Until today, I had never heard of the SS Struma and the nearly 800 Jewish refugees who were killed aboard this vessel. It was seventy years ago today, 24 FEB 1942, when a soviet submarine torpedoed the Struma, killing all but one person aboard her.
From the Jerusalem Post:
The Russian Shchuka (Щука) class submarine SC-213, responsible for the sinking of SS STRUMA, with 768 passengers and crew killed.
This atrocity was the coldblooded handiwork of Great Britain (committed while it combated the Germans but remarkably without compassion for their Jewish victims), supposedly neutral Turkey (whose so-called nonalignment didn’t extend to outcast Jewish refugees), by the Arabs (who were openly and unreservedly Nazism’s avid collaborators and who pressured London into denying endangered Jews asylum in the Jewish homeland) and, finally, by the Russians (who targeted the immobilized sardine can that carried Jews to whom nobody would allow a toehold on terra firma).The Struma was an ancient, decrepit barge with a cobbed together engine that fled the Rumanian port of Constana with its human cargo on 8 DEC 1941. On 12 DEC 1941 the Struma finally reached Istanbul, Turkey. Once there, the refugees anticipated that the Britsh would allow them to continue on to what would later become Israel. But they would need assistance as the Struma's engine had failed and the refugees were out of food and water. Permission to proceed and assistance were both denied. This condition persisted for over two months while the Jews languished in the harbor. Living conditions aboard the Struma became hellish.
The entire world seemed united in signaling Jews how utterly unwanted they were anywhere.
The British didn’t bother to answer ensuing emotional Jewish Agency entreaties on January 30 and February 10. Then they acquiesced to the entry of four visa-holders, who only at this point were permitted to disembark. More news of the dreadful conditions on the Struma now came out.Scores of Jews died from disease and malnutrition before the Turkish government stormed the ship on 23 FEB 1942, savagely beat the refugees, cut the anchors and towed it out into the Black Sea where they abandoned it. The next day the Russians sank it.
The new British line was that the Struma’s refugees were suspect Nazi agents because they came from enemy territory. The assertion that the Germans’ most hideously persecuted victims were their tormenters’ spies was labeled “Satanic” in embryonic Israel.
Go here to read the full, grotesque story. And never question why Israel relies upon itself for defense.
The Soviet Submarine SC-213 was sunk on October 14, 1942, when it hit a Romanian mine in the Black Sea. The wreck was found in 2008, but it took 2 years to identify her. Obviously all hands were lost. Pity.