ISTANBUL (Aug. 7)
Approximately 250 Jewish refugees from Rumania perished today when the Turkish ship Merkure was sunk by German shell fire seven miles off the coast of Turkey. The refugees on board went down with the ship.
This is the first Turkish ship sunk by the Germans since the break of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Germany. The Turkish radio announced today that Jewish children holding Turkish visas have left Bulgaria and are on their way to Turkey overland. It also announced that Turkish consulates in Bucharest, Budapest and Sofia have been instructed to issue about fifty visas a week to Jews in these cities.
Reviewing for the first time the Turkish contribution to the effort of saving Jews from Nazi hands, the broadcast said: “Our government, acting on purely humanitarian principles, has shown considerable sympathy for the persecuted Jews in Central Europe and in the Balkan countries. During 1943-44 Jews from Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria have been given travelling facilities to Turkey on their way to Palestine. Recently five groups of refugees which left the Rumanian port of Constanza on motor boats without any Turkish visas were permitted to land at Istanbul from whence they were transported in special trains to Palestine by way of Syria.”