views updated May 17 2018


Ship on which Jewish World War II refugees died, in part because of Britain's wartime refugee policy.

In October 1941, the 180-ton Romanian coastal vessel Struma, which normally carried one hundred passengers, sailed for Haifa with almost one thousand Jewish refugees. The ship broke down at Istanbul on 16 December because of overloading, a leaking hull, and defective engines. Turkey would not permit the passengers to land without British certificates for Palestine, but the British refused to issue them.

Since the refugees could not go forward and could not return to Romania, the Struma remained in port for ten weeks. The British refused the appeal of the Jewish Agency to permit the refugees entrance to Palestineif only for later transport to Mauritius, an island in the Indian Ocean. On 24 February, Turkey towed the Struma with its passengers out to sea, where six miles from shore it sank; it is not known whether it capsized, struck a mine, or was hit by a torpedo. Some 70 children, 269 women, and 428 men drownedonly 2 swam to safety.

This event became the symbol for the Jewish community in Palestine (the Yishuv) of Britain's unrelenting World War II policy toward the Jewish refugees of Nazi-occupied Europe.

see also yishuv.


Morse, Arthur D. While Six Million Died: A Chronicle of American Apathy. New York: Random House, 1968.

Sachar, Howard M. A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time, 2d revised and updated edition. New York: Knopf, 1996.

miriam simon


views updated Jun 11 2018

struma (stroo-mă) n. (pl. strumae) a swelling of the thyroid gland (see goitre). s. ovarii a teratoma of the ovary containing thyroid tissue that becomes active and causes thyrotoxicosis. See also Riedel's struma.


views updated May 18 2018

struma (path.) scrofula XVI; scrofulous swelling, goitre XVII; (bot.) swelling at base of petiole XIX. — L. strūma scrofulous tumour.