The Wilhelm Gustloff as an Accommodation Liner
2nd U-Boat Training Division
1940 - 1945
     After her stint as a hospital ship, the Wilhelm Gustloff was converted over to an accommodation liner for the 2nd U-Boat Training Division in late 1940. In the issue of SOS Schicksale Deutscher Schiffe Nr. 23, 1953 (Collection magazine shown right), the Gustloff can be seen having her wartime grey paint being applied with the Lowe in the foreground (the escort ship to play a crutial role in saving the Gustloff's survivors.)
     From 1940 until 1945, the Gustloff trained new recruits for the war efforts. As Germany invaids Russia and the front lines begin to fall towards Gotenhafen. Operation Hannibal becomes a mass exodus attempting to evacuate tens of thousands who crowd in the port trying to remain away from the Russian forces. The Gustloff's engines begin to hum to life for the first time in years as her first refugees board on January 22nd, 1945.
     When the Gustloff leaves port on January 30th, 1945, there are nearly 10,500 refugees onboard a former cruise liner which is now a legitimate military target.....
Wilhelm Gustloff                                                                    Hansa
Above: Two images of the Gustloff's band playing at the dock. Came with the notation they dealt with the U-1060.
Thumbnails: The Wilhelm Gustloff and the Hansa at Gotehnafen (#'s 1 & 2). The remaining three photos came with the images at top of the Gustloff band.
The above photo has been seen on several websites being listed as the last known photo of the Gustloff. What is interesting is that according to SOS Schicksale Deutscher Schiffe Nr. 23, 1953, this is false, as the photo was taken in 1943 - 2 years before she sunk.
Above: 30. Januar 1945, Untergang der 'Wilhelm Gustloff' Schiffsschicksale Nr.7
Officer onboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, January of 1945. Source: Der Landser Grossband, Nr. 11
Deutsche Feldpost II. WK. - Kommando
2. Unterseeboots Lehrdivision Gotenhafen "Wilh. Gustloff", inkl. Inhalt, 1942
Feldpost at Gotenhafen 7.7.42
Two postcards, both sent from Gotenhafen on August 26, 1944.

2.U.L.D.Crew Photograph onboard the accommodation ship Wilhelm Gustloff - December 1944.

     Presented here is a one of a kind photograph of a crew meeting onboard the Wilhelm Gustloff in her Wintergarden, dated December of 1944. During this time, she was accommodating U-boat crews in the Baltic port of Gotenhafen, which is present day Gdyna in Poland. What makes this photograph so interesting is that it was taken only one month before she was torpedoed and several of these men were onboard that fateful night!
     *From the information we have, it is evident that these crew members all belonged to the 2nd U-Boat Training Division whose members were quartered aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff which served as a floating barracks at the time. These U-boat trainees received their practical training at sea on boats of the 22. Uboot-Flottille, also stationed at Gotenhafen, which was specifically formed as an Ausbildungsflottille. One of its Schulboote (training boats) was U-143 commanded by OLzS Walter Kasparek. In January 1945, before the arrival of the Red Army at Gotenhafen, 22.U-Fl. including U-143 was transferred to a port in the western Baltic (which one is not quite sure - Stettin, Swinemünde or Kiel perhaps.) It is an opinion that, with the exception of Kasparek, Bluhm and von Köster, the men on the photo, all eager young Leutnants zur See, were watch officer candidates going through the demanding lessons of preparing for duty on a Frontboot (boat on active war patrol).*
     At the top of the album page is a complete crew photo with the heading "Crewtreffen im Dezember 1944, 'Gustloff' im Wintergarten." At the bottom of the photo is the caption, "Wolfgang Bluhm, Jurgen Esselmann, "Bah", Caspras und Axt. Gotenhafen." There is also a signature below the photograph which appears to be the name of "Hurst Schwisll" or "Hurst Schwall."
     A second photo was originally cut up into eight pieces according to person and their names typed underneath. They are listed below along with any information was found about each. A special thanks to Gert for helping to fill in the information on these crewmembers:

Wolfgang Bluhm: Served on the U-181 & U-143. Deceased 2005.
Jurgen Esselmann: Lt.z.S, Member of the 2nd U-Boat Training Division (2.U.L.D.), Survived the sinking.
Caspras: Nickname, OL.z.S. Walter Kasparek, Commander U-143.
Walker: Probable Lt.z.S, 2.U.L.D
Gunther Reuter: Lt.z.S. (Leutnant zur See or Ensign), U-3527
(Walter) v. Koster: If correct, Lt.z.S, destroyer Z-35, 6.Zerstörer-Flottille, Gotenhafen, which hit a mine and sank in the Eastern Baltic on December 12, 1944. This would mean the photo was taken in the first 11 days of the month.
Kurt Rullmann: Lt.z.S, 2.U.L.D - Lost with the ship. 1/30/45
Horst Krockert: Lt.z.S. U-930 (Commissioned on 12/6). As of 12/44, U-Flottille, Stettin, Ausbildungsboot. (Crew under training) Most likely transferred there from 2.U.L.D. Gotenhafen in early December.
Horst Hoppe: Not on a U-Boat, but survived the sinking.
Horst Riege: Probable Lt.z.S, 2.U.L.D
Dieter Halstenbach: Lt.z.S, 2.U.L.D., Wuppertaler, Survived the sinking and picked up by the torpedo boat TS 8/M375. Still living as of 10/29/08.




     Three letters from a Wilhelm Gustloff 2.U.L.D. sailor. The first 1 page front & back letter (left) was written on April 18th, 1941 and posted on April 20th.  The sailor thanked his mother for a package and told her all was fine onboard.
     The second 2 page front & back letter was written and posted on February 11th, 1941.
     The third letters (below on the sailboat stationary) were written and postmarked April 7th, 1941.


Dated June 23rd, 1942
The above photo originally came from a collection belonging to one of the nine survivors of U-77 which was sunk of the Spanish coast by British Hudson airplanes on March 28, 1943.

Letter sent from the Wilhelm Gustloff in Gotenhafen. Written and posted December 13th, 1941.
2.U.L.D. Officer onboard the Wilhelm Gustloff
Dated: April 4th, 1943.
Wilhelm Gustloff 2.U.L.D. Telegram - June 1941

949 Ingolstadt Do 1 22 16 1530

San Maat Georg Kratzer
7/2 U L D Gotenhafen Wilhelm Gustloff

Komme Samstag Zwischen 21 Und 23 Uhr in Gotenhafen an = Lydia ++




San Maat Georg Kratzer
7 / 2 U L D Gotenhafen Wilhelm Gustloff

Come Saturday between 21 and 23 clock in Gdynia on = Lydia + +

21 23 7 2 ++
Wilhelm Gustloff Accommodation Liner & U-Boat Training Photo Album - Medium Souvenir Album                                                        Onboard the U-708 - Gotenhafen & Danzig, December of 1942.
Souvenir Photos:
17 - Accommodation Liner / Training Photos: 96 = Total 113

     Presented here is a very unique photo album from the Wilhelm Gustloff of her days as an accommodation liner. The album shows severe damage after all these years and was seemingly kept with the sailor(s) onboard as it was being assembled. It features 12 souvenir photos of the Gustloff, 1 of the Robert Ley, 4 souvenir photos of Danzig, and 96 personal photos.
     This album highlights the training of the U-708's crew during her time in Gotenhafen & Danzig. A type VIIC u-boat, she was completed July 24th, 1942 and entered training under the 8. Flottille with Oblt. Werner Heintze commanding her. "The officer on the bridge with the binoculars wearing the white hat is definitely the captain of the boat. Whether he is in fact OLzS Werner Heintze, commander of U-708, is open to question."
     "U-708 was temporarily attached to 22. U.Flotilla from February of 1943 as a training boat while nominally still with 8 U-Fl. at Danzig." "For the remainder of the year, the U-708 was undergoing her own testing, training and acceptance trials and there were a number of bases that had to be visited to complete it." Gotenhafen was one of those bases.
     A special thanks to u-boat author Dr. Axel, who quickly identified the U-708. It was known that she had a sea horse emblem during her time at sea, but the Chinese dragon emblem was shown during her time as a training u-boat. (The yellow stripe on the conning tower depicts she was in training.) Another photo of the U-708's emblem and damaged conning tower can be seen HERE. This damage resulted from a collision with a target vessel during the same month & year, causing minor crumpling.

Photo Album Sequence
     After the souvenir photos, there are images of Kriegsmarine members in a bar, then of the same group training in the snows of Danzig. Afterwards, they board a train and arrive in port (probably Gotenhafen) and there are images around the area - and at one point, onboard the General Osorio. (The photo in the cabin looks like the Gustloff, but perhaps it is the General Osorio.) The sailors mentioned in this album - Hans, Willi, & Walter - assembled it during their entire training, though not necessarily in order. The photo before the officers and crew on the U-708 is dated March of 1942 - 4 months before the U-708 was to be commissioned.

     The album then shows the u-boat and its crew in formal attire for a ceremony of sorts. "The photos of the crew assembled on deck for some special ceremony clearly indicate that the boat was based at Danzig: The buildings seen in the background of these pictures are not congruent with the architectural silhouette of Gotenhafen but rather that of the city of Danzig." There are several photos of the u-boat crew's Christmas dinner onboard what appears to be the Wilhelm Gustloff and onboard the U-708. "The pictures of the Christmas party suggest that the crew of U-708, having travelled by train from Danzig, were invited as a special treat to celebrate another Kriegsweihnacht (War Christmas) in the warm and cozy salons on board the Gustloff (the quarters of the 8. U-Flottile at Danzig were not so cosy) with plenty of good food and drink." 

     All the remaining photos are of the u-boat crew training onboard and of the captain and officers out on the water. There are a few snapshots around Gotenhafen's harbor featuring the GustloffHamburgHansa, and another unknown ship. The album ends back on the u-boat with the crew doing everything from working the deck gun to peeling potatoes on the dock and cutting up fish on the u-boat's deck.








*Also highlighted in a red box on the dining room table is a Krupp-Berndorf silver coffee pot. This coffee pot is identical to the one removed from the Robert Ley on her home page on the site.


Above Right - After photographing the album, it was clear that most of the glue holding the photos was deteriorating to the point where the photos were simply falling off the pages. This blessing in disguise uncovered 4 photos in the album that have writing on the back.
Left to Right:
Photo #39:
Gangdienst in Hamburg 3.42.
Corridor-Service in Hamburg.
Some kind of oversight / guard service on Board.
Photo #80: Willi & Walter - Gotenhafen, Dez 42.
Photo #82: Willi: Meine Seele im Morgenrot. Translated: My soul in aurora. Gotenhafen 12.42.
Photo #84: Hans v Willi. Gotenhafen 12.42.



     Of the officers in photograph #45 at the Christmas Party, I was told: From left to right:
The guy on the far left with both hands visible has the Iron Cross 2nd Class ribbon.
The guy next to him in the middle of Hitler’s picture has the Iron Cross 2nd Class ribbon and on his right hand side and a decoration I can’t identify. It could be a Spanish Cross or a German Cross.
I am not sure which other decorations were worn on that side but there weren’t many. He also has another decoration on his left hand side but it could be any of 6 decorations I can think of.
The guy on the far right with his eyes closed has the Minesweeper War Badge. It is also possible he is only a Petty Officer. The others are of course officers.

      Once again, A special thanks to all of those who contributed to the story of this album. Quotes from the left have been taken directly from these forums to help tell the story. The full forums, as well as other research information on u-boats can be viewed at the following sites: ubootwaffe.net, ww2f.com, uboat.net, & u-historia.com.
Onboard the Wilhelm Gustloff - 2.U.L.D. Gotenhafen  28.3.1943
Soup Bowl & Side Plate from onboard the Wilhelm Gustloff
Taken off the ship in 1944 during her last few months afloat.
Bottom marked with the Nazi Eagle, M, KPM, 1941
History by written letter:
     The accompanying plates are from the estate of my father who passed away in October 2008 and he was a thoroughly enthusiastic marine collector and has been since about 1950. In Europe, he had developed contacts with other collectors and from this passion came to have a very close friendship with the former owner of these plates, a Kriegsmarine captain of a huge and exciting collection of marine artifacts who had lived on a small East Frisian island and died there several years ago.
     These plates are from the ship "Wilhelm Gustloff" and he was, in 1944, onboard this ship for a few days to visit a comrade. Professionally, he worked in Berlin during this time. From his tales proving the ship as he had the first class and wonderful already in memory. These plates were kept until his death in a display case next to a new and completely unused photo album of the Wilhelm Gustloff. This kind of album you could then purchase from the Wilhelm Gustloff. The captain lived in this house in the dunes with his memories and his desire for many recollection pieces went over to my father. 

     It is from his son which I purchased these plates in November of 2010.

Speisekarte Letter from onboard the Wilhelm Gustloff
Written onboard, March 26th, 1942
Very odd find showing one of the crew members onboard using a blank Triple Nazi Flag menu cover and inside as a creative letter from the accommodation ship. Translation (Thanks to Werner) below:


Knife and Fork from onboard the Wilhelm Gustloff
Taken offboard during her time as an accommodation liner.
     Here is a knife and fork that was taken off the Wilhelm Gustloff by one of her engineers during her time as an accommodation liner. The engineer, from Zwickau, Germany, nabbed them as souvenirs during the time and kept them along with a photo album and one of his boarding passes. When his effects were broken up some time later, a Gustloff collector purchased them and I through him. Stamped HL or HHL, Rostfrei. Knife dated 1941 and both pieces with the eagle on swastica and M.



2. WK Besteck Gustloff
Hier dieses Besteck Set eines Maschinisten der Gustloff.
Wurde damals als Andenken nach der Zeit auf der Gustloff mitgebracht.
Es sind original Stücke aus der Zeit des 2. Wk, beide haben den selben Hersteller und sind gestempelt.
Collection Postcard
Wilhelm Gustloff Small Souvenir Photo Album
Dated May 1942 out of Pillau - 33 total photos.

     A very interesting photo album from wartime. The first few photos are what appear to be family vacation photos from a German family. Then there are four photos onboard the Type II U-62 out at sea. During May of 1942, she was a school boat based in Gotenhafen, so probably taken between the two cities in the Baltic. The remaining photos are of various Kriegsmarine members, and one outfit I am not familiar with.
     There are two souvenir photos of the ship, but it is not the Wilhelm Gustloff, rather the Robert Ley. All the handwriting on the backs of the photos are the same person. Whether the sailor was onboard both ships, or just one... one never knows.




Sinking and Wreck







Wilhelm Gustloff Accommodation Liner & U-Boat Training Photo Album - Medium Album                                                                                   Onboard the U-841 - Gotenhafen & Kiel - 1942 & 1943.
Accommodation Liner / Training Photos: 58, Reprints: 23 = Total 81








Photo Captions: (by page) - I tried to read all the captions, but some are written so small and illegible, I wasn't able to get an accurate translation. If anyone can help, please email me.
1. Cover of the photo album.
2. U-841, 17.10.1943 (1917)
3. Being a recruit - Recruit
4. 2 U-Boat Training Division - Gotenhafen
5. The final training course. (onboard the Wilhelm Gustloff.)
6. Diving with Danger,  Swearing-in, Recruit.
7. My crew U-841 (XOE)
8. Front farewell with Admiral Donitz 01/03/42 (Kiel).
9. Into the Arctic Ocean by U-841, March to Norway, Look-out, Pik AS (Ace of Spades - Emblem on the U-841) in Bergen, Norway - 1943 11 flotilla, Names H. Welsch, H. Bohme, Snelle.
10. Escort "Bauec", Casting off lines, Surface shooting, A. Smarz & store, Fish, fish, fish, U-841 in the sea, Torpedo on the upperdeck.
11. Corporal "Hein", Private First Class 1942.
12. Officers U-841, OM Hedtfeld, OM Schwerin, IWO, IIWO (Office of the Watch) Lt. Haufmann, A good friend Lt. Huffman died 1943.
13. 1943 in Gdynia Hela - U-841, Kptlt. and Commander Bender U-841, Watch on bridge, 1943, In sea, in front of Greenland. Map quadrant - Possibly 07 U 919?
14. 1943 in Gdynia Hela - U-841
15. W. Snella died 1943, Snella, Rosenthal, Martin, Lt. z. See Huffman, Spare Second Watch, 3.7 cm gun, free watch.
16. Gun exercises, Excursion on "Hela", Recruit.
17. Ready for the tropics, Rosenthal, Snella, Voss, Martin, W. Snella, in the river delta Stettin June 1943 43rd, Officer of the Watch (Bootsmann?) Spark (Smoking) on deck, Atlantic.
18. U-Flak Course "MS Mars" Feb 1942, *** torpedoboat, East-Swinemünde 1942.
19. 2.ULD, W. Gustloff, Kptl. Stein - Representative of the 2nd Division.
20. W. Gustloff (Close-up of photo).
21. Holiday, December 1942.
22. Diver Course - Gotenhafen, 1942. (Onboard the Wilhelm Gustloff).
23. Sports after duty, beginners flag signaling.
24. Article on Heinz Taubert - Copy
25. Article on Heinz Taubert - Copy
26. Copy of diploma: Lower Saxony's minister for Science and Art. Heinz Taubert: His degree: University of Oldenburg Department of Maritime Studies in Elsfleth. Exam for Captain of open seas.
--- Reprints begin here in the album ---
27. 17/10/87 - Kiel - Laboe - Möltenort,  The reunion after the years, 1987.
28. 1987 in Möltenort.
29. (Heinz Taubert) 1942, Onboard the U-841.
30. Bremen - Commissioning
31. Farewell to guest flotilla.
32. 1942 Kiel - Taking supplies, at attention.
33. Bremen 1942.
34. Bremen - 1942, Where to?
35. Lt. Th. Kiel
36. Farewell in Bremen, 1942.
37. Trip from the shipyard.
38. 1942.
39. Oct 1989 - A trip on the Danube Oct 1989.
40. A photo I was emailed of the Wilhelm Gustloff in Gotenhafen after her hospital liner was removed, but before she was painted gray. With the Hansa, other ship, and u-boat. I would like to be able to add this to the collection if I could ever track the original down.
     Presented here is a very unique photo album from the U-841 and her training days. The U-841 was launched October 21st, 1942 as a Type IXC/40 under the command of Capt. Werner Bender. She operated as a training and front boat in 1943 for the 2nd and 4th Flotillas and never sank any enemy ships. On October 17th, 1943, she was sunk in the North Atlantic east of Cape Farewell, Greenland, in position 59.57N, 31.06W, by depth charges from the British frigate HMS Byard. There were 27 sailors who perished onboard and 27 survivors. This photo album belonged to one of those survivors, Heinz Taubert (MtrGfr), and the person selling this also sold 3 other photo albums, as well as Mr. Taubert's uniform from the war. The album begins with a memorial photo for the U-841, and consists of several photos onboard the u-boat and onboard the Wilhelm Gustloff for training and diving practice.
     A few things make this album interesting - first, it's obvious Mr. Taubert took his photos from other albums and combined them all to this one to make a complete record. He hand-wrote comments for every photo in the album and the names of the crew he served with. The first half of the album are original photographs, and the last half are reprints or memorial photos. There are also photos of the sailors practicing in the dive tanks onboard the Gustloff. I have also seen another exact set (with more photos) of this training, backmarked with the 2ULD. stamp. Even the one photo of the men standing at the stern of the Gustloff is an exact double, as I have another I purchased a year earlier. For historical records, I posted the other album (not in my possession) below this one. Due to issues with the server, I only uploaded photos of each page rather than each picture.
     Finally, here is a listing of the sailors shown in this album and their status after the sinking of the U-841. Statistics courtesy of www.ubootwaffe.net.

Crew of the U-841 featured in this album:

Bender, Werner - KpLt. - Born 28.10.1916 - U-841+ Cdr. 06.02.43 - lost E.of cape Farewell. 59.57N. 31.06W. 17.10.43.
Böhme, Heinz - FkOGfr - U-841. Pow.17.10.43
Hedtfeld, Wilhelm - OMasch - Born 15.10.1917 - U-841+ lost E.of Cape Farewell 17.10.1943
Huffmann, Ernst - Lt.z.S - Born 06.06.1923 - U-841+ died in shooting 15.09.1943
Martin, Erhard - U-841. U-1010
Rosenthal, Kurt - MtrGfr - Born 24.05.1925 - U-841+ lost E.of Cape Farewell 17.10.1943
Schwerin, Gerhard - OMasch - U-841. Pow.17.10.43
Smarz, Albin - MtrGfr - U-841. Pow.17.10.43 - Died 1.10.2004
Snella, Werner - MtrGfr - Born 24.07.1924 - U-841+ lost E.of Cape Farewell 17.10.1943
Taubert,  Heinz - MtrGfr  - U-841. Pow.17.10.43
Voss, Franz-Peter - MtrGfr - U-841. Pow.17.10.43
Welsch, Horst - MtrOGfr - Born 27.03.1924 - 841+ lost E.of Cape Farewell 17.10.1943.

Wilhelm Gustloff Gotenhafen Training Album - 1942/43
Photos - 34. European Auction.
     I have seen this album for sale, sold, then resold again. While I didn't obtain it, I saved all of the photos for historical record. I am posting them to show because they go with several of the diving photos in the album above. The Kriegsmarine, or someone else, must have made copies to show for training purposes since they are identical. I eventually gained a few examples in other albums that I've come across.





Wilhelm Gustloff Small Souvenir Album
Photographs: 41
Inside Cover: Handwritten:

Seaman Herbert L. was in Gotenhafen from Nov 15 to Jan 1942 ULD on KdF Schiff Wilhelm Gustloff

Other inside cover :
In permanent memory to my members of my U boat training.

An impressive photo of the General von Steuben in her camouflage paint - February / March 1941.
Not from this album, but a separate photo recently purchased.
Ship in the foreground named Ferdinand with the port of Wesermünde.
This was the site of a naval academy, it is located close to Kiel.
Clockwise: Above:
- The Wilhelm Gustloff and the Hansa in Gotenhafen both in their war gray paint.
- A great image of the Wilhelm Gustloff being painted war grey from the stern forward. Her funnel also appears to have it's new paint job. The stern of the Hansa can be seen at right.
- The Wilhelm Gustloff in Gotenhafen in her gray accommodation paint. This image was taken from the stern of the Hansa (which can be seen at the bottom of the image.




Synopsis of letter 26.III.1942

My dear Lothar,

     Thank you for your letter from Monday, you may be wondering about my strange paper, but these cards serve the purpose. I will write in a small script. I am doing quite well.. XX is doing better, he will get out of bed tomorrow. He wants to take some vacations next week. I hope that things will be quiet over the Easter week. I am really worked out. This morning with a difficult case. A left sided upper jaw with high fever. I think I will operate tomorrow. The broken jaw that I wrote about has healed well. The xrays look good.

​This afternoon , Mrs. Xxx with her two young children came to visit. I did have a few sweets.

     Lttle Jutta, 4 years old, very active, wanted to know everything. We had many laughs. I had to work without the two receptionists, one is on vacation the other one is sick. It was quite cold and springtime we notice little. I heard on the radio today that someone was somewhere???

     On the Bergstrasse it is quite warm. Do you already know when you will come. I would be very glad if you get here with the small ones. But I will have to wait until mid-May. Do not worry about the tires, I will get a confirmation from the commanding officer. Such tires can be found as the assistant to the officer explained. I did not finish last night as I went to see the film – The great King ( film shown in 1942). Otto Gebühr played very well. It really is not a film but a piece of theatre. It deals with the life of Friedrich II. The presentation really grabs you. I spent the evening on the bridge and looked at the sundown, that was magnificient.

     Next to our ship is a huge ship,that must widen the ..It is quite a sight to see such a big one next to you. I could see ..??. I would have never thought that one can move with that size. Enclosed you find some ration stamps that are valid until the 31. It is not much. But maybe you can get something. On April 6, they will cut the rations, that is very bitter, but necessary. I just heard the artcle by Goebbels on the radio that talks about these things of the war. I was glad about the openness with which they touch thses dark questions. Difficult as it is we only want that the bolsheviks do not come into the country….. who lies in front of Leningrad. They only talk about cruel things.

     Now I have a few business matters. Some more formal, others not. The putting into order my question of salary can only proceed if notarized, and I have to go to Kiel to get the personal information. But we know of a case of an officer who was promoted in December and is still waiting for his money. I think I may get 10 Rm more in my splendid income, My third uniform had been made in Königsberg, I paid for it.

     Please send me 250 RM so that I do not have to overdraw my account, so that I can settle the matter. I have thought about it, and this seems to be the best. At the moment I do not have any money. I still have my brown suit…….( He is expecting an overcoat from the officer´s mess, one that is made especially long and that fits very well).

Last part is very difficult to read.



Gotenhafen, At Sea, In Port - Collection of 13 photographs.
From what I was able to gather as the handwriting was hard even for my translator to read:
Image #1:Wilhelm Gustloff in Gotenhafen, 2ULD. February 24th, 1941.
Image #2:Wilhelm Gustloff in Gotenhafen, 2ULD. January 19th, 1941. I often thought the additional fixture on the bow was part of her anti-mine equipment. Thoughts?
Image #3: Possibly onboard the General Osorio. May 5th, 1941.
Image #4: Sailor jumping off the (Torpedo training ship) Hugo Z​​eye for a swim. July 27th, 1943. Initially built as a combined passenger and transport ship for Turkey, the Hugo Zeye was taken over by the Kreigsmarine at the outbreak of the war and completed as a torpedo training ship. Equipped with 8 torpedo tubes, the ship was used to drill torpedo personal for Kriegsmarine surface ships in the Baltic Sea. In 1945, the ship was used to evacuate military personal and civilians from East Prussia. On one of this evacuation voyages, the ship hit a mine on 14.03.1945 northwest of Fehmann and sunk. All but 5 people on board could be saved. Information provided by Russ Willoughby.
Image #5: Onboard the General Osorio? - May 6th, 1941.
Image #6: Mast of the M.S. Caribia​. March 11th, 1941.
Image #7: ​Soldiers boarding the M.S. Caribia? March 23rd, 1941.
Image #8: May 12th, 1941.
Image #9: Bow show of a ship that no one has been able to read the name of. February 3rd, 1941.
Image #10: On the deck of the same ship. Possibly begins with a 'G'. Also dated February 3rd, 1941.
Image #11: ​​​​May 10th, 1941. 3,9cm gun?
Image #12 & #13: The Monte Pascoal ​in her wartime camouflage.
Collection of 19 photos from Gotenhafen Harbor in the early 1940s featuring the Wilhelm Gustloff. The second photo shows the Oceana, Gustloff, and Hansa at berth with an unknown Kriegsmarine ship.


Right: General Admiral Hans Georg von Friedeburg, the Commanding Admiral of the u-boats onboard the Wilhelm Gustloff.  
This photo was one of several unfortunately stripped from an album and sold individually for greed of profit. The album featured several other commanders of the u-boat fleet and sailors in the Wilhelm Gustloff's dining hall exchanging gifts and camaraderie. 


Fourth from bottom right: Cap Arcona and New York in Gotenhafen.​​​​​​​​

Lot of World War II Sweetheart Letters - 1942 to 1944
      Erika Garth's collection of 156 letters written to her sailor sweetheart Reinhold Schlott as he goes through his u-boat training during the war. Of these, 5 were typed and easily translated. The set also includes 7 undated pieces and two letters from 1951. One of these letters is translated below. ​The letters begin on
October 6th, 1942 addressed to:
5/19 Schiffstammabteilung (Ship Home Dept.)
Arsweiler ü Diedenhofen
Stube 48 (WestMark)​​​​
On January 4th, 1943 the address changes to:
5/1 U-Ausbildungsabteilung (U-Boat Education Dept)
Plön Holstein​​​
On February 19th the address changes to:
2 Abt. Marineschule 4 Komp.
Kiel-Wik   Stube 82
On March 31st, they go back to Plön Holstein
On April 24th, the address changes to:
2/4 U.L.D. Gotenhafen
2 Zug, 1 Gruppe
From June 15th to July 2nd, 1943 there are ​​​11 letters addressed to Reinhold onboard the
Wilhelm Gustloff, 4/2 U.L.D. Gotenhafen.

On July 2nd, another letter is addressed to:
​Neustordt (Holstein)​
On September 9th, the address changes to:
Feldpost #M47587
On October 18th, the address changes to:
1/2/ U.A.A., (23) Gotenstedt ü Bremen
There is a break in the writing and the last few letters are dated between ​​September 9th and October 23rd, 1944.
3/I.U.A.A. Neustadt (Holstein)
1/2/ U.A.A. Gotenstedt.​​
Sample Letter: March 3rd, 1943:
Grävenwiesbach 21.3.43
     My dear, good, faithful Reinhold!
          Another gloomy Sunday comes to an end, over and over again one day closer to the long-awaited holiday. Soon, it will become a reality. Today I was not even outside the door. I was in bed this morning until 11 clock,.Then I did a little, then washed up just to get ready to go back to bed. I was up at 3 clock. So I did not yet notice it was Sunday, and the problem is, you're not here. Everything makes no sense. If you're merely over there, then that is something completely different. You just have to have patience - yes. Once the war comes to an end. Hopefully soon. But we must trust our beloved leader not to lose, then everything will go twice as well. It's all over everything. Now it is already 9 o'clock. Soon, it's back to bed. What have you done with my Schatzi today? (Assumed to be her pet goldfish which is discussed in other letters.) Although he was as lonely as I, without any entertainment. Say, Isn't your friend Walter still in Kiel, or is his time already up there? What there has not been on the act with an iron? Oh, I've seen a sailor today, although he was already an officer. I can say the very jagged. He had his girl with him, so very big. Oh my darling, I had such nice dreams last night if that would be merely one fact. The speech of the Führer was just transmitted again. He has taken a break from the holiday today....​ I am lazy and tired and what not. Yes, I need to write bills, but I do not feel like it. You need to come home not merely on vacation soon, or I shall die of homesickness. Yes, yes, a sailor girl is to be all very well and good, only that the favorite is not there, that's bad luck. Now I know nothing more, everything else is anyway Plötsinn. For now closing my good Schatzi until tomorrow.

Greetings and kisses from the 100 trillionth !!!
Yours and only yours,
Erika!
Below, Right: Sailors onboard the Wilhelm Gustloff during her time as an accommodation liner posing with the ship's lifesaving equipment in the early 1940s. It's hard to imagine who was running for these pieces on the night of the sinking and if they survived.

Ticket for access to Gotenhafen during WWII.

​​     Ticket for access to piers in Gotenhafen and to the gangway of the Wilhelm Gustloff. The ticket belonged to Helga Grahn from Zoppot so she could travel on the Gustloff to escape Gotenhafen.
     
      The Ausweis ticket for the Gustloff she had should've been for her but she gave it to her best girlfriend and decided to go with her love Second Lieutenant Karl-Heinz Bruhn to Travemünde on April 12th, 1945 with the U-Boot 3018 (called U-Rose). Her daughter still has a picture from that day
when she was landing and he was waiting for her at the pier when she arrived from Danzig with his submarine friends. After landing they stepped immediately into the church in Travemünde to get married. The poor girlfriend had taken the Gustloff together with her mother and sadly they both perished.
      Helga's daughter whom I purchased this from also put in the old wedding picture from Helga Grahn (Granowski) and her Second Lieutenant Karl-Heinz Bruhn in the envelope. Helga lived her whole life – born 1923 until 1945 in Zoppot - working at „Deutsche Reichspost Telegrafenamt“ in Danzig.