GALLERY: Emanuel Litvinoff

Litvinoff is also known for his poem "Struma", written after the ''Struma'' disaster. Volunteering for military service in January 1940, Litvinoff saw his membership of the British Army as a straightforward matter of combating Nazi evil, but the sinking of the Struma in February 1942 complicated this. An old schooner with an unreliable second-hand engine, the Struma had left Romania in December 1941 crowded with nearly 800 Jewish refugees escaping the Nazis. After engine failure on the Black Sea she was towed into Istanbul harbour. Her passengers hoped to travel overland to Palestine, but Turkey forbade them to disembark unless Britain allowed them to settle in Palestine. British authorities rejected the refugees' request, and after weeks of deadlock Turkish authorities towed the Struma back into the Black Sea and set her adrift. The next day, 24 February 1942, she exploded and sank, leaving an estimated 791 dead and only one survivor. It emerged years later that the Struma had been torpedoed by a Soviet submarine. This was unknown at the time, and Litvinoff believed that the British were responsible. The disaster "blurred the frontiers of evil" in a way that left him reluctant to describe himself as "English" or to seek the kind of assimilation achieved by other Jewish writers in Britain.

‘You can stress the community of the nation state without diminishing your internationalism’. I was, I suppose, quite pleased to have elicited that statement from Tony Blair. Yet I was also troubled. I had been invited to quote those words as Tony’s heartfelt own yet I had never met the man, never written to him, and never talked to him on the phone either. . . Download this article (PDF) »

Isaac Rosenberg (25 November 1890 – 1 April 1918) was an English poet and artist. His Poems from the Trenches are recognized as some of the most outstanding poetry written during the First World War . [1]

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