Turkey marks anniversary of 1942 refugee ship disaster

Turkey on Saturday commemorated the victims of the Struma disaster of 1942, when a vessel carrying an estimated 769 Jewish refugees was torpedoed by a Soviet submarine in the Black Sea.

In a written statement, the Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Hami Aksoy said: "We commemorate in sorrow all those who lost their lives in the Struma tragedy, while escaping the Holocaust, one of the gravest disasters in human history.”

The Istanbul Governorship also hosted a commemoration ceremony with the participation of representatives of the Turkish Jewish Community, it added.

On Feb. 24, 1942, the Struma -- a vessel which departed from Constanta in Axis-allied Romania -- sank after it was torpedoed in international waters of the Black Sea, off the coast of the Istanbul province's Sile.

The disaster killed 768 people -- including 103 children -- who had been fleeing the Holocaust. There was only one survivor, 19-year-old David Stoliar, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 91.