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Carved stone book with an inscription made for a British officer by a Jewish internee in Cyprus

Object | Accession Number: 2003.465.3

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    Carved stone book with an inscription made for a British officer by a Jewish internee in Cyprus


    Brief Narrative
    Carved stone book made by an internee at a British detention camp on Cyprus with a dedication for Lt. D.P. Grehan, Royal Irish Fusiliers, British Army, an officer at the Karaolos camp from March 1947 to June 1948. The signed inscription also has a Biblical quote from Leviticus about showing kindness to strangers. 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 enforced very 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:  after 1947 March-approximately 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, top left, carved : CYPRUS
    front, top right, carved : Hebrew text [V'hee yagur iticha ger b'artzichem lo tonu otoe...v'ahvavta lo kamocha] [When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not wrong him … you shall love him as yourself] / Bibl.Book 3/19/13-34 / MEMORY for / LT. GREHAM / from / ZIZE M SKIARIE
    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

    English Hebrew
    Object Type
    Book objects (aat)
    Physical Description
    Small, heavy, rectangular, lacquered sculpture of offwhite limestone, carved in the shape of an open book. The open pages have carved inscriptions: on the right page are 4 lines of Hebrew text above 5 lines of roughly carved English text. On the left, an English word is carved above a crude sketch of a ship with tall billowing sails. The open pages rest upon a text block with delineated pages and a book cover with a rounded spine. The top left corner is broken and a chip has been glued back into place on the left page.
    overall: Height: 0.625 inches (1.588 cm) | Width: 4.375 inches (11.113 cm) | Depth: 3.250 inches (8.255 cm)
    overall : stone, lacquer, adhesive

    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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