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S. S. Columbus Photograph Collection

Identifier: PICT-2018-004

Scope and Content

These two images of the S. S. Columbus were given on April 27, 1941 to Adelina Chavez Reynolds, a cafe owner in Capitan, NM, by a Columbus crew member who was detained at Fort Stanton. The images on the postcard and small photographic print show smoke billowing from the passenger liner. Both prints have brief inscriptions in German on the back reading "In happy memory, Fort Stanton, 27.4.41", with an illegible signature beginning with Franz. A later ink inscription incorrectly identifies the ship as the Graf Spee.


  • 1939

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Duplication of print and photographic material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for copyright compliance. For more information see the Photographs and Images Research Guide and contact the Pictorial Archivist.


As World War II was ramping up in Europe, the German luxury liner, S. S. Columbus was cruising in the Caribbean. Rather than surrender the ship, the crew scuttled it off the distant coast of Virginia on December 19, 1939. The rescued passengers and crew members were taken to Ellis Island. The sailors were classified as distressed seamen and eventually settled in Fort Stanton, New Mexico. After the United States entered the War following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the men were re-classed as enemy aliens and continued their detainment. Some 400 men were held at Fort Stanton until 1945, when they were returned to Germany following the Armistice.


2 items (1 folder) : 2 photographs

Language of Materials




These two images of the S. S. Columbus were given to a cafe owner in Capitan, NM, by a crew member who was detained at Fort Stanton, NM.

Physical Location

B2. Small Collections Box 10. Filed by Pictorial Number

Collection Available Online

Both SS Columbus photographs are available in digital format from New Mexico's Digital Collections
Finding Aid of the S. S. Columbus Photograph Collection, 1939
Edited Full Draft
Cindy Abel Morris
© 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131