Third Officer, S.S. Har Zion
Died 31 Aug 1940
Commemorated at Tower Hill Memorial
Simon was born in Mielec, Poland on 1 July 1912 to Chaim Joseph, a small business owner who served as an Army officer in WW1 and Lieba Lotta who ran a Kosher restaurant. He had three sisters and a brother, but both his parents and two of his sisters were killed in the Holocaust. Simon was drafted into the Polish military but was forced to flee the country after striking a fellow soldier who had directed an antisemitic slur at him. He made his way to Mandatory Palestine and in the late 1930’s he went to Italy to attend a Naval academy in Civitavecchia. Like a number of Jewish seamen, he was employed by the Palestine Maritime Lloyd Ltd, which operated ships including the Har Zion and Har Carmel that carried passengers and goods between Haifa and other ports in the Mediterranean. At the outbreak of war Simon joined the British Merchant Navy, and was serving as 3rd mate on the S.S. Miriam at the beginning on 1940. Later that year he transferred to the Har Zion, also as 3rd mate. Grateful thanks to Simon’s nephew Julian for providing the information on Simon’s life.
The Har Zion left Liverpool at 06.15 hours on 31 August 1940, with 1000 cases of spirit and 120 tons of fertiliser to travel to the USA. The ship was attacked by U-boat, U-38 which fired two torpedoes amidships and ship sank north west of Ireland. The master and thirty five crew were killed.