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Wilhelm Gustloff (ship)

Wilhelm Gustloff (ship)

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The MV Wilhelm Gustloff was a German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 KdF flagship
Flagship
A flagship is a vessel used by the commanding officer of a group of naval ships, reflecting the custom of its commander, characteristically a flag officer, flying a distinguishing flag...

 during 1937-1945, constructed by the Blohm & Voss shipyards. It sank after being torpedo
Torpedo
The modern torpedo is a self-propelled missile weapon with an explosive warhead, launched above or below the water surface, propelled underwater towards a target, and designed to detonate either on contact with it or in proximity to it.The term torpedo was originally employed for...

ed by the Soviet
Soviet Navy
The Soviet Navy was the naval arm of the Soviet Armed Forces. Often referred to as the Red Fleet, the Soviet Navy would have played an instrumental role in a Warsaw Pact war with NATO, where it would have attempted to prevent naval convoys from bringing reinforcements across the Atlantic Ocean...

 submarine
Submarine
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

  on 30 January 1945.

The ship was named after Wilhelm Gustloff
Wilhelm Gustloff
Wilhelm Gustloff was the German leader of the NSDAP party in Switzerland; he founded the Swiss branch of the party at Davos in 1932., which grouped Nazi party members who lived outside the German Reich....

, the assassinated German leader of the Swiss Nazi
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 party. It was requisitioned into the Kriegsmarine
Kriegsmarine
The Kriegsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Nazi regime . It superseded the Kaiserliche Marine of World War I and the post-war Reichsmarine. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches of the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.The Kriegsmarine grew rapidly...

 (German Navy) on 1 September 1939 and served as a hospital ship in 1939 and 1940. Beginning on 20 November 1940, it was stripped of medical equipment and repainted from its hospital ship
Hospital ship
A hospital ship is a ship designated for primary function as a floating medical treatment facility or hospital; most are operated by the military forces of various countries, as they are intended to be used in or near war zones....

 colors (white with a green stripe) to standard naval grey. The Wilhelm Gustloff was then assigned as a floating barracks for naval personnel in the port of Gdynia
Gdynia
Gdynia is a city in the Pomeranian Voivodeship of Poland and an important seaport of Gdańsk Bay on the south coast of the Baltic Sea.Located in Kashubia in Eastern Pomerania, Gdynia is part of a conurbation with the spa town of Sopot, the city of Gdańsk and suburban communities, which together...

 which was located in Nazi occupied Poland (renamed during German occupation to Gotenhafen), near Gdańsk
Gdansk
Gdańsk is a Polish city on the Baltic coast, at the centre of the country's fourth-largest metropolitan area.The city lies on the southern edge of Gdańsk Bay , in a conurbation with the city of Gdynia, spa town of Sopot, and suburban communities, which together form a metropolitan area called the...

, Poland.

The Wilhelm Gustloff′s final voyage was during Operation Hannibal
Operation Hannibal
Operation Hannibal was a German military operation involving the evacuation by sea of German troops and civilians from Courland, East Prussia, and the Polish Corridor from mid-January to May, 1945 as the Red Army advanced during the East Prussian and East Pomeranian Offensives and subsidiary...

 in January 1945, when it was sunk while participating in the evacuation
Evacuation of East Prussia
The evacuation of East Prussia refers to the evacuation of the German civilian population and military personnel in East Prussia and the Klaipėda region between 20 January, and March 1945, as part of the evacuation of German civilians towards the end of World War II...

 of civilians, military personnel, and Nazi officials who were surrounded by the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 in East Prussia
East Prussia
East Prussia is the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast from the 13th century to the end of World War II in May 1945. From 1772–1829 and 1878–1945, the Province of East Prussia was part of the German state of Prussia. The capital city was Königsberg.East Prussia...

. The Gustloff was hit by three torpedoes from the S-13 in the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

 under the command of Alexander Marinesko
Alexander Marinesko
Alexander Ivanovich Marinesko was a Soviet sailor and, during World War II, the captain of the S-13 submarine, which sank the German ship Wilhelm Gustloff, with recent research showing that over 9,000 died when the ship sank.Born in Odessa, Marinesko was the son of a Romanian sailor and a...

 on the night of 30 January 1945 and sank in less than 45 minutes. An estimated 9,400 people were killed in the sinking. If accurate, this would be the largest known loss of life occurring during a single ship sinking in recorded maritime history.

Construction


The Wilhelm Gustloff was constructed by the Blohm & Voss shipyards. Measuring 208.5 metre long by 23.59 metre wide with a capacity of 25,484 gross register tons, she was launched on 5 May 1937.

Ship history


The Wilhelm Gustloff was the first purpose-built cruise liner for the German Labour Front
German Labour Front
The German Labour Front was the National Socialist trade union organisation which replaced the various trade unions of the Weimar Republic after Adolf Hitler's rise to power....

 (Deutsche Arbeitsfront, DAF) and used by subsidiary organisation Kraft durch Freude (KdF) (Strength Through Joy). Its purposes were to provide recreational and cultural activities for German functionaries and workers, including concerts, cruises, and other holiday trips, and as a public relations tool, to present "a more acceptable image of the Third Reich." She was the flagship of the KdF cruise fleet, last civilian role, until the spring of 1939. From then on, she served the needs of the German military.

Military career


During the summer of 1939, she was pressed into service to bring the Condor Legion
Condor Legion
The Condor Legion was a unit composed of volunteers from the German Air Force and from the German Army which served with the Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War of July 1936 to March 1939. The Condor Legion developed methods of terror bombing which were used widely in the Second World War...

 back from Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 after the victory of the Nationalist
Spanish State
Francoist Spain refers to a period of Spanish history between 1936 and 1975 when Spain was under the authoritarian dictatorship of Francisco Franco....

 forces under General Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

 in the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

.
From September 1939 to November 1940, she served as a hospital ship
Hospital ship
A hospital ship is a ship designated for primary function as a floating medical treatment facility or hospital; most are operated by the military forces of various countries, as they are intended to be used in or near war zones....

, with her official designation being Lazarettschiff D.

Beginning on 20 November 1940, the medical equipment was removed from the ship and it was repainted from the hospital ship colors of white with a green stripe to standard naval grey. As a consequence of the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 blockade of the German coastline, she was used as an accommodations ship (barracks) for approximately 1,000 U-boat
U-boat
U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...

 trainees of the 2nd Submarine Training Division (2. Unterseeboot-Lehrdivision) in the Polish port of (Gdynia
Gdynia
Gdynia is a city in the Pomeranian Voivodeship of Poland and an important seaport of Gdańsk Bay on the south coast of the Baltic Sea.Located in Kashubia in Eastern Pomerania, Gdynia is part of a conurbation with the spa town of Sopot, the city of Gdańsk and suburban communities, which together...

) which was occupied by Nazis and renamed to Gotenhafen, located near Gdańsk. The Wilhelm Gustloff sat dockside for over four years, until she was put back in service to transport civilians and military personnel as part of Operation Hannibal.

Operation Hannibal


The ship's final voyage was to evacuate German refugees and military personnel as well as technicians who worked at advanced weapon bases in Balticfrom Gdynia
Gdynia
Gdynia is a city in the Pomeranian Voivodeship of Poland and an important seaport of Gdańsk Bay on the south coast of the Baltic Sea.Located in Kashubia in Eastern Pomerania, Gdynia is part of a conurbation with the spa town of Sopot, the city of Gdańsk and suburban communities, which together...

, then known to the Germans as Gotenhafen, to Kiel
Kiel
Kiel is the capital and most populous city in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, with a population of 238,049 .Kiel is approximately north of Hamburg. Due to its geographic location in the north of Germany, the southeast of the Jutland peninsula, and the southwestern shore of the...

.

The ship's complement and passenger lists cited 6,050 people on board, but this did not include many civilians who boarded the ship without being recorded in the ship's official embarkation records. Heinz Schön, who carried out extensive research into the sinking during the 1980s and 1990s, concluded that the Wilhelm Gustloff was carrying a crew of 173 (naval armed forces auxiliaries), 918 officers, NCOs, and men of the 2. Unterseeboot-Lehrdivision, 373 female naval auxiliary helpers, 162 wounded soldiers, and 8,956 civilians, among them an estimated 4,000 children, for a total of 10,582 passengers and crew.

The ship left Gotenhafen early on 30 January 1945, accompanied by the passenger liner Hansa, also filled with civilians and military personnel, and two torpedo boat
Torpedo boat
A torpedo boat is a relatively small and fast naval vessel designed to carry torpedoes into battle. The first designs rammed enemy ships with explosive spar torpedoes, and later designs launched self-propelled Whitehead torpedoes. They were created to counter battleships and other large, slow and...

s. The Hansa and one torpedo boat developed mechanical problems and could not continue, leaving the Wilhelm Gustloff with one torpedo boat escort, the Löwe. The ship had four captains (three civilian and one military) on board, and they could not agree on the best course of action to guard against submarine attacks. Against the advice of the military commander, Lieutenant Commander Wilhelm Zahn (a submariner who argued for a course in shallow waters close to shore and without lights), the senior civilian captain—Friedrich Petersen—decided to head for deep water. When he was informed by a mysterious radio message of an oncoming German minesweeper convoy, he decided to activate his ship's red and green navigation lights so as to avoid a collision in the dark, making the Wilhelm Gustloff easy to spot in the night. The source or authenticity of this radio message was never confirmed and there was no oncoming German minesweeper convoy as it later turned out.

Because the Wilhelm Gustloff had been fitted with anti-aircraft gun
Anti-aircraft warfare
NATO defines air defence as "all measures designed to nullify or reduce the effectiveness of hostile air action." They include ground and air based weapon systems, associated sensor systems, command and control arrangements and passive measures. It may be to protect naval, ground and air forces...

s it was not marked as a hospital ship, no notification of it operating in a hospital capacity had been given and, as it was transporting combat troops, it did not have any protection as a hospital ship under international accords.

The sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff


The ship was soon sighted by the Soviet
Soviet Navy
The Soviet Navy was the naval arm of the Soviet Armed Forces. Often referred to as the Red Fleet, the Soviet Navy would have played an instrumental role in a Warsaw Pact war with NATO, where it would have attempted to prevent naval convoys from bringing reinforcements across the Atlantic Ocean...

 submarine
Submarine
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

 , under the command of Captain
Captain (naval)
Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships. The NATO rank code is OF-5, equivalent to an army full colonel....

 Alexander Marinesko
Alexander Marinesko
Alexander Ivanovich Marinesko was a Soviet sailor and, during World War II, the captain of the S-13 submarine, which sank the German ship Wilhelm Gustloff, with recent research showing that over 9,000 died when the ship sank.Born in Odessa, Marinesko was the son of a Romanian sailor and a...

, which launched three torpedoes at the Wilhelm Gustloff′s port side about 30 km (16.2 nmi; 18.6 mi) offshore between Großendorf
Władysławowo
Władysławowo is a town on the south coast of the Baltic Sea in the Kashubia in Eastern Pomerania region, northern Poland, with 15,015 inhabitants.-Overview:...

 and Leba soon after 21:00 (CET
Central European Time
Central European Time , used in most parts of the European Union, is a standard time that is 1 hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time . The time offset from UTC can be written as +01:00...

), hitting it with all three. (Marinesko intended to fire four torpedoes but the fourth misfired and the crew had to disarm it.) The first torpedo (with sign on its board — "For Motherland") struck near the port bow. The second torpedo ("For Soviet people") hit just ahead of midships. The third torpedo ("For Leningrad") struck the engine room in the area below the ship's funnel, cutting off electrical power to the ship. The Gustloff took a light list to port and settled rapidly by the head. The fourth torpedo (disarmed) was named "For Stalin".

In the panic that followed, many of the passengers were trampled in the rush to the lifeboats and life jackets. Some equipment was lost as a result of the panic. The water temperature in the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

 at this time of year is usually around 4 °C (39.2 °F); however, this was a particularly cold night, with an air temperature of -18 C and ice floes covering the surface. Many deaths were caused either directly by the torpedoes or by drowning in the onrushing water. Others were crushed in the initial panic on the stairs and decks, and many jumped into the icy Baltic. But the majority of those who perished succumbed to exposure in the freezing water.

Less than 40 minutes after being struck, the Wilhelm Gustloff with the holes in hull was lying on its side and sank with bow first straight down, in 44 m (144.4 ft) of water. Thousands of people were trapped inside on the promenade deck.

German forces were able to rescue some of the survivors from the attack: torpedo boat
Torpedo boat
A torpedo boat is a relatively small and fast naval vessel designed to carry torpedoes into battle. The first designs rammed enemy ships with explosive spar torpedoes, and later designs launched self-propelled Whitehead torpedoes. They were created to counter battleships and other large, slow and...

 T-36 rescued 564 people; torpedo boat Löwe, 472; Minesweeper
Minesweeper (ship)
A minesweeper is a small naval warship designed to counter the threat posed by naval mines. Minesweepers generally detect then neutralize mines in advance of other naval operations.-History:...

 M387, 98; Minesweeper M375, 43; Minesweeper M341, 37; the steamer Göttingen saved 28; torpedo-recovery boat (Torpedofangboot) TF19, seven; the freighter Gotland, two; and Patrol boat (Vorpostenboot
Vorpostenboot
Vorpostenboots were German patrol boats which served during both World Wars...

) V1703 was able to save one baby.

All four captains on the Gustloff survived its sinking, but an official naval inquiry was started only against Wilhelm Zahn. His degree of responsibility was never resolved, however, because of Nazi Germany's collapse in 1945.

Hypotheses: estimations, computations


The figures from the research of Heinz Schön make the total lost in the sinking to be about 9,343 men, women, and children. This would make it the largest loss of life in a single sinking in maritime history.
In an article in the popular magazine Sea Classics, Irwin Kappes mentions that "there were over 6,000 passengers on board." He also states that the escort ship Löwe was alongside within 15 minutes, taking off as many survivors as she could carry, and that when Captain Henigst of the cruiser Admiral Hipper
German cruiser Admiral Hipper
Admiral Hipper, the first of five ships of her class, was the lead ship of the Admiral Hipper–class of heavy cruisers which served with the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. The ship was laid down at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg in July 1935 and launched February 1937; Admiral Hipper...

, herself carrying 1,500 evacuees, received reports from her lookouts that she was under torpedo attack, he chose not to stop to pick up survivors. Kappes gives a precise total of those lost in the sinking as 5,348. The source of this information was the German book Die Gustloff Katastrophe written by Heinz Schön, who later revised his original numbers.

Heinz Schön's more recent research is backed up by estimates made by a different method. The Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel is an American satellite and cable specialty channel , founded by John Hendricks and distributed by Discovery Communications. It is a publicly traded company run by CEO David Zaslav...

 program Unsolved History
Unsolved History
Unsolved History is an American documentary television series that aired from 2002 to 2005. The program was produced by MorningStar Entertainment, Termite Art Productions, and others for the Discovery Channel. The series lasted over three seasons and had a total of 47 episodes, in which a team of...

 undertook a computer analysis of the sinking, using software called maritime EXODUS, which estimated 9,400 dead of over 10,600 on board. This analysis considered the passenger density based on witness reports and a simulation of escape routes and survivability with the timeline of the sinking.

Aftermath


Many ships carrying civilians were sunk during the war by both the Allies
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 and Axis
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

. However, based on the latest estimates of passenger numbers and those known to be saved, the Wilhelm Gustloff remains the largest loss of life resulting from the sinking of one vessel in maritime history. Günter Grass
Günter Grass
Günter Wilhelm Grass is a Nobel Prize-winning German author, poet, playwright, sculptor and artist.He was born in the Free City of Danzig...

, in an interview published in The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

 on Tuesday 8 April 2003 said, "One of the many reasons I wrote Crabwalk
Crabwalk
Crabwalk, published in Germany in 2002 as Im Krebsgang, is a novel by Danzig-born German author Günter Grass. As in earlier works, Grass concerns himself with the effects of the past on the present; he interweaves various strands and combines fact and fiction...

 was to take the subject away from the extreme Right
Far right
Far-right, extreme right, hard right, radical right, and ultra-right are terms used to discuss the qualitative or quantitative position a group or person occupies within right-wing politics. Far-right politics may involve anti-immigration and anti-integration stances towards groups that are...

...They said the tragedy
Tragedy (event)
A tragedy is an event in which one or more losses, usually of human life, occurs that is viewed as mournful. Such an event is said to be tragic....

 of the Gustloff was a war crime. It wasn’t. It was terrible, but it was a result of war, a terrible result of war."

About 1,000 German naval officers and men, were aboard and died in the sinking of the Gustloff. The women on board the ship at the time of the sinking were inaccurately described by Soviet propaganda as "SS
Schutzstaffel
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

 personnel from the German concentration camps
Nazi concentration camps
Nazi Germany maintained concentration camps throughout the territories it controlled. The first Nazi concentration camps set up in Germany were greatly expanded after the Reichstag fire of 1933, and were intended to hold political prisoners and opponents of the regime...

". There were however a number of female naval auxiliaries among the passengers.

Wreckage


Noted as "Obstacle No. 73" on Polish navigation charts, and classified as a war grave
War grave
A war grave is a burial place for soldiers or civilians who died during military campaigns or operations. The term does not only apply to graves: ships sunk during wartime are often considered to be war graves, as are military aircraft that crash into water...

, Gustloff rests at 55.0729°N 17.4213°E, about 30 km (16.2 nmi; 18.6 mi) offshore, east of Łeba (17.33E) and west of Władysławowo
Władysławowo
Władysławowo is a town on the south coast of the Baltic Sea in the Kashubia in Eastern Pomerania region, northern Poland, with 15,015 inhabitants.-Overview:...

 (18.24E). It is one of the largest shipwrecks on the Baltic Sea floor. In order to protect the property on board the war grave
War grave
A war grave is a burial place for soldiers or civilians who died during military campaigns or operations. The term does not only apply to graves: ships sunk during wartime are often considered to be war graves, as are military aircraft that crash into water...

-wreck of the MV Wilhelm Gustloff and to protect the environment the Polish Maritime Office in Gdynia
Gdynia
Gdynia is a city in the Pomeranian Voivodeship of Poland and an important seaport of Gdańsk Bay on the south coast of the Baltic Sea.Located in Kashubia in Eastern Pomerania, Gdynia is part of a conurbation with the spa town of Sopot, the city of Gdańsk and suburban communities, which together...

 has forbidden diving within a 500 m (1,640.4 ft) radius of the wreck

In 2006, a bell recovered from the wreck and subsequently used as decoration in a Polish fish restaurant was lent to a privately funded "Forced Paths" exhibition in Berlin.

Books in German


The most prolific German author and historian on the subject of the Wilhelm Gustloff is Heinz Schön, one of the shipwreck's survivors, whose books (in German) include:
  • Der Untergang der "Wilhelm Gustloff". Tatsachenbericht eines Überlebenden. (The sinking of the "Wilhelm Gustloff". Factual account of a survivor.) Karina-Goltze-Verlag K.-G., Göttingen 1952;
  • SOS Wilhelm Gustloff. Die größte Schiffskatastrophe der Geschichte. (SOS Wilhelm Gustloff. The biggest shipping disaster in history.) Motorbuch Verlag Pietsch, Stuttgart 1998, ISBN 3-613-01900-0;
  • Die Gustloff - Katastrophe. Bericht eines Überlebenden über die größte Schiffskatastrophe im Zweiten Weltkrieg. (The Gustloff catastrophe. Account of a survivor of the biggest shipping attack in the Second World War.) Motorbuch Verlag, 2002, ISBN 3-613-01027-5;
  • Die letzte Fahrt der Wilhelm Gustloff. Dokumentation eines Überlebenden. (The last trip of the Wilhelm Gustloff. Account of a survivor.) Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 3-613-02897-2.

Books in English


Recent years have seen increased interest in the Wilhelm Gustloff disaster in countries outside of Germany, with various books either written in or translated into English, including:
  • A.V. Sellwood: The Damned Don't Drown. The Sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff. Naval Institute Press, London 1973, ISBN 1-55750-742-2 (fiction). In Sellwoods own words, this is a "reconstruction of the tragedy", with material drawn from "interviews with some of the survivors and official documents".
  • Christopher Dobson, John Miller, and Ronald Payne: The Cruellest Night, Hodder & Stoughton, London,1979, ISBN 0-340-22720-6.
  • John Ries: "History's Greatest Naval Disasters. The Little-Known Stories of the Wilhelm Gustloff, the General Steuben and the Goya". In the controversial Journal of Historical Review
    Journal of Historical Review
    The Journal of Historical Review is a non-peer reviewed serial, periodical, or journal published by the Institute for Historical Review in Torrance, California. Its subject is primarily Holocaust denial...

    , 1992, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 371–381.
  • Günter Grass
    Günter Grass
    Günter Wilhelm Grass is a Nobel Prize-winning German author, poet, playwright, sculptor and artist.He was born in the Free City of Danzig...

    : Im Krebsgang
    Crabwalk
    Crabwalk, published in Germany in 2002 as Im Krebsgang, is a novel by Danzig-born German author Günter Grass. As in earlier works, Grass concerns himself with the effects of the past on the present; he interweaves various strands and combines fact and fiction...

    , which has been translated into English as Crabwalk. Steidl Verlag, Göttingen 2002, ISBN 3-88243-800-2 (fiction). Combines historical elements, such as the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, with fictional elements, such as the book's major characters and events.


Dramatized films

  • Nacht fiel über Gotenhafen (Night fell over Gotenhafen), feature film, 1959
  • Die Gustloff (The Gustloff), two-part telemovie by Joseph Vilsmaier
    Joseph Vilsmaier
    Joseph Vilsmaier is a German film director.-Work:After attending a boarding school near Augsburg, he was trained as a technician to make film cameras and then spent nine years at a music conservatory. Following this he was a member of a jazz group...

    , 2008 (Ship of No Return: The Last Voyage of the Gustloff, Australian title)
  • Sinking Hitler's Supership, 2008.

Documentaries

  • Killer Submarine, 1999.
  • Die große Flucht. Der Untergang der Gustloff (The Great Escape. The sinking of the Gustloff), 2001.
  • "The Sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff", The Sea Hunters (television program), 2002.
  • "Wilhelm Gustloff: World's Deadliest Sea Disaster", Unsolved History
    Unsolved History
    Unsolved History is an American documentary television series that aired from 2002 to 2005. The program was produced by MorningStar Entertainment, Termite Art Productions, and others for the Discovery Channel. The series lasted over three seasons and had a total of 47 episodes, in which a team of...

     (television program), 2003.
  • Ghosts of the Baltic Sea, 2006.
  • "Sinking the Gustloff", 2009
  • The Nazi Titanic (television program), 2010.

See also