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 Palestine—if 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 drowned—only 2 swam to safety.
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.