Exodus doctor dies at 86

By Jennifer Lipman, July 13, 2010

A British-born doctor who cared for passengers on board the Exodus ship as it sailed to pre-state Israel has been buried in Jersualem.

Dr Joshua Cohen, from Glasgow, who looked after the 4,500 Holocaust survivors on the ill-fated journey, died in Israel last week, aged 86.

As a newly qualified doctor, he volunteered on the ship setting up clinics for the passengers and helped those injured during fighting with British troops.

Following the Exodus journey he served in the British Army and the Israeli Medical Corps, and later became deputy director of Haifa’s Rambam Hospital.

He was also an adviser to the World Health Organisation on health policy.

The Exodus left France in July 1947 carrying survivors of the Holocaust, including more than 650 children.

Its destination was Palestine, but Britain’s Royal Navy boarded before it could dock, to prevent what was considered as illegal immigration.

Three people were killed and 30 wounded during the fighting, and many passengers were returned to Europe on prison ships.

The incident is considered by historians as a turning point in the creation of Israel, as public opinion was swayed by the sight of Holocaust survivors being forced to return to Germany.

Novelist Leon Uris retold the story in his 1958 book Exodus.

Dr Cohen is survived by his wife, two children and three grandchildren.

Last updated: 1:18pm, July 13 2010