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   Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume Two, Chapter XIV

                                                  [Page 854]
(4) The "Athenia Case". Once the war was underway, Raeder
also showed himself to be a master of one of the
conspirators' favorite techniques -- deceit on the grand
scale. His handling of the case of the "Athenia" is a case
in point.

The "Athenia" was a passenger liner which was sunk in the
evening of 3 September 1939, when she was outward bound to
America. About one hundred lives were lost.

On 23 October 1939, the Nazi Party paper, the "Voelkischer
Beobachter," published in screaming headlines the story,
"Churchill sank the Athenia" (3260-PS). The scale on which
this deliberate lie was perpetrated is indicated by the rest
of the "Voelkischer Beobachter" for that day; on the front
page, with large red underlining, were the words: "Now we
indict Churchill" (3260-PS). An extract from the third page
of this issue of the "Voelkischer Beobachter" refers to
photograph of the ship and reads as follows:

     "Churchill sank the 'Athenia'. The above picture shows
     the proud 'Athenia', the ocean giant, which was sunk by
                                                  [Page 855]
     chill's crime. One can clearly see the big radio
     equipment on board the ship. But nowhere was an SOS
     heard from the ship. Why was the 'Athenia' silent?
     Because her captain was not allowed to tell the world
     anything. He very prudently refrained from telling the
     world that Winston Churchill attempted to sink the
     ship, through the explosion of an infernal machine. He
     knew it well, but he had to keep silent. Nearly fifteen
     hundred people would have lost their lives if
     Churchill's original plan had resulted as the criminal
     wanted. Yes, he longingly hoped that the one hundred
     Americans on board the ship would find death in the
     waves so that the anger of the American people, who
     were deceived by him, should be directed against
     Germany as the presumed author of the deed. It was
     fortunate that the majority escaped the fate intended
     for them by Churchill. Our picture on the right shows
     two wounded passengers. They were rescued by the
     freighter, 'City of Flint', and as can be seen here,
     turned over over [sic] to the American coast guard boat
     'Gibb' for further medical treatment. They are an
     unspoken accusation against the criminal Churchill.
     Both they and the shades of those who lost their lives
     call him before the Tribunal of the world and ask the
     British people, 'How long will the office, one of the
     richest in tradition known to Britain's history, be
     held by a murderer?' " (3260-PS)

Contrary to these Nazi allegations, the "Athenia" made
repeated wireless distress signals, which were in fact
intercepted and answered by His Majesty's ships "Electra"
and "Escort," as well as by the Norwegian steamship "Knute
Nelson" and the Swedish yacht "Southern Cross." In fact, the
"Athenia" was sunk by the German U-boat U-30. So
unjustifiable was the torpedoing of the "Athenia," however,
that the German Navy embarked on a course of falsification
of their records and on other dishonest measures, in the
hope of hiding the guilty secret. Meanwhile the Nazi
propagandists sought to shift the responsibility the
British. The Captain of U-boat 30, Oberleutnant Lemp, was
later killed in action, but some of the original crew of the
30 have survived to tell the tale as prisoners of war. An
affidavit by a member of the crew of the U-30 establishes
the truth of this episode and reveals the Nazis' attempt to
conceal the true facts (D-654). The affidavit

     "I, Adolf Schmidt, Official Number N 1043-33T,
     "Do solemnly declare that:
     "I am now confined to Camp No. 133, Lethbridge,
     "That on the first day of war, 3 September 1939, a ship
                                                  [Page 856]
     approximately 10,000 tons was torpedoed in the late
     hours of the evening by the U-30.
     "That after the ship was torpedoed and we surfaced
     again, approximately half an hour after the explosion,
     the Commandant called me to the tower in order to show
     me the torpedoed ship.
     "That I have seen the ship with my very eyes, but that
     I do not think that the ship could see our U-boat at
     that time on account of the position of the moon.
     "That only a few members of the crew had an opportunity
     to go to the tower in order to see the torpedoed ship.
     "That apart from myself, Oberleutnant Hinsch was in the
     tower when I saw the steamer after the attack.
     "That I observed that the ship was listing.
     "That no warning shot was fired before the torpedo was
     "That I myself observed much commotion on board of the
     torpedoed ship.
     "That I believe that the ship had only one smoke stack.
     "That in the attack on this steamer one or two
     torpedoes were fired which did not explode but that I
     myself heard the explosion of the torpedo which hit the
     "That Oberleutnant Lemp waited until darkness before
     "That I was severely wounded by aircraft 14 September
     "That Oberleutnant Lemp, shortly before my
     disembarkation in Reykjavik 19 September 1939, visited
     me in the forenoon in the Petty Officers quarters where
     I was lying severely wounded.
     "That Oberleutnant Lemp then had the Petty Officers'
     quarters cleared in order to be alone with me.
     "That Oberleutnant Lemp then showed me a declaration
     under oath according to which I had to bind myself to
     mention nothing concerning the incidents of 3 September
     1939 on board the U-30.
     "That this declaration under oath had approximately the
     following wording: 'I, the undersigned, swear hereby
     that I shall shroud in secrecy all happenings of 3
     September 1939 on board the U-30, regardless whether
     foe or friend, and that I shall erase from my memory
     all happenings of this day.'
     "That I have signed this declaration under oath, which
     was drawn up by the Commandant in his own handwriting,
     with my left hand very illegibly.
                                                  [Page 857]
     "That later on in Iceland when I heard about the
     sinking of the 'Athenia,' the idea came into my mind
     that the U-30 on the 3 September 1939 might have sunk
     the 'Athenia,' especially since the Captain caused me
     to sign the above-mentioned declaration.
     "That up to today I have never spoken to anyone
     concerning these events.
     "That due to the termination of the war I consider
     myself freed from my oaths" (D-654)

Doenitz's part in the "Athena" episode is described in an
affidavit which he has sworn, in English (D-68). At the end
of the affidavit four words are added in Doenitz's
handwriting, the significance of which will be adverted to
shortly. Doenitz states:

     "U-30 returned to harbor about Mid-September. I met the
     captain, Oberleutnant Lemp, on the dockside at
     Wilhelmshafen, as the boat was entering harbor, and he
     asked permission to speak to me in private. I noticed
     immediately that he was looking very unhappy and he
     told me at once that he thought he was responsible for
     the sinking of the 'Athenia' in the North Channel area.
     In accordance with my previous instructions, he had
     been keeping a sharp lookout for possible armed
     merchant cruisers in the approaches to the British
     Isles, and had torpedoed a ship he afterwards
     identified as the 'Athenia' from wireless broadcasts,
     under the impression that she was an armed merchant
     cruiser on patrol. I had never specified in my
     instructions any particular type of ship as armed
     merchant cruiser nor mentioned any names of ships. I
     despatched Lemp at once by air to report to the SKL at
     Berlin; in the meantime, I ordered complete secrecy as
     a provisional measure. Later the same day or early on
     the following day, I received a verbal order from
     Kapitaen zur See Fricke [head of the Operations
     Division of the Naval War Staff] that:
     "1. The affair was to be kept a total secret.
     "2. The OKM considered that a court martial was not
     necessary as they were satisfied that the captain had
     acted in good faith.
     "3. Political explanations would be handled by the OKM.
     "I had had no part whatsoever in the political events
     in which the Fuehrer claimed that no U-boat had sunk
     the 'Athenia.'
     "After Lemp returned to Wilhelmshafen from Berlin, I
     interrogated him thoroughly on the sinking and formed
     the impression that although he had taken reasonable
     care, he
                                                  [Page 858]
     had still not taken sufficient precautions to establish
     fully the identity of the ship before attacking. I had
     previously given very strict orders that all merchant
     vessels and neutrals were to be treated according to
     naval prize law, before the occurrence of this
     incident. I accordingly placed him under cabin arrest,
     as I felt certain that a court-martial could only
     acquit him and would entail unnecessary publicity'
     [whereat Doenitz has added the words, "and too much
     time"] (D-638)

Doenitz's suggestion that the captain of the U-30 sank the
"Athenia" in mistake for a merchant cruiser must be
considered in the light of Doenitz's order of 22 September
1939, that

     "the sinking of a merchant ship must be justified in
     the War Diary as due to possible confusion with a
     warship or an auxiliary cruiser." (C-191)

The U-30 returned to Wilhelmshaven on 27 September 1939. On
that date another fraudulent entry was made in the War Diary
of the Chief of U-Boats:

     "U-30 comes in. She had sunk: 'S.S. BIairlogie'; 'S.S.
     Fanal Head'." (D-659)

There is no reference at all to the sinking of the

Perhaps the most elaborate forgery in connection with this
episode was made on the log book of the U-30, which was
responsible for sinking the "Athenia" (D-662). The
Prosecution submits that the first page of that log book is
a forgery which shows a curiously un-German carelessness
about detail. It is clear on the original document that the
first page of the text is a substitute for pages that have
been removed. The dates in the first column of that page are
in Arabic numerals. On the second and more authentic-looking
page, and throughout the other pages of the log book, they
are in Roman numerals.

Furthermore, all reference to the sinking of the "Athenia"
on 3 September is omitted. The log book shows that at 1400
hours on 3 September 1939 the position of the U-30 is given
as AL 0278, which is one of the few positions quoted at all
upon that page, and which was some 200 miles west of the
position where the "Athenia" was sunk. The recorded course
(due south) and the recorded speed (10 knots)those entries
are obviously designed to suggest that the U-3 was- well
clear of the "Athenia's" position on 3 September. (D-662)

Finally, the original shows Lemp's own signature upon the
page dealing with 3 September differs from his other
signature in the text. The difference appears in the final
letter of his name. The signature in question shows a Roman
"p", whereas on the

                                                  [Page 859]
other signatures there is a script "p." The inference is
that either the signature is a forgery or it was made by
Lemp at some other and probably considerably later, date. (D-

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