The 'Official' Maiden Voyage of the Wilhelm Gustloff
April 21st, 1938 - May 6th, 1938



Original Journal from the 'Official' Maiden Voyage of the "Wilhelm Gustloff"
April 21, 1938 to May 6th, 1938

Written onboard the flagship of the KdF by passenger Elisabeth Dietrich.
     Where does one begin to find the words to describe this journal!? A great, 41 page first hand account written by Elisabeth Dietrich during the first official maiden voyage of the Wilhelm Gustloff. Mrs. Dietrich describes waiting at the rail station, getting her boarding information, and the fanfare at the harbor of the Gustloff leaving port on her trip. After getting settled into her cabin, she describes the 'intolerable' heat which made her take off her clothes and the sheets off her cabin bed.
     The second day (Friday, April 22nd), she provides information on the death of Captain Lübbe on the bridge and the funeral onboard. She notes they laid anchor off the port of Dover on the French coast (since France was not a direct ally of Germany, the Gustloff did not enter the harbor) and unloaded his coffin onto another ship entering the harbor to be taken dockside.
     The majority of the journal discusses the interiors of the Gustloff and her noting that "everything seems to be covered of plastic onboard." All of her major rooms are visited and recorded, in addition to things like the crew training passengers on "How to make a Lifejacket." Specific books from the library read, movies viewed and shows watched are all noted in detail through the pages.
     The arrival in Lisbon made the biggest news, with bands, Nazi flags being distributed to passengers, and busses waiting to take passengers inland. Elisabeth writes:
     (Then we heard) "Attention! Regard! All members of the IG: paint industry meet at the bus directly in front of "Wilhelm Gustloff". "IG-mates were all excited to see what was to come. And right on the bus, we learned it: We were for April 26th, 1938 visitors to our office in Lisbon!"
     Several of the next pages describe her and her cabin mates adventures in Portugal and their return to the ship eventually. Wednesday the 27th she reports that Captain Peterson has taken command of the Wilhelm Gustloff. She mentions that the old bridge flag was taken to be placed with Lübbe, while Peterson brought a new Nazi flag to fly from the ship. 
     On May 1st, she describes a lifeboat drill, her cabin (#62) and their lifeboat (#9), and on May 4th, she went to an onboard lecture entitled "The Machinery of the MS Wilhelm Gustloff." Mrs. Deitrich took notes on the entire lecture and the lecture has been posted below.
     The information in her writing is priceless to the Wilhelm Gustloff's history and there is so much more than some highlights above. It is interesting how throughout the trip, she notes the specific movements of the ships of the KdF fleet - Der Deutche, Sierra Cordoba, Monte Olivia, Oceana and others down to the sailing ship Grand Duchess Elizabeth, firetugs, tankers, and several u-boats including the U-22. Did you know Captain Lübbe wasn't the only person to pass away on her maiden voyage? It's all in here!
**A special thanks to Reiner and the staff at oceanliners.de for providing full transcripts in German of the entire journal.

     As if the contents of this journal weren't enough, Mrs. Dietrich also included several newspaper clippings in the latter pages of the journal which can all be viewed at right.  

The Machinery of the M.S. Wilhelm Gustloff
Lecture given onboard the ship Wednesday, May 4th, 1938,
while sailing through the Norma Islands.
                                                                              Notes taken by: Elisabeth Deitrich


Lecture: "The machinery of the MSWilhelm Gustloff":
     The bridge is the head, the machine is the heart of the ship. The two belong together. 4 drive machinery for the advancement d. vessel = single-acting 2 stroke diesel engines. (History Diesels) Each of the 4 motors has 8 cylinders (diameter 520 mm and the stroke = 700 mm. At 220 revolutions per minute, each indexed 3000 horsepower. The 2 main engines work, combined with the screws through the waves, 1 1 screw. We have 2 screws. The waves of a length of 75 m, diameter 35 cm. (pieces of about 10m) diameter screws from wingtip to wingtip (4 wings) = 5 m pitch of the screw 5 1 / 8 m. Weight of a screw 15,000 kg, so much heavier than a railway carriage. 2 spare wings. cooling of the cylinder with fresh water, cooled by sea water. Back in the tank, almost no Ver-loss). Cooling of the piston by oil (re-use see fresh water. The exhaust heat 2 boilers, which can be heated with oil. Steam for hot water heating; for the State of the art laundry (about 20 (quintals) per day laundry washed and ironed, etc. .) for the kitchen with a cooker, dish washing machines and other machinery, for the baths automatic electric operation with five 4-stroke single-acting diesel engines, each 380 kilowatts of electricity for light and power is all electric. (Gekocht) and baked. Motors Electric ventilation techn. f. 200 more electric motors. Purposes (gyro compass with autopilot. radio station with phone system = one of the most modern in the world. 4 transmitting and 4 receiving stations. 2 ELTs, which are fed from its own batteries. Main the radio station = ship's officers, but also for the passengers. At 3 to 4 work centers can be simultaneously used (eg telephone calls to Cuxhaven, North dike; movement of ships, etc.); radio system. - Up to 2 are all lifeboats boats . 30 manual fire alarm lighting really big = 7900 points in the burning ship, large headlamps and Lochkerzige lamps from 40-60 watts. Notdynamo, German event of failure of automatic switching of the most essential lighting lighting-body = Act. Aboard:

3400T frech, daily comsumption of 200 tons
1850t ballast water
1600t fuel
Machinery crew of 54 men.

     The entire German industry was involved in building the M.S. "Wilhelm Gustloff". Unfortunately, I could hear this interesting presentation not quite up to its end, as the horn was blown for the 1st group to eat. 13h: I visited the radio station and viewed the laundry. (Laundry, drying room in the B-Deck)
14h: I visited the kitchen, which is located on the (illegable)-Deck (Behind the front dining room.) A young chef from Garmisch explains everything. There are 7 large kitchens in this kitchen boiler, 4 large electric ovens, various machines for everything. The meat is taken in as frozen meat.

(End Lecture Notes.)





Lingiad - Stockholm

German Reich Sailor's Discharge Book - Issued in Hamburg, September 20th, 1928.
Sailor Hans Conrad: Born July 10th, 1905 in Hamburg
Originally issued for the KdF Liner Monte Olivia.


This 64 page 11 cm x 17.8 cm book includes a maritime record of journeys by Mr. Conrad on the liners:
- "Cap Polonio" under Captain Blauert
- "Monte Pascoal" under Captain Blauert
- "D. Usaramo"
- "Oldenburg"
- "Pretoria" under Captain Breckwoldt

The book also contains a laundry card from the MS "Monte Pascoal", which was lodged in the back. 


The Wilhelm Gustloff Connection:

     What makes this passport so special is that it has the Wilhelm Gustloff's very first sea trial voyage stamped inside - March 14th, 1938. This is the very first time that the Wilhelm Gustloff sets sail on the open water in the North Sea. This is to be her first test run as a completed passenger liner under Captain Lübbe. The trip is labeled on the passport as unbestimmte Zeit, or indefinite period.
     The Gustloff is filled to capacity for this voyage, which is mostly employees from Blohm & Voss and so begins the career of one of the most infamous liners in history. (Page Below Left.)

     The last entry in this passport is just as interesting as the first - which states that Mr. Conrad was onboard the Wilhelm Gustloff from her very first trial voyage - March 14th, 1938 all the way to July 14th, 1938. This was the day the Wilhelm Gustloff completed her voyage from Italy to Hamburg after attending the Italian World Congress in Rome - a two-week trip. His official discharge is stamped on July 18th, 1938 - which by this time, the Gustloff continued onto her voyages in the Norwegian Fjords. (Below Right.)

     It must have been quite an amazing time to be onboard the ship - which encompassed all her sea trials, voyage with the Pegaway rescue, London polling station trip, both unofficial and official maiden voyages, and her first few voyages including the special cruise he ended on. His entries stop after this final discharge as war looms just over a year away. 


Left: The Wilhelm Gustloff leaving for her first sea trials out of Hamburg. Back dated March 15th, 1938.

Right: Postal Cancellation for her 'unofficial' maiden voyage. Dated March 26th, 1938. An early menu from her actual maiden voyage is listed under the Speisekarten - Menus Page. Dated March 27th, 1938.

Below Right: Nord Berliner Tagespost (North Berlin Daily Post) - April 19th, 1938. Article on the Gustloff.


Maiden Voyage Newspaper Articles

First set of tickets - Image #6:
Carl Hagenbeck's Tierpark, Stellingen
Adult ticket
Valid for one visit 
Admittance with this Card - one store. Needs to be shown on request  - submits to the holder of the existing Ordnungsvorschiften.?

Aquaruim - Reptile House

Madeirafahrt: "Wilhelm Gustloff" - Article - Image #7:
The First Holiday Travel

Madeira trip "Wilhelm Gustloff"
With "Oceana" going - Puppet Theater Saar-Palatinate on board
Hamburg, 22 April.

     Once again, through the Port of Hamburg on Thursday another big day is lived. The KdF tourist ship "Wilhelm Gustloff" took its first major trip that sails with the rest of KdF Fleet to Madeira. Early in the morning the main train station already prevailed bustling with life. From all parts of the German native land met the happy minded men and women of work, to go with "their" ship out into the distance, in the sunny south. In groups of 30 to 50 for the "Wilhelm Gustloff", and 100 for the "Oceana". They came and saw the first ever new and beautiful image of the harbor diverse with its vibrant life. While also in Hamburg onboard the "Oceana", 700 compatriots from Schleswig Holstein, East Hanover, Mecklenburg, Pomerania, Silesia, East Prussia and Danzig met, riding with the "Wilhelm Gustloff". Men and women from all ethnic Germans and German districts. The widow of the unforgettable Wilhelm Gustloff also took part in the ride.
     At 10:30 the clock sounds and begins embarkation - and the afternoon will be the start of the ride. With flags flying high, the two majestic giants that the new Germany has built for the folk community and its creative people gleam amidst the hustle bustle of the towering masts. Countless people poured across the pier and besieged the two ships on the decks; happy people were waving and singing.  The ship's band played tirelessly. When the hands moved to 3:00 on the Tower of Michel, the landmark of Hamburg and under the German maritime watch, everything was ready for departure. Rejoicing sounded "Sieg Heil to the Führer", to which Germany owes everything beautiful and great, on the arms, sounded the full power hum of the nation. Then the "Wilhelm Gustloff" was underway in the howling of the sirens in slow motion. Soon after the rain with the elements followed the long familiar "Oceana", the sister ship.
     On several ships of the fleet KdF were several German artists and poets, English journalists take part as representatives of a number of British newspapers. Further, guests included the "Cologne Hänneschen", Hohnsteiner Puppet Theatre, the Puppet Theater Saar-Palatinate and Hitler Jugend. Games are played by crowds on board the KdF ships and the tourists among the many find the trip will be wonderful and also no one can complain about lack of entertainment.

Obituary for Captain Carl Lübbe - Image #8:
Kapitäin Carl Lübbe
     On Friday afternoon, the captain of the KdF ship "Wilhelm Gustloff", Carl Lübbe, as the proud ship captain among the steamers "Sierra Cordoba, ""Der Deustche", and "Oceana" was on his Madeira trip in the North Sea, and at the age of 55 years, died of a heart attack.

Tragedy in the KdF Fleet - The Death of Kapitän Carl Lübbe - Image #9:
Mourning of the KdF Fleet
The Captain of the "Wilhelm Gustloff" died of a heart attack on board the "Wilhelm Gustloff"
23. April 
     Captain Lübbe was on the trip to Madeira located onboard KdF ship "Wilhelm Gustloff" at noon on Friday, at the age of 58, riding on the high seas was killed from a heart attack. For 48 hours, the tour guide has arranged the funeral board. The "Wilhelm Gustloff" will start in Dover, where the mortal remains of Lübbe will be readied for release into his homeland and preparations are conducted onboard. 
     A few moments before his unexpected transition home, Captain Lübbe was on the bridge in command and steered the course of our ship. The country and with it the 1,500 holiday travelers are deeply shocked of the death of this man. The thousands KdF travelers to whom he led on countless trips holiday delights have him as a leader and role model for classmates and met the criteria for an outstanding sailor. 
     One of his proudest rides should now be his last. Just as he was preparing to bring on the maiden trip of his most beautiful ship "Wilhelm Gustloff" to take German workers to the South, death snatched him away. For the German workers and for the idea of National Socialism his whole heart beat, he served as the first captain of the fleet until the last breath. As a seaman Captain Lübbe received fine awards by the transfer of the Supreme Command on Germany's first working ship "Wilhelm Gustloff". The whole commercial marine and above all "Hamburg Sud", have been affected by the death of Kaptiän Lübbe deeply.
     Before the mortal remains of Captain Lübbe be led off board, holiday travelers will have a funeral memorial for him. The "Wilhelm Gustloff" will then continue their trip under the command of Officer Grist.


























KdF fleet of High Speed
Joyful encounter at sea
On board the "Wilhelm Gustloff"
23. April

     The experienced workers on Germany's fleet moving to their Madeira holiday on Friday afternoon at the meeting of the three "Strength through Joy" ships at sea. Then at 13 o'clock, the leading ship of Hamburg "Wilhelm Gustloff" with the coming of Bremen steamers "Sierra Cordoba" and "Der Deutsche" came together in the North Sea. The "Wilhelm Gustloff", the youngest, most beautiful and largest ship on the ship fleet, which runs considerably slower follows, at a greater distance.

     The encounter of the thousands of German tourists on the high seas brought all an unforgettable experience, from ship to ship, there was a cordial greeting with joyful waving. Music sounded, humorous chants were heard from board to board and across the wide water echoed the healing call, and the mutual wish for a "safe journey". On Thursday at dusk the "Wilhelm Gustloff" arrived in the Elbe estuary, three German U-boats that passed in silhouette. The crews of the boats were lined up in full dress, having been welcomed by the healing call thousands of German workers on the "Wilhelm Gustloff" with roaring. On board is also the widow of Wilhelm Gustloff, the godmother of this beautiful ship, and Lizzie Kiessling, the sponsor of the recently launched KdF second large ship "Robert Ley".

Life Onboard the Wilhelm Gustloff - Image #10:
The KDF Fleet on the Road
Life Onboard
Unforgettable impressions for all travelers
Onboard the "Wilhelm Gustloff"
25. April 

     The KdF fleet is on its long journey to the south pass through the channel and it's since Saturday evening on the Atlantic Ocean. For us all, but especially for the working people who have never seen the sea, the trip on the wide water, is a tremendous experience. The often stormy Gulf of Biscana, which was crossed on Sunday, was found by the German holiday travelers to be very friendly and gentle minded. The "Wilhelm Gustloff" is on the orders of the fleet to follow at a small distance the "Sierra Cordoba" and "Der Deutsche". Many ships of foreign nations, which met KdF fleet on their way, look over in admiration at the proud German working fleet. It is on the ships that all are in happy anticipation of the Portuguese capital Lisbon, which we will start on Tuesday morning. The Spring sea air and sun already had an invigorating effect on the tourists, and above all the excellent galley prepared great food. But with artistic performances one contributes to the holiday joy. On Sunday, the KdF traveller enjoyed breakfast in the morning and later on board, the  HJ radio played host to part of the Imperial Station Leipzig. In the evening in the magnificent rooms of the ship a diverse artistic program was offered. Having fun preparing the Austrian poet Hans Gustl Kernmanr with a reading from his latest book "A People's Home". The Hohnsteiner puppet-players showed puppet theater in its purest form. Anni Frind, the soprano, pianist Friss Kullmann and the ship's orchestra, led by G.A. Weissenborn, offered a full-rich numeral concert. All tourists also had the opportunity to visit the bridge and the engine room of the "Wilhelm Gustloff" and in just mind and heart to know of their great and beautiful ship, the most modern ship in the world.

Arrival in Lisbon - Image #11:
Arrival in Lisbon
Great interest in the KdF Fleet
Lisbon, 27 April.

     The KDF fleet of ships "Wilhelm Gustloff", "Der Deutsche", and "Sierra Cordoba", met Tuesday morning at 7 o'clock in Lisbon. The arrival had been announced in detail by the Portuguese press. Particularly aroused the ship "Wilhelm Gustloff", whose facilities in Portuguese were circling great interest, had been eagerly awaited. At the port gathered for the warm welcome of tourists, the German colony of Lisbon. Among others, the German ambassador, the regional director and the local branch of the NSDAP and DAF were released in Lisbon. In addition, many Portuguese and in particular representatives of the Portuguese organizations "Strength through Joy" had arrived. The "Wilhelm Gustloff" came as the first private tourist boat ready for the KdF, having the undivided admiration of the Portuguese people, especially members of the international press.

Kapitän Carl Lübbe Funeral in Hamburg - Image #12:
     Reich Organization Director Dr. Ley puts down at the grave of the so recently deceased master of the flagship KdF "Wilhelm Gustloff" in the Ohlsdorf Cemetery in Hamburg, a wreath of the leader.

Memorial for Wilhelm Gustloff Victim - Image #13:



After being anxious. Month. Uncertainty was painful. We now secure news that our dear, unforgettable daughter
Gisela Selinger
The sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff on 30. 1. 1945 at the age of 20 years had to sacrifice her young life. In deep grief we bow before the authorization of God. Providence and ask for prayers for the dead.
Jacob Selinger and wife Maria, born in Hemer, and daughter, Emmy, also on behalf of all members.
The 1 Official death on Sunday, 27 1, read at 9.30 clock in the United Bockenheim. - Obrigheim, 23 January 1946.
Arbeitertum - May 15th, 1938
Special report on the maiden voyage of the Wilhelm Gustloff.


We set sail!
Vacation days on the flagship KdF

From onboard the M.S. Wilhelm Gustloff by our contained special reporter. 

     A good way down the river Elbe, the "Wilhelm Gustloff" has already come, as the guide to holiday companions and the broad Sun Deck to welcome passengers. All German provinces have sent work comrades who are now experiencing the first big trip of the "Wilhelm Gustloff". Many foreign comrades are among German people that participate with special pleasure in this maiden voyage of the ship. 
     The work-mates have been taken from their chambers and are full of admiration and pride assured by society due space and paced about the decks. People probably already have all heard of the design and the facilities of the "Wilhelm Gustloff" or read their wildest expectations have been exceeded yet. "This beautiful and proud ship belongs to the German Labor Front, and so you!" shouts the guide to the holiday companions. The few hours that the comrades are on board have already suffices to make them grow to the heart of this ship. The consciousness of a piece of property right to vacation on this ship now for more than two weeks means the home satisfied, each with grateful joy and satisfaction. As the first evening falls, the tourists are already a big family, as in a ship is said to be "Strength through Joy" fleet.

Mourning Onboard 

     Overshadowing the first day of the journey through is the grief of the ships leader, Captain Lübbe, who was recalled from the midst of his work in death. His  funeral service took place onboard with vacationers and all were possessed with grief for the farewell to the dead. The sound of the German hymns, the mortal remains of the harbor entrance taken off the ship before the Captains of Dover. We want to take the blow that the fate inflicted on us by the dismissal of the Captain, as men, so the guide calls out in his departing words. We have not only lost the leader of the ship, but a good friend and comrade.

The Journey Continues!

     Second night on board. It is quiet in the ship. The seriousness of the funeral service in the evening twilight has not disappeared. Slowly the tourists begin to terms with the inevitable. But it can still creative atmosphere. Far behind the horizon dip the KdF ships "Der Deutsche", and "Sierra Cordoba", which drove by during the funeral service at the "Wilhelm Gustloff". A bright, sunny day has dawned. We find ourselves still in the channel, there are strong side shines the French coast. After the tragic incident occurs now the joy in their rights continues. On all the decks in the gym and the swimming pool and in the lounge life begins to pulsate.

     The weather is also expected to shine again. It is already remarkable. no trace of the winds, which the has "Wilhelm Gustloff" about standing on its test drives. A very light wind moves the sea, the ship swayed gently in the swell. The fear of the evil Bay of Biscana turns out to be completely superfluous. The sun is shining bright over the ship. It also attracts the light from the interior spaces. It is ready even - the time to force card players on the sun deck. There is, however, continued to play.

From Morning to Midnight

     How do you live now on the "Wilhelm Gustloff"? How to spend the holiday his time? One might say that proves in the most perfect ensured that all just pursuits, is taken into account. Because the food is what it is except basic condition of human existence, such initially be from eating the vine. What tourists  see when viewing the menu, at the beginning of the trip for possible stops, enters view: you eat by the equally numerous and varied meals through. Another important function in human life fulfilled sleeping. Apart from sleep, which has a curfew as establishing a perfectly natural and even necessary length, the particular need of rest as needed all the time, he has left between meals overslept. Especially popular is the community of sleepers in the sun on the large sports deck. Those who love peace, everywhere one finds in any case a quiet cove.
     Of course, a sea journey is too interesting to be sleepy. Most tourists are, therefore, the whole day on your feet, look at the always new and wonderful play of waves, wave to passing ships. In addition, however, the number of board games that are on the very large sports deck of the "Wilhelm Gustloff" can hold many tourists at the same time, do not forget.
For the design of its afternoon-evening program offers in many ways the holiday. Since organized concerts, held talks. Games presented, movies roll on, it can dance, short, all types of entertainment are presented. Who wants to join entertains all this is not, on his way Should not bored anyone, he carries out only one to blame. 
     So it is for the welfare of all travelers on the best organized. Who wants to be left alone, they will find who likes a lot and eats well, here is where the offer, the sports person can be a substantially transparent, a Merry Round Upper finds a third man to play cards you everywhere. More may require a person impossible, and so are they also leave the comrades on the "Wilhelm Gustloff" in the few days of their being together really become a big family, as it has the desired tour guide in his welcoming speech.

And Tomorrow Comes Ashore

     Throughout the ship plans are made. Plans related to life on land in Lisbon. It is the first time that enter the holiday ground. Anticipation is now over the whole community. Know a foreign country to win in the life of a foreign people insight, is a great experience. But one thing is fixed for every holiday comrades: he knows that he is on foreign soil representative of his homeland and his people. He is also aware that he is thus one is trust, he must not shame. He is proud that he outside than German workers may occur in the world. These findings will be decisive for its occurrence. This is his sanction to the man who has given the German people his reputation and his position of power in the world: Adolf Hitler. "

Photo Captions from the Wilhelm Gustloff's  Maiden Voyage:
#1: Everywhere something is going on board: board games promenade concert, etc.
#2: In the Fencing Hall, edged cross swords can be found.
#3: Bike race in the clock.
#4: He also is involved: motion can not harm the good food.
#5: In Lisbon! First communication attempts with the locals!


Wilhelm Gustloff Maiden Voyage Film
"Schiff Ohne Klassen" - Ship Without Classes
April 21st, 1938 - May 6th, 1938
     After the excitement of the Gustloff's launch, Pegaway Rescue, and London Polling Station, it is finally time for the Wilhelm Gustloff's 'official' maiden voyage to the Maderia Islands of Portugal off the coast of Morocco. On April 21st, 1938, the ship sets down the Elbe River for Voyage #1, or Jungfernreise with hundreds of excited passengers, crew, and Captain Carl Lübbe at the wheel. This would be the last time his name would be featured on the ships speisekarten. 
     The Wilhelm Gustloff has her first tragedy when on the very next day, Captain Lübbe dies of a heart attack on the bridge at the age of 58. All onboard are shocked to hear the news and the Gustloff meets another ship in Dover to take his body ashore after a memorial service is held onboard. The speisekarten for April 23rd, 1938 has its left side blank in tribute to the captain with events being cancelled. Captain Friedrich Peterson was chosen as the replacement captain and the voyage continued on.  The voyage was a huge success and finished the first of the Gustloff's 50 voyages in her career. Much more information can be viewd on this voyage from the translations below!

Wilhelm Gustloff's Maiden Voyage to Madeira
Voyage #1: April 21st, 1938 - May 6th, 1938

     In the matter of a three day period, I was able to obtain not one, but two sets of Wilhelm Gustloff Maiden Voyage documents including all 15 speisekarten for each set.
     The first set I obtained (right) was from a gentleman in Germany whose great aunt & uncle sailed onboard the Wilhelm Gustloff for her maiden voyage and her 35th voyage from May 6th to May 12th, 1939. Her name was Sofia Rosenbaum hailing from Köln-Dellbrück.
     The collection includes all 15 speisekarten from April 21st to May 6th, 1938, Ticket book with original cover and documentation inside, 3 Neuste Meldungens - April 23, 28, and May 3, 2 Guidelines for Shore Excursions, Itinerary , Welcome to Lisbon documents, The Grand Voyage card, Luggage Tag, Group Excursion card, 2 Tischkartes, Luggage Insurance card, Mützenband, Two cards for shopping and souvenirs in Maderia, and a passenger list for passengers from region Köln (Cologne), Aaachen.
Dates Shown: Thursday: April 21st, 1938 - Friday: April 22nd, 1938 - Saturday: April 23rd, 1938 - Sunday: April 24th, 1938 - Monday: April 25th, 1938 - Tuesday: April 26th, 1938 - Wednesday: April 27th, 1938 - Thursday: April 28th, 1938 - Friday: April 29th, 1938 - Saturday: April 30th, 1938 - Sunday: May 1st, 1938 - Monday: May 2nd, 1938 - Tuesday: May 3rd, 1938 - Wednesday: May 4th, 1938 - Thursday: May 5th, 1938 - Friday: May 6th, 1938.




Notable Speisekarten:
April 21st, 1938 - Lists Carl Lübbe as the Captain. He will die the next day on the bridge and Captain Peterson will assume command of the ship.
April 23rd, 1938 - All of the day's events have been cancelled likely out of respect for the captain's death.
April 26th, 1938 - Arrival in Lisbon. Music and fireworks will accompany the ship's arrival.
April 29th, 1938 - Arrival in Madeira. A festival and fireworks are also given for the ship's arrival.
Wilhelm Gustloff Maiden Voyage Ticket Booklet
Passenger Sofia Rosenbaum
Kabinen-Nr. 79, Bettplatz (Deck) A, Kontroll-Nr. 0814




Additional Maiden Voyage Material:
1: Welcome to Lisbon Pahmplet with local information.
2: The Grand Voyage folding card - empty inside.
3: Luggage Claim Tag.
4: Two table cards for Group #2
5: Land Excusion Ticket
6: Luggage Insurance Card
7: Card for souvenir shopping in Madeira - advertisment for a local shop.
8: Card #2 for souvenir shopping in Madeira - advertisment for a local shop.
9: Voyage Itinerary with Kraft Durch Freude.
10: Interior of Itinerary - Sailing with the KdF ship "Oceana".
11: Neueste Meldungen - April 23, 1938.
12: Neueste Meldungen - April 28th, 1938.
13: Neueste Meldungen - May 3rd, 1938.
14: Excursion Guidelines - Funshal: days 1 & 2.
15: Excursion Guidelines - Lisbon and Maderia.
16: Passenger list for travelers from Kohn-Aachen.
Posted by: k4Projkt

Wilhelm Gustloff's Maiden Voyage to Madeira
Voyage #1: April 21st, 1938 - May 6th, 1938
      The second set I obtained (right) was from a gentleman in Germany who had collected numerous items from onboard the Wilhelm Gustloff for her maiden voyage and several other voyages from which I was able to acquire. This passenger's name was Ida Schalz hailing from Berlin. Kabinen-Nr. 97, Bettplatz (Deck) B, Kontroll-Nr. 0841.
     The collection includes a complete second set of all 15 speisekarten from April 21st to May 6th, 1938, Ticket book with original cover and documentation inside including a page not in the other booklet (See below), 8 Neuste Meldungens - April 22, 23, 24, 25, 28, and May 1, 2, & 3, 2 Guidelines for Shore Excursions, Welcome to Lisbon pamphlet,  Group excursion card, Lisbon souvenir photos, 2 postcards, 2 photos, random document from April 28th, 1947, and a 2 page paper from April 12th, 1938 that appears to be early information for the passengers of the voyage. (Translation to come.) 
What makes this interesting is that the April 23rd, 1938 menu has written on the blank side "Mourning Captain Lübbe" and one of the photographs is of the memorial service held onboard that day as noted on the back of the picture. The second photo gathering appears to be of the memorial service as well, but the back states "7 May, on the Wilhelm Gustloff." What event went on that day is still unclear.


Photo Details:
#4: Funeral memorial for Captain Lübbe onboard the Wilhelm Gustloff's Sun Deck.
#5: Unknown gathering on the Sun Deck - May 7th, 1938.
#6: April 23rd, 1938 menu with handwritten note for Captain Lübbe's mourning.
#10: Second ticket booklet
#11: Labels for sending mail on the maiden voyage.
Above: Captain Lübbe's Funeral Service onboard the Wilhelm Gustloff. April 23rd, 1938
Right: April 23rd, 1938 Speisekarte. Daily Agenda left blank out of respect of the captain. Handwritten "Trauer Kapitän Lübbe" or "Mourning Captain Lübbe"




Four Maiden Voyage / Second Voyage Photographs - Above Left Clockwise:
1. Robert Ley being completed. Hamburg 4-20-38.
2. Funnel of the Wilhelm Gustloff. 5-15-38.
3. Gustloff in Hamburg with unknown uniforms. 4-20-38.
4. On Deck: 5-15-38.


Later Newspaper Article 12/19/1973 - Image #14
The Wilhelm Gustloff Maiden Voyage Band (Postcard) - Images #15 & 16

To commemorate the journey of Madeira April 21st to May 6th, 1938 on "Wilhelm Gustloff" work crowd - marching band.
The Wilhelm Gustloff sailing down the Elbe.
The press get a tour of the Wilhelm Gustloff's
new engine room.
The Death & Funeral of Captain Carl Lübbe - Hamburg, Germany
The aftermath once the Wilhelm Gustloff returns to Germany.


     Links und rechts: Kapitän Carl Lübbe, der verstorbene Führer des KdF.- Motor-Schiffes "Wilhelm Gustloff", wurde am 28.4 1938 auf dem Ohlsdorfer Friedhof zur letzen Ruhe getragen.

     Left and right. Captain Carl Lübbe, the late leader of the KdF - Motor ship "Wilhelm Gustloff", was born on 28.4 1938 and in Ohlsdorf cemetery last laid to rest.

Kapitän Lübbes letzte Fahrt - Captain Lübbe's Final Voyage.
From the August 1, 1938 (III. Jahrgang, Folge 3/4 ) edition of the magazine:
Das Sprachrohr - Werkzeitschrift der Hamburg-Sudamerikanischen Dampfschifffahrts-Gesellschaft
The Mouthpiece - File magazine of the Hamburg-South American Steamship Company
Kapitän Lübbes letzte Fahrt.
     Kapitän Carl Lübbe, der verstorbene Führer des KdF Motor-schiffes "Wilhelm Gustloff" wurde am 28. April 1938 bei herrlichstem Sonnenwetter auf dem Ohlsdorfer Friedhof zur letzten Ruhe getragen.

     Die große halle B des krematoriums konnte die vielen Erschienenen kaum fallen. In einem Meer von Blumen war der mit unserer kontorflagge bedeckte Sarg aufgestellt. Offiziere unserer Reederei hielten die Totenwache. Fahnen verschiedener Betriebe flankierten kränzen, die zu Ehren des Toten von der Gauwaltung Hamburg der DAF., der NSG. "Kraft durch Freude", dem Reichsstatthalter Pg. Karl Kauffmann, der HAPAG der Hamburg=Süd und anderen großen Reedereien niedergelegt worden waren.

     Neben unserer Direktion waren zahlreiche bekannte Männer des Staates und der Partei sowie des hamburgischen konsularkorps erschienen. So bemerkte man neben dem aus Berlin mit dem Flugzeug herbeigeeilten Reichsleiter Pg. Dr. Robert Ley, den Reichsamtsleiter Pg. Dr. Lafferentz, Gauinspektor Seefahrt, SA.=Brigadeführer Schormann, Bürgermeister krogmann, den stellvertretenden Gauleiter Staatsrat Pg. Harry Henningsen, den Gauobmann der DAF., Pg. Rudolf Habedank u.a.m.
Captain Luebbe last ride.
Captain Carl Lubbe, the late leader of the KdF motor ship "Wilhelm Gustloff" was born on 28 Born April 1938 in glorious sunny weather in Ohlsdorf cemetery to rest.

     The great hall of the crematorium B could hardly noticed the many appearing. In a sea of ​​flowers that covered with our flag kontor coffin was placed. Officers of our shipping kept the vigil. Flags of different enterprises flanked wreaths that. Honor of the dead of the Hamburg Gauwaltung the DAF, the NSG. "Strength through Joy", the Reich Governor Pg Karl Kaufmann, who were HAPAG = south of Hamburg and other large carriers have been laid down.
this
     In addition to our Directorate many famous men of the State and the Party of the Hamburg and consular corps were present. So you noticed next to the from Berlin hurrying by plane Reichsleiter Pg Dr. Robert Ley, Dr. the Reichsamtsleiter Pg Lafferentz, Gauinspektor Maritime, SA. = Brigadier Schormann mayor Krogmann, the deputy Gauleiter State Pg Harry Henningsen, the Gauobmann the DAF., Pg Rudolf Habedank etc.
     Pastor (V)Boss of the high air left in his eulogy again pass that in every respect richly blessed life of the deceased captain so early to us. Then the coffin was followed by a huge mourners brought under the sounds of funeral marches to the family burial chapel in the second The plant hosts of Hamburg Süd = accompanied = operations and policy director with the flags and wreaths this his last journey.
     Under the sounds of the song from the good comrades captain Lübbe the earth was passed. After the clergy Reich Organization Leader Dr. Robert Ley went to the grave to the dead to say warm goodbyes. Besides his own down. Gauinspektor maritime Schormann dedicated in the name of the entire German maritime Dead warm words of thanks. He particularly praised the warm camaraderie that has always shown every captain Luebbe. DenStellvertreter for the Führer, Reich Minister Rudolf Hess, and the Gauleiter Bohle he laid down wreaths at the grave. Finally, said the Deputy Gauleiter, Pg Harry Henningsen, from last Greetings Pg Gauleiter Kaufmann at the dead fighter Capt. Lubbe.


Article #2:
Erinnerungen an Kapitän Lübbe von Otto Neubert.
     Es war 1924. Ich fuhr auf der "Cap Norte" nach Südamerika. Lübbe war auf dem Schiff 1. Offizier, ein Mann, den man als Mensch schätzen und dem man als Seeman Bertrauen schenken konnte. Wegen seiner Eigenschaften schloß auch ich ihn in mein herz.
     Auf späteren Reisen im Mittelmeer und nach Norwegen trafen wir uns wieder und viele Erinnerungen an Lübbe sind fest in mir verankert. Wie oft haben wir auf der kommandobrücke gestanden im harmonischen Gedankenaustausch, wie oft hat er mir in meiner Tätigkeit geholfen. Keine launige Miene, kein böses Wort war zu hören.
     1931 - Wir waren mit der "Monte Rosa" auf der Fahrt nach Tenerife und Madeira. Das Politisieren an Bord war strengstens verboten. Ich hatte den Auftrag der Auslandsorganisation der NSDAP., vor den Deutschen in Sta. Cruz de Tenerife zu sprechen, damit die kleine Ortsgruppe der NSDAP. Ein Aufblühen erfahre. Kapitän Lübbe wurde von mir eingeweiht. Was er für mich tun Konnte, tat er. Als Saalschuß kamen verschiedene Parteigenossen von der Besatzung (2. Offizier Reise, Stewards und Matrosen) in Zivil mit an Land. Lübbe drückte beide Augen zu und gewährte "Urlaub". Unsere Versammlung verlief gut, wenn sie auch in einen anderen Saal verlegt werden mußte, weil der erste Saalbesitzer, ein Spanier, glaubte, daß die "Nazis" alles kaputtschlagen würden.
     Auf einer anderen Fahrt. - Wieder einmal stand, wie schon so oft, in Deutschland eine Reichstagwahl bevor. Besatzung und Passagiere durften zum ersten Male auf See wählen. Politikaber war, wie gesagt, auf einem Schiff verboten, was auch durchaus zu verstehen war. Eine Seereise dient der Erholung. Unliebsame Szenen, die aus der Verschiedenheit der Meinungen und Ansichten entstehen, können dort, wo 1800 Menschen Freude und Entspannung suchen, nicht geduldet werden. Dennoch mußte ich meinen Auftrag erfüllen. Ich schleppte einen ganzen Berg von Flugzetteln mit. Wenige Tage vor der Wahl wurden sie geheim verteilt. In diese kabine, auf jenen Schreibtisch, in die Toiletten, hier und dort wurde ein Flugblatt niedergelegt. Irgendjemand muß von dem begangenen "Frevel" dem kapitän Meldung gemacht haben. Der käppen schöpfte sofort Berdacht und ließ mich kommen. Er sagte: "Wenn Sie schon Propagandazettel verteilen, dann geben Sie mir doch wenigstens auch welche." Wieder drückte Lübbe beide Augen zu und ließ erklären, daß man den Zettelverteiler leider nicht ermitteln könne.
     Dann fand die Wahl statt. Wir waren schon mittags fertig und liefen gegen 13 Uhr in Vigo ein. Dem Gauleiter Pg. Kaufmann hatte ich versprochen, das Ergebnis sofort von Spanien aus nach Deutschland zu kabeln, damit es möglichst noch propagandistisch ausgewertet werden konnte. Unsere Bordfunkstation war auf der Reede geschlossen. Ich benötigte deshalb schnell ein Boot. Kapitän Lübbe und der 1. Offizier Castan gaben es mir sofort. Ich konnte so das Telegramm schnellstens an Land bringen.
     Im April 1933 waren wir im Mittelmeer. Lübbe sagte zu mir: "Morgen ist der 1. Mai. Wir sind auf See. Möchten Sie wohl die Ansprache halten?" Ich sagte freudigen herzens zu. Lübbe und sein 1. Offizier unterstützten die Maifeier mit allen kräften.
     Daß man Lübbe auch als einen besonders tüchtigen Seemann schätzen mußte, sagte ich bereits; daß er es aber auch in der Stunde der Gesahr war, soll folgendes beweisen:
     Wir waren 1934 mit der "Monte Rosa" auf der Fahrt nach den Faröern, Island und Norwegen. Nordwestlich vom Skagerrak empfing uns eine dicke Brühe. Lübbe fuhr weiter; es klarte bald wieder auf. Als wir dann aber den ersten hafen, verlassen und bereits zehn Minuten kleine Fahrt gemacht hatten, war es wieder dicker Nebel. Machinen liefen langsam. Schon tauchten kleine Felsen aus dem Wasser auf. "Hart Backbord, Machinen äußerste kraft zurück." Es war aber bereits zu spät. Unser Schiff schob sich langsam auf die Felsen einer Landzunge (Clivurnaes bei Thorshavn) auf - und saß fest. Ich stand neben dem kapitän auf der kommandobrücke. Ich werde sein Gesicht nicht vergessen. Ein wertvolles Schiff von 14000 Brutto=Reg.=Tons unter den Füßen. Ich habe ähnliche Fälle im kriege mit=gemacht - Nervosität und Unruhe auf der Brücke. Anders unser kapitän. Er war ruhig, er war fest wie ein Felsen, seine kommandos waren kurz und bündig und trugen den keim der hoffnung in sich. Trotz unserer schwierigen Lage blieb so die Ruhe erhalten. Lübbe ließ die Musik spielen, denn seine Sorgen sollten nicht die Sorgen der Passagiere werden. Viele, viele geschickte Manöver waren nötig - nach 24 Stunden war das Schiff mit eigener kraft wieder freigekommen. Was wir während dieser Stunden an Lübbe schätzen konnten, ist unbeschreiblich. Erst in der Not erkennt man, ob ein kapitän wirklich ein großer kapitän ist. Lübbe hat hierfür den Beweis erbracht. Nach einer durch Taucher vorgenommenen Bodenuntersuchung sind wir dann nach Island weitergefahren. Lübbe hat die Verantwortung übernommen.
     Mit Recht wurde dieser Mann dazu ausersehen, des stolzen Schiffes "Wilhelm Gustloff" Führer zu sein. "Ich bin glücklich", sagte er mir während der Werft=Probefahrt. Das Schicksal hat es jedoch anders gewollt. Der höchste hat ihm geheißen, seinen letzten kurs, den wir alle einmal steuren müssen, abzusetzen.
Parteigenosse kapitän Lübbe hat sein irdisches Schiff verlassen. Er befindet sich auf dem Wege dorthin, wo auch der kämpfer Wilhelm Gustloff weilt. Fragen wir night weshalb Geburt und Grab - ein ewiges Meer.

Article #2: Memories of Captain Lübbe by Otto Neubert.
     It was the 1924. I went to the "Cap Norte" to South America. Lubbe was the first on the ship Officer, a man who was appreciated as a person and where you could pay as Seeman Bert Rauen. Because of its properties, I also included it in my heart.
     On later trips to Norway and in the Mediterranean, we met again, and many memories of Lübbe are firmly rooted in me. How often have we been on the command bridge in harmonious exchange of ideas, how many times he has helped me in my work. No witty expression, not a bad word was heard.
     1931 - We went with the "Monte Rosa" on the trip to Tenerife and Madeira. The politicizing on board was strictly forbidden. I had. The order of the Foreign Organization of the Nazi Party, from the Germans in Sta. To speak Cruz de Tenerife, so that the small local branch of the NSDAP. A flourishing experienced. Captain Lubbe was inaugurated by me. What he could do for me, he did. Hall shot as several party members came from the crew (2nd officer travel, stewards and sailors) in civilian clothes ashore. Lubbe squeezed both eyes and granted "leave". Our meeting went well, even if they had to be moved to another room because the first room owner, a Spaniard, believed that the "Nazis" would smash everything.
     On another trip. - Once again, was, as so often in Germany before a general election. Crew and passengers were allowed to vote for the first time at sea. But politics, as it was told, is prohibited on board a ship, which was also to be understood thoroughly. A voyage is the recovery. Unpleasant scenes that arise from the diversity of opinions and views, where 1800 people are looking for fun and relaxation, not to be tolerated. Still, I had to fulfill my mission. I dragged with a mountain of leaflets. A few days before the election, they were distributed secretly. In this cabin, on those desk, in the toilets, here and there a leaflet was deposited. Someone must have been committed by the "outrage" the captain made ​​message. The käppen drew immediate Indoors and made ​​me come. He said: "If you already distribute propaganda list, then at least give me some." Again expressed Lübbe a blind eye and did declare that the distribution list, unfortunately could not identify.
     Then there was the choice. We were already finished at noon and ran a clock against 13 in Vigo. Pg Gauleiter Kaufmann I had promised, the result immediately to cables from Spain to Germany, so it could still be evaluated as propaganda. Our ship's radio station was closed in the roads. I therefore needed a boat quickly. Lubbe and captain of the 1st Castan officer gave it to me immediately. I was able to quickly bring the message to the country.
     In April 1933, we were in the Mediterranean. Luebbe said to me: "Tomorrow is May 1st, we are at sea, you probably want to deliver the speech.." I told joyful heart. Lubbe and his first Officer supported the May Day celebration with all forces.
     That one had Lubbe also appreciated as a very capable sailor, I said, that he was also in the hour of danger, is to prove the following:
     We were in 1934 with the "Monte Rosa" on the trip to the Faroes, Iceland and Norway Northwest of Skagerrak received us a thick broth. Lubbe went on, and it cleared up soon again. But when we first port, and leave had already done ten minutes little ride, it was again thick fog. Machines were running slowly. Already appeared little rocks out of the water. "Hard to port, machines ultimate power back." But it was already too late. Our ship moved slowly on a spit of land on the rocks (Clivurnaes at Thorshavn) - and got stuck. I stood beside the captain on the bridge command. I will never forget his face. A valuable ship of 14,000 gross = Reg = clay underfoot. I get done in similar cases with = - nervousness and restlessness on the bridge. Unlike our captain. He was calm, he was solid as a rock, his commands were short and sweet and carried the germ of hope in itself. Despite our difficult situation remained so the rest. Lubbe was playing the music, because his concerns should not be the concern of passengers. Many, many skillful maneuvers were necessary - after 24 hours, the ship was free again come with its own power. What we were able to appreciate during these hours to Luebbe is indescribable. Only in an emergency it can be seen whether a captain really is a great captain. Lubbe has not adduced evidence. According to an estimate by divers soil analysis we then moved on to Iceland. Lubbe has claimed responsibility.
     By law, this man was destined to be the proud ship "Wilhelm Gustloff" leaders to be. "I'm happy," he told me during the test drive = shipyard. However, fate has willed it otherwise. The highest was called him to sell his last course, the tax recovery we all need once. Party comrade captain Lubbe has left his earthly vessel. He is on his way there, where the fighter Wilhelm Gustloff bored. If we ask why night Birth and the grave - an eternal sea.
     Pastor Boß von der hoheluft ließ in seiner Trauerrede noch einmal das in jeder hinsicht reich gesegnete Leben des so früh verstorbenen kapitäns an uns vorüberziehen. Dann wurde der Sarg, gefolgt von einer riesigen Trauergemeinde, unter den klängen von Trauermärschen an die Familiengruft bei kapelle 2 gebracht. Die Werkscharen der Hamburg=Süd=Betriebe und Politische Leiter begleiteten mit den Fahnen und kränzen diesen seinen letzten Weg. 
     Unter den klängen des Liedes vom guten kameraden wurde kapitän Lübbe der Erde übergeben. Nach dem Geistlichen trat Reichsorganisationsleiter Dr. Robert Ley an das Grab, um dem Toten herzliche Abschiedsworte zu sagen. Neben seinem eigenen nieder. Gauinspektor Seeschiffahrt Schormann widmete im Namen der gesamten deutschen Seeschiffahrt dem Toten warme Worte des Dankes. Er rühmte ganz besonders die herzliche kameradschaft, die kapitän Lübbe jederzeit jedem gezeigt hat. Für denStellvertreter des Führers, Reichsminister Rudolf Heß, und den Gauleiter Bohle legte er am Grabe kränze nieder. Zum Schluß sprach der Stellvertreter des Gauleiters, Pg. Harry Henningsen, letzte Grüße des Gauleiters Pg. Kaufmann an den toten kämpfer Kapt. Lübbe aus.



Below: An additional discharge book from Hugo Müller:
Schiffe:
Procida - 9/9/33 zu 6/11/33 - Kapitän Nichen
Hüxter - 16/12/33 zu 31/3/34 - Kapitän W. Dröge
Monte Olivia - 14/5/34 zu 15/10/34 - Kapitän Höpfner
Monte Olivia - 16/10/34 zu 20/12/34 - Kapitän Petersen
Bahia - 29/12/34 zu 9/3/37 - Kapitän Block
Marianne - 28/9/38 zu 3/10/38 - Kapitän Elsner
Wilhelm Gustloff - 11/10/38 zu 30/3/39 - Kapitän Bertram
Bukarest - 5/12/41 zu 19/12/41 - Kapitän Nobmaun
F. 75 - 6/1/42 zu 11/4/44 - Rüdolf Nesbeda - II Off.
​​The final date is May 8th, 1945.