Sunday, June 29, 2008

ss Galilah

Scratch built model in 1:100 scale for National Maritime Museum of Israel, Haifa.
Materials: wood, card, plastic.

The third ship acquired by ZIM. This vessel was built as a cruise ship on the Hudson River for the
American Railroad Company. During WWI she served as a troopship. After the war ended she returned to her original function as an excursion ship, but under different ownership, and was named DE WITT CLINTON after the Mayor of New York (1803-1815).
During the Depression in the 1930s the ship was laid up. WWII rescued her from unemployment, and she once again served as a troopship, this under the name COL. FREDERIC C. JOHNSON. When purchased by ZIM in 1948, she was already 35 years old, still a troop ship and named DIRECTOR. The fact that this was a troop ship made her suitable for ZIM`s requirements, since she was destined, first of all, to carry shiploads of new immigrants to Israel.
The ship arrived in Israel at the end of 1948, commanded by Capitan Eliezer Hodorov and manned by an entirely Jewish crew.
In Jan. 1949 she was first ship to bring exiles from the Cyprus camps. During her first three and a half months un ZIM`s service, she transported 11,000 new immigrants in 8 trips, 5,000 of them in 3 trips from Cyprus. With the end of the first wave of massive immigration, she became a regular passenger ship on the Haifa - Marseille - Genoa route. In the fall of 1952 her sailings terminated, and on April 8, 1953 she left Haifa to be scrapped in Italy, after 40 years of sea service.

Text: Hillel Yarkoni. "75 Years of Hebrew Shipping in Erez Israel" book.

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