135. Ben Hecht — Abril
Departed Port de Bouc, France 1 Mar 1947, arrived 9 Mar 1947
ex-Abril, ex-USS Cythera, ex-Abril, ex-Vita, ex-Argosy, built 1930, 753 gross tons, yacht
The only ship sponsored by the Irgun, manned by American volunteers. Formerly a yacht, requisitioned during the war by the US Navy as USS Cythera. Captured without incident by the destroyer Chieftain, aided by Chevron and Chivalrous. 384 men, 193 women, 20 children. Among those on board were three journalists. This ship is still in service as the Santa Maria del Mare, in the Bay of Naples.
Name: Ben Hecht (1894-1964) was an American playwright and strong supporter of the Irgun.
Book: “What Ship? Where Bound?” by Shepard Rifkin, a novel recounting this voyage.
Photograph source: Haganah Archives