The Struma Disaster: February 24th, 1942The Struma, that sailed from Constanza in Romania on December 12th, 1941, with 769 Jewish immigrants running away from the Nazis and 10 crew members, was heading for today´s Israel.
The Struma Immigration Ship was sunk by a torpedo from a Russian submarine, 78 years ago today, on February 24th, 1942.
When it was the year 1941, and the 4000 Jews in Romania's Iassy city was brutally murdered by the Nazis, the Jews in Romania had no other choice but to flee to Palestine.
When the ship's engine broke down, the refugees boarding the old cargo barge that was suitable to carry no more than 150 passengers, paying all the wealth they had, wanted to take shelter in Istanbul but couldn't disembark because of the war conditions of the time and the ship's engine could not be fixed. Nazi Germany of the time pressuring Ankara politically had prevented the people on the ship to disembark.
There was an acute shortage of food and drinking water, despite help provided by the Jewish community of Istanbul. The passengers suffered from cold, filth and hunger.
Despite the despairing appeals of the captain, the ship was unable to continue on its way and was towed into the Black Sea on February 23rd, 1942. On the morning of February 24th, the ship that was drifted all night long went down into the dark waters of the Black Sea with a mighty explosion.
768 refugees of whom 103 were children were dead. Only a 20-year-old passenger named David Stoliar and the second captain named Ivanof Diko could survive the disaster.