||The text is an open letter addressed to the Jews of Haifa: "Here among us in the waters of the port of Haifa 800 Jewish brothers are suffering. A wretched and crushed ship on which are refugees from the German-Czech-Austrian hell, who escaped while there was still breath in their souls from the fingernails of the Gestapo… to the promising shore.
What explanation for holding them during the 48 hours in the waters of Haifa? Is it not enough the years of misery in the Nazi hell and three months of rocking on stormy waters?
They are our brothers. They are ours, and with us here they will live.
This city, with tens of thousands of Jewish inhabitants, cannot bear this shame.
We demand that these immigrants be allowed to get off this [boat]"Ha Yaldah" immediately.
We will not let out brothers be lost because of hunger, thirst or the depths of the sea.
Citizens of this city - demand from the ruling power
Give us our brothers
Let them get off - immediately - today!!"
During the war years, ha'palah became an operation for rescuing Jews from extermination. Small, rickety boats, sailing from Rumanian and Bulgarian ports, some of them crammed with 2,000 passengers, continued to reach the shores of Palestine, where most of them were intercepted by the British. When at the end of 1940 several thousands of refugees arrived from Rumania in three ships, the British decided to transfer them to Mauritius. Some of them were put on board the Patria for deportation, and Haganah emissaries sabotaged the ship in Haifa harbor to prevent it leaving, but, through a tragic miscalculation, it sank and some 250 lives were lost. About 1,600 of the immigrants were deported and detained in Mauritius until the end of the war. Another refugee boat whose passengers were refused entry was the Struma, which sank in the Black Sea in February 1942 with the loss of all 769 persons on board except one. During most of the war years the Mosad organized clandestine immigration by overland routes, mainly from the Middle East.
After the war large-scale operations at sea were resumed by the Mosad, the immigrants being mainly refugee survivors of European Jewry who had escaped by way of the Berihah rescue operation and reached the shores of Italy, France, Rumania, Yugoslavia, and Greece. Their passage was supervised by Mosad emissaries, the immigrants in most cases embarking at small, remote ports, and traveling under cramped conditions in densely packed vessels, most of which were unfit for passenger transportation. The Italians and others who at first constituted the crews of these ships were later joined by Palestinian and American Jews. The refugees were escorted by members of the Haganah and volunteers from the Diaspora, particularly from the U.S. The success of the operation was due in no small measure to the manner in which the refugees themselves, regardless of age or sex, willingly endured privation and danger, and to the total solidarity of the yishuv with the refugees. Haganah members and others received boats which arrived clandestinely at night to desolate places of the sea shore, carrying on their shoulders those who were unable to wade to the shore - the elderly, the sick, women, and children. Once on shore the refugees were immediately brought in buses and trucks to kibbutzim and having changed their clothes could not be recognized as such by the searching British police.