I’m working on a speech that I’ll give at the local Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) next month. The topic is my Uncle Fred Henderson’s and Aunt Jamie Henderson’s adventures while crossing the Atlantic in April 1941. Their ship, the Zam Zam, was attacked and sunk by a German raider called the Atlantis.

My cousin, their son, sent me a writeup his mother had done of her adventures while getting off the ship into the lifeboat and thereafter. She and Fred were separated in occupied France and she and other Canadian women and children were sent to southern Germany. Ultimately the Canadian women were sent to Berlin where they were under house arrest for about 8 months before being freed.

Aunt Jamie writes:

From time to time there would be rumors [DRH note: I’m surprised that she didn’t spell it “rumours”] that we would be released. Everytime a German inspector visited we usually had an interview. Isabel [Guernsey] was the spokesperson. Finally, three months later we were informed that we Canadians were to proceed to Berlin where arrangements would be made by the American Embassy for our return to Canada. [U.S. wasn’t at war yet.] We could scarcely believe it. Canada did not intern German women.

When we arrived in Berlin, no one was there to meet us as no one had been advised we were arriving. There we were, a group of seven (Canadians) and seven (others) alone on the station platform. We waited and waited. Finally Isabel phoned the American Embassy. The third Secretary of the Embassy arrived and soon found accomodations for us. (emphasis added)

By the way, one of the friends she made at the U.S. Embassy was George F. Kennan.

The picture above is of the women in Berlin. My aunt is on the far left.