The Zamzam Project idea started in April 2016 at the 75th Reunion of the Zamzam sinking with the survivors in Lindsborg, KS. Through a series of events, the 6 Danielsons and Peter Levitt agreed to allow me to start a documentary of the sinking of the Zamzam based on their memoirs. This launched a research phase where Carla Greenhalgh, of Reveriez Productionz, expanded research to other Zamzam survivors, the German crew, British crew (from the Devonshire), and the politics involved in the incident between the American, British, and German governments. Carla Greenhalgh is the managing director of the Zamzam Project and its documentary along with related projects.

With the help of Eleanor (Danielson) Anderson and Lois (Danielson) Carlson, who manage the Zamzam reunion website (see, Carla Greenhalgh started contacting the survivors, their children, and in some cases grandchildren in order to capture the entire utterly amazing story. No two groups of passengers had the same experience even though they were sunk and taken prisoner together! The reason why prisoners were treated differently was due to the war and the variety of nationalities, religions, and ethnic backgrounds of the Zamzam passengers. After being on a prison ship for nearly 6 weeks, when they landed in occupied France, the Gestapo dealt with the Zamzam passengers according to their own biases and the laws of war.

For example, Canadians, who were allied with the British, along with British and exiled Italian citizens were considered enemies and sent to various prison camps in Europe. Greek passengers were also considered enemies, as the Brits had been aiding Greece during the Greco-Italian War for over a year, but Greece fell to the Nazis in April 1941. The African-based Zamzam crew were considered allied with the British and sent to an internment camp. Because the USA would not enter the Great War for another six months, most of the Americans were sent back to the point of origin of their ocean voyage, New York City, NY. But some Americans, because of their affiliation with the British-American Ambulance Corps (BAAC) who were volunteer medical personnel helping people all over the world, were also considered enemies and sent to camps. Multi-national families were separated, with American spouses being sent back to the US and British or Canadian spouses being sent to prison camps. In addition, people who were enemies during the imprisonment become friends after the war, many forming life-long friendships and several that influenced post-war politics. The documentary series highlights these varied and amazing experiences! ©2017

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