BEST DOCUMENTARY, Portland International Film Festival


Virginia Festival of Jewish Film (2002)
Toronto International Film Festival (2001)
21st International Istanbul Film Festival (2001)

In 1941 nearly 800 Romanian Jews board a 46 meter boat called the Struma, a refugee ship bound for Palestine. The vessel is horribly overcrowded, the people are packed together like sardines, and then the engine fails. Limping along the Struma manages to reach Istanbul Harbor and then it waits while Turkey trying to stay "neutral" in the war deliberates the passengers' fate.

Britain, enforcing its policy to limit Jewish immigration to Palestine, puts heavy pressure on the Turks not to let the ship pass through their territorial waters. On February 23, 1942 the Turks tow the disabled Struma out into the Black Sea. Twelve hours later a submarine locks on the boat and a single torpedo is fired. Twenty-four hours later, Turkish fishermen go out to the site and find only one survivor.

In 2000 using information from the sole survivor the grandson of two Struma passengers leads an international team of elite divers to find the watery grave of his grandparents. Immediately a Turkish dive club claims to have found the wreck and with Turkish government support, attempts to obstruct the search for the Struma. Suddenly, contemporary politics mirror events of the early 1940's and the divers find themselves entangled in a 60-year-old cover-up.


"Simcha Jacobovici's film proves that the sinking of the Struma is not some distant event, but a crime with contemporary ramifications."- Jason Anderson, Eye Canada

“Simcha Jacobovici's engrossing documentary not only functions as a memorial to this little-remembered tragedy, but also as a latter-day adventure yarn...A documentary of unusual narrative excitement" – Variety

“Some movies are monuments to the affirmative power of historical memory. They restore to personal humanistic dimensions events and atrocities that are otherwise too easily obstructed... I'm thinking of Simcha Jacobovici's The Struma." –The Toronto Star

Home Use DVD:

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Classroom/Library Use DVD: $195

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The Struma

Canada, 2001, 90 minutes, color, English
Directed by Simcha Jacobovici

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Public Exhibition Formats: 16mm, Beta, DVD





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