Documentary Film: Memories in Cypriot Soil

Gary Gumpert and Susan Drucker
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July 14, 2014


Cypriot Memories Forgotten: The British Detention Camps in Cyprus, 1946-49


Documentary Film Project




During May 2008 Israel is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its birth.  (May 14, 1948). As the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel approaches, a shared chapter in the struggle for independence and statehood is being explored in a documentary project entitled “Cypriot Memories Forgotten: The Jewish Detention Camps in Cyprus: 1946-49.” This documentary film is being produced by Gary Gumpert, Professor Emeritus, Queens College & Susan Drucker, Professor of Communication, Hofstra University.



53,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors on their way to Palestine were incarcerated in British detention camps on Cyprus from 1946-49. These events have been well documented in Israeli history but relatively untold in the history of Cyprus. The camps played a role in both the independence movement of Cyprus and the creation of the state of Israel.


The detention policy was part of an effort to deter Jewish immigration to Palestine under the British mandate. The Jews imprisoned in the camps lived under severe conditions behind barbed wire. While the British administered the camps, humanitarian aid from the Jewish community in the United States was essential. Of particular note was the Joint Distribution Committee which helped administer the camps.


Emissaries from Palestine lived with the refugees in the camps as representatives of various Zionist movements including the underground strike force of the Haganah, the military organization which trained the detainees in the camps to prepare them for military service when they ultimately arrived in Palestine. Internees and freedom fighters received clandestine training in those camps.


On February 10, 1949 the last Jews finally were freed from the confines of the camps—267 days after the establishing of the state of Israel and the evacuation of the British on May 14, 1948. As celebrations are planned throughout the world, the 60th anniversary of the closing of the last detention camp on Cyprus is also approaching.

If you have information or memories about the camps, please contact us at:


Memories in Cypriot Soil Documentary Coverage in Cyprus Mail 

By Nathan Morley




Greek News Article, March 17, 2008

Greek News, March 31, 2008 in Greek

Greek News, Jan. 15, 2007

Presentation information

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