Belated remembrance

The ill-fated Struma illustrates what happens when Jews rely on others’ goodwill.

The ill-fated Struma illustrates what happens when Jews rely on others’ goodwill.

The excesses of Chutzpah never cease to amaze. A galling example was provided by Turkey’s purportedly big-hearted recent memorial for the 768 Jewish refugees (103 of them babies and children) who drowned off its coast on February 24, 1942 when WWII already raged.

These refugees from Nazi horrors were packed like sardines on the unseaworthy Danube barge Struma which left the Rumanian port of Constanza heading “illegally” toward British-mandated Eretz Yisrael. It barely made it into Istanbul Harbor. It couldn’t continue. Its makeshift motor failed. There was no fuel, food or water.

Contrary to what was asserted at the ceremony, Turkey was hardly magnanimous.

Moreover, for the first time in 73 years, official Turkey saw fit to remember but not to apologize – although it insisted on Israel’s apology for foiling the 2010 Mavi Marmara provocation. In its first-ever Struma commemoration, Turkey’s foreign ministry very belatedly – almost three-quarters of a century inexplicably too late – “extended condolences to the victims’ relatives and to Turkish-Jewish citizens.”

The ministry averred that “Turkey always, adopts a humane approach with respect to humanitarian tragedies that occur in its vicinity.” It also was content to blame the Struma’s sinking on the Soviets, realizing full well that they unknowingly only delivered the coup de grace to the helpless refugees.

Turkey’s official line nowadays is that the Struma was only anchored in its waters “for a few days.” In fact, it was a 75-day (from December 12 to February 24) spectacle of apathy and inhumanity in which the Turkish role was most prominent.

Turkey was then supposedly neutral but its much-ballyhooed nonalignment didn’t extend to outcast Jewish refugees. The Arabs – who were openly and unreservedly Nazism’s avid collaborators – pressured London into denying endangered Jews asylum in the Jewish homeland and His Majesty government did precisely that.

Ankara adamantly refused to let anyone off the crippled boat except for the handful who had British entry visas. Turkey’s premier argued that “Turkey cannot be expected to serve as a refuge or surrogate homeland for people unwanted anywhere else.”

Thus hundreds were imprisoned for two-and-a-half months in narrow, unventilated confines. A sign saying “Help!” was suspended over the Struma’s side.

The freezing hull below reeked, but there wasn’t sufficient room on deck. Refugees took turns to climb up for a breath of air. There was no sleeping space for all, no infirmary, no galley, no bathing or sanitary facilities. Minimal food rations, provided by local Jews, were smuggled aboard after enough Turkish palms were greased.

Eventually, Turkey threatened to tow the floundering deathtrap beyond its territorial waters. The Jewish Agency warned that “the boat is in total state of disrepair and without life-saving equipment. Any sea-journey for this vessel cannot but end in disaster.”

The Turkish government, nonetheless, pitilessly ordered the condemned Struma tugged out to the Black Sea. Hundreds of truncheon-wielding Turkish policemen were dispatched to the Struma on February 23. They viciously clubbed passengers below deck. Despite resistance from the refugees, the anchor was cut, the Struma was dragged out and was left paralyzed, to drift precariously without supplies or a drop of fuel.

On February 24 an explosion ripped it apart. A Soviet submarine, Shchuka-213, patrolled northeast of the Bosporus. Stalking Axis craft, it torpedoed the wobbly Struma, which sank in minutes. It’s estimated that as many as 500 were killed outright by the blast. The rest flapped feebly in the waves, till they expired of wounds, fatigue and hypothermia. One lone survivor hung on, semi-conscious.

Why did Turkey only remember the Struma now?

A pageant of ostensible solidarity was produced at a time when Turkey sides with the Jewish state’s most genocidal enemies and castigates Israel in what can only be described as anti-Semitic overtones, including outbursts from its viscerally anti-Israeli president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Therefore, while we welcome any empathy with the Jewish people, we cannot but suspect that rather than voicing genuine remorse, Turkey’s memorial served as a cynical ploy to expediently disguise other sentiments.

For Israelis, more than anything, the Struma powerfully illustrates what happens when Jews rely on others’ goodwill.

8 thoughts on “Belated remembrance

  1. Dear Sarah,
    After much thought and introspection, I’ve come to the conclusion that the goyim can sometimes not be very nice people.
    When will they ever learn to be as pristine, good natured, and altogether lovable as we Jews are?
    Maybe on the day Obama learns to say “Islamic terror”.
    שבוע טוב

  2. Yes, and although I am writing from the US, we are on our own including adequate munitions supplies. I believe 2006 was cut short due to a lack of munitions as existing stocks ran dangerously low and the US held up supplies (sound familiar?).

    In the words of Turkish PM Erdogan regarding the term “moderate Islam” to describe the AKP party – “These descriptions are very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.”

    Now, let’s take a peek at to what he is referring.

    Search for the following. jihad watch islam 101

    Search for the following. The Brussels Journal, The Truth About Islam in Europe. You may also find the article by searching for as follows. Western Civilization and Culture, The Truth About Islam in Europe. Skip to the twenty first paragraph which starts out with “Robert Davis’ methodical enumeration in Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters indicates that perhaps one and one-quarter million white European Christians were enslaved by Barbary Muslims from 1530 through 1780.”

    Note that Allah is not the same as G-d, and Islam although “monothesism” is not the same as Judasim.

    The following are from multiple sources.

    “Fight them until there is no more chaos and [all] religion belongs to Allah” (8:39).”

    “slay the idolaters wherever you find them” (9:5)

    “until they pay the jizya with willing submissiveness and feel themselves utterly subdued” (9:29)

    9:33. It is He {Allah} Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam), to make it superior over all religions

    9:80 “You Muhammad, may ask forgiveness for them, or not ask forgiveness for them…Even if you asked forgiveness for them seventy times, Allah still would not forgive them..That is because they have rejected Allah and His Messenger. Allah does not guide deviant people.”

    (47:4) “Therefore when you meet those who disbelieve, strike their necks—

    “Learn about Islam. That is the most important thing for people to do. Learn who it is that you are not.” – Samuel Lurie

    The first step in dealing with Islam and its followers is to learn about it and the nature of its followers, and then to educate others.

  3. Israel MUST NOT embark on todays Struma…the nuclear talks with Iran.
    THAT journey would be the last of the Jewish state.

  4. No question but that the Jews on the Struma were murdered. So why would Turkey, especially now, with its Islamist, egomaniacal president and Parliament, erect a monument to this not so long-ago tragedy? Very strange, indeed. I first read about the Struma in Leon Uris’ book Exodus. and I had visions of an old tramp steamer, but the picture above shows what appears to be an overgrown yacht. Whose fault was it? Those who pulled the trigger and those who allowed it. The Turks had behaved bestially towards the Jews in WW1, in Palestine and elsewhere. Even though the Ottoman Empire ended in 1918, the Turks have never lost their penchant for murder, which extends to their own.(example; Midhat Pasha, the great reformer of 19th century Turkey, was strangled by Sultan Abdul Hamid’s assassins, in 1883) No wonder the phrase “turned Turk”(to describe one who turned against his friends/countrymen, or betrayed those whom they had previously supported) was popular in Europe and the USA in the 19th and 20th centuries. Unfortunately, the USA wouldn’t open its doors, either. And Sarah is absolutely right to be suspicious of this too-long belated monument to the victims of Turkish and Soviet treachery.

    • Not strange at all. Its a set-up. When you sense that you might have a chance to jump in along with Iran’s nuclear program to annihilate our people, you set up conditions to make it look like you are treating your intended victim with great compassion. Then, when your victim (Israel and her people) make the slightest move to defend themselves, you have what would appear to be the perfect excuse to cry foul and retaliate with all possible force.

      Fact is, because we represent the good, evil people hate us because evil cannot show its face or survive in the presence of good. Its the hatred of the good. Evil people will hate us regardless of whether we win, loose or draw. But if we decide to win and survive, although we will still be hated, we will be alive and at least respected.

  5. According to Wikipedia, the Struma was in fact, a schooner, originally steam-powered, but having in 1942, an unreliable diesel engine. The ship was only 240 tons in weight, 148 feet long, and 19 feet wide. And 781 people were packed on board. 768 was the original figure, but they’ve since updated that to 781, after a study of 6 passenger lists. Whatever the figure, a death ship. David Stoliar, the sole survivor, died in 2014.

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