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With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & Maritime Lecturer


Page Four

Israel’s Flagship - SS Shalom

The Story of SS Shalom’s Brilliant Naval Architect

Commander Edmond Wilhelm Brillant (1916 - 2004)


Please Note: All images on Page 4 and 5, except those marked otherwise, are from the official archives of the Estate of the late Naval Architect, Commander Edmond Wilhelm Brillant (1916 - 2004), which is now under the control of his son Mr. Avi Brillant. All of Mr Brilliant’s material is protected under strict international copyright law. Please be respectful of this, in the memory of a great maritime man! The author has been given kind and exclusive permission to use these and present the story only, which has been a great privilege!


Reuben Goossens.

Commander (Mr) Edmond Wilhelm Brillant seen on the left, as he studies the plans of the SS Shalom

The building of SS Shalom was supervised and managed by project manager Captain Rimon, however the project technical superintendent happened to be a borrowed IDF (Israel Defence Force) Naval officer and architect *Commander Edmond Wilhelm Brillant. He was hired by ZIM at various times to lead a number of major ship building projects for their merchant fleet. For this reason he moved to based in Saint-Nazaire France and there he led the massive SS Shalom project at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyards.

*Edmond Wilhelm Brillant (the Levi) (1916–2004) was a superb naval architect and he was one of the founding fathers of the Israeli Navy and was commissioned into the Israeli Merchant Marine and the as a Marine Engineer for the ZIM Navigation Company. But he dedicated his best years for the Navy build-up.

Mr. Brillant was born in Jaroslaw Galicia, Poland, and he was the youngest son among the four sons of the famous pharmacist Mr. Wiktor Brillant and his wife Laura Brillant (née Sturmlauf). Mr. Edmond W Brillant was a flight amateur and joined the gliding club of Jaroslaw at the age of 13. There he studied building gliders, aircraft, gliding and flight. He graduated from the Augusta Witkowskiego Jaroslaw Gymnasium (high school) in 1934 and commenced his MD studies. However, since he had a technical tendency, Mr. Brillant started learning accurate mechanics in Lviv. He decided to emigrate to Israel (then still called Palestine by the British) in 1936 on board of SS Polonia from Port of Constanta having a Hebrew Technion Certificate, and he resided in Haifa and soon he was a fully qualified engineer. During World War II, Mr. Brillant he joined the Royal Navy as a Chief Petty Officer as a Engine Room Artificer and as it has ben written in various works, “Brillant's engineering skills were of 'great importance' to the Navy.”

Royal Navy Officer Brillant seen at Port Said in 1942

He left the Royal Navy in 1946.” Edmond W Brillant met and in due course met his one love Rosita Segal in the 1950’s.

Official wedding photo of Edmond and Rosita

The Shalom was designed according to the principles of the era, with engines placed two-thirds aft and two slim funnels placed side-by side instead of a single large traditional funnel. The funnel design in particular resembled the great SS Rotterdam of Holland America Line as well as the P&O Lines SS Canberra, both of which were still under construction at the time the Shalom was being designed. Her hull and superstructure design were optimized for the Atlantic Ocean, with her promenade decks entirely glass-enclosed, thus suitable in the cooler climes and windy conditions In her original livery Shalom was almost entirely white, with an all-white hull, superstructure and white funnels, having only small blue bands around them, with the Zim Lines logo between them. Originally her name and homeport were written on her hull in both the Latin and Hebrew alphabet.

TH excellent model of the S.S. Shalom by Commander Edmond Brillant

Shalom’s public spaces were spread over two decks, originally named Rainbow and Olive Branch, which were the sixth and seventh highest passenger accessible decks respectively. Facilities included a Cinema, Wintergarden, Tavern, Shopping Center, a Night Club, and several Lounges for both First and Tourist class.

The Shalom is seen during her building

Upon completion the Shalom was launched on November 10, 1962, and was placed at her fitting out berth where she was named and dedicated by the wife of David Ben Gurion, Mrs Paula ben Gurion.

The as yet unnamed Shalom is launched on November 10, 1962


Still in France – crowds are arriving for the official naming and dedication if the Israeli flagship


French bands play as Mrs Paula ben Gurion arrives


The dais where the dedication will take place


 Mrs Paula ben Gurion getting ready to officiate for the dedication of the SS Shalom

Then having been fully fitting out she commenced her deep-sea trials on January 24, 1964 and having completed them successfully she headed for Haifa. Upon arrival at the port of Haifa on March 3, she hosted the Israeli flag for the very first time and the Shalom received a massive reception by the people of Israel, for their grand flagship had finally arrived, she would be the pride of Israel!

 An excellent stern view of the just completed SS Shalom as seen still at St Nazeire, France


Fully dressed with her flags, she is ready to depart for Haifa where she will be stocked and manned before she commenced her duties


Mr & Mrs Brillant’s invitation to a Celebration Meal on Board the SS Shalom on March 20 1964


This is a special for the special occasion on March 20, 1964 



Above & below: March 1964 time to celebrate the SS Shalom’s completion - Mr. Brillant is at the top of the table wearing glasses in both images



Commander Brillant is received as an Associate to the “London Institute of Marine Engineering” in 1964


Mr and Mrs Brillant are seen here with the Captain of the SS Jerusalem on their way home to Haifa from France


What became of the SS Shalom

SS Shalom first operated a number of short cruises out of Haifa the first commenced on March 20, before embarking on her fully booked first crossing to New York on 17 April 1964. However, by the time she entered service, the transatlantic liner trade was already in decline, with more passengers crossing the Atlantic by air rather than by sea. After just six months of service, and in order to make her better suited for cruise duties the Shalom was rebuilt in October 1964 at the famed Wilton-Feyenoord Shipyards in Rotterdam, the Netherlands that saw an increased the number of first-class cabins and other improved facilities. However, sadly Israel’s proud flagship, SS Shalom was sold to the German Atlantic Line in 1967, being just three and a half years after she had commenced services out of Haifa.

The balance of her history can be found on Page Three via the INDEX below!

SS Shalom departs New York City around 1965

Provided by a dear shipping friend of ssMaritime!



The SS Shalom was as we all know Israel’s largest passenger liner ever to be built and she would be Zim Lines pride and joy although be it for a rather short time. After SS Shalom had been completed, the very brilliant Mr. Brillant moved to Toulon in France and he managed the building of two further fine ZIM Line freighters, being the INS Keshet and the INS Noga.

The launching of the Israeli cargo ship Keshet (meaning bow) at Toulon


Keshet at her fitting out berth and almost ready for duties 


The next Mr Brillant was associated with was the Israeli cargo ship Noga (meaning venus), seen here almost ready for floating out


In 1981 Mr Brillant at his retirement celebration and receives his certificate re his many great achievements

from Zim Lines executives; the CEO, Mr. Yehuda Rotem is seen in the grey suit


Please Note: This story and all images, except those marked otherwise are from the official archives of the Estate of the late Naval Architect, Commander Edmond Wilhelm Brillant (1916 - 2004), which are now under the control of his son, Mr. Avi Brillant and these are protected under strict international copyright law, as is the Deck Plan on Page 5. Please be respectful of this in the memory of a great maritime man!



Introduction:     ZIM Lines early history & their early smaller passenger ships, such as …

                                    SS Kedmah, SS Negbah, SS Galilah & SS Artsa.

Page One:          SS Jerusalem I, ZIM’s very first Trans Atlantic passenger liner.

Page Two:         SS Israel, SS Zion, SS Jerusalem (II), SS Theodor Herzl & MS Moledet.

Page Three:       SS Shalom, Hanseatic, Doric, Royal Odyssey, Regal Sun, SunIsrael’s Grandest Liner!

Page Four:         SS Shalom, Mr. Edmond Wilhelm Brillant the ships naval architect and new photo’sThis Page.

Page Five:          SS Shalom, Deck Plans from the official archives of Estate of Edmond Wilhelm Brillant, Naval Architect.


Who is the Author of ssMaritime?

Commenced in the passenger Shipping Industry in May 1960


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Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are by the author or from the author’s private collection. In addition there are some images that have been provided by Shipping Companies and private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are some photographs provided to me without details regarding the photographer/owner concerned. I hereby invite if owners of these images would be so kind to make them-selves known to me in order that due credit may be given.

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