Welcome to the Athenia Website

The Donaldson Brothers passenger liner Athenia was torpedoed at the beginning of World War 2 - in fact on the day that France and Great Britain declared war on Germany - 3 September 1939. No warning was given before the attack and the submarine took no action to help the surviving passengers. This caused an international outrage as an attack of this kind went against the existing International agreements about submarine warfare. The Germans denied responsibiliy and the truth of what had happened did not emerge until the Nuremberg Trials of major war criminals took place in 1945-6.

The basic facts can now be looked up easily on websites like Wikipedia but this gives no flavour of how things were made known to the general public at the time. On this website I explain the reasons for my interest in this topic and have tried to bring together, largely through press cuttings, what ordinary people would have known as events unfolded. I review the problems faced by those tasked with recommending what to do with the Nazi leaders and other war criminals at the end of the war, which ultimately resulted in the Nuremberg Trials. And in particular I present the evidence from the Nuremberg trial transcripts that tell us what happened to Athenia.

  • Resources takes you to various pages of the website
  • About takes you to a list of references and acknowledgements
  • Copyright takes you to information about using material from this website
  • Site Search takes you to tools to search any or all of the Benjidog Historical Research Resources websites
  • Benjidog Home takes you to the index for all the Benjidog Historical Research Resources websites

Latest update: 15 February 2018 - new survivor accounts section added to the Remembering Athenia page.