The Sinking of the Mefkure

Introduction By Rosanne Leeson (ROM-SIG Coordinator)

· Background
· Database
· Acknowledgements
· Searching the Database


On August 5, 1944 the Turkish motor-schooner, Mefkure, together with two other boats, the Morina and the Bulbul, set sail from the Romanian port of Constanta, bound for Istanbul, and then to Palestine.  It carried approximately 300 passengers, numbers vary, mostly Jews seeking to flee from Romania, Hungary and Poland.  The Mefkure was flying the Turkish flag, but had no navigation lights.  At about 25 miles northeast of Igneada, Turkey, in the Bosporus, the vessel was hit with gunfire and torpedoes.  The survivors were machine-gunned while struggling in the water.  Only 11 of those on board survived, 5 Jews and 6 crew members.  The survivors were picked up by the Bulbul.  There are several conflicting versions of this story, some claiming that it was a Russian SC-215 sub that attacked the Mefkure, others accusing a German sub, and some even the Turks, themselves.

In 2003, on the initiative of the Romanian Jewish Communities Federation and the Bucharest Jewish Community, in particular Dr. Nicolae Cajal z"l and Mr. Osy Lazar, a monument to the memory of the victims was erected in the Giurgiului Cemetery south of Bucharest.  The sponsors were Mr. Seroussy in memory of relatives Aslan and Victor Seroussy, Mr. Silviu Oisiovici in memory of his brother Henry Oisiovici and Mr. Ady Milstein in memeory of the Kidoshims.  Osy Lazar (Engineer), I. Cotnareanu (Engineer), O. Gluck (Architect) and C. Camerman (Engineer) contributed to the design.  In addition to the list of names it contained the following touching inscription:

This monument is dedicated to the Jews that died AL KIDUS HASHEM in the waves of the Black Sea on the ship Mefcure during the night of August 5 1944 - 16 Av 5704 during the horrible days of the Nazi period.  The 301 brothers and sisters were headed to Eretz ISRAEL while fighting the racist hatred and the fury of the waves.  These KIDOSHIMS, like all the 6 million Jews died as martyrs.  We erected this monument "matzeiva" to remember all of those without graves that did not make it to Eretz ISRAEL.


This database includes the names of 296 passengers who lost their lives.  The fields for this database are as follows:


We are most grateful to Dorin David, of Romania, who so diligently photographed all sides of this large monument, enabling us to document all of the names inscribed.  Our gratitude also goes to our ROM-SIG member, Claudia Greif and her father Ignacy (GIM) Greif, for their assistance in getting the pictures for us, translating and data entry.

In addition, thanks to JewishGen Inc. for providing the website and database expertise to make this database accessible.  Special thanks to Warren Blatt and Michael Tobias for their continued contributions to Jewish genealogy.  Particular thanks to Nolan Altman, coordinator of Holocaust files.

Nolan Altman
January, 2009

Searching the Database

This database is searchable via JewishGen's Holocaust Database.

JewishGen Databases

JewishGen Home Page

Copyright ©2009, JewishGen, Inc.
Last Update: 20 Jan 2009 by MFK