In the spring of 1941, before the United States had entered World War II, the passenger ship Zamzam was sunk by a German raider in the South Atlantic. Among the Zamzam's 201 passengers were 142 Americans, most of whom were missionaries en route to Africa. The dramatic sinking and miraculous rescue became headline news in 1941.

The story still captivates interest, especially when original material is discovered. For example, here are pictures of the American Zamzam survivors as they arrived in San Sebastian, Spain, on May 31, 1941. Earlier in the day they had been liberated after being held in German-occupied France for nearly two weeks, and before that they had been prisoners at sea for more than a month. From Spain they traveled to Portugal and eventually back to the United States.

These unique pictures were scanned from the photo album of Mr. Charles Carr, a Red Cross accountant who had been involved in helping the Zamzam survivors travel through Spain in 1941. The pictures have been made available to us by David Ford, a collector of World War II era photographs.

On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the sinking of the Zamzam, the 8th and final Zamzam reunion was held on April 15-17, 2016 in Lindsborg, Kansas. Twelve Zamzam survivors attended along with many family members.

There is now a Zamzam Facebook page.

Please note that we now have a menu item on this website called News. It includes the 2019 newsletter and news about the death of Alice Schellenberg at age 105.

Eleanor Anderson, 87, died on Oct. 17, 2019. Here is the obituary.

The contact person for this website is Eleanor's sister, Lois Carlson at