[Cz-L]Commemorating Emanuel A. Ziffer and the Struma Disaster

From: Edgar Hauster <bconcept_at_hotmail.com>
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2014 15:29:04 +0100
To: Czernowitz Discussion Group <czernowitz-l_at_cornell.edu>
Reply-To: Edgar Hauster <bconcept_at_hotmail.com>

Paul Brascanu drew my attention to an article in commemoration of Emanuel A. Ziffer, the "Father of the Bukovinian Railroad System", published by "Realitatea Evreiasca", the journal of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania in it's latest February 2014 edition, for you available at our ehpes.com Blog:


On the same page (9) you'll discover another article on "The Struma Disaster", which happened 72 years ago, in February 1942 and which claimed estimated 791 (current corrected figures) victims, many of them originally from Bukovina. Only one person aboard, 19 year old David Stoliar, survived.

Boris Marian, the author of the article, correctly accuses the former "His Majesty's Government" of having the main share of the blame for this disaster. Harold Macmillan, in 1942 Colonial Under-Secretary, stated during the House of Commons debate on March 11, 1942 as follows [emphasis added by me]:

"The 'Struma' was a converted yacht of about 200 tons. Flying the Panamanian flag, she left Constanza last October with some 769 Jews on board with the intention of effecting their entry illegally into Palestine. She reached Istanbul about mid-December, when she was described as being badly overcrowded, and thereafter considerable repairs to her engines had to be effected. While she was lying at Istanbul, the Turkish authorities intimated that the passengers could not be allowed to remain in Turkey. The Palestine Government also made it clear, with the support of His Majesty's Government, that they could not be admitted to Palestine. This action was in conformity with the policy consistently followed since the establishment of the mandatory régime and publicly confirmed by His Majesty's Government in November, 1940. When the Turkish authorities found that the passengers would not be admitted to Palestine, they decided on 23rd February to send the vessel back to the Black Sea. On 24th February news was received that she had sunk as a result of an explosion four or five miles from the entrance to the Bosphorus. The cause of the disaster is not definitely established. She may have struck a mine, but the possibility of her having been torpedoed is not excluded as a Turkish vessel was torpedoed in the vicinity about the time.


They had hoped that effect might have been given to the offer of the Palestine Government to admit to Palestine the children on board between the ages of 11 and 16, but this proved impracticable as the Turkish authorities did not feel themselves able to give the necessary permission to land.


It does not lie in their power, however, amid the dangers and uncertainties of war, to give any guarantee, nor can they be party to any measures which would undermine the existing policy regarding illegal immigration into Palestine, in view of the wider issues involved. Subject to these reservations, however, I can say that His Majesty's Government will endeavour, so far as lies in their power, to ensure that there is no recurrence of such a disaster as that which befell the 'Struma.'"


Don't forget!

Edgar Hauster
Lent - The Netherlands
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Received on 2014-02-27 07:40:43

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