Other publications used directly aboard the ship include Bord Zeitung, the KDF's on board newsletters, and Neueste Meldungen, or latest information from the outside world.
There were also the typical books, magazines, and special publications for the Gustloff. This page focuses on the items published during the Wilhelm Gustloff's lifetime - 1937 - 1945.
Wilhelm Gustloff Publications
Primary Sources: 1937 - 1945
August 4th, 1938, Handed out to passengers aboard the 10th Cruise of the Wilhelm Gustloff to the Fjords of Norway. Translates roughly as "Latest Information" and provided some very basic (and strictly controlled) news from the world. Interestingly contains a note at the bottom informing passengers that they can 'telephone home' at a cost of 5 RM for 3 minutes. Considering a standard weekend cruise cost about 50 RM, this was quite expensive.
Energie Magazine - May, 1937
Inside cover article on building the Gustloff.
Energie Magazine - June, 1937
Back page photograph on the Gustloff construction after 1 month.
May 2nd, 1938
In a week of events, an article on the Wilhelm Gustloff being used as a polling station for Austria's annexation into Germany.
Also in our collection are three menus and a table card for this voyage - which is available under the Speisekarten page.
The magazine article is posted here and all other information on her Polling Station Cruise is posted under the London Polling Station page.
Buch: Unter Dem Sonnenrad or "Under the Sun"
Unter dem Sonnenrad was a propaganda book intended to glorify the history and benefits of the Nazi organization repsonsible for creating the Wilhelm Gustloff - "Kraft durch Freude" (Strength through Joy). "Sonnenrad" - a synonym for "Swastika" has its roots in the Norse meaning for sun. The intention was clearly to draw attention to the KdF logo. The book is structured to cover each of the fundamental areas of the KdF (and make comparison's to supposed "dismal" life before the Nazi's came to power). Numerous photos of the Gustloff appear throughout the book.
The photo of the funnel on the dustjacket cover (missing) is that of Gustloff "sister" ship, the Robert Ley. Since this book was published in 1938, it must have been taken before the Ley was delivered, but just after the funnel was installed (late 1938). The photo on the cover is inside the book on a full page. Attached to the inside of the back cover is a fold-out map that is intended to impress with the reach of the KdF and all those who have participated in KdF travels. This map claims 540,073 cruise participants (on ALL KdF ships) between 1934 and October 1938.
Click to enlarge. Notice how in the first photo the image of the Gustloff is cut and pasted into the photo.
World War II - U.S. Army Air Force German Ship Identification Slides
Less of a publication and more of an interesting collection are 12 slides to help the U.S. Air Force identify ships during World War II. Slides include the Wilhelm Gustloff (below), Patria, Deutschland, Belgrano, Berlin, Rio Grande, Cap Arcona, Cariba, Prestoria, Mowe, Potsdam, and Hamburg.
Technical Book for the year 1937 with launching of the Wilhelm Gustloff on the cover.
VDI - Verlag GmbH, Berlin
Zeitschrift Des Vereines Deutscher Ingenieure
"Journal of the Association of German Engineers"
Responsible Director: W. Parey
Complete listing of all 53 journals for 1938.
With over 3,000 images and four panels
1520 pages in the format 29.5 x 22 cm
(Below): VDI - Zeitscheift, Bd 82. Nr. 49 - December 3rd, 1938.
Article on the Flagship of the KdF Fleet - The Wilhelm Gustloff
Includes deck plans and detailed layouts for her cabins.
Interesting article in VDI - Zeitschrift, Bd 82.
Nr. 13 March 26th, 1938
- Article on the Express Ship of the Future. Several features point to a futuristic version of the Wilhelm Gustloff to be built if the Third Reich had not fallen. An interesting image to say the least. Note how there are no funnels on the ship. In a strange way, this ship vaguely reminds me of the current Queen Mary 2.
Bord Zeitung or On board Paper. Nr. 4 - 1937. On board "mini" standardized newspaper / magazine for vacationers on KdF cruises during 1937. An insert with 'latest news' indicates that this particular issue was distributed on August 8, 1937 for passengers on board the Monte Olivia. The cover displays the Gustloff under construction at Blohm & Voss Shipyard #511 in Hamburg. Inside an article references the new look of the coming KdF ships.
Der Sonne Entgegen or "Contrary to the Sun". Subtitle: Deutsche Arbeiter fahren nach Madeira, Italien, Afrika, und Griechenland or "German workers go to Madeira, Italy, Africa, and Greece". Published 1940. 120 pages, the first 72 are the book itself - the last are images from the voyages. The first image is Hitler on an unnamed ship watching the Robert Ley leave port.
Schönheit Der Arbeit or "The Beauty of Working"
Berlin, July 1938, Volume 3, Issue 3
Main Article: "Wilhelm Gustloff" - The Image of a Ship.
Featuring 36 images of her public rooms and of passengers
and crew on board the ship. Includes obscure photos of her Writing Room, Gymnasium, and Library.
Two additional Neueste Nachrichtens - August 9th & 10th, 1038.The title was changed and translates to Latest News rather than information.
1939 Edition: Die Kunst Im Deutschen Reich or "Art in the German Reich".
3. Jahrgang / Folge 12 - Ausgabe B - Dezember 1939
Third Year - Episode 12 - Issue B - December 1939
Article: The Art and Archetecture of the KdF ships Wilhelm Gustloff and Robert Ley.
Der Hamburger Hafen or "The Port of Hamburg" - Summer of 1939
Great photography book on the port of Hamburg and the various ships which called it home. The first image in the book shows Hitler at the launch of the Wilhelm Gustloff in 1937. Other images include the Robert Ley, Wilhelm Gustloff in drydock getting her propellers added, and the Cap Arcona. The 7th image shows the Wilhelm Gustloff in outfitting - getting her anchors, lifeboat davits (not yet painted white), and name painted on her bow.
Die Weite Welt or "The Fare World" Magazine - May 7th, 1939
Shows the Wilhelm Gustloff in the process of being finished with the name and lifeboat additions.
Dien Urlaub 1939 or Your Holiday 1939
Vacation Guide from the KdF on various towns and itineraries - 48 pages.
Energie Magazine - April, 1938
The Gustloff being outfitted on the cover, on board the Gustloff inside.
Kraft Durch Freude - Monatsheft der Deutschen Arbeitsfront - NSG.
Folge 8, August 1939, 6 Jahrgang.
Kraft durch Freude - Monthly Bulletin of the German Labor Front - NSG.
Episode 8, August 1939, Volume 6.
First page is missing with the cover article. On the cover, passengers stroll along the desk of either the Wilhelm Gustloff or Robert Ley.
The back page is an application form to become a member of the KdF.
Neueste Nachrichten - On board Newspapers.
Below group of three dated June 4th, 5th, and 6th, 1939
Thumbnails dated July 27th, and 18th, 1938.
Additional on board papers can be seen under the Maiden Voyage page.
Die Deutsche Arbeitsfront
NS - Gemeinschaft "Kraft Durch Freude"
5 Jahrgang - April 1938 - Nummer 4.
Wehrarbeit - DAF 86
Fachl. Schulungsblatt der DAF
Berlin - Mai 1938
3. Jahrgang. Folge 5
Wehrarbeit - DAF 86
Fachl. Schulungsblatt der DAF
Berlin - April 1938
3. Jahrgang. Folge 4
Book: Volk zu Schiff by Jakob Schaffner
Published in 1936, features several photos onboard various KdF ships.
Norwegenfahrt der Betriebsgemeinschaft - Die Rune
Deutsche Sachversicherung - Hamburg
Vom 29. April - 4. Mai 1939
Norway Trip of Joint Business - The Rune
German property insurance - Hamburg
Of 29 April - 4 May 1939
Menus for this voyage can be found under the Speisekarten - Menus 2 page.
Die Neuzeitliche Kommandobrücke or The Modern Bridge
Probably published in 1939 - Copy hand dated August 9th, 1940.
EVERYTHING you could possibly want to know about the
bridges of the Wilhelm Gustloff and Robert Ley.
96 pages, 83 diagrams and photos!
Die Woche or The Week - November 23rd, 1938.
Several images from the Gustloff's 20th voyage in Italy, including a never before seen images of the inside of her barber shop! Also includes a great shot of passengers enjoying the pool below decks.
Landratten im Seewind
Landlubbers in the See Breeze
Information on all ships of the German fleet.
Freude und Arbeit (Joy and Work) Magazine
Heft 1 - 4. Jahrgang 1938.
Features a letter written onboard the Willhem Gustloff.
An Bord M/S "Wilhelm Gustloff", den 26.8.38
Lieber kleiner Meinerle!
Hab' vielen Dank fuer das uns uebersandte Bild. Dieser schoenen Erinnerung an unseren juengsten Gespraechspartner werden wir demnaechst einen guten Platz innerhalb unserer Funkstation einraeumen.
Wir haben Dich ebenfalls gut verstanden, auch das von Dir gesungene Lied haben wir und alle im Annahmeraum der Funkstation anwesenden Urlauber gehoert.
Wir wuerden uns natuerlich auch sehr freuen, einmal den nach unserer Ansicht juengsten deutschen Filmschauspieler hier an Bord begruessen zu koennen. Noch schoener waere es aber, wenn du gelegentlich mir uns fahren wuerdest, denn dann haetten wir noch mehr Zeit zum Plaudern.
Hoffentlich gefaellt Dir das Bild vom Wilhelm Gustloff.
Wir alle erwidern Deine Gruesse und wuenschen Dir alles Gute fuer die Zukunft.
Im Namen meiner Kameraden
Rüef (Rudolf) Günther
On board M / S "Wilhelm Gustloff", 26.8.38
Dear little Meinerle!
Thanks a lot for the picture sent to us. This nice memory of our youngest interlocutor will soon be placed within our radio station. We also understood you well, we and the entire guests present in the reception room of the radio station have also heard the song sung by you.
Of course, we would be very happy to welcome the most recent German film actor here on board.
It would be even better if you were to go with us occasionally, because we would have more time to chat. Hopefully you like the picture of Wilhelm Gustloff.
We all repent your wishes and wish you all the best for the future.
In the name of my comrades
1. Radio Officer
Freude und Arbeit
Published regularly by the "International Central Bureau of Joy and Work", this
particular issue accompanied the "Joy and Work" World Congress held in Rome
during June of 1938. Contains content in numerous languages including German,
Italian, English and French.
The oversized "magazine" appears ahead of its
time in terms of style and layout. It is filled with Nazi propaganda (with an
emphasis on alignment with Mussolini's fascist Italy) obviously intended to
impress the sixty nations attending the conference.
Illustrierter Beobachter (Illustrated Observer) January 26th, 1939
This was an illustrated propaganda magazine which the Nazi Party published.
11 Jahrgang - Folge 4. Featuring Captain Bertram.
New York Times - Thursday, February 13th, 1936.
Mourned by Hitler - Wilhelm Gustloff
Grundstein: The Journal of the German Labor Front for the entire German construction industry -
DAF 12: Issue A: Construction - # 3 - June 1938.
Featuring the construction of the Wilhelm Gustloff and a model of the Robert Ley.
Agfacolor, das farbige Lichtbild or
Agfacolor, the color light image.
Published in 1938 by Knorr & Hirth
This book features several color images of Hamburg harbor in 1938 including the General von Steuben at sea and the Oceana as seen from the Wilhelm Gustloff.
Freude und Arbeit (Joy and Work) Magazine
Heft 6 - 3. Jahrgang 1938.
Features information on the Willhem Gustloff during the Fourth Annual Rally of the National-Socialist Fellowship "Kraft durch Freude" in Hamburg, painting of the Wilhelm Gustloff rescuing the Pegaway crew, and colorized photos of board games aboard the liner.
Double Der Henschecstern - or The Henschel Star
Features several never-before seen photographs aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff including her staircase, barber shop, and photographer shop.
(Starting at picture 6) From left to right: Above: Visit on the bridge. On the Upper Promenade Deck, three stalwarts make their 100 km march even with wind force 7. The Sun Deck is a much visited place in the sunny south. Lower Promenade Deck. Three tours around this deck make 1km. In the morning, the tourists - ahead of the board chapel - march down this kilometer and the "100-km" march is covered. Middle: Six meals provide for the physical well-being of the travelers. Beautifully covered tables await the German workers in the two beautiful dining rooms. Comfortable staircases adorned with pictures and fresh green connect the decks with each other. One of the most magnificent rooms is the smoking room. Bottom: The men's and women's hair salon is always open. One of the modern and tastefully furnished 2-bed cabins. The crew is also enthusiastic about their accommodation on the "Wilhelm Gustloff"; She lives in very comfortable furnished 4-bed cabins. The sales booth of the photographer is constantly besieged.
Dein Urlaub, Summer 1939
The Wilhelm Gustloff in the Italian Riviera.
Hansestadt Hamburg Tourism Brochure, 1938.
Features hotel information among other things about the city and the docks.
Energie Magazine - February 1938
Cover only: Installing the engines on the Wilhelm Gustloff.