Postcards of the
Wilhelm Gustloff
     Presented below are several postcards of the Wilhelm Gustloff, along with their back sides if they have been postally used. The left column will explain each postcard, while below will be the full German and English translation for each postcard. There are 60 different postcards of the Wilhelm Gustloff shown here, which doesn't include the others shown for her maiden voyage, within photo albums, etc. Some are official and others are photographs made into postcards. 
     This grouping consists of 14 postcards of the Wilhelm Gustloff and their opposite sides if they have been postally used. The order of the postcard numbering at right runs the same way you would read. At the bottom of the thumbnails, the backs of the postcards are written in German, then translated to English for those who wish to gain perspective to life onboard. A special thanks to Feldgrau.com, whose members (particularily l3w & Hiltraut) translated all of the postcards for the collection.

1.M.S. Wilhelm Gustloff
2. Back of card. Posted April 8th, 1938. Written during the Gustloff's polling station voyage to England. 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
(German version is under the menu page.)
3. KdF Postcard - Cancelled June 12th, 1938. Nothing on the backside.
4. Blohm & Voss image of the Wilhelm Gustloff.
5. Back of card. Posted August 13th, 1939- Just 18 days before the outbreak of the war.
6. Beautiful starboard shot of the Wilhelm Gustloff.
7. Back of card - Posted May 5th, 1938, the first day of her second voyage.
8. Captain Carl Lübbe Postcard with signature. Originally thought to be stamped until another was seen with the same signature but it was not exact.
9.Wilhelm Gustloff Madeira - Funchal RPPC. Nothing on the back side.
10. Hamburg - "Wilhelm Gustloff" an der überseebrücke.
11.M.S. Wilhelm Gustloff Unteres Promenadendeck. There is another set of on board postcards in this style written in 'old German' or 'Sütterlin'. This style is no longer recognized in Germany as younger generations cannot read it.
12. Bergen, Norway
13. Back of card. Appears to bear the date September 19th, 1938.
14.Wilhelm Gustloff im Hamburger Hafen.
15. Back of card. Written September 3rd, 1942- postmarked the following day.
16. Norway - Sundalgletscher im Maurangerfjord.
17. Back of card. Posted September 2nd, 1938.
18. K.d.F. Schiff 'Wilhelm Gustloff'
19.Wilhelm Gustloff Menu Cover Postcard.
20. Back of card. K.d.F. Schiff Wilhelm Gustloff.
21. M.S. Wilhelm Gustloff
22. Back of card. Posted November 16th, 1938.
23. Beautiful profile view of the 'Willy G'
24. Back of card. Written on board during her early stages of being an Accommodation Liner. Dated. May 3rd, 1941. Unfortunately, a lot of damage from when the previous owner pulled it off an album to sell. If it remained in an ablum though, odds are no one would have known the back existed.




Postcards and Images 25 - 38 come from a Hamburg, Germany postcard album. Measuring 12.5" x 9", the album has 98 postcards total, several of them featuring the Wilhelm Gustloff. Cover marked 'Foto Richter, Herford i.W., Gustav-Nachtigal-Str. 41.
Translation for Postcard #15 - September 3rd, 1942:

Werte Familie Dr. Winderlich,
Wir müssen doch ein Lebenszeichen von uns geben, denn hier in Hbg war allerlei los, hauptsächlich am 27/28 Juli auch wir haben Bombenschaden gehabt aber nur Sachschaden. Aber jetzt ist alles wieder vergessen, augenblicklich haben wir des Nachts Ruhe und am Tage so 2-3 Alarm aber das ist nicht wichtig. Seien Sie und Ihre Gattin Eva vielmals gegrüsst
K. (of Fr.) Niemeier

Dear family Dr. Winderlich
we have to show a sign of life, because there was a lot going on here in Hamburg, esp. on 27/28 July[.] We also had bomb damage but only material damage. But now everything is forgotten, at the moment it's being quiet at night and during daytime 2-3 air alerts, but that's not important. Greetings to you and your wife Eva
K. Niemeier (or Mrs.)
Translation for Postcard #17 - September 3rd, 1938:

Liebe Eltern!
Wir konnten leider von Bord keine Post abgehen lassen, weil keine Postdampfer zur Heimat fuhren. Hoffentlich habt Ihr nicht so
lange gewartet. In Hamburg hat mich Tante Emma abgeholt, dann sind wir gleich zur Oderfelderstr. gegangen und von da aus nach Onkel Paul. Liebe Eltern! Ihr könnt Euch gar nicht vorstellen, wie herrlich hier alles ist, seekrank gibt es hier garnicht. Auch die herrliche Gegend

[left side] Kurz: Es ist garnicht zu beschreiben
[right side] Es grüsst Ruth
[upside down] In diesem Moment wo ich schreibe schaukelt mein Tisch bedenklich

Dear parents!
Unfortunately we could send no mail from aboard, because no mail steamer left for home. Hopefully you didn't have to wait very long. In Hamburg aunt Emma came to meet me, then we went straight to the Oderfelder road and from there to uncle Paul. Dear parents! You can't imagine, how wonderful everything is here, there is no being seasick here. And the lovely region

[left side] In short: It cannot be described
[right side] Greetings from Ruth (?)
[upside down] In this moment as I write my table is rocking dangerously
Translation for Postcard #5 - August 13th, 1939:

Mein[e] liebe[r] ...! Heute ist es
uns möglich Post von Bord
zu befördern. Es ist herrlich
auf diesem Schiff. So hätte ich
es auch gedacht (?). Also herz-
liche Grüsse auch an Käufer (?)
Käthe und ...

My dear ...! Today it's possible to send mail from aboard. It's wonderful on this ship. That's just what I imagined (not sure about that sentence). So best regards also to Käufer (?) Käthe and...
Translation from Postcard #7 - May 8th, 1938:

Lieber Bruder u Schwägerin
Die best Grüsse von dem
K.D.F. Dampfer Gustloff
sendet euch Georg u Adele
Es grüsst ferner Beck... (name)

Dear brother and sister-in-law
Best regards from the KDF (Kraft durch Freude) steamer Gustloff send you Georg and Adele. Also greetings from ...


Translation from Postcard #13:

Von der Nordseefahrt grüssen recht schön
Michi [could be a nickname for his surname Michel]

Von den Fjorden Norwegens u. dem herrlichen Wilhelm Gustloff
ein kräftige Heil Hitler!
Helga Michel


Of the north voyage, Michi [could be a nickname for his surname Michel] greet quite beautifully

Of the Fjorden of Norway and the lovely Wilhelm Gustloff a Hitler strong well-being! Helga Michel
Translation from Postcard #22:

Lieber Erich
von meiner K.d.F. Reise in den sonnigen Süden sende ich Dir herzliche Grüsse. Ich mache die Fahrt rund um Italien. Gestern sind
wir aus Venedig abgefahren und befinden uns nun auf hoher See nach Sizilien u. ... [could be misspelled Stromboli], die Sonne scheint warm u. das Leben - neben dem Besichtigen in Venedig - ist wunderbar. Nochmals herzl. Grüsse
Deine Liselotte Seivert

Dear Erich,
I send you warm greetings from my K.d.F. trip to the sunny South. I take the trip around Italy. Yesterday we left from Venedig (Venice) and are now on the high sea to Sicily and Stromboli (?).
The sun is shining warm and life - alongside the sightseeing in Venedig - is wonderful. Greetings again
Your Liselotte Seivert
Translation from Postcard #24: Accomodation Liner:

An Bord der Gustloff, den 3.V.41
Lieber Hans!
Habe Dein.......... u. mich sehr ..... Ja, ......................gt, als ich las, daß...................geworden bisty. Na, da muß man ..wirklich gratulieren.
... ... ist ja wohl endlich schl... geworden und hat keine f... Führer eingesetzt.
Ich bin ja nur gespannt, wie jetzt alles so klappt. Mit Kurt ..... ... wirst Du (Dich=crossed through) ja prima ... Kurt gratuliere ich natürlich .. Ob es mit Schult
klappen .. Die Hauptsache ist jetzt, daß Du Dich ... dem schriftlichem Kram
... .. desto mehr an den Dienst ..... ...mpf denkst! Jetzt heißt
es auch .... u. fürs Fähnlein sorgen(?). ... ....auf...
lassen! Schaffe ......bei dem Pfingsten an...............führer-
schaft! Es wäre ........ nun mal so ... und zu .... u.
Sch..igkeiten hast, u. ... klappt u. was nicht klappt! - Wohin geht denn die
Fahrt mit der Jungsturmführerschaft Pfingsten?

sideways:
Entschuldige bitte die Spritzer, hier fand gerade ein Wasserschlacht statt.


On board the Gustloff, the 3.V.41 love Hans! Have your. ......... and me very .... Yes, ......................gt when I read, that.
..................geworden bisty. Well, there one really must congratulate... ... ... Schl became probably finally... and has no f.s.. Leaders used. I am only strained how now all out works so. With Kurt .... ... Yourself (you = crossed through) become yes prime... I
congratulate Kurt naturally.. Whether it with educates work out.. The essential matter is now that you you... the written stuff... .. The more at the service .... ...Mpf think! Does now it be named also.... and for the flag provide (?). ... ....Auf.. Let! Create ......bei Pentecost at. ..............führer- shaft! It would be ....... now once so... and to.... and Sch.. igkeiten have, and... works out and what out does not work! - Where is the trip with the boy storm leaderships Pentecosts going then?

Sideways: Excuse please the Spritzer, as the writer apologises for the splashes.




Additional Wilhelm Gustloff Postcards

1.
M.S. Wilhelm Gustloff in Hamburg
2. Back of card. Posted August 12th, 1938. Voyage #11.
3. Norwegian Fjords
4. Back of card. Posted August 12th, 1938. Voyage #11.
5. Norwegian Fjords
6. Back of card. Posted August 12th, 1938. Voyage #11. These 3 belong with the photo collection under photo page 2.
7. M.S. Wilhelm Gustloff
8. Back of card. Posted October 6th, 1941. During her time as an accommodation liner.
9. Husband & Wife Card
10. Back of card. Posted May 25th, 1942. During her time as an accommodation liner.
11. M.S. Wilhelm Gustloff in Hamburg. No back.
12. Russian Painting of the Gustloff sinking postcard. Basic information in Russian on the back.
13. Another collection:Wilhelm Gustloff painting postcard.




Translation from Postcard #2:

Hamburg, d. 7/8.38
Lieber Heini!
Wat sagste nun, dass ich
nun doch noch auf Gustloff
schwimme. Ich sage Dir
nur "knorke" Mündlich
lässt alles viel besser erzählen.
Hoffentlich bleibt das Wetter
so schön wie letzte Woche.
Dann ist alles gut. Viele Grüsse
auch an Familie Bormann
Rudi

Hamburg, August 7, 1938
Dear Heini!
What are you saying now, that I actually am (swimming) on the Gustloff now. I'm just saying "knorke" (knorke = dialect, means excellent, good). Verbally it will be much easier to tell you about everything. Hopefully the weather will remain as good as last week. Everything will be fine then. Give my regards to family Bormann as well. Rudi
Translation from Postcard #4:

Lieber Heini!
Ich sende Dir hiermit eine Ansicht
von den Fjorden, es ist typisch
wie am Königsee in [...]
nur dass es hier tagelang ev etwas
zu sehen gibt. Es ist leider nicht
möglich alles das was wir hier
zu sehen bekommen haben auf
zuzählen. Komm Sonnabend zu
uns runter. Herzliche Grüsse
an Carla [...] Bormann. Dein Bruder Rudi

Dear Heini!
I'm sending you a view of the fjords, it's typical like at the Königsee [...] only that here there's something to see every day. Unfortunately it isn't possible to tell you about everything we got to see here. Come round on Saturday. Best regards to Carla [...] Bormann. Your brother Rudi
Translation from Postcard #6:

Liebe Emmi!
Von unser herrlichen Fahr nach
Norwegen sende ich Dir und Deinen
Eltern nebst Gerda herzl. Grüsse. Es ist
nur schade dass Du dieses Wunder-
bare nicht miterleben konntest.
Das Schiff ist so fabelhaft eingerichtet,
dass wir uns vorkommen wie
Millionäre. Das Wetter hat es sehr gut
mit uns gemeint so dass wir alle
braun gebrannt in der Heimat
wieder ankommen. Ein Kuss Dein Rudi

Dear Emmi!
From our wonderful trip to Norway I'm sending you and your parents as well as Gerda best wishes. It's just a pity that you couldn't see all these wonderful things for yourself. The ship is equipped so fabulously that we feel like millionaires. The weather meant it very well with us so we will arrive home all tanned. A kiss, yours Rudi
Translation from Postcard #8:

Hamburg, 6/10. 41
Lieber Herr Schäfer!
Ihnen [...] besonders
herzliche Grüsse von meinem
Mann, ob Sie "allein"
die Arbeit schaffen!!!
Frdl. Grüsse auch an Herrn
Barsdies (?) & Herrn & Frau
Mader (?)
Für heute viele Grüsse
Ihre beiden Pfeiffers

Hamburg, October 6, 1941
Dear Mr. Schäfer!
Especially best regards from my husband. [He asks] if you can get all that work done "alone"!!! Greetings to Mr. Barsdies (?) and Mr. and Mrs. Mader (?) as well. For today best regards, your Pfeiffers
Translation from Postcard #10:

Die besten Grüsse von hier sendet Dir
[...] Erdmann
[...] Gotenhafen
Wilh. Gustloff

Best regards from here is sending you [...] Erdmann, [...] Gotenhafen, Wilhelm Gustloff





14. Interesting card of the Wilhelm Gustloff 'auf der Elbe vor Blankenese. This image of the Gustloff has been cropped into the postcard to make it look like she's there sailing, but the artist's blending around the edges can be seen up close.
15. Back of Card. September 20th, 1942. During her time as an accommodation liner.
Translation from Postcard #15:

20.9.42
Lieber Bernhard!
Deinen Brief habe ich erhalten, recht
herzlichen Dank. Ich beantwort[e] ihn
aber noch, und zwar morgen, damit
Du nicht so lange warten brauchst.
Nun sende ich Dir die herzlichsten
Grüsse aus Wittenberge [...]
Sei recht herzlich gegrüsst - ... von Gerdi

Auch von mir herzliche Grüsse
Elsa Mückenhaupt
[...] Günther

Günther muss
aufpassen, dass uns nichts passiert, toll nicht? G.

Dear Bernhard!
I got your letter, many thanks for it. I will answer it tomorrow, so you won't have to wait that long. For now I am sending you heartiest regards from Wittenberge. Best wishes .... Gerdi
Greetings from me as well
Elsa Mückenhaupt
[...]
Günther

Günther is keeping an eye on us, so nothing can happen to us; great, isn't it? G.


16. Naples, Italy and Volcano Postcard.
17. Back of Card. December 14th, 1938.
18.
Wilhelm Gustloff Postcard in Hamburg.
19. Back of Card. Posted March 8th, 1939 out of Genoa.
20. Hamburg & Uberseebrucke.
21.Wilhelm Gustloff's port side at sea.
22. Back of card - Blank.


In 1937, stamps were issued to support a Nazi Party "winter relief" charity Winterhilfswerk. The left stamp on this pair is of the Gustloff. It has some inconsistencies because the ship was not completed until March 1938. For example the funnel is a solid colour (it had not been installed at the time of launching in May 1937). 
Translation from Postcard #17:

7 Tanzflächen!!

Liebe Hermine, hier ein
Bild unserer neuen Villa (?),
die uns durch so viele schöne
Städte führt. Die Fahrt ist
ganz wunderbar und bietet
soviel Schönes. Das Wetter
war, bis auf eine (?) Nacht, die sher
stürmisch war, ebenso schön.
Herzliche Grösse allseits von
Deinem Vetter
Willi
Liebe Grüsse!
Hilda

7 dance floors!!

Dear Hermine, here's a picture of our new villa (?), that is guiding us through so many beautiful cities. The journey is just wonderful and offers so many nice things. The weather has been good too, except for one night when it was stormy. Best regards to all from your cousin
Willi
Best wishes!
Hilda
Translation from Postcard #19:

… zu Neapel …
liegen. Dann kommt Genua
und dann zurück. Habe heute
Nachmittag bis 6 Uhr auf dem
Sonnendeck gelegen. Wetter
ist gut, wie bei uns an
Hochsommertagen.
Herzl. Grüße
Dein Ernst
Es geht Dir doch gut?

[...] to Napoli. Then comes Genoa and back after that. I was lying on the sun deck this afternoon till 6pm. The weather is good, like at home at midsummer days. Best wishes, yours Ernst. I trust you are doing fine?
Additional Wilhelm Gustloff Postcards: Set 3


1.Wilhelm Gustloff leaving port. Ausreise.
2. Back of Card. Written: Date not visible.
3. Madeira: View of Funchal.
4. Back of Card. Written April 29th, 1938. During the official maiden voyage of the Wilhelm Gustloff. Bears the very early postal cancellation from onboard the ship, then a second from Funchal the same day.
5. Address of Luftpost card.
6. Back of Card: Written February 7th, 1939. Mailed from the Stuttgart on February 8th, 1939 to his parents onboard the Wilhelm Gustloff which was calling at the port of Naples next. The Gustloff's ticket booklets included these stickers that mail could still be received onboard the ship while passengers were cruising. One of our ticket books still has a set of these intact from a voyage.
7. The Wilhelm Gustloff's port side.
8. Back of Card: Written June 13th, 1938. Posted during her maiden voyage.
9.Wilhelm Gustloff Lounge. (Following 3 come from the same album).
10. Back of Card: Written August 26th, 1938.
11.Wilhelm Gustloff Dance Hall.
12. Back of Card: Written August 26th, 1938.
13.Wilhelm Gustloff & Oceana in Hamburg.
14. Back of Card: No date visible, but written on the same voyage as the previous two. August 1938.
15. Wilhelm Gustloff at Berth.
16. Back of Card: Mailed May 15th, 1941 out of Hamburg.
17. Reprint Postcard - Women onboard the Gustloff for voting. April 10th, 1938.
18. Wilhelm Gustloffin Mauranger Fjord.
19. KdF
Ship - Sierra Cordoba or Der Deutsche? from the Gustloff.
20. Back of card.
21. Passengers on the deck of the Gustloff. Photo turned postcard.
22. Group photo postcard in Madiera.
23. K.d.F. Schiff Wilhelm Gustloff Ausreise.
24. Postal stamp on the back - Mailed June 11th, 1938.
25. Wilhelm Gustloff Profile.
26. Back of card - Mailed May 26th, 1938.
27. The Wilhelm Gustloff at night. Very interesting view of the liner.
28. Back of card: Hard to see the full date.
29. The Wilhelm Gustloff and Robert Ley.
30. Interesting postcard of the Wilhelm Gustloff. Center flap raises and several images of Hamburg drop down. First one I've ever seen like this.
31. Painting of the Gustloff by Prof. Hans Bohrdt. A copy is in the museum collection.
32. The Gustloff in Hamburg.
33. The Gustloff in Hamburg
34. Costume ball on the Gustloff, August 1939. ​​​​
Translation from Postcard #4:

Herzliche Grüsse von
der Jungfernfahrt
mit dem Wilhelm
Gustloff - sendet
Ihnen liebes Frl.
Niggemann und
Ihren w.[erten] Angehöri-
gen mit Heil H. ...
Ihre
M.(?) Pas(?)otat . [name unsecure]

Translation :
Heartiest regards from
the maiden trip
of the Wilhelm
Gustloff - sends
to you, dear Miss
Niggemann and
to your (worshiped ?!) relatives
with H. H.
yours,
....?
Translation from Postcard #6:

     This card was a difficult read. It was sent from a boy to his parents on board Wilhelm Gustloff on the 7th of Feb 1939. What can be read is that he writes that he’s doing well and there’s not too much to report from his side. He’s wondering how the weather is like onboard. Further he writes something about his meals he has somewhere (during their stay on board). If he would have written in the same style as the name in the address (Julius Pfähles), it could have been read easier. However, the card went from Stuttgart to his parents, which were obviously on a cruise on Wilhelm Gustloff, which was calling a port in Naples as next.



Translation from Postcard #8:

Auf hoher See 9.6.38
Die herzlichste[n] Grüße von mein[er]
Norweg[e]nfahrt sendet euch ..

Otto.

On the high seas, June 9th 1938
Most cordial greetings from my
voyage to Norway sends you

Otto.