Heart shaped carved stone ashtray acquired by a British officer

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Washington, United States

Handcarved ashtray in the shape of a heart 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 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.


  • Title: Heart shaped carved stone ashtray acquired by a British officer
  • Location: Great Britain--Emigration and immigration--Government policy--History--20th century. Palestine--Emigration and immigration.
  • Provenance: The carved stone book was acquired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2003.
  • Subject Keywords: Holocaust survivors--Cyprus. Jewish refugees--Cyprus. Jews--Cyprus--History--20th century. Prisoners as artists--Cyprus. Refugee camps--Cyprus. Military camps--Cyprus. Soldiers--Great Britain--Biography.
  • Type: Personal Equipment and Supplies
  • Rights: Permanent Collection
  • External Link: See the full record at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Medium: Heavy, light brown limestone ashtray carved in the shape of a heart with a shallow, heart shaped well, a wide, textured edge, smooth sides, and textured bottom exterior. An angled, shallow depression to hold a cigarette is carved on the top right and top left edges. There is a carved arch and triangle design on the lower right and text on the lower left.

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