Stern Gang,
under the military
leadership of Yitzhak Shamir,
and the larger Haganah, a defense force
which had been organized
to protect settlers
against Arab terrorism.
They begin guerrilla attacks
against Palestine railways
and airfields and British
military installations.
(mid-tempo tense music)
- [Newsreel Announcer]
Jerusalem was the scene
of more outrages.
Bombs placed in the
railway station resulted
in the loss of more British lives.
Shortly before the explosions,
a girl had driven up in a taxi
and deposited several
suitcases in the station.
And although the British
sergeant removed one of them,
and the other two blew up
when he was taking them out
and killed him instantly.
Here are some of the men arrested
for the alleged complicity
in the murderous attack.
They're all reported
to be of Polish origin.
- [Morgan] In Europe,
the Haganah also steps up
its activities to help bring
the refugees to Palestine.
- I was down in a town in southern Bavaria
called Bad Tolz, and the phone rang,
and a lady is on the phone.
I was 27 years old, not
married, no responsibilities,
and when the lady says, "Would
you come and meet me in Paris
"in room 203 of the Royal Monceau Hotel?"
I couldn't think of one
good reason to say no,
(chuckles) so I went.
The minute that I saw the lady,
I realized that one of my motives
was certainly not to be fulfilled.
She kept me out in the hall and said,
"Will you work for us?"
And I said, "Who's us?"
And she said, "Haganah."
Now, I knew what the word meant.
I had no idea of what
the implications would be
of what she would request.
Sometimes, you've got to say
yes or no according to the gut,
so I said yes.
At that point, I was invited in.
She sat me down and gave
me my marching orders.
I was shocked.
She said, "Okay, here's what we want.
"We're gonna be moving streams and streams
"of surviving Jews, and
we're gonna be bringing them
"from far away in Eastern Europe.
"We're gonna bring them to Germany,
"and you're gonna become
part of that process."
- [Morgan] Eastern European
Jews who had fled deep
into Russia to escape the Nazis
or who had fought with the partisans
or hidden in the forests,
now turn westward.
Their route leads to the DP camps
in the American zones
of Germany and Austria,
then to selected seaports and Palestine.
This migration of refugees
is called the Brichah,
the Hebrew word for flight,
and becomes the largest
illegal mass movement
in modern times.
- Many a night, I would make the trip,
leaving at dusk from my house
in a convoy of six trucks
and a couple of jeeps fore
and a couple of jeeps aft,
and up we would go.
The loading, a matter of 20 minutes.
If the people were carrying little bags
or little suitcases, we'd
throw everything away
to make room for one more person,
one more person on the truck.
The specific thing that I needed in order
to keep that operation
going was cigarettes.
Cigarettes was the currency
of the black market.
A package of cigarettes was worth $15,
a carton, 10 packs, worth $150.
It cost me one carton per Jew.
That's $45,000 worth of
cigarettes every single night.
You had to bribe the Polish side,
you had to bribe the
Russians on the Russian side,
and you had to dump the big bag full
of 300 cartons of cigarettes on the ground
and leave it there,
and they divided it up among themselves.
- [Man] The Fuhrer must
have had full knowledge
of what was happening
with regard to concentration camps,
the treatment of the Jews.
(speaking in foreign language)
- [Translator] I already
mentioned it as my opinion
that the Fuhrer did not know about details
in concentration camps.
- [Man] I'm not asking about details.
I'm asking about the murder of
four or five million people.
Are you suggesting that nobody--
- [Morgan] While the survivors struggle
to build a future, an
international military tribunal
tries to assess guilt and punishment
for the crimes the Nazis have committed.
(speaking in foreign language)
- [Translator] I am still of the opinion
that the Fuhrer did not
know about these figures.
("Silent Night, Holy Night"
by Franz Xaver Gruber)
- [Morgan] On Christmas Eve, 1945,
the Nazi defendants celebrate together
in the second-floor double cell
which has been converted into a chapel
the accused war criminals feel certain
that this is their last Christmas.
Goering tells the others.
- [Hermann Portrayer] If I've got to die,
I'd rather die as a
martyr than as a traitor.
Don't forget that the
great conquerors of history
are not seen as murderers,
Genghis Khan, Peter the
Great, Frederick the Great.
The time will come when the world
will think differently about all this.
- [Morgan] Nearly eight months
after the miracle of liberation,
the liberated Jews
still wait for the world
to welcome them back.
But the Allies have made
no significant strides
toward emptying the DP centers.
As the new year begins,
there are 12 all-Jewish
camps in the American zone,
and with the influx of
Eastern European Jews,
the population grows.
- The spirit of the people
was prompted by the negative condition
that was imposed upon them.
It was like a man in a
pit that wants to get out.
Now they knew they weren't
going to remain in Germany.
The question is, where
were they going to go?
And they knew also, they
learned very quickly,
they had to be part of the battle.
I wasn't that somebody was
going to do something for them.
They had to battle their way out.
- [Man] My deep Zionist commitment
helped me to overcome the
psychological difficulties
that many people suffered
from the Holocaust.
It want long after liberation
that we began planning for the future.
- [Morgan] Since the turn of the century,
the goal of the Zionists
has been to create
a self-reliant Jewish
community in Palestine.
Now Zionist groups spring
up in a number of camps.
The Zionists even manage
to establish a kibbutz,
a collective agricultural training farm,
for life in Palestine.
- [Man] Through our physical
labor in this kibbutz,
we mean to demonstrate that
we are not yet destroyed,
but that we have the will
to live and to build.
- [Morgan] The camps become centers
of Jewish cultural life, as well.
The DPs establish schools that teach
both Zionism and Judaism,
the two sustaining
faiths of the survivors.
- [Man] Those of us who remain,
those of who are the last
remnant of our people,
must once more have hope for the revival
of all those values which we hold so dear.
We owe that to the memory
of our dearly beloved dead,
who had the same yearnings.
We owe it to them to
spend our remaining days
in creating a worthy life once more.
- [Woman] It was an accident
if you survived or not.
The only thing you could contribute
was not to be sorry for
yourself, not to give in,
not to let them hypnotize you
into believing that you
are something inferior.
- [Man] We were young, together,
and we wanted to enjoy life.
There were some people who
couldn't get rid of it.
Some people are weaker
and some are stronger.
Don't be sad now
Little on, little one
I command you
- [Man] We had people
from 40 to 50 countries,
people with different mentalities,
different languages, different cultures,
but in some way, we melted
together to make one family.
- My husband was a Polish survivor.
He didn't have in the world anybody.
Everybody got killed,
brothers, sisters, nephews,
nieces, a wife and a baby.
And when we met, we liked
each other, kind of,
so after four days, he
proposed, and I accepted.
(slow gentle music)
- [Woman] There was at least one wedding
every day at Bergen Belsen.
People paired themselves
because you had nobody.
Out of loneliness, we got together.
- [Woman] I came into the
DP camp like a stranger,
no family, no one to talk to.
I felt so alone.
I felt like a rock in the water, alone.
I got married and pregnant,
but I wasn't ready to make commitment.
It was only because I was so lonely.
Under normal circumstances,
we would never have married.
- [Morgan] Most of the survivors choose
another survivor for a mate.
- I didn't even have a dress,
so I made myself a white skirt,
and somebody lend me a white blouse.
I don't even know on my head what I had.
I didn't have a beautiful
veil or anything,
just maybe a scarf, who knows?
And my husband, I don't
know if he had a suit, even.
- [Man] When there was wedding,
the whole camp came to
the wedding to celebrate,
like we were all related.
Every wedding was celebration
for the whole camp.
- And that was it.
You know, about four girls
shared the room in the camp,
so they did me a favor, and
they went to somewhere else,
and we had our, our, you-know-what.
Anyway, so, this was the wedding,
and we lived happy for years.
- [Morgan] In January 1946,
the United States and England
appoint a joint committee
to investigate the problems
of the refugees in relation to Palestine.
The committee has six Americans
and six British members.
- I joined the Anglo-American Committee
of Inquiry on Palestine
as a foreign correspondent
for the New York Post.
We entered Germany.
Then we talked to some
of the people themselves,
and we began to learn not
only what they had suffered
and what they'd gone through,
but how they felt now,
that they wanted to go to Palestine,
that they had survived
so that they could go
to this county they felt
was really their home.
And a 16-year-old boy was furious with us.
He said, "Why do you
ask me these questions?
"Why do I wanna go?
"Why don't you ask the world that?
"Everybody has a home.
"The British have a home.
"The French have a home.
"The Americans have a home.
"Only we don't have a home.
"Ask the world why they
don't let us go home."
(singing in foreign language)
- [Morgan] In a poll of over
19,000 Jewish DPs in Germany,
97% declare that they want
to settle to Eretz Israel.
When asked in a second poll
to pick a second choice
if Palestine is unavailable,
hundreds write in crematorium.
Bartley Crum, one of the
American representatives
on the committee, is deeply affected
by the people he meets.
- [Bartley Portrayer]
I remember the clarity
with which on witness put it.
He explained that only the Zionist's goal
could make the DPs work.
They had done such inhumanely
hard labor for the Nazis
that their attitude to work
could become positive again
only when they were
inspired by a great ideal.
"I myself," he said,
"would never have wanted
"to work a day's work again in my life
"if I were not imbued with
the ideal of Palestine."
- [Morgan] The committee
moves on to the Mideast
to interview both Jews and Arabs.
Dr. Chaim Weizmann,
president of the World
Zionist Organization,
is the first witness.
- [Chaim Portrayer] Despite all promises
by British and American
statesmen and leaders,
Jews are able to enter Palestine
only as illegal immigrants.
European Jewry cannot
be expected to resettle
on soil drenched with Jewish blood.
Their only hope for survival
lies in the creation
of a Jewish state in Palestine.
- [Morgan] For the refugees,
the clandestine route to Palestine leads
over a hazardous 12,000-foot
Alpine pass to Italy.
(slow dreary music)
- [Man] All night long, we
struggled through the snow.
Sometimes we were led on a path of sorts,
but often there would be
drifts across the path,
through which adults waded waist-high,
carrying the children.
- [Woman] It was tough.
Winter, we had to trudge
for hours through the snow,
hungry and frozen.
We were exhausted, very exhausted.
- [Man] This is a new type of person,
tempered by incredible suffering.
No matter how closely
the borders are watched,
these people will move
from country to country
toward the Mediterranean seaports.
They are resolved that
nothing will stop them.
- [Morgan] Beyond the
mountains remains the sea.
Under cover of night,
the refugees board leaky cargo ships
secretly bound for Palestine.
The boats are often purchased in the US
and manned by American crews.
- There I was, in the ivory
tower of the Harvard Law School,
and I became aware for the first time
what had transpired in Europe,
and I didn't see how I, as a Jewish boy,
could stay there while
history was being made.
Harvard Law School would always be there.
This was a moment in history.
This was when the Jews
were changing the world.
They were leaving the ghettos of Europe,
and they were going to go to Palestine.
They were going to form their own state,
and I had to be a part of that.
They were pulled into our ship from shore
in rubber rafts, all in complete silence,
as if it were a movie film
with the sound track cut off.
Old people, young people, kids,
they had to climb the ladders
to come aboard the ship.
And most of them were individuals
who had no surviving
members of their family.
They each carried a water bottle
and a small pack on their backs
which were the sole possessions
they had in the world.
I remember a bearded gentleman,
and I was urging him
to get in and climb in,
and he stopped me and he
said to me in Yiddish,
he said, and I will not say it in Yiddish.
What he said to me was,
wait a minute, he said, I was
once master of my own house.
And it really struck me that it was just
by the sheerest blind fate
that I was not in his position,
that I was a well-fed American
who had survived the war
in comfort and was now directing him,
could've been my father.
(slow stirring music)
- [Morgan] With 1,500
refugees crammed on board,
the passengers are only
allowed on deck in shifts.
For most of the voyage,
they remain cooped up in the holds
to avoid detection by the British.
(planes whir)
- We saw a plane fly over
us and it was a bomber
and it crisscrossed
over us several passes.
We knew we'd been discovered
by a British search plane.
Then the people were
permitted to come out on deck.
Haganah had made the decision
that if we were intercepted,
we were to resist,
and of course, we all agreed with that.
First, we didn't intend to submit
to this wrongful act on
the part of the British
and to accept what they were doing
like sheep going to the slaughter
or going meekly into the crematoria.
We were going to fight them.
Secondly, resistance was important
to demonstrate to the world
that we were not going to be,
be impeded in our insistence upon going
to our own country, to our own land.
It was our right to go.
The British Marines jumped aboard.
They had shields.
They had helmets.
They had long clubs with lead
on the end, and they had guns.
And there was a fight.
They succeeded in taking the wheelhouse
and had the fighters segregated in groups,
with guns pointed at them.
(slow somber music)
As we were towed into Haifa harbor,
three of us dropped into the water.
I was caught by a patrol boat
after I'd been in the
water about 10 minutes.
- [Morgan] Beginning in 1945,
63 ships carrying nearly
90,000 refugees tried
to cross the Mediterranean
to the Promised Land.
Only six managed to evade
the British gunboats
and reach the shores of
Palestine undetected.
The British take the
severely wounded and injured
to hospitals and transfer all
the rest to detention camps.
In May 1946, the Anglo-American Committee
submits a unanimous report
recommending the immediate admission
of 100,000 Jewish immigrants to Palestine.
Although President Truman
promptly endorses the report,
the British just as quickly dismiss it.
Attlee tells the House of Commons
that before any immigration
into Palestine can take place,
the Haganah and other
illegal Jewish armies
must disarm and disband completely.
In June, at a Labour Party
conference, Bevin adds.
- [Ernest Portrayer]
Regarding the agitation
in the United States and
particularly in New York
for 100,000 to be put in Palestine,
I hope it will not be
misunderstood in America
if I say with the purest of motives that
that was because they do not want
too many of them in New York.
("Stars and Stripes Forever"
by John Philip Sousa)
- [Morgan] In the United States,
even though immigration is
already severely restricted,
many see the arrival of any foreigners
as a threat to the American way of life.
Patriotic groups like the
Veterans of Foreign Wars want
to ban all immigration for a
period of five to 10 years.
Letters to the White
House and Congress run
seven to one against
allowing DPs into the US.
The word refugee is synonymous with Jew,
and the latter is synonymous with Red,
states one writer.
A year after the defeat of Germany,
the Communists replace the
Nazis as America's chief enemy
and its major concern abroad.
To win German support in the
battle against Communism,
Secretary of State James
Burns rides Hitler's train
through Germany and
sleeps in his compartment.
In Stuttgart, he assures
a group of industrialists
that if they stand with
the US in the Cold War,
they will be able to keep
their factories and industry.
- The American people want to return
the government of Germany
to the people of Germany.
The American people want
to help the German people
to win their way back
to an honorable place
among the free and peace-loving
nations of the world.
(audience applauds)
(mid-tempo serious music)
- [Morgan] Germans respond with relief
to the secretary of state's message.
They realize that the Americans
will not punish German corporations
for their complicity with Hitler.
German industrialists who had used
concentration camp
inmates as slave laborers
during the war are now
given a second chance.
The Americans are willing to overlook
their crimes against the Jews,
as long as they join in the
economic war against Communism.
The Western Allies are
also willing to ignore
the crimes of Hitler's
other collaborators.
During the war, the Nazis plundered
millions of dollars in gold
from the countries they conquered
and the Jews that they murdered.
After the war, fearing
the spread of Communism,
the US, England, and France award
$44 million of the captured gold
to Hitler's former
allies Austria and Italy.
Although money is also set
aside to run the DP camps,
the funding ends when
Great Britain objects.
(slow tense music)
- [Newsreel Announcer] New
day of crisis in Palestine,
as the British complete an
intensive search for weapons
at a Jewish settlement at Yagur.
Precipitating the recent
waves of violence in Palestine
was Britain's failure to carry
out early recommendations
to admit 100,000 homeless European Jews.
- [Morgan] In Palestine, the 5,000 members
of the Hebrew Resistance Movement respond
to Attlee's call to disarm
by escalating the violence
against the British.
("Taps" by Daniel Butterfield)
Convinced that only force
will change British policies,
members of the underground blow up bridges
(explosion booms)
and damage key industries in a declaration
that they will no longer wait passively
for the camps to be emptied.
The British, with 80,000 troops
and 20,000 policemen in Palestine,
retaliate with drastic reprisals.
At dawn, June 29, 1946,
called Black Sabbath by the Jews,
every available British
soldier and policeman
sweep down on the Jewish
Agency headquarters
and 25 settlements throughout the country.
House by house,
they searched for members
of the Jewish Resistance.
In all, they arrest 2,718 Jews
and send them to internment
camps without trial.
But none of the Haganah
commanders are captured.
Menachem Begin, leader
of the militant Irgun,
decides that a counterattack is needed.
(explosion booms)
- [Newsreel Announcer] Palestine.
At British Army headquarters
in the fashionable King David Hotel,
the ever-present unrest suddenly exploded.
(explosion booms)
One wing of the hotel demolished
by a time bomb planted
by agents of underground extremists.
- [Newsreel Announcer] And
casualties were very heavy.
Leaders of the Jewish
Agency have expressed horror
at the dastardly crime perpetrated
by a gang of desperadoes.
- [Newsreel Announcer]
As these first films
of the tragedy were issued,
the death tolls stood at 76.
Among the casualties,
high-ranking British officials,
prominent Jews, and Arabs.
- [Morgan] The final
death toll reaches 91.
And although the world
condemns the terrorism,
the mounting cost in lives and money
undermines British resolve to
continue its Colonial rule.
(slow melancholic music)
In Poland, the Jews who have remained
also reconsider there future.
On July 4, 1946, in Kielce,
41 of the town's 200 Jews are murdered
after a nine-year old boy
claims that he has seen
Jews kill Christian children
for ritual purposes.
The lynch mob is led by
members of the clergy
and the local militia.
- [Man] The Kielce Pogrom,
that was a bitter one.
A ripple went through all of Europe.
- [Morgan] General McNarney,
head of the US Forces in Europe,
sends Rabbis Friedman and Philip Bernstein
to Warsaw to determine how the murders
might affect the refugee problem.
The rabbis visit four
of the most powerful figures in Poland.
The first is the American ambassador.
- You were either in favor of the state
being established at some point
under some set of conditions,
or you were not in favor of it,
and he was not in favor of it.
And he said, "These damn Jews, they just,
"they create problems all the time."
- [Morgan] Second, they
visit the Catholic cardinal.
- He said, "I have nothing to tell you.
"These Jews brought it on themselves.
"They are all Communists."
- [Morgan] The third person they see
is the Polish prime minister.
- And he said,
"I can understand if
these Jews want to flee."
"I can understand if they
want to flee toward Germany,
"where the American flag is,
and that represents safety.
"I understand all of that,
"but I can't do anything
about it to help you."
- [Morgan] Finally, they speak to the head
of the Communist Party, who is a Jew.
- [Herbert] And he said,
"If there was a pogrom,
there was a pogrom.
"There have always been
pogroms in Jewish history,
"so what's the big deal?
"There's nothing so terrible about it.
"I'm sorry for it, but it's
irrelevant in history."
And we wrote the report
that the military command
in Germany could expect over
the period of the next year
to a year and a half,
approximately 150,000
people to come flooding in
from the East to the West.
And if you want to close the borders
and you want to try to prevent
these Jews from coming in,
then you're gonna have
to do it by armed force.
(singing in foreign language)
- [Morgan] General McNarney
sends Rabbi Bernstein
to Washington to present the problem
to the Commander in Chief.
President Truman quickly
makes his decision,
keep the borders open.
In the next three months,
90,000 people leave Poland
and enter the American zone
of Germany and Austria,
hoping to immigrate to Palestine.
- [Woman] Parting was difficult.
This was the place where
I was born and grew up.
Watching the countryside I
loved from the train window,
I knew I would never come back.
- [Man] We have wandered enough.
We have worked and struggled too long
on the lands of other peoples.
Now we must build a land of our own.
- [Morgan] Yet, life in the
DP camps is hardly more secure
than the life the Eastern
European Jews have left behind.
"The Germans killed us," says one refugee,
"The British don't let us live."
In the fall of 1946,
David Ben-Gurion comes to Germany
to inspect the situation for himself.
Rabbi Friedman is asked to
take him around the camps.
- And I said to him, "What you have to do,
"if I may be presumptuous,
"what you have to do is
try to lift the morale."
And so he got up there.
They were all standing,
we didn't have seats.
There were 5,000 people
in the camp by now.
He spoke to them in
Hebrew for a few minutes.
This sentence, I remember clearly.
"I come to you with empty pockets."
ANd he took his pockets of his trouser
and pulled them out, you know, inside-out,
to show them that they were
empty, he had nothing there.
"I have no certificates to give you."
That meant, I cannot take you
to Palestine in a legal way.
"Therefore, I have to
ask you for patience,
"and I have to ask you to have hope,
"because we want you, we need you."
And then he went on in a beautiful way
to give them the feeling
that they were gonna be able
to contribute to the
building of the future state.
And our song is Hope,
Hatikvah is the song,
the Hebrew word means hope.
Now let's all sing Hatikvah.
Now, he couldn't sing,
he couldn't (laughs).
And I have a monotone, as
far as singing is concerned.
The two of us were up
there totally disarmed.
I mean, I said to myself,
oh, if we only had somebody
who could start his song.
But the song started
from among the people.
(singing in foreign language)
And slowly but surely,
the volume grew and grew,
and it came to a great crescendo.
During the song, he started to cry.
He wasn't gonna say any more.
He didn't say any more.
But he was touched,
and every time I think of that, I am also.
We left the camp.
We got in the car and went
to the city, to the hotel.
He said, "They will have patience.
"They will have weight,
"and we'll build the country on them."
(ship horn blares)
- [Morgan] Despite the British gunships,
despite the hardships and
perils of the journey,
the Jews continued to make their
way illegally to Palestine.
In August of 1946, the
British begin deporting
illegal immigrants who reach Palestine
to detention camps on
the island of Cyprus.
- You had to smell Cyprus to believe it.
To this day, I can still smell Cyprus.
It was about 115 degrees, I think,
but it felt like 200 degrees in the heat.
And the people were living in tents
and Quonset huts squeezed together.
There was no running water in Cyprus.
There was no privacy in Cyprus.
You smelled the garbage all the time.
You smelled the sweat of the people
as they leaned over the pots and pans
where they were cooking
their food outdoors
'cause there were no kitchens indoors.
I felt that these people
either had complete despair
or such hope and faith that
nothing could stop them.
There was both strength in some of them
and a sense of the world
doesn't care about us.
We've suffered and we'll go on suffering.
They looked at you with a kind of apathy,
and at the same time thinking,
and you knew that they were thinking,
well, somebody from Earth
has come down into hell
to see what this purgatory looks like.
And yet, despite that, 500
babies were born in one year.
- Many women stopped menstruating,
particularly in the camps.
They were mortified that
perhaps they would never
be able to have children.
So they very eagerly
wanted to have a child,
if only to prove to themselves
that they are still viable human beings,
but more importantly, recreating a family
was an act of defiance against Hitler.
(mid-tempo upbeat music)
- [Morgan] Both in Cyprus and in Europe,
the DP camps have the highest birthrate
of all the Jewish
communities in the world.
By the end of 1946,
a thousand Jewish babies are
born each month in the camps.
- One day, I didn't feel so good.
I went to doctor, and
they said I'm pregnant.
I was so happy I'm pregnant.
I ran to the office, and
I say to the other woman,
"I'm pregnant, I'm gong to have a baby!"
And she says, "Oh, Livia,
I'm so sorry to tell you."
What you mean?
Why aren't you happy for me?
She says, "Exactly this morning,
"I got a notice that you should come
"for the visa to go to America."
I said so what?
I can go to America.
No, the baby has to be a half a year old
before they can let me go.
Well, it spoiled a little the happiness,
but I was never sorry that I was pregnant.
Every mother loves their children,
but to me, they replaced
my parents, my brothers,
my uncles, and cousins, and everybody.
Parents can't be replaced,
but at least I had something my own.
So, um, we came to America in '47.
(ship horn blares)
- [Yael] Most survivors
that went to Israel went
because of their belief in Zionism
and wanting to build a Jewish land.
Most survivors who came
to the United States came
because they had relatives here,
and they believed that they
could recreate a family
and a sense of family.
So they came with that longing.
(slow dramatic music)
- [Man] Even on the boat
crowded with Jewish refugees,
we were already turned to the future.
Nobody told stories of the past,
but everyone had a story to tell.
There was expectation of
new things in the air.
- [Man] I felt completely
at home the first day.
I had left nothing on the other side
but misery and tragedy and horror.
It was like emerging from
the ashes like a phoenix
with this exhilarating feeling of freedom.
The tragedy was in me
and would stay with me,
but for the time being,
this was my rebirth.
I felt like a hunchback with
the hump somehow removed,
who can straighten out
and walk like a man.
- [Morgan] Even in America,
though, even among Jews,
the survivors meet with a mixed reception.
- [Man] From the way people
looked at us, as if to say,
how come my brother didn't
survive, and you did?
I felt as if I had to
apologize for surviving.
So I put a bandage on my number
so I wouldn't have to talk about it.
- When I came here,
I want to tell why brother the whole story
because he didn't know anything,
how our parents got killed,
and what I know, but
they didn't wanna listen.
He said, forget it, why should you?
They were sorry that I should be upset,
but to me, it would have
been good if I talk about it.
But they didn't wanna listen, forget it.
We can't forget it.
But don't talk about it and don't,
okay, so I learned not to talk.
- We really didn't understand
what the survivors were telling us.
The stories sounded too horrible.
We simply did not believe them.
They needed help, and we had no idea
what they were talking about.
They would say you live in America now.
The past is the past.
Let bygones be bygones.
The reactions they received
here were sometimes
so insensitive that
it's shameful to repeat.
Like a survivor would tell about Auschwitz
and people would say, well,
we had it hard here, too.
We had to stand in line for cigars.
Or did you really never get a dessert?
Or without toilet paper?
How could you live without toilet paper?
Or what did you do to survive?
There was an assumption
that if you survived,
you must have committed immoral acts.
So their reception was extremely different
and not respectful.
(slow somber music)
- [Man] After a while,
I didn't want to speak
about the Holocaust at
all, so I just decided
to give up, to forget everything
and avoid anything that had
any connection to the past.
- [Morgan] For many of the survivors,
this retreat into silence lasts for years.
(explosion booms)
(mid-tempo dramatic music)
- [Newsreel Announcer] 16 persons die
and 13 others are injured
as extremists blow up
the officers club at Haifa
in an unremitting campaign of violence.
- [Morgan] By early 1947,
the British have reached a
breaking point in Palestine.
Almost no night passes
without a sabotage attack
against their military installations.
In January 1947,
the wives and children
of British servicemen
are evacuated to Britain.
Harassed by unrest and
revolt in India, Egypt,
and other parts of the Commonwealth,
the British begin thinking
of cutting their losses in Palestine.
In January, during one of the
worst winters of the century,
Rabbis Friedman and Bernstein
visit Ernest Bevin in London.
- He's sitting there behind his desk
alL wrapped up in a fur
coat, scarf around his neck,
a hat on his head,
and a little tiny electric
heater by his feet.
I mean this was the foreign minister
of the Empire of Great Britain.
And he was in a lousy mood.
Now I can't really repeat the conversation
because it was one of the
most profane conversations.
I mean it was just an incessant barrage.
You Jews are the cause of
all the trouble in the world.
No wonder everybody hates you.
You are never satisfied.
You are always wheedling up
and asking for something.
And finally, at the end, he
made this terrible outburst,
And I'm gonna get rid of the
whole goddam f'ing problem,
because why the hell should
England have it on her back?
I'm gonna throw it to the
blank-blank United Nations.
Let them struggle with it.
- [Morgan] A month later,
Bevin announces in Parliament
that he is referring
the Palestine question
to the United Nations.
The Jewish delegation meets
in the New York hotel suite
of Chaim Weizmann to assess their chances.
- Surely, the Soviet
Union would be against us,
and that meant five states.
Surely, most of the Latin American states
would be against us
because the Vatican had
this theological, uh, quarrel,
as it were, with the Jews.
Surely, the Social Democratic countries,
who are a majority in
Europe, would be against us
because they would go
along with Mr. Bevin,
who was flesh of their flesh
and blood of their blood.
And by the time we'd finished listening
to Dr. Weizmann's litany,
we went away in a rather chastened mood
and thought it wasn't such a good idea
from our point of view to have
the United Nations deal
with this question.
- [Morgan] On April 28th,
a special session of the
General Assembly is convened
at Lake Success, Long Island,
to appoint yet another committee,
the 19th, to explore
the Palestine problem.
Few expect the session to
yield any positive results.
- But something very dramatic happened.
(speaking in foreign language)
Up stands Ambassador Gromkyo, and says,
first, that the Jews
have very strong roots
in the history of the
land called Palestine.
And second, the Western world
was not able to save the Jews
from the horrors of the
slaughter in Europe.
And third, therefore,
there should be examined
the possibility of a Jewish state.
But, of course, what
captured the imagination
was the words, Jewish state,
had emerged from Soviet lips
before they'd been heard
in any definitive way
even from the United States
or from anybody else.
And at that point, I began to believe
that we really might make
it in the United Nations.
(mid-tempo dramatic music)
- [Newsreel Announcer]
Jerusalem, bristling
with British barbed wire, is
in a state of armed truce.
In the YMCA, the United Nations
Special Committee on Palestine,
under Sweden's Dr.
Sandstrom, opens hearings.
- [Morgan] In June, the
Special Committee on Palestine,
UNSCOP, travels to Palestine
to begin its investigations.
The committee includes representatives
from 11 uninvolved
countries which are assumed
to be immune to the strategic interests
of the major powers.
- When I discuss our victories
in the United Nations,
I must give pride of place
to our Arab adversaries
because they made almost every
mistake that could be made,
and they were the mistakes of arrogance.
They seemed to have believed
that they had the strategic superiority,
and when the United
Nations made it possible
for the Jewish Agency and
for the Arab Higher Committee
to appoint liaison officers,
on the Arab side, they turned it down.
They weren't even prepared
to discuss the possibility
of a Jewish state, even as a prospect.
(slow stirring music)
- [Morgan] Another event
also critically affects
the committee's deliberations.
In July, the Exodus set sail
from France for Palestine,
packed with 4,500 illegal immigrants,
more than any other previous ship.
On July 18, six British
destroyers intercept
the boat off the coast of Haifa.
The British open fire.
Three people are killed and 100 wounded.
- And then Exodus came into the harbor.
In front of it was a
cruiser called the Ajax
and destroyers were following it.
And suddenly, it docked
right where I was standing,
and there was a hole as big as
the biggest open barn I had ever seen,
and the ship itself looked like a matchbox
that had been splintered by a nutcracker.
And now, the British
had them in the harbor
and were forcing them off the ship.
And they had refugee eyes,
the eyes of the people
who have been running,
and they have been running, you know,
since Hitler came to power, some of them.
And those who were badly wounded,
whose heads were already bandaged
by the doctors among the refugees,
the British took off the bandages,
no matter how painful it was,
and if they really were badly hurt,
they were put on stretchers and
taken to hospitals in Haifa.
But if their wounds were not,
what the British considered serious,
they were forced onto these
so-called hospital ships
and everybody was told
they're going to Cyprus.
- [Morgan] Abba Eban
persuades Emil Sandstrom,
the Swedish chairman of
the UNSCOP Committee,
and the Yugoslav delegate
to see for themselves
what is happening in Haifa.
- Justice Sandstrom said to me,
"Whatever happens, the
British Mandate can't go on.
"If that's the only way
it can be fulfilled,
"then it better not be fulfilled at all."
- [Morgan] Despite what
the solders have told
the captured immigrants,
Bevin orders the refugees returned
to France instead of Cyprus.
(mid-tempo tense music)
But when the boats reach France,
the French refuse to accept any
who will not disembark
of their own free will.
No refugee leaves the ship.
- The British announced
that they would take
three correspondents aboard the ships,
and they selected me to
represent the American press.
They took me down into the hold,
and this so-called hospital
ship was a prison cage.
There were no beds.
The people were lying half-naked,
one head here, feet here,
squeezed against each other.
Each one of those prison ships
had 1,500 people in that heat.
They began to say to me, take pictures,
take pictures of our children.
And I was taking pictures,
and I didn't know what I was
shooting because I was blind.
I was blind because the only
light came from prison bars
that were on one side of them.
And, and I was blind with their agony.
And a woman lifted a baby up and said,
"Take a picture of my baby."
And I took a picture.
I said, "It's a beautiful baby."
And she said, "Yes, I know,
but," and she shook her head.
And I said, "How old are you?"
and she said 23, she looked at least 40.
And I said, "Don't,
don't worry, this'll end.
"You're going to get there."
I said everything stupid
in the presence of some
overwhelming tragedy.
But she was much wiser than I,
and she said, "No, my life is wrecked,
"but I'm going to live.
"I'm going to live so
that my child will live."
"I'm going to live so that no Jewish child
"will ever be burned
in a gas chamber again.
"I'm going to live!"
And then I realized
that this whole odyssey,
that this whole terrible journey,
had been made for the children.
- [Morgan] Eventually, the
British send the refugees
on to Germany and intern the passengers
in several of the former
Nazi concentration camps.
While they languish behind barbed wire,
UNSCOP issues its report.
Seven of the 11 members
of the committee recommend
partition of Palestine
into two separate states,
one Arab and one Jewish,
with the city of Jerusalem
to be under international trusteeship.
But passage of the UNSCOP recommendation
is by no means certain.
To win international
legitimacy for statehood,
a 2/3 majority of the UN's 57
member countries is necessary.
Although President Truman supports
the creation of a Jewish homeland,
many in his administration
do not share his views.
- I had a very close friendship
with James Forrestal,
who was secretary of defense.
We were talking one time.
He said, "Why don't you
fellows in the White House
"get hold of yourselves."
He said, "There are 30 million Arabs,
"and about 600,000 Jews,
"and ultimately, the
Arabs will push the Jews
"into the Mediterranean."
- [Morgan] Doubts about
the United States' position
create uncertainty in
Latin American countries,
which represent 1/3 of the UN vote.
Nations like the Philippines and Liberia,
accustomed to following the American lead
on international issues,
also remain uncommitted.
- When we reached the
first voting opportunity,
on the 26th of November, we
just did not have the votes.
Therefore, we had to gain time.
One way of gaining time was to do
what UN members usually
don't object to doing,
which was to make very long speeches.
And I remember going up to a
gentleman from a Latin country
and saying, "Do you think
that Your Excellency
"could help us simply by making
"a filibuster for an hour?"
And he said, "For me, an hour's
speech is not a filibuster.
"It's just simply a few remarks."
(speaking in foreign language)
- [Morgan] As the speeches wear on,
the president adjourns
the General Assembly
for the Thanksgiving holiday,
giving the Jews more time
to try to win the decisive votes.
- The memory of the martyrdom,
of the horrors of the Holocaust,
although they hadn't really sunk in
in any deep sense, hovered in the minds
and the recollections and the emotions
of so many of the delegates there.
And that even at that early stage,
before the Holocaust
had been fully explored
in all its scope, it did have the effect,
there was a stirring of conscience.
And some people wonder what conscience
has got to do with diplomacy,
but conscience did have
something to do with diplomacy
under the impact of these fearful events.
- We will start it now.
- Afghanistan.
- [Man] No.
- No.
(faint speaking)
(faint speaking)
- [Morgan] France is a critical vote.
The prospect of French
abstention threatens
to disrupt the entire West European front.
(members applaud)
(gravel pounds)
- [Morgan] The outcome
depends on the votes
of a handful of tiny nations
whose decision is in doubt
until almost the last moment.
In the end, many are influenced
by the actions of the US.
- [Man] United States.
- [Man] Yes.
- [Man] Yes.
(gavel pounds)
- The resolution of the ad
hoc committee of Palestine
was adopted by 33 votes,
13 against, 10 abstentions.
(council applauds)
- [Morgan] With only three votes to spare,
the United Nations
authorizes the establishment
of independent Arab and Jewish states
in a partitioned Palestine.
(upbeat lively music)
(crowd cheers)
- The vote on the 29th
of November was greeted
in Jerusalem by dancing in the streets,
a general air of jubilation.
It justified feeling that we'd made
a stupendous breakthrough in the long saga
of the Jewish people across
the stage of history.
- [Man] We were happy
that night, and we danced,
and our hearts went out to every nation
whose UN representative had voted
in favor of the resolution.
We danced, but we knew that
ahead of us lay the battlefield.
- [Morgan] The Arabs
consider the UN decision
unjust and inequitable.
They argue that humanitarian
relief for the Jews
does not require dividing Palestine
into separate Jewish and Arab states.
Why should they alone have to pay
the price for Hitler's crimes?
They refuse to recognize
a proposed partition plan
and begin a campaign of
violence against the Jews.
(gun fires)
(mid-tempo tense music)
- [Newsreel Announcer]
Grim climax of tragedy
in the Holy Land.
Two truckloads of explosives blown up
in the heart of Jerusalem's
business section,
killing almost 60 persons
and wrecking some thousand buildings.
The Arab High Command boasts
of its responsibility for
this act of frightfulness.
- [Morgan] Although the UN plan calls
for an independent Arab
as well as Jewish state,
the Arabs believe their
military superiority
can drive the Jews out of Palestine.
Their attacks mount
against Jewish settlements and civilians.
The British government
refuses to intervene.
(slow riveting music)
In Cyprus, in Germany, in Austria,
the survivors continue to wait
for the gates of Palestine to open.
In the early months of 1948,
the American government
also turns against Jewish
interest in Palestine.
- Here was the position that the president
of the United States was in.
He believed in a certain
policy regarding Israel.
His State Department was opposed to him.
His Defense Department was opposed to him.
The rank and file of those
in our diplomatic corp
were opposed to him.
The British, who had been the major power
in that part of the world,
were opposed to him.
He had everybody against him.
That did not affect him.
He believed that they were
entitled to a homeland,
and he was going to do all in his power
to see what could happen.
- [Morgan] As the day
for the final departure
of the British nears, the
State Department sends
the American ambassador
to Bevin in a last attempt
to persuade him to
prolong Britain's tenure.
But Bevin has had enough of Palestine.
(man shouts)
(gun fires)
As the dawn breaks on May 14, 1948,
the last day of the British mandate,
Jewish, Arab, and American
intentions are still uncertain.
Zionist leaders are not only divided
about whether to proclaim their new state,
they haven't agreed on a name for it.
And if independence is proclaimed,
will anyone recognize or acknowledge it?
50 hours before the
still-unnamed nation is declared,
President Truman meets
with Secretary of State
George Marshall in the Oval Office.
The president has asked Clark Clifford
to make the case for recognition.
- If I may say so, I was really ready.
I started at the beginning.
And it was a very telling story.
I gave a little history
of the Jewish people,
what they'd been through.
I had two or three excellent
quotes from the Old Testament,
particularly from Deuteronomy,
in which the Lord said to Moses,
"This land shall belong
to you and your people."
I noticed Marshall's face getting
redder and redder and redder,
but I went right on as I'd planned.
When I finished, Marshall
could hardly contain himself.
He said, "Mr. President," he
didn't quite point his finger
to him, but he almost did.
He leaned forward and
he said, "Mr. President,
"let me tell you something.
"If you were to select the policy
"that Clifford has presented to you today,
"I would be unable to vote for you
"in the election this coming November."
Total shock to everyone.
(mid-tempo horn music)
- [Morgan] On the afternoon
of May 14th, while the last
British high commissioner
departs from Palestine,
the executive cabinet of
the Jewish Agency meets
to make their final decision.
By a vote of six to four, they
decide to declare statehood.
(speaking in foreign language)
- [Translator] By virtue of
the natural and historic right
of the the Jewish people
and of the resolution
of the General Assembly
of the United Nations,
we hereby proclaim the establishment
of the Jewish state in
Palestine to be called Israel.
(crowd applauds)
(speaking in foreign language)
(singing in foreign language)
("Hatikvah" by Samuel Cohen)
- [Woman] When I heard the
wonderful news announced
on the radio, I became for
a short while speechless.
Then I burst into tears.
Mentally, I was transported
to another location,
to the death camp Auschwitz.
In the severe frost, a group
of young barefoot girls
proudly walked their last
mile to the awaiting truck.
As the truck started
toward the gas chambers,
they broke into loud
singing of the Hatikvah.
At that time, I said to myself
that beyond any shadow of doubt,
this singing, like a passionate
prayer, had reached heaven,
and that someday it would be answered.
- [Morgan] At 6:00 p.m. Washington time,
the State of Israel is announced.
At 6:11, Truman responds to their request
and the United States
becomes the first country
to recognize the new State of Israel.
In the end, having argued his position,
Marshall agrees to accept
the President's decision
rather than resign.
- My own view is that Israel
would not have survived
without the support of the United States.
(slow moving music)
- [Morgan] The years
of exile and wandering
are finally over.
At last, the Jews very a homeland
where they can begin to build new lives.
- [Man] From 1945, when the war ended,
until 1948, when the
state was established,
I don't think there's
another period of three years
which has ever been so determinative
because we came out of
the death into the life.
The Jewish people almost died,
I mean totally and
finally and irrevocably.
- The period between the
end of the war in '45
and the birth of Israel in '48,
for many of us who were active in it,
I think was the highlight of our lives.
- My feeling about this
period and the work I did
was that a tremendous
opportunity had been given to me
to prove myself as a human being.
- We came out on the the ashes
of Holocaust to Eretz Israel,
now the State of Israel,
to build in an old new homeland our lives.
This is our continuity, our eternity.
- [Yael] The fact that
the survivors chose again
to live in this world,
that they were willing
to give it a chance,
not only for themselves, but
to create a new generation,
to create a country for the Jewish people,
a state, I think that's
an absolute miracle.
It's a true testament for their humanity,
and I believe it's a true
testament to the Jewish people.
- [Man] As a private person,
I believe I can overcome the Holocaust.
A private person can learn to forget,
to put that pain and suffering behind him.
But as a collective, as
members of the Jewish people,
we can never forget.
- [Man] If we were not
an eternal people before,
we are an eternal people
after the Holocaust.
We have not only survived,
but we have revived ourselves.
In a very real way, we have won,
but in a very real way, we have lost.
Who knows what beauty and grandeur
six million could have
contributed to the world?
We lost.
The world lost.
And yet, we won.
We're going on.
(slow stirring music)
(upbeat lively music)
(slow moving music)
(Multicom Jingle)