The Great War (1914–1918)
Even before the nieuw amsterdam had reached rotterdam, Hendrik Willem felt the shadow of the war. In an act of piracy the ship was captured by the French cruiser Savoie in the Channel and taken to Brest. There, as van Loon cabled the Associated Press, the ocean liner was “deprived [of] all foodstuffs [and a] million [and a] half silver bars for [the] Dutch government while eighthundred German [and] Austrian subjects [both] reservists and private citizens until sixty years [of] age [were] confined [to] Devils Island on French coast.” Hendrik Willem, who served as interpreter for the captain, was allowed to get ashore and quickly sent a telegram to the London bureau of the Associated Press. As the ship had been incommunicado, van Loon’s cable made headlines; one of the detained passengers was the wife of the first secretary of the U.S. embassy in Berlin, so the American government officially protested to Paris. Finally, the Nieuw Amsterdam, including the German women, was allowed to continue its trip, arriving in Rotterdam six days late.1
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