SS Donau

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SS Donau was a 9,035 ton transport ship[1] used by the Kriegsmarine between Germany and Norway during World War II. She became known as the "slave ship" after the SS and Gestapo transported 540 Jews from Norway to Stettin, from which they were moved by train to Auschwitz. Only eight of those deported on the Donau survived.

The Donau was owned by Norddeutscher Lloyd in Bremen and requisitioned for war duty under the command of Kriegsmarine-Dienststelle Hamburg and equipped with anti-aircraft weaponry and depth charges. She was put into service transporting troops from the Eastern Front via Stettin to Oslo and back.[2]

On 26 November 1942 Norwegian police forces under the direction of the Gestapo handed 532 Jewish prisoners to the SS at Pier 1 in Oslo harbor. The ship was under the command of Untersturmführer Klaus Grossmann and Oberleutnant Manig. Men and women were put in separate holds on the ship, where they were deprived of basic sanitary conditions and mistreated by the soldiers.[3]

On or shortly before 16 January 1945, Roy Nielsen from Milorg and Max Manus from Kompani Linge planted ten limpet mines 50 cm under the waterline, over a span of 60 metres on the port side of the ship, while she was docked in Oslo. The intention was for the bombs to detonate in open sea once the ship had cleared the Oslofjord. But because departure was delayed, the bombs went off before the Donau reached Drøbak, where the captain managed to beach her. Seven years later the wreck was pulled off and towed to Bremerhaven for scrapping.[4]


  1. Losses of the German merchant navy in World War II: C-D (German)
  2. Ottosen, Kristian. "Overfarten" (in Norwegian). I slik en natt - historien om deportasjonen av jøder fra Norge. Oslo: Aschehoug. pp. pps. 67–72. ISBN 82-03-26049-7. 
  3. "D/S Donau" (in Norwegian). The Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  4. Ottosen (1994), page 72

no:DS «Donau»