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For 1st time, Romania commemorates Holocaust refugees who died when Struma torpedoed

Romanian officials for the first time commemorated the victims of the sinking 80 years ago of the Struma, a ship that carried hundreds of Holocaust refugees from Romania.

The ceremony Tuesday took place in the coastal city of Constanţa in southern Romania, from which the ship set sail in 1941 with an estimated 770 refugees, including more than 100 children, aboard, as well as 10 crew members.

In 1942, a Red Army submarine mistook the Struma for a hostile vessel after Turkish authorities towed it away from its dock in Istanbul and left it in international waters without a working engine or an anchor. The sub torpedoed the ship, leaving only one survivor.

During the ceremony, which was attended by about 80 people, Romanian Rear Admiral Mihai Panait, the top commander of the country’s navy, and Florin Goidea, the director of the Constanţa Port, laid wreaths on the waters beside the dock from which the Struma set sail.

“It’s the first time that Romania officially commemorates the Struma’s tragedy on Romanian soil, and it’s part of the efforts of successive governments in recent years to face the past and the events of the Holocaust era, when half of the country’s Jewish community was murdered,” David Saranga, Israel’s ambassador to Romania, who also attended the event, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Read More: Times of Israel