London Polling Station Annexation of Austria April 8th 1938 - April 12th, 1938
Speisekarten for April 9th, April 10th, and April 11th, 1938 Pre-maiden voyage menus for her Polling Station Excursion to England.
Presented at right are 3 menus from her cruise to England, dated April 9th, 10th, and 11th, 1938. The Wilhelm Gustloff had just completed her second 3-day voyage when orders came that she was to sail to England to become the world's most elaborate polling station. On April 10th, Germans and Austrians living in England could be ferried out from the Tilbury Docks of London to vote on the union of Austria and Germany onboard the ship. This was mostly for propaganda as the 'union' was already decided by Hitler. This cruise began on April 8th, 1938 and ending April 12th, which would makes only the first and last menu missing. The Gustloff came off a voyage from March 29th to the 31st, then newsreel footage from the Pegaway rescue has the Gustloff already sailing for London on April 3rd, (probably departing the 1st from Hamburg) but returning to Hamburg on the 5th with survivors. The Gustloff was carrying a full compliment of passengers on this trip, as all three menus list full meals in 2 groups, as well as concerts and celebrations all three days onboard. The menu for the 9th (The day prior to voting) has a notation in bold stating "Your Thanks For Voting Yes." Excerpts from the April 10th menu, the day of voting, are listed below in basic translation. For the full translation of the 3 Daily Agendas / Speisekarten, please see below:
Close brothers and sisters that live in England, a sincere welcome on board the DAF = M.S. Wilhelm Gustloff
- Photo 7 is a postcard written onboard the voyage and stamped with a specal postal stamp dated April 8th, 1938. This was the day she left port. The postcard reads:
April 8th, 1938: Werter Pg. Richter! Sind 1/2 7 Uhr hier in Hamburg eingetroffen und dann auf dem Schiff eingeteilt worden. Habe soeben eine kurze Besichtigung vorgenom- men und bin überrascht über die fabelhafte Einrichtung. So etwas ist nur einmalig. Frl. Brüttig bin ich auch begegnet. 24 Uhr wird in See gestochen. Nochmals vielen Dank für die vermittelte Fahrt. Viele Grüße an Frl. Wandke Heil Hitler M. Rudolph
Esteemed Pg. Richter! Arrived half past six here in Hamburg and were then assigned within the ship. Just took a short walkthrough and am surprised about the fabulous interior. Something like that is just unique. I also met Miss Brüttig. At 24 hours it will be off to the sea. Thank you again very much for arranging the journey. Many regards to Miss Wandke. Heil Hitler M. Rudolph
LIFE Magazine: May 2nd, 1938: 'Germans From England -- "JA" On A Special Trip Out To Sea' - On April 10, some 2,000 Germans and Austrians living in England were taken by the Nazis 50 miles to sea and permitted to vote on the German plebiscite on Hitler's annexation of Austria. The ship was the new 24,000 ton Wilhelm Gustloff (opposite page), named for an assassinated Swiss Nazi. Of England's 34,000 Germans and Austrians, mostly house servants, the first 2,000 non-Jewish applicants were accepted. They turned in a 99.4% Ja as compared with Greater Germany's 99.08% Ja the same day.
Vigorous blondes, (photo above), mostly servants, predominated on the M.S. Wilhelm Gustloff. Above are two who evidently voted Ja to Hitler's annexation of Austria. Said a ship's announcer: "Ignore the little circle with the 'Nein'." (The photo has been enlarged to show the mützenband being worn by the woman.)
The last photo in the above set is a 'Tischkarte für unsere Volksgenossen aus England', or a 'Table card for our comrades from England'. This card, dated for Sunday, April 10th, 1938, was used by voters onboard for lunch and dinner seatings. This voter's card states "Group B, Front Dining Room, Table number 31." with lunch at 11.45 and dinner at 17.15.
England Polling Station Speisekarten: April 9th, 1938
Tagesgestaltung für Sonnabend, den 9. April 1938
6.30 Uhr Wecken 9.30 Uhr Begrüßung der Urlauber auf dem Sportdeck (Bei ungünstigem Wetter im konzertsaal) 10.00 Uhr Konzert an Deck des Musikkorps der 14. Schiffsstammleitung Glückstadt Leitung: Musikoberfeldwebel kaczmarck 11.50 Uhr Feier des "deutschen Tages" auf dem Sportdeck mit Flaggenhissung 14.00 Uhr Beginn der Stimmenabgabe zur "Wahl des Großdeutschen Reichstages" Während der Wahl konzert der Bordkapelle Leitung: Pg. Weissenborn 20.00 Uhr Der Führer spricht (Uebertragung aus Wien in allen Räumen) Anschließend konzert. 23.30 Uhr Barschluß 23.45 Uhr Musikschluß 24.00 Uhr Ruhe im Schiff Dien Dank lautet "Ja"
Organizing your day for Saturday, 9 April 1938
6.30 Clock Wake 9.30 Clock welcoming the tourists on the Sports Deck (Concert hall in case of bad weather) 10.00 Clock concert on deck Band of the 14th Ship trunkline? Glückstadt Leader: Music Sergeant Kaczmarck 11.50 Clock celebration of the "German Day" on the Sports Deck with flag hoisting 14.00 Clock beginning of the poll for the "Election of the Greater German Reichstag" During the election of the ship's band concert Leader: Pg Weissenborn 20.00 Clock The leader speaks (Transmission from Vienna in all rooms) concert afterwards. 23.30 Clock Bar ends 23.45 Clock Music ends 24.00 Clock peace in the vessel Thank you for voting "Yes"
England Polling Station Speisekarten: April 10th, 1938
Unseren Brüdern und Schwestern, die in England wohnen, ein herzliches Willsommen an Bord des DAF M.S. Wilhelm Gustloff
Gegen 8.00 Uhr: Festmachen an der Tilburn Bridge, Gravesend. Anschließend Einschiffung unserer Gäste. Außerhalb der 3 Meilen Zeilen Zone: Abstimmung und Wahl.
Begrüßung der kameraden aus aus England durch den kreisleiter der AD. Pg. Schmidt. (Ort und zeit wird durch den Lautsprecher bekannt gegeben.) Es spielen: Musikkorps der 14. Schiffsstammabteilung Glückstadt. Leitung: Musikoberseldwebel kaczmarek. Die Bordkapelle des DAF Schiffes "Wilhelm Gustloff". Leitung: Pg. Weissenborn
Nachmittags: Veranstaltungen der HJ. Spielschar, hamburger künster und der Gaummuster sportgruppe hamburg, auf dem Sportdeck.
Abends nach dem Weider ablegen von Gravesend: "Frohes Zusammensein" in den Gesellschaftsräumen (ohne Rauchsalon und Laube). Es wirken mit: Margarete Arnold, Tetie und Fietie, Al poken, Beatrice Watson, M. Gerwas und Partner, 3 hamburger Straßensänger, Arnold Risch, 3 Mensos, hertha Tischa, Gaumustersportgruppe, Musikkorps der 14. Schiffstammabteilung und die Bordkapelle.
In den pausen Bekanntgabe der Wahlresultate.
23.30 Barschluß. 23.45 Musikschluß 24.00 Ruhe im Schiff
Our brothers and sisters who live in England, Will a warm summer on board the DAF M.S. Wilhelm Gustloff
Against 8.00 Clock: Mooring at the Bridge Tilburn, Gravesend. Then embark our guests. 3 miles outside the zone lines: Vote and election.
Welcoming the comrades from England by the district leader of AD. Pg Schmidt. (Place and time will be announced through the speaker.) Will play music of the 14th Corps Schiffsstammabteilung Glückstadt. Leader: Music Sergeant Kaczmarek. The ship's band of DAF ship "Wilhelm Gustloff". Leader: Pg Weissenborn
Afternoon: Events of the HJ (Hitlerjugend aka Hitler Youth). Game crowd, hamburger arts and sports groups Gaummuster hamburg, on the sports deck.?
In the evening sit by the Weider of Gravesend: "Happy Together" in the public rooms (no smoking room and a porch). In cooperation with: Margaret Arnold, Teti and Fietie, Al Poken, Beatrice Watson, M. Gerwas and Partner, 3 Hamburger Street Singers, Arnold Risch, 3 Mensos, Hertha Tisha, Gaumustersportgruppe, Music of the 14th Corps Ship home department and the ship's band.
In the pauses announcement of the election results.
23:30 Bar ends 23:45 Music ends 24.00 Peace in the vessel
England Polling Station Speisekarten: April 11th, 1938
Tagesgestaltung für Montag, den 11. April 1938
6.30 Uhr Wecken 7.00 Uhr Frühsport auf dem Sportdeck 9.30 Uhr Marsch der KdF Seefahrer Anschließend konzert an Deck Es spielt: Musikkorps der 14. Schiffsstammabteilung Glückstadt. Leitung: Musikoberfeldwebel Kaczmarcek.
16.00 Uhr Filmvorführung im Theatersaal "Fern vom Land der Ahnen" (karten werden in beschränkter Zahl um 14,00 Uhr bei der Reiseleitung ausgegeben.)
16.00 Uhr Schallplatten konzert
20.30 Uhr Tanz in allen Sälen
0.30 Uhr Barschluß
0.45 Uhr Musikschluß
1.00 Uhr Ruhe im Schiff
Die Schwimmhalle ist bei günstiger Witterung von 7-12 und von 15-18 Uhr geössnet.
Organizing your day to Monday, 11 April 1938
6.30 Clock Wake 7.00 Clock Morning sports on the sports deck 9.30 Clock Sailors March of KDF Then concert on deck Music will be played of the 14th Corps Schiffsstammabteilung Glückstadt. Leader: Music Sergeant Kaczmarcek.
16.00 Clock screening in the theater "Far from the Land of the Ancestors (Cards are issued in limited numbers to 14.00 Clock at the destination.)
16.00 Clock concert recordings
20.30 Clock in all dance halls
0.30 Clock Bar ends
0.45 Clock Music ends
1.00 Clock peace on the vessel
The swimming hall is open in clement weather of 7-12 and 15-18 Clock.
- Here is another postcard written onboard the voyage and stamped with a specal postal stamp dated April 10th, 1938. This was the day the actual voting took place onboard the Gustloff. Untranslated. Interesting note is the only time I have seen this postcard (including 2 others) is when it was postmarked from 4/10/38.
Crew hat tally from the above magazine article.
Arbeitertum: Wahl-Sondernummer. April 10th, 1938 Featuring the Wilhelm Gustloff sailing to London for the annexation vote. (photo left) Article on the KdF Fleet including the newly launched Wilhelm Gustloff. (photo right)
Wilhelm Gustloff - Annexation of Austria Translation:
"Strength through Joy" for Austria
"When in the autumn of 1933, Dr. Ley, N.S. Community, founded "Strength through Joy", the German people stood at the beginning of the great construction work of the leader. Yet were millions unemployed at the gates of the workshops, factories and office, nor was the new building of the German army in the making and still believed that foreigners were in a false sense of hope and ignorance of Nazi Art - the Third Reich will remain only one "episode".
It was necessary for the weary to be shaken up and to give the desperate courage to the discouraged. In the proper recognition that the recovery of a nation less dependent on material than on intellectual things is, therefore, giving them the proper lever. New self-confidence, confidence and sense of community had to be awakened in the breast of each fellow. A nation that was about to rise from an unprecedented collapse, needed an inner strength as she had in world history is unparalleled. That nation, which broke at the end of the greater struggle of all time inside, that was fourteen years has become the culinary world, and despairs of himself was, that was torn in defense of party groups and factions, in which citizens had a sad habit but also had a terrific outburst of Adolf Hitler as last known. And Adolf Hitler gave his people a new force.
"He gave him the belief in the eternal invincible strength of the German nation, he ruthlessly smashed what was tormented to selfishness, strife and dispute this people, and created the great camaraderie, the national community. "
Other people in the party wavered back and forth. As disclosed, the good heart of our people, "Strength through Joy" came to his overnight success. A socialist community work without equal grew up, are the external expression of the great statements of accounts of the leader of the Nazi Party days - Adolf Hitler was once again a summary overview in his great Reichstag vine. Still great but are those effects that capture his statistics and calculate its office - the new German view of life and lifestyle in a sign of "Strength through Joy". The most beautiful record of KDF. Is the proud statement Dr. Ley.
"Germany has learned to laugh again!" Now, 6 1/2 million people and several Austrian comrades are backing the healthy way to Germany. An infinitely heavy fate has weighed on them. Not only do they long for years the rise of their blood brother in the kingdom witnessed - because they were excluded, and their blood even sympathy was pursued by all authorities of terror - but it sank even more and more into poverty and despair. Now the connection is there. All external inhibitions are removed. Yet it is important to share our Austrian comrades in the new spirit of the German nation, the spirit of cheerfulness and confidence, the affirmation of life and living courage!
"Austria, and you shall learn to laugh again!"
" Strength through Joy" is the most beautiful gift we can offer you. With National tempo this work has been taken already addressed, the working people in Austria is, as known by the camera in the old kingdom, the beauties of Persia. Everything has to offer the world of beauty, should it also not be the prerogative of individual? But also in the workers and places, men and women of all walks of life to be developed. Theatre and concerts, beauty and joyful celebration of the work week for the Austrian's workmates - which should be the watchword. Only a few days after the annexation had passed, and already the first train rolled with Austria's fellow workers in all the German provinces. For the participants unheard experience - for every arguably the most beautiful day of his life. Not much longer will it take until the encounter of "Strength through Joy" for they too have become the course side. Considered, the German Labor Front it as an obvious debt of gratitude about the great German East Mark, which had to endure such heavy and yet tross terror, distress and misery iron and unexpected debris had a loyal following, making it the most wonderful gift that has to forgive them,
To bring "Strength through Joy" to Austria!
Photo Captions: 1: One thousand Austrian fellow workers climb onboard the "Wilhelm Gustloff" for their first "Strength through Joy" seafaring. 2: The Austrian tourists pause for KdF admiration before the ship leaves. 3: Farewell concert by the Hitler Youth on the Sports Deck of the "Wilhelm Gustloff" in front of the exit in the North Sea. 4: To bring "Strength through Joy" to Austria! 5: Names of all the KdF liners shown.
To view original film footage of the Wilhelm Gustloff's trip to London and voting onboard, please visit: Germans in England Vote at Sea http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=14346 Now listed below with the Gustloff's departure from Hamburg for the voyage.
This ticket booklet cover has her "Englandfahrt" voyage from April 8th to April 12th, 1938 stamped on front to notify passengers of her upcoming cruise. It was interesting that this booklet came with the three menus from the voyage. However, the ticket inside is for one of her few pre-voyages - March 29th to March 31st.
Seefahrt ist not! or Seafaring is Not! Berlin, May 1938 - Folge 5, 6. Jahrgang.
Article #1: Wilhelm Gustloff der erste Blutzeuge der Auslands-Organisation. Wilhelm Gustloff, the first martyr of the international organization.
Article #2: Die denkwürdige fahrt des Wilhelm Gustloff nach England. The memorable crossing of the Wilhelm Gustloff in England.
The memorable crossing of the Wilhelm Gustloff in England.
The eventful day of the election behind us gave neither space nor time to publish remarkable details of the big events. But, after the first breath of all the election officials and press people came to experience the first reports of the active participants. The choice of travel was the beautiful KDF ship "Wilhelm Gustloff" to the Thames, just outside London, England with 2,000 Germans onboard for the ballot, is probably one of the most memorable events of this great nation vote. Over 1,500 Hamburg, Berlin and Holstein fellows participated in this trip as part of a weekend getaway and agreed with the ship - within site of the first German group on April 9th, in the midst of the stormy North Sea and in "gently moving" from voting booths: 99.74% for the leader!
On the same day ran a surprisingly beautiful result broadcast using the modern telephone, a broadcast from onboard the "Wilhelm Gustloff" in the international organization of the party as a prmising beginning for the big round of the German people in the homeland. Out at sea, but the contribution of the "Wilhelm Gustloff" with its precious cargo of Yes votes by the mouth of the Thames. No eye was found sleeping, for the unique result of moving all the distant hearts and as midnight fireworks near the Thames came announcing the entrance, the people of Hamburg, Holstein and Berlin stood on the deck and their conversation in the starry night was as much the ballot, as the approaching England.
As the early morning sunshine on the pier came, at the pretty ship port Tilbury and the railway station made his fellow passengers, after a short sleep, rush to the railing, to receive the incoming 2,000 fellows from England heartily. The friendly weather soon united all fellow on the broad deck of the beautiful ship, the choice to undertake the action again soon headed seaward. As to the fifth afternoon hour, the result at 99.4% = yes votes was announced, the enthusiasm knew no bounds. The on-board foreign guests, including many British reporters were given, so immediate a vivid impression of the true German national sentiment, and indeed all the more emphatic, as witness the British newspaper people the election process and were aware of the proper implementation and vote counting can convince.
As a result of this courtesy of the 1st Returning Officer - for all of the outrageous lies that our elections were not conducted properly - had the wind was taken out of the sails, for the almost one hundred percent vote of the "Wilhelm Gustloff" is consistent with the rest of the match. Not only up to a tenth part but was also made by voters who are in England for years against violent propaganda and were still trying to influence on their arrival to the ship with a choice of methods, as we are from the pre-1933 election periods sufficiently known. The departure on the evening of 10 April was particularly hard to English Germans, because it was the common ride for not only voting, but also exciting encounter with the native, introduced herself at the same time as the Greater Germany, have been. The "Wilhelm Gustloff" but namesakes of the first martyrs of the overseas organization, took to his grave foreign German voices for the leader back down the Thames course, Direction: Cheering home!
Die Woche or The Week Heft 15, Jahrg. 40 Berlin - 13. April 1938
The German Appeal on April 10th, 1938. A Unanimous Yes, Thanks the Fuhrer
Far Right: Another April 10th, 1939 postcard cancelled onboard the Wilhelm Gustloff.
Die Frau am Werk - May 1938 England Polling Station Article
The "Strength through Joy" Ship Wilhelm Gustloff on the England Voyage
Rough Translation Below:
The "Strength through Joy" Ship Wilhelm Gustloff on the England Voyage.
Storm in the channel - Strong westerly winds over the North Sea with wind forces 8 to 9 .. "Go turn the weather news on, I thought, and turned the speaker down." "Do you want to go to the "Wilhelm Gustloff", for election to England?" cried a fellow worker in my doorway the next day. "No, really? It is not a belated April Fool's joke, but you have until tomorrow to decide." There was a long deliberation, but how was that thought of wind gusts at 8-9. And what did the report transitions in heavy seas ...?! Seasickness! Seasickness! Oh, is daring half won!
Hamburg! Amazed, we saw the forest of masts of the harbor! There, the mighty ship, surrounded by many others, was our "Wilhelm Gustloff". As in festive dress, it lay with its warm yellow paint and the sun on the huge chimney. A long banner - "By Strength through Joy" - was blowing from the high mast. Wonderful to be able to ride here! The feeling of gratitude for this magnificent ship that is given to the German workers filled us during the whole trip. All this, "belongs to us", we thought in the warm cozy accommodations, in front of the beautiful paintings in the elegant cabins and on the big Sports Deck. Away with the lie that shows up every now and then that still does not understand the German workers, in such "noble" move around. He does not feel comfortable there? Look at him yet again at how he handles it with all the beauty of what has been entrusted to him! Look at that woman, as she sits on the bench, hands in lap, and happily relaxed - almost a little incredulous that they can experience all the vast sparkling sea views! This is our socialism! A socialism of the deed that really comes to the German workers benefit! - "Germany, Germany above everything," it sounds like the Sports Deck from 1,400 voices. Slowly three flags at the stern mast were raised up. The wind takes her - the swastika banner, the cog wheel to the front and work on them, the long "Strength through Joy" pennant. Dr. Goebbels has opened the day of the German people from the balcony of City Hall. We are on the "Gustloff" give the early afternoon of the 9th April our voices to the leader.
Is this England? From the cabin window, we see green on the banks - we are already driving in the Thames. Tilbury Bridge is our jetty. When finally released we were foreign Germans on the unknown steps, the joy is indescribable. We call and beckon, that the few Englishmen who stand around the bottom, shake your head. With 2,000 guests on board we return again. The water is smooth as glass, and the sun is warm on all those happy people who have found heir to give the leader of their "yes". Amazed, we read an article in English lying in some newspapers that are available. Many Austrian girls came along. You can not get enough of Höven, Germany. The labor service they are interested in particular! "We're coming back!" Say it again and again.
The election begins. The few or no as well'. Invalid votes can not disturb the solemn moment when we call "healing victory" after the announcement of the result with the arm raised to our leaders about the silent Thames.
Saying goodbye to us all is difficult. Again and again, run back our foreign Germans, to once again see Germany, which came to them. With tears in the eye they wave up at us. Almost by force must be the last pick of the board as the train station has left behind the narrow bridge volumes and the final victory and the salvation of Germany and Horst Wessel song have died away, we are hoarse from shouting and silence from the experience of that day. Inge Rahter.