85th Anniversary – Sinking of the Ciudad de Barcelona

May 28, 2022

Top row l-r: Anderson, Hadley, Inget, Klimowski, Lampert.  Bottom row l-r: Schultz, Solomon, Tsalikidas, Varga.

On May 30, 1937, the Republican freighter Ciudad de Barcelona was hit by a torpedo fired by a lurking Nationalist submarine.  The torpedo tore a gaping hole in the ship and it rapidly sank. A Republican seaplane drove the submarine away with a depth charge attack, then landed and began rescuing men in the water. The rescue effort was joined by fishermen from the town of Malgrat de Mar.

The small ship was carrying approximately 200-250 volunteers for the International Brigades. Some crew and volunteers were trapped below decks when the ship sank. Due to the speed of the sinking the crew was unable to launch lifeboats. Most aboard the ship made it into the water. Some swam to shore or found wreckage to cling to while they awaited rescue. Some drowned either through an inability to swim or from fatigue. Thirteen American volunteers were among those killed in the sinking.

This week the organization Solidarity Park is hosting an international event to mark the 85th anniversary of the sinking of the Ciudad de Barcelona. Their website describes the organization-

The Solidarity Park Project is dedicated to the creation of a memorial to the sinking of Ciudad de Barcelona ship that was sunk in the Spanish civil War in 1937. We are creating a major monument on the beach in Malgrat de Mar but the project is much more than this. The participatory, community, historical, artistic and international manner of the project is key to people learning the very important history of these events that took place over 80 years ago.

American volunteers who died include:

Casper Anderson

William Grant Hadley

John Henry Inget

Joseph Klimowski

Sollie Kobrin

Joseph Lampert

James Howard Mangle

Ed Pierson

William Schultz

Herbert B. Solomon

John Butler Turner

Charalampos Tsalikidas

Steve Varga


Alexander Sauermilch  –  often reported as killed see The Unusual Case of Alexander Sauermilch, Volunteer and Survivor of The Ciudad de Barcelona


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