MacMichael, Harold

Birth Name MacMichael, Harold
Gender male


Event Date Place Description Notes Sources

Occupation     Sir Harold MacMichael served as High Commissioner of Palestine

Event Note

Orde Charles Wingate privately submitted to Prime Minister Winston Churchill, through Brendan Bracken, a memorandum entitled ´Palestine 1940´, in which he stated that ¨Our government´s policy over the past twenty years of toadying to any and every enemy, eagerly offering as a peace-offering the lives and interests of avowed friends, is still continued,¨ He wrote, ¨It makes us greatly despised--and disliked
The memorandum was interpreted by many as a personal attack on Sir Harold MacMichael, the new High Commissioner in Palestine.

Event Note

With contining Jewish immigration to Palestine, and the sinking of the ships that were rejected, Sir Harold MacMichael let the Jews escape overboard and interned them in detention camps.
The number of the immigrant Jews reached to tens of thousands, the British looked for a way to “dispose these surplus Jews:”
On January 17, 1941, the Foreign Office cited: "We should have some alternative scheme in hand for disposing of these surplus Jews who, having escaped from persecution in Europe, are going to be kept in detention camps in British colonies." W 2714/11/48

Boat November 25, 1940 פאטריה SS Patria  

Event Note

On November 25, 1940, at 8:00AM, right after Sir Harold MacMichael refused to accept the Maaplilm on Patria; while she was berthed in Haifa, and the passengers of Atlantic, Pacific and Milos were on board, a mine was detonated, and Patria sank, killing 260 people, and injuring 172.
The total number aboard was 1,901, including approximately 1,771-1,1,800 Maapilim, and 130 British crew members; the explosion killed 267, 217 Maapilim, and 50 British crew members.
The incident was dubbed The Patria Disaster.
The deportation was opposed by Zionist organizations, including the Haganah, whose leaders decided to prevent Patria from leaving port by sabotage.
The mine was prepared at Haifa, concealed in a cloth bag and smuggled aboard the ship, where it was handed over to one of the Haganah liaison officers.
The intention was to blast a small hole Patria's side, so that that it would slowly take in water andallow time to evacuate all those on board.
Haganah agents miscalculated the effects of the explosion and the bomb blasted a large hole and water flooded into the hold, causing Patria to sink in less than fifteen minutes, trapping hundreds in the hold.
Many of the 260 who died, were killed when timber with which Maapilim were expected to build new settlements in Mauritius fell from the liner's decks onto escaping swimmers. Within 15 minutes, Patria began to list with only a small portion remaining above water.
Some 250 people (200 of them Jews, and the remainder British soldiers) went down with Patria, the largest number of victims of any single operation conducted by an organization since the beginning of British rule in Palestine.
The british allowed the survivors to remain in Palestine on humanitarian grounds.
The dead are buried in Zichron Yaakov; some in unmarked graves.

Boat   סטרומה Kafireus Καφηρεύς Espiros Есперос Macedonia Makedoniya Македония Strymon Струма Struma  

Event Note

In March 11, 1942, the British High Commissioner in Palestine, Sir Harold MacMichael, cited, n response to the sinking of Struma, and loss of lives: : "The fate of these people was tragic, but the fact remains that they were nationals of a country at war with Britain, proceeding direct from enemy territory. Palestine was under no obligations towards them".
On March 11, 1942, Sir Harold Macmillan cited: "The "Struma" was a converted yacht of about 200 tons. Flying the Panamanian flag, she left Constanza last October with some 769 Jews on board with the intention of effecting their entry illegally into Palestine. She reached Istanbul about mid-December, when she was described as being badly overcrowded,and thereafter considerable repairs to her engines had to be effected. While she was lying at Istanbul, the Turkish authorities intimated that the passengers could not be allowed to remain in Turkey. The Palestine Government also made it clear, with the support of His Majesty's Government, that they could not be admitted to Palestine. This action was in conformity with the policy consistently followed since the establishment of the mandatory regime and publicly confirmed by His Majesty's Government in November, 1940. When the Turkish authorities found that the passengers would not be admitted to Palestine, they decided on 23rd February to send the vessel back to the Black Sea. On 24th February news was received that she had sunk as a result of an explosion four or five miles fromthe entrance to the Bosphorus. The cause of the disaster is not definitely established. She may have struck a mine, but the possibility of her having been torpedoed is not excluded as a Turkish vessel was torpedoed in the vicinity about the time. His Majesty's Government greatly deplore the tragic loss of life which occurred 1049 in this disaster. They had hoped that effect might have been given to the offer of the Palestine Government to admit to Palestine the children on board between the ages of 11 and 16,but this proved impracticable as the Turkish authorities did not feel themselves able to give the necessary permission to land. His Majesty's Government earnestly hope that such a tragedy will not occur again. It does not lie in their power, however, amid the dangers and uncertainties of war, to give any guarantee, nor can they be party to any measures which would undermine the existing policy regarding illegal immigration into Palestine, in view of the wider issues involved. Subject to these reservations, however, I can say thatHis Majesty's Government will endeavour, so far as lies in their power, to ensure that there is no recurrence of such a disaster as that which befell the "Struma." In May 1943, 20,000 Jews from Bulgaria, asked to pass through Turkey on their way to Palestine, but were refused by the Turkish government, which responded: "unable to cope with problems such a situation could cause." A similar request was made by Greek Jews, and Great Britain proposed establishment of a shelter in Turkey, but the Turkish authorities refused."

Event Note

On May 8, 1942, Sir Harold MacMichael, afraid of a grave unrest in Palestine, agreed that a second Struma disaster should not happen.
The Foreign Office, in a memo to the Secretary of State, cits: "MacMichael has assured him that unless we can give the Jews some reassurance, there will be very serious trouble in Palestine, if there is another Struma disaster." FO 371/32665




    1. MacMichael, Harold