Remembering the S.S. Ciudad de Barcelona

June 14, 2017
SS Ciudad de Barcelona

SS Ciudad de Barcelona

Last month was the 80th anniversary of the sinking of the Ciudad de Barcelona. For those who don’t know about this event, or may have only a foggy recollection, here is a brief summary of what happened in May 1937.

The ship Ciudad de Barcelona had been nationalized by the Republican government, and in May 1937 she was transporting IB volunteers and other passengers from France to Spain.  It is estimated that she carried more than 300 IB volunteers.  There were some 50 volunteers from the United States, but also volunteers from Britain, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, and likely from other countries as well.  We simply don’t know.
Ciudad de Barcelona was hit by a torpedo from an Italian submarine off the coast of Malgrat and sank quickly.  Rescue was carried out, but many perished.  Estimates vary greatly, but recent estimates indicate that between 60 and 65 volunteers perished along with about 100 passengers and crew.  Only a few names of the volunteers who perished are known.  Most volunteers who survived joined the IB’s, and some of these died later in Spain.  More detailed information about those involved in the sinking of the Ciudad de Barcelona (along with photos, letters) can be found at
Currently there is a campaign underway to erect a memorial at Malgrat de Mar to the IBs who died on the Ciudad de Barcelona.  More information here.



One Response to “ Remembering the S.S. Ciudad de Barcelona

  1. Bruce Hearn Mackinnon on July 9, 2021 at 3:24 am

    I understand that around 10 Australian members of the International Brigades died in the sinking of the ‘City of Barcelona’. However, I have been unable to find any confirmation. If any relatives of Lincoln Brigadists have any info on the Australians involvement I’d love to hear from you. Comradely greetings. Bruce

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