NEW YORK (Feb. 27)
The United Nations, under the leadership of the United States Government and that of Great Britain, were urged today “to take such immediate steps as will render impossible the repetition of such tragedies” as the sinking of the steamer Strume which went down in the Black Sea with 750 Jewish refugees from Rumania who had been refused admission into Palestine under the immigration quota.
The request was made in a joint statement issued today by the American Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs, the Zionist Organization of American, the Zionist Laborites, the Mizrachi and the Hadassah. The statement was signed by Dr. Stephen S. Wise as chairman of the Emergency Committee and by the presidents of the respective Zionist groups.
“The sinking of the 400-ton vessel Strume in the Black Sea this week, with the probable loss of the 750 Jewish refugees on board, writes another tragic chapter in a sad tale of heartlessness and inhumanity to Jewish victims of Nazi persecutions,” the statement reads. “We have long since steeled ourselves to the brutalities of the Fascist regimes. But it becomes a matter of gravest concern to the democratic peoples the world over when the powers fighting for justice and freedom continue to be responsible for such repeated and avertible destruction of innocent lives.”
Reviewing the details of the Strume case, the statement says that the sinking is only one in a long series of horrible disasters “which have resulted in the wanton destruction of human life and need never have occurred had the Palestine administration, acting in a spirit of compassion and human decency, let alone of justice and right, granted these refugees admission to the Jewish National Homeland.”
CHARGES BRITAIN WITH CONTRADICTION OF PRINCIPLES OF JUSTICE
“For any member of the United Nations to refuse sanctuary to the victims of totalitarian oppression is a flagrant contradiction of the principles of justice and humanitarianism for which we are fighting,” the statement points out. “It is an indictment of democratic leadership that helpless anti-Fascist refugees who have escaped from the indescribable horrors of Nazi oppression are treated as if they were our enemies rather than the victims of our enemies.”
Asking “how long will the democracies tolerate a situation which denies to homeless Jews the right of refuge in democratic domains or admission to Palestine, a land which international law, as well as our own Congress, have recognized as their homeland,” the statement urged the United Nations “in the name of the democratic ideals to which we are all committed, in the name of the common civilization which we are defending, in the name of humanity, to take such immediate steps as will render the repetition of such tragedies impossible. We do not believe that we appeal in vain to the conscience of the democratic world.”