'Exodus' captain Ike Aranne dies at 86

Ike Aranne, who was the captain of 'Exodus 1947', died in Hadera on Wednesday after a long illness, his daughter Ella said. He was 86 years old.

Aranne was born in Danzig, Poland, and came to the country at the age of 10. Formerly named Yitzhak Aronowicz, Aranne later worked with ships and always loved the sea, his daughter said.

Ahronovitch is survived by two daughters, seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren. His funeral is scheduled for Friday in northern Israel.

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post last November from his Zichron Ya'acov home, Aranne relayed his "accidental" path leading him to the helm of the famous World War II ship, which carried over 4,500 Jewish refugees, most of them Holocaust survivors, and was rammed and boarded by the British, who forced the ship to dock in France.

The passengers, however, refused to disembark there, and the British sent the ship to Germany, but following worldwide outcry at the cruelty inflicted upon the refugees, the passengers ended up in detention camps in Cyprus, thus bringing a change in the British policy.

Author Leon Uris popularized the story in 1958, and Paul Newman subsequently starred in its 1960 screen version. Aranne had told the Post that neither the novel nor the movie bears any resemblance to the actual facts.

Aranne's wife, Irene, died in 2001.

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