Exodus Prize

The town of La Spezia is known as the “Gateway to Sion”, because at the end of the Second World War it became the departure point for the survivors of the Nazi concentration camps.

From the summer of 1945 to the spring of 1948, over 23,000 Jews managed secretly to leave Italy for Palestine. After long, anguishing preparations, the ships Fede, Fenice and Exodus all sailed out of the Gulf of La Spezia, with the result that on Israeli geographical maps La Spezia is shown with the name of “Schàar Zion”, “Gateway to Sion”. La Spezia figures in the List of the Righteous and in 2006 it was awarded the Gold Medal by the Presidency of the Italian Republic.

Each year, to commemorate this important event, La Spezia holds the Exodus Award for intercultural exchange.