Mapai Leader Benzion Dinur (Dinaburg) Comments on the Sinking of the Struma

(March 16, 1942)


...Our opinion is that we're on the verge of a genuine abyss. We are in a situation where Jews are being consigned to death and deportation as never before witnessed.... How are things on our end? In our opinion, there is no sense of dread among the people. There are individuals, maybe each of us , who are fearful, but the Jewish people are not filled with dread. On the one hand, there is despair, a sense of isolation and helplessness, and on the other hand much confusion.

It is human nature that a person in danger tries to preoccupy himself with other matters in order to take his mind off his distress. He distracts himself with all kinds of trivialities. That's human nature. It takes courage and effort to look danger in the eye. I ask: In view of the grave danger, why are we so preoccupied with disputes and conflicts? I say: It's not despite the great danger but also because of it. It is human nature to deal in petty politics and rivalries instead of confronting the danger itself. Unwittingly, this has occurred here, too. I say that the parties and organizations that the Jews have formed are not giving the matters that we've entrusted to them top priority right now. They are leading the people to perdition. We have lost the key, to open our own eyes and those of the people and to see where we are.

Source: Central Zionist Archives 24/42


Source: Yad Vashem