wilhelm gustloff survivors

The military cemetery is the final resting place for 7,000 Soviet soldiers who lost their lives in the fight for Berlin in the spring of 1945. The military commander, Lt. Cmdr.

Finally, since the Gustloff hadn't been used in over four years, Captain Wilhelm Peterson only dared a speed of 12 knots, instead of the possible 15. By early 1941, the Soviet advance westward had freed the Navy’s submarine fleet, which had been bottled up in Leningrad and Kronstadt. Snow flurries swirled out of the darkness over the Baltic Sea. That figure was probably an estimate at best, but if close it sent the Gustloff’s complement to about 8,000 people. No one bothered to count them, but radio officer Rudi Lange later said, “I think I remember being told by one of the ship’s officers to send a signal that another 2,000 people had come aboard.”. It was windy and cold with hail bombarding the deck and the few passengers hardy enough to be outside.

Over the years since the sinking, historians have argued about whether the Gustloff was a legitimate war target and whether her sinking should be classified as a war crime.

The center of the US forces was the Zehlendorf district. The Gustloff was a sitting duck. The ship was finally pulled a few yards away from the dock to stop the rush, and those with precious boarding passes were taken by ferry to the far side of the ship and up a guarded gangway. She was armed with antiaircraft weapons and was also carrying a sizable number of military personnel. Sea mines were feared along the Baltic coast, so the planned route was to traverse the open sea. Some 3,600 Air Force soldiers, mainly killed in air combat over Berlin, are buried in the British cemetery on Heerstrasse. Not long after she began her journey west, she was spotted by the Russian submarine S-13, which launched three torpedoes.

There were over 10,000 people aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, and only 1,239 were registered as survivors of the disaster. Up to 10,582 Crew and Passengers on the Gustloff. It is still under special protection by the British Crown. © Copyright 2020 Center for the National Interest All Rights Reserved. The Gustloff had been pressed into service as a transport ship during the Spanish Civil War, was later converted to a hospital ship, and in 1940 was converted again, this time to a barracks ship for U-boat trainees in Gdynia, Poland, on the Bay of Danzig.

When it was to be completely demolished and rebuilt in the postwar years, Berliners protested.

In that role, Dönitz would sign the Allied terms of unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945. Read more:  The Nazi archives: Where Germany's dark past is stored on paper. The former Outpost Theater cinema building is now part of the Allied Museum, which covers the period of postwar Berlin, including the 1948 airlift, up to the withdrawal of the Americans in 1994. Historians have estimated that around 2.5 million people were rescued by ship out of the German eastern zones.

Over the years, as the ship stood at the dock serving as a barracks, a number of the boats had been borrowed for other uses around the harbor. Over 9,000 people died in the Baltic Sea on January 30, 1945, in an attempt to evade the Red Army. On land, Soviet armies, enraged by earlier German atrocities, were moving into Poland and Prussia from the east, avenging themselves against the military personnel and civilians they met. These three factors contributed to what would become a death sentence for most of the ship's passengers.

It was launched in 1937 and began as a luxury liner. Six million Jews, and also homosexuals, gypsies and communists, were murdered by Nazi Germany.

The honorary cemetery was built between 1955 and 1957 for the fallen soldiers from Great Britain and the Commonwealth States, especially Canada.

It is a shame to be as critical as this, for Death in the Baltic should certainly be welcomed for bringing the story of the Wilhelm Gustloff to a wider audience. German intelligence had already informed the Gustloff that there were no known Soviet submarines or surface ships in the area.

The ship was built with an impressive structure, weighing in at 25,000 tons and reaching a length of almost 700 feet. She sank taking down with her as many as 9,500 people. One of the main German officers credited with the success of the operation is Admiral Karl Dönitz, who would succeed Hitler as chancellor following the Führer's suicide in a Berlin bunker at the close of the war. It was ultimately carrying soldiers, sailing under enemy colors and lightly armed, making it a valid target for Soviet subs.

Lifejackets had been provided for all, but there were not enough lifeboats. With about one million visitors annually, the documentation center Topography of Terror on Niederkirchnerstrasse is one of the most visited memorial sites in Berlin. One reason why this maritime disaster is so unknown is the devastating historic background it faces. In addition, the ship was informed by radio of a number of German minesweepers in the area, and Zahn recommended turning on the ship’s green and red navigation lights to avoid a collision in the dark.

It is the largest known loss of life of any sinking in maritime history, a loss of life more than three and a half times the total of those in the sinkings of the Titanic and the Lusitania combined. It was the first village in German territory reached by the Soviets and there were already rumors circulating of the draconic revenge on the part of the Soviets for German war crimes. It is also interesting for the wider context of the evacuation, of which the Gustloff’s voyage was part. The German-Russian Museum exhibits the document, which was drawn up in English, Russian and German.

Included among them were potential U-boat crews that had been training in the Bay of Danzig, wounded soldiers from the Eastern Front, Nazi officials, military families, and other civilians. Most seriously, a glaring shortage of German-language material is evident, which, given the rather patchy coverage of the subject outside Germany, must be considered a serious flaw. The sinking ship resulted in the loss of an estimated 9,300 victims, including 5,000 children.Those on board included 9,000 civilians fleeing an advancing Red Army, …

Oddly, she also had two lead captains, one civilian and one military. He was 18 years old at the time, aboard the Gustloff as an aspiring naval pay clerk. With Kai Wiesinger, Valerie Niehaus, Heiner Lauterbach, Dana Vávrová. | Mobile version, Auschwitz, 75 years later: A race against time, The Nazi archives: Where Germany's dark past is stored on paper. And yet its 9,000-odd victims were easily forgotten in the wholesale slaughter of the last months of the war, while the stories of the survivors were muted by Germany’s dominant postwar culture of mea culpa and the continued indifference of its wartime enemies. As the ship awaited her orders to load passengers and leave Gdynia, there were daily bombing raids on shore, and the city’s electricity and water systems had broken down. Moreover, though Prince is solid on the circumstances of the sinking itself, her grasp of the wider history is sometimes lacking and as a consequence her book is undermined by factual and typographical errors, some wonky geography and the whiff of journalistic hyperbole.

She sank taking down with her as many as 9,500 people.

But it was by far the most well known. When the ship’s gangways were finally let down, refugees charged the ship trying to get aboard, fighting for a place on what they considered the only hope they had of finding safety. In order to avoid a collision amid heavy snowfall, Captain Peterson then turned on the ship's position lights: 90 minutes with bright lighting, but no minesweepers. Bursts of snow mixed with the hail. The subs surged into the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland with orders to attack any shipping they encountered. At around 9 p.m. on January 30, 1945, Adolf Hitler was speaking to the German people. The sinking of MV Wilhelm Gustloff by the Soviet Submarine S-13 resulted in the greatest maritime disaster in history with the largest loss of life at sea.

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