Born: 1922, Kishinev, Romania
Describes conditions on board the "Struma" during the journey to Istanbul [Interview: 1997]
In 1936, David moved to Bucharest to live with his father. As Romania came under German influence, Romanian authorities introduced increasingly harsh measures against Jews. Antisemitic agitation increased and Jews came under attack in the streets of Bucharest and in other public places. David's father decided David should leave the country and arranged passage for him to Palestine. In December 1941, David left Romania from Constanta, a port city on the Black Sea, on the "Struma," an old cattle boat. The boat had engine trouble and reached Istanbul, Turkey, its first stop on the way to Palestine, only with great difficulty. Turkish authorities did not permit the passengers to disembark while negotiations about their onward voyage took place. They ultimately refused transit for the passengers and towed the "Struma," neither provisioned nor seaworthy, back into the Black Sea. Within hours, a Soviet submarine patrolling for Axis shipping mistakenly torpedoed the "Struma." Out of 769 Jewish passengers, David was the sole survivor.
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