‘Af Al Pi Chen’ Clandestine Immigration & Naval Museum Haifa

June 8th 2018

The ‘Af Al Pi Chen’ Clandestine Immigration & Naval Museum Haifa features the story of the famous ship “Af Al Pi Chen,” a converted tank carrier ship converted to bring 434 Jewish refugees from Europe to Israel in 1947. After months of preparation, and the refugees traveling months by foot through Europe and across the Swiss Alps to Italy, the pre-IDF force known at the “Palmach” worked to bring refugees across the Mediterranean Sea to the Land of Israel.

The Palmach worked & fought tirelessly against the British occupation of ‘Palestine’ and their policies of preventing Jewish refugees of returning to their ancestral homeland. This period of clandestine immigration, known as “Ha’apala” lasted 14 years under the noses of the British. During this time 122,419 Jewish refugees came to Israel in 116 ships.

The name “Af Al Pi Chen” refers to a ship at the center of the museum. In September of 1947 the British captured the ‘Af Al Pi Chen’ and sent its 434 passengers were sent to an internment camp in Cyprus. After experiencing the horrors of the Holocaust camps, being re-imprisoned was a nightmare for these Jews. However life in Cyprus carried on in relative quiet under the British, and even 2,200 babies were born at the camps in Cyprus until Israel’s ultimate independence and final immigration for these poor souls.

The museum features several video programs that take you throughout the ‘Af Al Pi Chen’ ship and journey of the “Hapalalim” refugees, and eventually ending in a facincting museum covering an overview of Israel’s naval history and accomplishments.