This site is dedicated to Shmuel 'Samek' Yanai שמואל 'סמק' ינאי 1925-2011, and the members of Palyam פלי"ם, Machal מח"ל, Bricha בריחה, Kindertransport and the Maapilim מעפילים who, despite the dangers of the voyages, the threat of physical harm and internment by the British, ran the gauntlet to Eretz Yisrael.

Facing the Locked Gate

Shmuel Katz שמואל כץ, one of Israel's most talented painters, and Tehila Ofer תהילה עופר, an author and journalist, were both Maapilim, "illegal" immigrants, who as youths, sailed on the Haapalah ship, Knesset Israel כנסת ישראל in November, 1946.

Knesset Israel כנסת ישראל came close to the coast of Palestine, but was intercepted by the British Palestine Patrol, a fleet of destroyers that prevented any "illegal" immigrants, escaping the horrors of the Holocaust, from finding shelter in the Jewish Homeland.

The British interned the Maapilim, or worse, sent them back to Europe; in the case of the captured Knesset Israel, the Maapilim were transported to detention camps on Cyprus.

The painter and the writer, Shmuel Katz שמואל כץ and Tehila Ofer תהילה עופר, have combined their talents, to create Facing the Locked Gate, a 143 page publication filled with wonderful illustrations.

You can read about the people and the story behind the writing, illustration and publication, of the book in an article published in the June, 2006, edition of the Yediot Aharonot ידיעות אחרונות magazine "7 Days" "7 ימים".

You can download an excerpt from the English book by Right-Clicking on the picture of the bookcover, and saving the linked .PDF file to your computer (NOTE: .PDF files require a .PDF viewer, such as Adobe Reader).

The book, מול השער הנעול – האודיסיאה של מעפילי כנסת ישראל, ISBN 965-90834-0-8, published with the assistance of Yossi Harel יוסי הראל, commander of Knesset Israel כנסת ישראל, is presently available in Hebrew, but the English version may be acquired directly from the publisher.

The books can be ordered online directly from the publisher.

Visit the publisher's Webpages at: Ships at Sea, or Right-Click on the image of the bookcover, to download a an excerpt from the book, Facing the Locked Gate.

Our Only Refuge, Open the Gates! : Clandestine Immigration to Palestine 1938-1948

Our Only Refuge, Open the Gates! : Clandestine Immigration to Palestine 1938-1948 is a 38 page book, ISBN 965-90834-0-8, researched, written and published by Paul H. Silverstone, an internationally recognized naval authority known for his many books and articles on warships, wand speaker on this subject to meetings of genealogical societies and the American Veterans of Israel.

Paul H. Silverstone has also written and published a five volume series on U.S. warships: The U.S. Navy Warships Series

  • 1. The Sailing Navy 1775-1854
  • 2. Civil War Navies 1855-1883
  • 3. The New Navy 1883-1922
  • 4. The Navy of World War II 1922-1947
  • 5. The Navy of the Nuclear Age 1947-2007
  • All five volumes of The U.S. Navy Warships Series are available through the publisher, Routledge.


    Paul H. Silverstone

    330 West 58th Street

    New York, NY 10019

    Email: Paul Silverstone

    More Books about the Holocaust, Haapalah, Aliyah, Bricha, Jewish Brigade, and Survivors

    * A Safe Haven, Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel, written by Allis Radosh and Ronald Radosh, published by Harper, ISBN 13 9780060594633

    * Britain's Naval and Political Reaction to the Illegal Immigration of Jews to Palestine, 1945-1948, written by Fritz Liebreich, published by Routledge, ISBN 0714656372

    * Caught Up in the Times, Yohay Ben-Nun - a Portrait, written by Yohay Ben-Nun, published by Ministry of Defense Publishing House, 2005, ISBN-10 B000WCB1FE

    * Commander of the Exodus, written by Yoram Kaniuk, translated by Seymour Simckes, published by Grove Press, ISBN 080213808X

    * Dead-End Journey: The Tragic Story of the Kladovo-Sabac Group, written by Dalia Ofer, Hannah Weiner, translated by Anna Barber, published by University Press of America, Lanham, Maryland, 1996 , 231 pages, SBN 0761801995, Originally published as Parshat Kladovo-Sabac, published by Am Oved, Tel Aviv, 1992

    The research for the book was carried out under the auspices of the Ha'apala Project, founded in Memory of Shaul Avigur.

    * Dealing with Satan: Rezsö Kasztner's daring rescue mission, written by Ladislaus Löb, published by Jonathan Cape, 2008, ISBN 10 0224077929, ISBN 13 9780224077927, 338 pages

    * Death on the Black Sea: The Untold Story of the 'Struma' and World War II's Holocaust at Sea, written by Douglas Frantz, Catherine Collins, published by Harper Perennial, April 13, 2004, ISBN-10 0060936851

    * Despite It All, written by Chaim Lazar Litai, Translated and edited by Goldie Wachsman, published by Fahrenheit's Books, Denver/ Shengold, New York, 1985, ISBN 13 9780884001065, Library of Congress JV8749P3 L2813, 189 pages

    * Destination Palestine: The story of the Haganah ship Exodus 1947, written by Ruth Gruber, published by Current Books, 1948, ASIN B0007DMK0I, 134 pages

    * Escaping the Holocaust: Illegal Immigration to the Land of Israel, 1939-1944, written by Dalia Ofer, published by Studies in Jewish History Series, Oxford University Press, New York, 1990

    * Exodus, written by Leon Uris, published by Bantam, 1983, ISBN-10: 0553258478, ISBN-13: 978-0553258479, 608 pages

    * From Babylon to Jerusalem, edited by Dr.Zvi Yehuda, published by the Iraqi Jews Traditional Culture Center, 1980, 229 pages, (Hebrew, with table of contents in English)

    * From Ice-Breaker to Missile Boat The Evolution of Israel's Naval Strategy, written by Moshe Tzalel, published by Greenwood Press, 2000, ISBN: 0-313-31360-1, 184 pages

    * From the Yarkon River to the Israeli Navy, written by Shmuel Tankus, published by Hakibbutz Hameuchad Publishing House, Hebrew

    * From "Velos" to "Taurus": The First Decade of Jewish "Illegal" Immigration to Mandatory Palestine (Eretz Israel) 1934-1944, written by Arieh L. Avneri, 1984

    * Haapala: Clandestine Immigration 1931-1948, written by Mordechai Naor, Ministry of Defence Publishing House, Tel Aviv, 1987, ISBN 9650503609

    * Jews for Sale? : Nazi-Jewish negotiations, 1933-1945, written by Yehuda Bauer, published by Yale University Press, New Haven, 1994, ISBN 10 0300059132, ISBN 13 9780300059137, 320 pages

    * Kasztner's Train: the true story of Rezső Kasztner, unknown hero of the holocaust, written by Anna Szigethy Porter, published by Douglas & McIntyre, 2007, ISBN 10 1553652223, ISBN 13 9781553652229, 491 pages

    * Last Barrier to Freedom, Internment of Jewish Holocaust Survivors on Cyprus 1946-1949, written by Morris Laub, published by Judah L. Magnes Museum, Berkeley, 1984, ISBN 10 0943376254

    * Life between Memory and Hope, The Survivors of the Holocaust in Occupied Germany, written by Zeev W. Mankowitz, published by Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN 10 0521811058, ISBN 13 9780521811057, 348 pages

    * Operation Action: Rescue from the Holocaust, written by William R. Perl, published by Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., New York, 1983, 414 pages, ISBN 13 9780804417259

    * Raquela, written by Ruth Gruber, published by Three Rivers Press, ISBN10 081293153X

    * Running the Palestine Blockade: The Last Voyage of the Paducah, written by Rudolph Ward Patzert, published by Voyageur Press, ISBN-10 1557506795

    * Saving the Jews: amazing stories of men and women who defied the “final solution”, written by Mordecai Paldiel, published by Schreiber, 2000, ISBN 1887563555, 338 pages

    * The Brigade: and Epic Story of Vengeance, Salvation, and WW IIwritten by Howard Blum, published by Harper Perennial, 2002, 352 pages

    * The Jews' Secret Fleet: The Untold Story of North American Volunteers Who Smashed the British Blockade, written by Murray S. Greenfield and Joseph Hochstein, published by Gefen Publishing House Ltd., 3 edition, 1996, republished 2010, ISBN 10 9652290238, ISBN 13 978-9652290236, 210 pages;

    The book chronicled the deeds of the Secret Fleet of eleven ships and the 240 men who served upon them, detailling how the fleet was obtained, the Aliyah Bet movement as a whole, and the various trips taken by the ships, and the outcome of their attempts to circumvent the British blockade. It also included copies of letters, the front pages of newspapers, and pictures detailing the events mentioned in the text, along with an appendix, including the names of all 240 volunteers along with the name of the ship on which they served.

    * The Jews Were Expendable: Free World Diplomacy and the Holocaust, written by Monty Noam Penkower, published byWayne State University Press, ISBN 0814319521

    * The Holocaust: the fate of European Jewry, 1932-1945, written by Leni Yahil, Ina Friedman, Haya Galai, published byOxford University Press US, 1991, ISBN 0195045238, 832 pages

    * The Last Escape: The Launching of the Largest Secret Rescue Movement of All Time, written by Ruth Klüger Aliav, Peggy Mann, published by Doubleday & Company, Inc., New York, 1973, ASIN B0006C51LA, 499 pages

    * The Mauritian shekel: the story of the Jewish detainees in Mauritius, 1940-1945, written by Geneviève Pitot, Donna Edouard, Helen Topor, published by Rowman & Littlefield, 1998, ISBN 9780742508552, 259 pages

    * The 'Patria' affair, written by Meir Chazan, published by Historical Society of Israel, Jerusalem, 1935, 38 pages

    * The Redemption of the Unwanted: from the liberation of the death camps to the founding of Israel, written by Abram Leon Sachar, published by St. Martin's/Marek, New York, 1983, ISBN 13 9780312667290, 334 pages

    * The Revolt: Story of the Irgun, written by Menachem Begin, translated by Shmuel Katz, published by Steimatzky Agency Ltd; Revised edition (1977), Dell Publishing, 1978, 2002 edition, ASIN B000TAQ4Y2, ISBN 13 9780840213709, 386 pages

    * The Royal Navy and the Palestine Patrol, written by Ninian Stewart and C. L. Page, published by Routledge, Taylor & Francis, Inc., part of the Naval Staff Histories Series, 2002, ISBN 13 9780714652108, 244 pages

    * The Secret Ship, written by Ruth Klüger Aliav, Peggy Mann, published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing, Garden City, February 1978, ISBN 13 9780385113281, 136 pages

    * The Story of the Patria, written by Erich Gershon Steiner, Translation by Dinah Cohen, published by Holocaust Library, 1982/United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, August, 1995, ISBN 13 9780896040359, 241 pages/Paperback published by Schocken Books, ISBN 13 9780805250374

    * The Voyage of the Ulua, written by Arie Lova Eliav, published by Funk and Wagnalls (A Sabra book), 1969, ASIN B0006BYUKY, 191 pages

    * Trading in lives?: operations of the Jewish Relief and Rescue Committee in Budapest, 1944-1945, written by Szabolcs Szita, Translation by Sean Lambert, published by Central European University Press, 2005, ISBN 9789637326301, 237 pages

    * We only know men: the rescue of Jews in France during the Holocaust, written by Patrick Gerard Henry, published by Catholic University of America Press, 2007, ISBN 9780813214931, 192 pages