Turkey should apologize for the deaths of 766 Holocaust refugees whose Deputy MV Struma boat was sunk in February 1942 after the country refused to allow their boat to remain in port for repairs, said Knesset Member Moshe Feiglin.
The ship was towed away to the Black Sea, where it was a sitting duck for a mine or a Soviet torpedo.
Feiglin posted the demand on his Facebook page after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s won an apology from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for the deaths of nine Turkish terrorists who clubbed and kidnapped IDF commandos trying to stop their boat from reaching Hamas-controlled Gaza in May 2010.
Erdogan also is demanding $ 1 million compensation for each of the nine terrorists killed in the clash.
Feiglin, who heads the Jewish Leadership faction of the Likud, wrote, “The truth is that we don’t need an apology. And also not financial compensation. The Jewish people have a special skill. They know how to remember.”
Jews piled on the ship in Romania in December 1942 but their journey to Israel, which was then under the British Mandate, was scuttled when the boat docked at Istanbul.
Britain refused to give the referees visa and Turkey refused to allow them to enter the country.
After two months of being stuck in the port, Turkey towed to the ship into international waters, where it was sunk either by a mine of by a Soviet torpedo.
In an account of the boat’s hapless voyage written in “The Legacy of Islamic Anti-Semitism,” Bernard Wasserstein wrote, “It was a rough night in the Black Sea on February 24, 1942. Ten kilometers or so from the shore, a 75 year-old, 240-ton converted yacht, carrying 767 Jewish refugees from Romania, exploded, probably after being hit by a torpedo, fired in error by a Soviet submarine.
“The vessel sank with the loss of all except one of the passengers. The Struma had left Constanza [Romania] on December 12, 1941, bound for Palestine. But on arrival at Istanbul three days later, her engine broke down and she was unable to proceed. While engineers tried unsuccessfully to restore the ship to seaworthiness, the Turkish and British governments wrangled about the onward passage of the refugees.
“The Turks refused to allow them to land unless they had guarantees of admission to some other country. The British refused to grant them certificates to enter Palestine. The failure of the two governments to agree culminated in the boat being towed out to sea and abandoned to the waves…
“The only force used in the episode was that applied by between one and two hundred Turkish policemen who overpowered resistance from the debilitated refugees and supervised the towing of the rotten, still engine-less hulk out beyond territorial waters. They then abandoned the passengers to near-certain death.”
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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