Stoliar was finally released to a prestigious Jewish leader.

He went on to fight for the British in Africa during WWII, and then fought again in the 1948 war for Israel's independence.

Eventually, a job took him to Japan that then lea to America.

Stoliar and his family settled in Bend and have lived here since the '70s.

And although he can recall nearly every detail of the tragedy, Stoliar says he couldn't bring himself to talk about the tragedy for more than 50 years.

"I didn't even talk about this to my first wife," he said.  "In the beginning, I felt like something is wrong with me that I survived -- I felt guilty for surviving."

There's now a monument in Israel dedicated to those who perished. But Stoliar says had he not survived to tell the story, the truth likely would have quietly sunk with the ship.

"There are no apologies for anything," he said sadly.  "Even today, to really get to the documents to see -- for example, the Turkish archives are still closed."

Now at 90, Stoliar says he feels free of his guilt, lucky for surviving and grateful he can be the voice for so many lost.