Allan Jordan asked whether there was a connection between the ship
Protea, arriving to Haifa 3 times during the period August - October
1950, and the IRO (International Refugee Organization).
I have found no evidence to such a connection. Following a negotiation
between the Israeli legate in Warsaw and the Polish government, Polish
Jews were allowed to leave Poland between autumn 1949 and September
1950. This was as part of a commercial agreement between the two
countries, according to which Israel committed to import goods from
The ship Protea arrived to Israel within the above framework. The
immigration was organized by the Israeli legate in Warsaw, together
with Orbis - the Polish national travel agency. At first, most of the
immigrants traveled by train to Italy, and then sailed to Israel with
Israeli ships. But later on the pressure was stronger, so a few ships
left >from Gdynia (near Gdansk). These included the Israeli (ZIM) ship
"Artza", and the Polish Protea - as demanded by the Poles.
By September 1950, only about half of those wishing to leave Poland
managed to do so, and the Poles agreed to delay the deadline to the
end of February 1951. >from then onwards the gates were closed until
the "Gomulka immigration" in 1957.
The above info is based on the book "Immigrants in Turmoil" by Dvora
Hakohen, and also on "1949: The First Israelis" by Tom Segev.
The Historical Jewish Press archive also includes various references
to the above. For example, in August 1950, the newspaper Davar writes
that the ship Protea arrived with 1066 immigrants. The trip took 13
days, and was accompanied by Abraham Ishuv >from the Israeli legate in
Warsaw and Abraham Shechter >from the Jewish Agency. In another
article, published August 22nd, it is said the ship was hired by the