Victims of Struma disaster remembered in Istanbul
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
DHA PhotoA ceremony to remember the sinking of the Struma vessel, in which 764 Jews died in the Black Sea while trying to escape the Holocaust, was held in Istanbul Feb. 24.
Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Ömer Çelik attended the ceremony at the Sepetçiler Kasrı, the waterfront pavilion facing the Bosphorus, along with Israeli Consul-General to Istanbul Shai Cohen, Turkey’s chief rabbi Isak Haleva, Istanbul Gov. Vasip Şahin, Turkish Jewish Community deputy leader Moris Levi, a group of Turkish officials, religious representatives, artists and Jewish Turkish citizens.
Pious Jews, including Haleva, prayed for the victims. Turkey tries not to let the pain of the disaster be forgotten, Çelik said in a speech.
“We have launched this ceremony to make a pact that such incidents will not be repeated,” he said.
“Historic events such as Struma show us that as long as we do the right thing because it is right to do so and undertake the responsibility, you can lend the generations of tomorrow a more honorable past and a stronger future,” said Levi.
The ceremony is a magnificent event said Haleva. We will pray that such things are not repeated from now on.
In 1942, the Struma vessel carrying Jewish refugees, outbound from the port of Constanza, sank after it was torpedoed by a Soviet submarine off the cost of Şile, in the international waters of the Black Sea. Some 768 people perished, including 103 children and the entire crew.
The Struma disaster took place after the British authorities officially declared that no more Jews would be accepted to Palestine. As a result, the Turkish authorities did not allow anyone to leave the boat while it was docked in Istanbul, and it was towed out to the Black Sea. It was eventually sunk after being struck by a torpedo, fired by a Soviet submarine.