Danzig and Polish Nationals Who Were Refugees in Mauritius

Introduction By Paul Silverstone

· Background
· Database
· Acknowledgements
· Searching the Database


This database is comprised of two separate lists: "Refugees in Mauritius who consider themselves citizens of the Free City of Danzig" and "Refugees in Mauritius who consider themselves Polish nationals."

The lists are undated but apparently date from the middle of 1944, although the first list has notes dated 13 Apr 1945.  These lists do not include all the people interned in Mauritius, but only those who claimed Danzig or Polish nationality.  The database includes the proof they provided for this claim along with any other comments or particulars taken from their passports.

These refugees were taken to Mauritius in December 1940 following the sinking of the French liner Patria in Haifa harbor.  Most of them arrived in Haifa on the Aliyah Bet ship Atlantic which sailed from Romania.  Three ships sailed from Constanta, Romania, at the end of October 1940, the Atlantic, Pacific and Milos.  They were ancient steamers and carried some 4,000 people.  The British authorities in Palestine were alarmed by the coming arrival of so many Jews without entry certificates.  At this time, November 1940, the British government decided that any Jews arriving in Palestine without certificates would be deported to another British colony, and would not be allowed to return to Palestine.  Prime Minister Winston Churchill was opposed to this policy but was persuaded that since it had been made public it could not be revoked.

The old liner Patria was prepared to take on the refugees from the Pacific and Milos which had just arrived.  The Haganah smuggled a bomb on board the Patria with the intention of disabling the engines to prevent her from sailing, but through an error, the bomb blew a hole in the side of the ship which quickly capsized the ship, killing over 270 Jews.  Churchill ordered that the survivors should be allowed to stay in Palestine, but this did not apply to the passengers on the Atlantic which had arrived later.

In early December they were forcibly removed from the Athlit camp and deported to the British island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.  There they remained until the end of the war, except for some who were permitted to enlist in the Allied forces.


This database includes information from 340 passports that belonged to Danzig and Polish Nationals who emigrated to Mauritius.  The fields of the database are as follows:

An image of one of the pages is below:


The information contained in this database was indexed from information found in the Colonial Office archives in the British Archives (formerly the Public Record Office).  The reference is CO 733/466.  Paul Silverstone, a JewishGen volunteer, compiled the list.

In addition, thanks to JewishGen Inc. for providing the website and database expertise to make this database accessible.  Special thanks to Susan King, Warren Blatt and Michael Tobias for their continued contributions to Jewish genealogy.  Particular thanks to the Research Division headed by Joyce Field, and to Nolan Altman, coordinator of Holocaust files.

Nolan Altman
October 2007

Searching the Database

This database is searchable via JewishGen's Holocaust Database and the JewishGen Poland Database.

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Last Update: 28 Apr 2008 by MFK