Turkey on Thursday paid respect to the hundreds of Jewish refugees who lost their lives in the Struma disaster while trying to flee Nazi persecution during WWII.
The Struma vessel carrying refugees fleeing the Nazi regime and its collaborators was torpedoed by a Soviet submarine in the international waters of the Black Sea on Feb. 24, 1942, said the Foreign Ministry in a statement.
To commemorate the 768 people who lost their lives in this "tragic incident," a memorial ceremony will be held in Istanbul on Feb. 24 this year, too, it added.
The Struma was torpedoed in an attack on Feb. 24, 1942, by a Soviet submarine, allegedly by mistake. It was carrying 768 Jews fleeing persecution at the hands of Nazis and was stranded on Istanbul’s coast. Turkey pursued a neutral policy during the war and delayed granting the vessel permission to cross the Bosporus after it left Romania in December 1941 for then British-occupied Palestine. As days passed, disease broke out and the ship was placed in quarantine before it was towed out to sea by authorities, just a day before it was torpedoed. Only one man survived the disaster.