Owing to a widespread awareness regarding the brutality of the Holocaust and the rampant, existing antisemitism across the globe, for the first time in 80 years, Romania commemorated Holocaust refugees who died In a sunken ship.
On Tuesday, Romanian officials commemorated the victims of the sinking of the ship Struma, which carried hundreds of Holocaust refugees from Romania 80 years ago. The ceremony took place in the coastal city of Constanţa in southern Romania, from which the ship set sail in 1941 with 770 refugees, including more than 100 children, aboard.
During the ceremony, which was attended by about 80 people, Romanian Rear Admiral Mihai Panait, who is 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.
In his speech, Panait, the admiral, acknowledged that historical record. “We commemorate today not only a tragic event, but we also bring back the attention to the suffering caused by the repression of the Jews during the Second World War,” he said, adding, “We must react immediately to combat any form of intolerance, discrimination or racism. The best answer to such challenges is the honest and responsible education.”
“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.