Sinking of the “Struma”
In December 1941, 769 Jews boarded the old cattle boat Struma in the port of Constanta, Romania; their destination was Eretz Israel.
The boat reached the port of Constantinople, where it remained at anchor for over two months with its passengers confined on board, as they did not have entry permits for Eretz Israel.
The many pleas from various quarters to the British to permit the entry of the Jews on the basis of the existing modest legal immigration quota were to no avail. The Turkish authorities, for their part, were adamant in refusing permission to transfer the would-be immigrants to a transit camp on land until the resumption of their voyage could be arranged, even though the camp was maintained by Jewish organizations at their own expense.
On February 24, 1942, the Turkish police towed the boat into the open sea, although it had no water, food, or fuel on board. Within a few hours it was sunk, struck by a torpedo apparently fired in error from a Soviet submarine. Only a single passenger was saved.