Athenia survivor, Marianne Ostermann. Now she is Marian Kaye

I was looking for a passenger list of the Athenia's fatal Sept.'39 sailing, and came across your forum. In response to a researcher's question you said you had been unsuccessful in locating any survivor.

I can tell you that my mother was one, and she lives today in San Diego. If you can tell me your interest, I could ask her if she wishes her name to be given out.

Yours truly,

P.S.  Do you know where I can find the passenger list names, where were
those rescued taken after being rescued, and from where did they originate?

Dear A.S.

After I had written that I had not found any living survivor from the Athenia sinking, on the 28th. of April this year, on our Ahoy Forum, Douglas Bikow wrote to tell me his Grandfather, EFIM BJEKO was a survivor and was still living.

Now you tell me your Mother is also a survivor and lives in San Diego, how wonderful.

I would love to add her name to our work about Athenia with her approval please.

Unfortunately I have not been able to find any passenger list of those who sailed on that fateful voyage even after looking for some years, so regretfully I am unable to answer your questions posed in your PS.

Thank you for contacting me, and I look forward to being able to add your Mother's name to the Athenia saga.

Best regards,
Mac. Gregory.

Dear Mackenzie,

I have spoken with my mother and she is happy to let you know of her survival.  Her name was Marianne Ostermann. Now she is Marian Kaye.

She had sailed from Liverpool, was picked up by ?? and taken as unregistered aliens to a P.O.W. camp to Glasgow.  Do you know what ship would have rescued her?

I believe there she was interred for a while until new papers arrived allowing her to go to New York.  (The Athenia was destined for Montreal, wasn't it?) She ultimately sailed on the Orizaba, where she and other survivors were
treated as heroes. We have a clipping of her from one of the New York papers of that time. I'll have to dig it up and maybe send a copy on if you're interested. I could try to probe for more information about the rescue and subsequent

By the way, her 85th birthday is this Sunday!

Let me know if you learn more. I do know there's a British newsreel clip available in which some survivors are interviewed.

Yours truly,

Arthur Spira
Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada


Thank you for your quick response, and please pass on my thanks to your Mother for her agreeing to let me use her name.

Yes the destination of Athenia was Montreal.

The ships who rescued the survivors were merchant ships Knut Nelson who picked up 450 and took them to Galway in Ireland, the Steam Yacht Southern Cross who collected 300 and transferred 236 to the freighter City of Flint, she in turn rescued 223, and took her load of survivors to Halifax in Canada.

Finally the British destroyers Electra and Escort collected some survivors and they were taken to Greenock on the Clyde, so it would seem that your Mother was picked up by one of those Destroyers.

I would be pleased to have any further detail you may wish to share thanks.

Kind regards,



Here is the entry for the Ulster Historical Foundation about their Athenia passenger list.

It indicates that the database has a list of passengers from North America, in that case I doubt your Mother would be listed.

The cost to join the Guild is US $ 57 for a year, one needs to be a member to access the data base.

Best regards,

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