Exodus of 1947 movie centred around the Norisle in Manitowaning drydocked

MANITOWANING—A plan to film segments of a movie based on the fate of the Exodus 1947, a ship carrying illegal Jewish immigrants from France to Palestine after the war, on and around the venerable S.S. Norisle ferry docked in the harbour at Manitowaning, has been put in drydock for the time being.

“The shoot has been postponed,” confirmed Alisa Katz, senior producer with Cortina Productions. “We have no details as to how or why.”

Although the production has been set aside for now, Ms. Katz was effusive in her praise of the Manitowaning community and the company’s interactions with the municipality of Assiginack.

“The community has been nothing but supportive,” she said, adding that she hoped to be able to visit the area in the future.

The Exodus 1947 was a ship that carried Jewish immigrants, most of whom were Holocaust survivors, to the British Mandate of Palestine. When the British navy got wind of the operation, they seized the vessel and deported the would-be Zionists back to Europe.

In a wave of immigration reminiscent of events of today, more than 1,600 refugees drowned in the attempt to reach what a year later would become the state of Isreal.

The Exodus 1947 was the largest of the ships that were attempting to bring to Palestine and the international outcry that followed its capture and its story is credited with deepening international sympathy for the plight of the Holocaust survivors and building support for the Jewish state.

It was carrying 4,515 refugees, including 1,600 men, 1,282 women and 1,672 children and teenagers when it set sail for Palestine in 1947. They made it to within 20 kilometres of the shores of the Promised Land before the British boarded and seized the vessel. The seizure was not peaceful, as a volunteer in the wheelhouse was clubbed to death and two passengers died of gunshot wounds.