On February 24, 1942, a tragedy occurred, which became only a small part of the Great War, which was going on in the world at that time. On this day, the ship "Struma" was lost in the Black Sea, on board of which there were Jewish refugees from Europe trying to find salvation from Nazi persecution in Palestine, which belonged to Britain at that time.
The death of "Struma" is one of the first examples of how our former "allies" in the Anti-Hitler coalition began to "shift" onto the Soviet Union responsibility for their own crimes, betrayals and the victims to which they led. It is for this reason that on the anniversary of those terrible events it is necessary to remember them once again. And also to pay tribute to both the dead and the true, and not fictitious, perpetrators of their death.
Ship of the doomed
So much has been written about the terrible fate that awaited practically all Jews without exception on the territory of the Third Reich that I think there is no need to repeat myself. At the same time, they did not have the best prospects in the countries that voluntarily became allies of Nazi Germany, in particular - in Romania, where the bloody regime of "conductor" Antonescu ruled the ball. The choice, in fact, was not great - concentration camps or immediate physical destruction. At the same time, the Jewish community on the Romanian territory numbered over 750 thousand people. In 1941, with the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, Jews who lived in Bessarabia and Bukovina, occupied by the Romanians, were also added to them. The only bright moment in this situation was that the local government officials had absolutely boundless greed far exceeded their loyalty to the ideas of "racial purity." Jews from Romania were released - though, as they say, naked and barefoot. They were obliged to transfer all their movable and immovable property to the state, of course, without forgetting how to "thank" the "merciful officials" for their salvation.
However, on this, the process of making money on the unfortunate was just beginning. In "civilized Europe" then they did not try to declare "universal values", and simple and eternal human feelings like mercy and compassion were alien to most of its inhabitants ... The only real way out of the war, Nazi psychosis and extermination of the "racially inferior" Old World for the Romanian Jews there was the port of Constanta, from which they had to sail through the entire Black Sea to reach the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, and then try to get to Palestine by the Mediterranean Sea.
It was in this port that the company with the enticing name “Travel Bureau“ Turismus Mondial ”settled down. Its founder, a Greek by nationality and an adventurer by vocation, Jean Pandelis, was actually educated as a dentist. technique... Nevertheless, in the case of the most ruthless and shameless rip-off of doomed people, ready for literally anything, he reached the heights of the American millionaires. To begin with, it should be mentioned that for its flights Mondial chartered troughs that were absolutely impossible to call either ships or ships. The fact that they did not fall apart immediately, as soon as they rolled away from the quay wall, was truly a miracle. As an example, I will cite that very floating misfortune, which we, in fact, will be talking about further. The Struma was launched in 1867 - that is, at the time of the events described, she was already 75 years old!
Moreover, this sloop, originally intended for the coastal transport of cattle, was a wooden sailing ship. In 1937, it was somehow sheathed with sheet metal and a diesel engine of 80 horsepower was installed. For comparison, the Zhiguli - "kopeck" of the standard model had an engine of 60 "horses" ... Letting IT out of the port with passengers was a crime. Sailing on such a tub across two seas in which the fighting was fought is a suicide. However, the people in front of whom loomed more than a real prospect of the gas chambers and crematoria of Auschwitz or Buchenwald really had no choice.
British sirs - white-gloved assassins
It must be said that the reception of passengers on board the "Struma" lasted for an unimaginably long time. It was a real auction for suicide bombers - initially, a ticket for a ship, which could theoretically take on board a hundred passengers, cost 30 thousand Romanian lei (about $ 100 - a mind-boggling amount at that time). However, by the time the sloop left Constanta, this amount had increased to 750 thousand lei! In those days, only a transatlantic cruise on the most luxurious liner in a top-class cabin could cost so much. A hold awaited passengers on the Struma, divided into sections by slit partitions, in which there were bunks knocked together "on a living thread". There were two lifeboats. On board on November 25, 1941, 768 passengers left Romania, 103 of whom were children. The oldest was a 70-year old man, the youngest was not even a year old ... A crew of 10 Bulgarian sailors managed the floating misunderstanding, under the leadership of a captain with a completely non-Bulgarian surname - Grigory Gorbatenko.
By some unknown luck, the Struma, which wisely raised the Panamanian flag, managed to limp to Istanbul. At the same time, as expected, it was not without troubles - in the Bosphorus region the sloop almost ran into a floating mine. The helmsman who orientated himself in time managed to give "full back", but this maneuver was the last, for which the decrepit engine's life force was enough. It was not possible to reanimate it later, and the team, raising a distress signal on the mast, waited for the patrol ship of the Turkish coast guard, which towed the Struma to Istanbul. In this city, the penultimate and most important act of the tragedy was destined to play out.
The representative of Turismus Mondial (another Greek - Georgios Lithopoulos), who was in the Turkish capital, said that he would not allocate even a broken penny for the repair of the undercarriage, and even more so for the change of the ship. He simply advised the crew to get out on all four sides, abandoning both the sloop and the passengers, while handing over all the salaries promised for the voyage. After some thoughts and conversations in a close circle, the sailors decided to stay, so that they would not wait for them further. No, I am firmly convinced that at least many of them were not Bulgarians ... Meanwhile, while the Struma, quarantined on December 20, 1941, was hanging out in the Istanbul port, the Turkish authorities started a lively correspondence with the British Embassy. The reason was quite understandable - the passengers of the "strayed" parody of the ship, as it follows from his documents, followed within the limits of British possessions. One cannot but pay tribute to the descendants of the Janissaries - they showed extraordinary kindness. In their letter addressed to the British ambassador Hugh Nachbull-Hughessen, they bluntly stated: "Struma" is in a completely appalling state and must not be released into the sea. If it is London's will, the Turkish government is ready to ensure the further route of all its passengers to Palestine by sea or by land.
Tellingly, they didn't even ask for money. It should be noted that the British diplomat behaved with dignity - he sent a dispatch to the Foreign Office in which he recommended “not to shift responsibility” to the Turks and to allow the refugees to get to Palestine, where they could be accepted at least in the role of illegal immigrants. It was not so. The sirs from London scolded the ambassador like a boy and said bluntly: "We don't need these people in Palestine!" The decision was not taken by ordinary clerks - in fact, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and Sir Harold McMichael, High Commissioner for Palestine, signed the death sentence on the passengers of the Struma.
Get them all in Russian!
The latter deigned to speak in the sense that the refugees "will be an unproductive element of the population" and, in addition, "moved down" to the fact that "there will certainly be Nazi agents among them." In fact, the truth was in completely different words of the same Eden: most of all he feared that “a positive decision regarding Struma would push many thousands of other Jews from Europe to emigrate to Palestine,” which London categorically did not want. How after that the sirs from the Foreign Office differ from the cannibals from the department of Heinrich Himmler, who raved about the "final solution of the Jewish question", I resolutely refuse to understand ... The negotiations between Istanbul, which daily risked getting big problems from the Germans, and London lasted 10 weeks, during which life on the "Strum" turned into hell - there, in conditions of crowded and unsanitary conditions, diseases began, there was not enough food, no medicine, no fuel ...
In the end, the British refused, despite their earlier consent, to accept even children under the age of 16. On February 23, 1942, the Turks lost their nerves. Tugs approached "Struma" under the cover of coast guard ships. The ship was literally taken by storm, despite the desperate resistance of unarmed refugees. After that, he was simply dragged to the Black Sea, where he was thrown into the wild. Despite the titanic efforts of the crew, it was not possible to start the engine, the sloop simply drifted towards its terrible fate. The denouement came literally the next day. According to the recollections of the only surviving passenger of the "Struma" - David Stolyar, the explosion thundered at dawn on February 24, 1942. The unfortunate boat, it is not known how it had been afloat before, sank almost instantly. Several dozen passengers, who did not go under the water with him, held out for a few minutes. Help didn't come from anywhere ...
One of the first to tell about the tragic incident was the newspaper Pravda, on February 26, 1942, which published the message "A new act of Hitler's atrocity", in which it was said that "a ship with refugees was sunk by a German or Romanian submarine." British newspapers blamed the Germans for the tragedy, in the Third Reich they blamed everything on an "unknown ship." And only the radio of fascist Italy from all the irons shouted that "it was done by the Russians." The question of the direct perpetrators of the death of "Struma" was raised only in the 60s of the twentieth century. Moreover, the German Jurgen Robber took the initiative, categorically declaring that he had "made a discovery": the sloop was sunk by the Soviet submarine Shch-213 under the command of Lieutenant Commander Dmitry Denezhko. Do you know on what grounds this "researcher" made his conclusion? According to him, "there is no mention of an attack on this ship in the Kriegsmarine archives." On "no" and there is no judgment ... Impeccable "logic"! Not caught, not a thief. But Denezhko, according to Robber and Claude Laine, who was the same terry anti-Soviet adviser from France, who supported him, just made an entry in the ship's log about the torpedo attack carried out on that day. Who torpedoed? Yes, the stump is clear, Strumu! In the event that we agree with this wretched version, we will have to recognize our drop as either a blind man, or a liar, or a complete idiot. The entry made by Denezhko refers to an attack on a ship flying the Bulgarian flag (not Panamanian at all!).
It also says in black and white that the target was moving and had a speed of about 3 knots. A torpedo launched with considerable anticipation on a drifting sloop would simply have gone into the depths of the sea without harming it. Also, the data on the dimensions of the attacked Shch-213 ship and the Struma are categorically inconsistent. Denezhko claimed that he had launched a torpedo into a ship with a displacement of 7 British tons, and the sloop had one of over 600. Yes, there were certain "postscripts" during the war, but the most severe control mechanisms existed in the Red Army and the Navy. For such shameless nonsense, one could easily and under the tribunal please. Moreover, not a single Soviet captain would simply waste a torpedo on such a fragile ship as the Struma. In 1942, there was a strain with ammunition. Almost 100% can be asserted - "Struma" died after running into a floating mine, with which the Black Sea was literally packed in those days.
The final point in the "Soviet version" of the sinking of the sloop should have been put by an expedition organized already in 2000 by Greg Buxton, the grandson of a married couple who died on the "Strum". Guided by the coordinates indicated in the writings of Rob, Lan and their followers from the USA Douglas Franz and Catherine Collins, who concocted a whole book about the "Russian atrocity in the Black Sea", he searched for a long time and with all diligence at the bottom of the sea debris, at least some traces the sunken "Struma". And I didn't find anything. From the word "absolutely" ... Nevertheless, the version that the deaths of almost eight hundred people on February 24, 1942 were not guilty of British officials who threw them to certain death, but Soviet sailors who fought the Nazis, is regularly voiced in the West by this day. What can you do - "highley like", as you can see, did not start yesterday and will not end tomorrow.