Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The British Anti-Semitic White Paper and How it Killed 781 Romanian Jews

Nadene Goldfoot                                                     
Jews hearing of the White Paper over loud speakers on Jaffa Road in Palestine's Tel Aviv 1939
The British's act of anti- Semitism held power over the Turks in a 1942 disaster to 781 Jewish refugees in the ship, Struma.  The cause of this anti- Semitism was THE WHITE PAPER written in 1939.
This was at the onset of World War I.  Germany had clamped down on their Jews in every way.  Their citizenship had been eliminated.  Many were now fleeing for free countries.  Britain came up at an inopportune time with this statement of Palestine policy of which they held the mandate.  Malcolm MacDonald had submitted it after the failure of conversations by the British with Jewish and Arab delegations.
                                                                       
For a country who gave the USA and Israel their basis of Democracy, for a country who freed their slaves way before the USA did, they have shown more anti-Semitism and at a time of the Jewish need to have a friend.  It was their need for oil that determined a need far greater than the lives of Jews to them.    

England had first come up with the Balfour Declaration, an official statement issued on November 2, 1917.  It was written by the British foreign secretary, Arthur James BALFOUR, and declared that the British government favors the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities  in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.                                                   

"On July 24, 1922, the League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations, issued a formal recognition of the Jewish nation’s connection to the Land of Israel, and approved the decision to establish a Jewish national homeland in the historical Land of Israel."

By July 24, 1922, the Balfour Declaration was accepted by the League of Nations who all voted for the creation of the Jewish National Home.  They had been created to deal with the affects of WWI, never realizing that WWII was right around the corner in the 1930s starting in Germany again.  "The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I was more than 41 million: there were over 18 million deaths and 23 million wounded, ranking it among the deadliest conflicts in human history.
These Jewish ladies in Palestine demonstrated against the
White Paper. They fully understand its consequences.

Jewish lives did not matter, and there was no movement, except in tiny quarters of Palestine of Jews who all cared.  

The White Paper declared the British intention of setting up in 10 years an independent Palestinian state in which Jews and Arabs would participate in the government proportionately to their numbers. This is not what was decided by the League of Nations when they awarded Britain with the mandate over Palestine.  It was with the direction that they should help Jews to create a Jewish National Homeland.

As it has turned out, Israel, by Israel's own decision, have included Arabs as citizens and they are in the government.  Israel is the only Jewish state in the world.
                                                                     
33rd American President Harry Truman with Chaim Weizmann
Truman was president from 1945 to 1953, voted at UN for Israel as a state
Roosevelt was president from 1933 to 1945
       Britain let the world know through this White Paper what their new direction will be.  They had become very gracious to Arabs,  due to the discovery of oil in the Middle East and the fact that they can see another world war progressing with a need for oil.  They seem to have discarded the knowledge that it was Chaim Weizmann, chemist, a leader of proposing a Jewish State out of the fallen Ottoman Empire that invented the power to make British ammunition much more effective than other ammunitions which helped them to win the 1st world war in the first place. He had invented acetone-butyl.
                                                                             
Weizmann and Feisal 
 It was Weizmann who received the Balfour Declaration of a Jewish Homeland out of the Ottoman holdings of Palestine and had worked with Emir Feisal, most powerful Arab in the Middle East of the day.   This was a slap in the face to the Jewish leaders who had worked so hard to gain their ancient land back.                                                     
WWII started September 1, 1939 and ended September 2, 1945

The White Paper of 1939 was set up to only allow 75,000 Jews to enter over 5 years to 1944 which would be the end of WWII.  After 1944, Jewish immigration would only be allowed on the Arab's agreement - or permission.  Land sales to Jews would be restricted or forbidden in the majority of the country.
                                                                         
STRUMA in Istanbul Port 1942
The Zionist movement aroused fierce opposition  but the  White Paper did the damage and guided British policy in the coming years, anyway.  Jews who needed to enter were kept out of Palestine when they needed it the most.  For instance, the story of the ship, Struma, is a perfect example.   The death of these 781 Jews is on the British head just as Germany has had the deaths of the other 6 million who lost their lives because of their anti-Semitism.

Romanian Jews were facing death at the start of WWII.  Palestine, the future Jewish Homeland, was their only hope as other countries were closing their doors to Jews-one reason being they didn't have baptismal certificates that Christians would have.  So in 1941, two Jewish groups; the New Zionist Organization and the Betar Zionist Youth  Movement pooled their money and chartered the ship, STRUMA, to take Jewish refugees from Romania to Palestine  She left Romania on December 12, 1941 with a crew of 10 and 781 refugees.  Her diesel engine wasn't working so a tug towed her out to sea.  She drifted overnight while her crew tried in vain to start her engine.  After failing, the crew sent SOS signals and the next day the ship returned to the harbor and the tug's crew repaired the engine but for more money.  The refugees gave up their wedding rings in exchange for the repair job.
                                                                           

The Struma got under way but the engine failed again by December 15th and this time she was towed into Istanbul's port in Turkey.  The Turkish mechanics failed at repairing the engine.  10 weeks went by with British diplomats and Turkish officials talking about the refugees.  There was unrest going on in Palestine with Arabs attacking Jewish towns.  The German attitude towards Jews had permeated the Arab communities.  German literature was very popular with Arabs.  The White Paper from the British also caused unrest towards the Jews.  Britain was determined to keep Jewish immigration to a minimum.  Turkey, under British pressure, denied the refugees permission to come ashore.  Only one lady who had suffered a miscarriage was allowed to leave the ship and was taken to an Istanbul hospital.

Over two  months had gone by with all passengers remaining on the ship from the 15th of December to the 23rd of February when the Turkish authorities boarded the Struma to see her dead engine.  They had her towed back to the Black Sea and cast her adrift about 10 miles from their shore of Istanbul. The Turkish captain was "maritime Captain Ahmet Erdogan, father of today's Turkish leader." 
                                                                     
On the next morning of February 24th, the Soviet submarine, Shch-213 torpedoed her and she sank quickly.  Many people were trapped below decks and drowned.  Other aboard survived the sinking and held onto pieces of wreckage waiting to be saved.  However, no one wanted to save them.  The idea of the British and Turks no doubt was to give them a quick death.  All died from either drowning or hypothermia.  Blame of deaths besides the captain is also on  that of fellow Istanbul Port workers, for their failure to oppose and prevent perpetration of a war-crime by Turkish hands, namely: Causing the sinking of the STRUMA and consequent mass drowning of its 765 Jewish passengers (including 100 children)."

Struma's First Officer held onto a piece of floating wreckage along with a 19 year old refugee, David Stoliar.  The older crewmate died that night but Turks in a rowing boat rescued Stoliar the next day.  He was the only survivor of the 791 people who were aboard.

Struma's wreck has never been found.  Some tried to find it in 2000 but it was unsuccessful.


Research: Research: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Struma
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/league-of-nations
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/ForeignPolicy/Issues/Pages/94th-anniversary-of-the-League-of-Nations-affirmation-of-Jewish-self-determination-24-July-2016.aspx
A. Zigelman's forward from Karl Huttenbuer of Berlin 

No comments:

Post a Comment