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Carved stone book with a painted map of Cyprus and Palestine acquired by a British officer

Object | Accession Number: 2003.465.2

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    Carved stone book with a painted map of Cyprus and Palestine acquired by a British officer


    Brief Narrative
    Small, carved stone book with painted maps of Cyprus and Palestine made by an internee at a British detention camp on Cyprus. It was given to or found by Lt. D.P. Grehan, Royal Irish Fusiliers, British Army, an officer at the Karaolos camp from March 1947 to June 1948. This piece was made from the local limestone, a frequently used material. Their tools were often made of recycled materials, such as tin cans, or nails and wood. The Joint Distribution Committee set up craft workshops to alleviate the boredom of confinement and the British encouraged it as a way to occupy the inmates. The internees were Ma'apilim, illegal immigrants, most Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, captured while trying to reach Eretz Israel without permission from the British. Great Britain controlled Palestine under a United Nations mandate and with restrictive immigration policies. The huge number of postwar displaced persons led the British to set up the camps in 1946 as a deterrent. Ships attempting to bring unauthorized refugees were stopped by the British Navy and the passengers were interned on Cyprus. On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was established. Within six months, most of the refugees interned on Cyprus were welcomed into the Jewish homeland.
    received:  approximately 1948
    creation:  1948
    creation: Karaolos, British Army and detention camp; Famagusta (Cyprus)
    received: Karaolos, British Army and detention camp; Famagusta (Cyprus)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
    front, center left, white paint : CYPRUS
    front, top right, brown, white, and black paint : PALESTINE
    back, center right, yellow paint : CYPRUS / 1948
    Original owner: D. P. Grehan
    D.P. Grehan was born in Ireland. As an adult, he joined the Royal Irish Fusiliers, one of three Irish units in the British Army, and served in World War II (1939-1945). In March 1947, Lieutenant Grehan was stationed on the island of Cyprus, which was ruled by the British under a United Nations mandate. He served as a commanding officer at H.Q. 1, overseeing internees at the British detention camp at Caraolos. The majority of the internees held at the camp were Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, many of whom were captured while trying to immigrate to Palestine illegally. On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was established and, within six months, all of the internees on Cyprus were transported to the Jewish homeland. Lt. Grehan’s service in Cyprus concluded when the camp was closed in 1948.

    Physical Details

    Object Type
    Book objects (aat)
    Physical Description
    Small, heavy, rectangular, lacquered, painted sculpture of offwhite limestone, carved in the shape of an open book. Painted on the open pages is a stylized map: on the left page is a small, orange island, bordered in white, on a dark blue sea. Along one edge is a white barbed wire fence and guard tower; in the center is a black and white tent; below the island is CYPRUS and a ship with billowing sails. Painted over most of the right page is an orange, roughly rectangular shape with a white left border. At the bottom are 2 palm trees; in the center are 2 small, connected bodies of water; across the top, PALESTINE. The book sides, or text block, are wavy and painted yellow. The base, or book cover, is black with yellow corner accents, a decorative border and CYPRUS 1948. The rounded spine is light blue with red and yellow accents. The bottom right corner is broken.
    overall: Height: 1.000 inches (2.54 cm) | Width: 3.625 inches (9.208 cm) | Depth: 2.625 inches (6.668 cm)
    overall : limestone, paint, lacquer

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The carved stone book was acquired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2003.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2024-02-21 07:11:15
    This page:

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