Ceremony for Struma victims to be held in Istanbul for first time
Sevil Erkuş ANKARATurkey has issued a commemoration message the first time ever for the Struma tragedy, in which 764 Jews died in the Black Sea while trying to escaping the Holocaust.
The ceremony for the anniversary of the sinking of the Struma vessel will be held in Istanbul’s historic Sarayburnu neighborhood on Feb. 24 for the first time ever. It will be attended by a high profile figure from the government, probably a minister, a Turkish diplomat told the Hürriyet Daily News.
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.
“On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust, we respectfully commemorate all those who lost their lives on the Struma. We also extend our condolences to their relatives and to our Turkish-Jewish citizens, who remain sensitive to and saddened by this tragedy, which happened right before their eyes,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a written statement on Feb. 23.
“We share the deep sense of loss of those people, as we made efforts for them to survive,” it added.
This incident, regardless of the religious or ethnic background of the victims, is a “tragedy in human history and must be commemorated as such,” said the statement, stressing that Turkey always adopts a “humane approach” with respect to humanitarian tragedies and feels a responsibility for passing on the memory to future generations.
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 ended up getting towed out to the Black Sea. It was eventually sunk after being struck by a torpedo, likely fired by a Soviet submarine.