Transport of war materials to the rebels. (24th November, 1936).
The Slomann steamer GIRGENTI of 1454 tons, built at Schichau in 1923, made two trips from Stettin to Seville with volunteers and war material in September and October of this year. The crew had to take an oath of secrecy when taken on in Hamburg.
On the last trip the GIRGENTI carried 28 small two-man tanks, completely equipped, and further packages the whole contents of which were arms and ammunition. The vessel also took 120 volunteers, sent to Stettin from different garrison towns in Germany. All these volunteers were 12-year service non-commissioned officers of the German army, from different branches of the service. Although all conversation between the ship's crew and the volunteers was forbidden, the crew discovered that all these men had received an advance of 1,000 marks. In addition they were to be paid 800 marks a month. 500 marks of this was to be paid out to their families in Germany, while they would receive 300 marks themselves in Spain. All of them were insured for 50,000 marks in a life insurance company.
The destination of the ship was no secret to the dockers in Stettin, who were also sworn to secrecy, but it was officially announced in Stettin that the ships (others were also loaded) were going to Pillau.
Off Cape Finisterre the ship was met by the German cruiser "Nurnberg", which convoyed it and kept it constantly in sight. After 24 hours the "Nurnberg" was relieved by the destroyer "Falke".
Among the volunteers were a number of officers, who later supervised the discharging at Seville. The discharging was done by the volunteers themselves. All of them were between 20 and 30 years of age. There was on board, in addition, a supercargo of the Reichswehr and a wireless operator from the Navy.
The funnel mark of the Slomann line was painted over with silver bronze, only the ship's name being left as it was. The crew that made the first voyage with the GIRGENTI was arrested by the Gestago and is said to be in concentration camp, either because they talked about the voyage or because they had taken photographs. The ships which effect such transport may be recognised by the fact that they have water closets of a provisional character on board for the crew.