Potsdam (ship, 1900)

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Fred Pansing Potsdam 1910.jpg
Ship data
flag NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands Sweden Norway German Empire
German EmpireGerman Empire (Reichskriegsflagge) 
other ship names
  • Stockholm (1915)
  • Solglimt (1929)
  • Sønderborg (1941)
Ship type Passenger ship
home port Rotterdam
Shipping company Holland America Line
Shipyard Blohm & Voss , Hamburg
Build number 139
Launch December 15, 1899
takeover May 5, 1900
Whereabouts Sunk in 1944 as a block ship
Ship dimensions and crew
167.6 m ( Lüa )
width 18.9 m
Side height 11.5 m
measurement 12,606 GRT
Machine system
machine Triple expansion
steam engine
7,600 hp (5,590 kW)
15 kn (28 km / h)
propeller 2
Transport capacities
Permitted number of passengers 282 in class I,
210 in class II,
1,800 in class III. class
chimney 1
Masts 2
Shipping area Transatlantic scheduled services

The Potsdam was delivered to the Holland America Line (NASM) by Blohm & Voss in Hamburg in 1900 . The liner offered space for 2,292 passengers and reached a cruising speed of 15 knots. Due to a sharp drop in passenger numbers, the Dutch shipping company sold the ship in 1915 to the new Svenska Amerika Linien , which it operated as Stockholm from Sweden to New York until 1928 . Since she no longer met the requirements of transatlantic passenger traffic, she was sold to Norway for conversion into a whaling mother ship. As a Solglimt , she initially served as a factory ship, then as a supply ship and whale oil transporter.

In 1941 it was brought up in Antarctica by the German auxiliary cruiser Pinguin next to two active factory ships and eleven whalers and transferred to France by a prize crew. She then served as the base ship Sonderburg in Cherbourg and was sunk there by the Germans as a block ship in 1944.


The ship was one of three sister ships that the Holland-America Line (officially: NV Nederlandsch-Amerikaanse Stoomvaart-Maatschappij 'Holland-Amerika Lijn') commissioned at the turn of the century to expand their fleet. They were to be the three largest ships that the Holland-America Line had until 1906. Since the two sister ships Rijndam (12,527 GRT, 1901) and Noordam (12,531 GRT, 1902) were built by Harland & Wolff in Belfast , this shipyard also designed the Potsdam , although it was the first ship built in Germany.

Dutch passenger ship

The Potsdam , launched in Hamburg on December 15, 1899 , was delivered to the Holland-America Line on May 5, 1900. The Potsdam began her maiden voyage to New York on May 17, 1900. During a renovation in the winter of 1900/1901 or 1904, her chimney was lengthened by 7 m due to unsatisfactory driving speed, which earned her the nickname “Funneldam”. In 1906 the shipping company put a larger ship into service with the Nieuw Amsterdam (16,967 GRT), the equipment and service for the passengers far exceeded the three previous ships. In 1909 the Rotterdam (24,168 GRT) built by Harland & Wolff like its predecessors came into service. This two-chimney offered space for over 1,000 passengers in 1st and 2nd class and was a luxury passenger ship. After the sinking of the Titanic , the Potsdam was equipped with four additional lifeboats. In the service of the Holland America Line, she often traveled the Rotterdam- New York route via Boulogne-sur-Mer until 1915. After the outbreak of World War I , passenger numbers fell so sharply that the NASM finally decided to sell the Potsdam , especially since she now had more modern ships.

First Swedish transatlantic liner

In September 1915 it became the property of the newly founded Swedish American Line (Svenska Nord-Amerika Linjen) and was renamed Stockholm . After a renovation, which was aimed in particular at modernizing the third class, where cabins replaced the previously largely open decks, it was now on the Gothenburg- New York route on December 11, 1915 . Their first voyage, carrying 137 passengers and about 150,000 mail, was interrupted by a British warship which forced the Swedish ship to call at Kirkwall , where it was examined. The British confiscated all mail. After three days, the Stockholm was able to continue its journey and reached New York after a total travel time of 15 days, 10 hours and 58 minutes. In 1916 the ship made at least six round trips with increasing numbers of passengers. Until the beginning of 1917, ships marked as neutral were still able to cross the Atlantic reasonably safely. But after the dangers of the unrestricted submarine war became too great, the ship remained in Gothenburg from May 1917.

The Stockholm as a transporter for American troops

On November 30, 1918, the Stockholm's first voyage in peace began. From 1919 it was used to transport American troops back from Europe to the USA. Until 1920 the Stockholm remained the only ship of the SAL. Then the RMS Virginian of the Allan Line (10,757 GRT, 1905) was bought and renamed Drottningholm . In 1922 the Stockholm was rebuilt again, converted to oil firing and the height of the chimney was reduced by about two meters. The ship's engine performance had improved considerably. For the period of the subsequent modernization of the Drottningholm , the shipping company chartered the sister ship Noordam from the Netherlands and used it as a Kungsholm next to the Stockholm .

The SAL originally wanted to earn its living with emigrants, but had missed the great wave of emigration. So she switched to more luxurious offers that were more of a cruise-like character, and procured the Berlin (Schiff, 1925) (1924 Armstrong-Whitworth , 17,993 GRT, first diesel-powered passenger ship on the North Atlantic) and the Kungsholm, which was also powered by diesel engines (1928 Blohm & Voss, 20,223 GRT) new ships. The Stockholm became superfluous for the line. Her last trip for the Swedish American Line began in late September 1928.

Norwegian whaler

The ship was sold in 1928 to the whaling company "Atlas", newly founded by the shipping company Chr. Nielsen & Co. in Larvik, and converted into a whaling mother ship on the Götaverken . It was given a slipway for whales at the stern. From September 12, 1929, it sailed under the Norwegian flag and was named Solglimt . She immediately went to the South Sea, where she was used with five fishing boats (the Enern , Toern , Treern , Firern of 247 GRT built at Akers shipyard in Oslo and the Femern built in 1921 as Foca ).

In 1930 the Solglimt became the property of the shipping company A / S Thor Dahl , who used it in the whaling company "Odd", which it managed. The shipping company, headed by Lars Christensen, managed four Norwegian whale boilers that had been converted since 1928. In addition to the Solglimt , she also used the Thorshammer and the Ole Wegger , which were created in 1928 from conversions of tankers of the San Fraterno class , as well as the slightly smaller Torodd , which had arisen from the former cable layer Colonia . In addition to these converted whaling factory ships, the shipping company had also acquired 14 new fishing boats.

During the 1932/1933 fishing season, the Solglimt also met the tanker Thorshavn , on which Lars Christensen circled Antarctica for the sixth time from December 20 to February 27, exploring the occurrence of whales in the various areas and mapping the coast of the Antarctic continent.
On the journey to the 1937/38 fishing season via Aruba , where the fuel for the season was taken, half of a scientific Norwegian expedition traveled to
Cape Town on the Solglimt . The other half of the scientists followed on the factory ship Thorshammer . The expedition then explored the Tristan da Cunha archipelago . The Solglimt remained in service for A / S Odd until the 1939/1940 fishing season . When the German troops attacked Norway, the Solglimt was at the end of the last fishing season after calling in Cape Town on the home march in the South Atlantic and then ran via Trinidad (stay from April 19 to 24) to the USA and unloaded the whale oil she produced in New Orleans . She was accompanied by some of her whalers. Enern , Femern ² and cruise were as patrol boats for the Dutch Antilles rented.

German spoils of war

On November 11, 1940, the Solglimt left New York to supply the Norwegian whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean and to transport some of the whale oil produced up to then. Supplies and weapons were on board to give the whaling ships a defense, although a direct threat had not yet been recognized. In Curaçao , she took on additional fuel for the three Norwegian fishing groups ( Thorshammer , Ole Wegger and Pelagos ) used in the area around the island of Bouvet . After staying in Montevideo , she first met the westernmost Thor's hammer . On January 14, 1941, the Solglimt was hijacked at the position 57 ° 45 '0 "  S , 2 ° 30' 0"  W by the German auxiliary cruiser Pinguin (ex. Kandelfels ) together with the factory ship Ole Wegger and four fishing boats. The German auxiliary cruiser, which had been observing the open radio traffic of the whaling groups for days, took advantage of the inattentiveness due to the arrival of the supply ship with the working whaling fleet. However, three fishing boats set themselves off and warned the Thorshammer , who broke off their fishing season and immediately ran with their fishing boats to Grytviken , South Georgia . Nevertheless, the penguin subsequently managed to capture the factory ship Pelagos , which was further east, and its seven fishing boats.

The Solglimt already had 4,000 tons of whale oil and 6,000 tons of fuel on board. On the instructions of the conquerors, she took over the 7,000 tons of whale oil from Ole Wegger and distributed her fuel oil to the other ships and boats, insofar as it was not needed for the march to France. On January 25, 1941, Solglimt and Pelagos were released under prize garrisons in the German-occupied France. The Solglimt reached Bordeaux on March 16 (five days after the Pelagos ) .

She was named Sønderborg , served as a base ship in French ports and was managed by the First German Whaling Society under the German flag . In 1942 she was badly damaged by air raids in the port of Cherbourg . Makeshift repaired, it was sunk by the Germans during the evacuation of Cherbourg in June 1944 to block the port.
In 1946 parts of the wreck were blown up, in 1947 the remains were lifted, towed to Great Britain and scrapped there.


Web links

Commons : Potsdam  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. Nederlandsch Amerikaanische Stoomboot Maatschappij
  2. Potsdam / Stockholm (I) / Solglimt / Sonderburg 1900 - 1947 ( Memento from July 9, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  3. The first Nieuw Amsterdam of the HAL ( Memento of September 28, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  4. List of ships of the shipping company Thor Dahl with many pictures from the operation
  5. ^ MT Thorshavn , 1930 Laing & Sons, 6,869 GRT
  6. ^ Journeys of the Solglimt during the war , on warsailors.com
  7. The hijacking of the whaling fleet (Engl.)
  8. ^ Rohwer, p. 97.