Der Deutsche Photo Album - Also features the Bremen, Milwaukee, and Oceana. May 6th, 1937 Photos: 34.
The album also has 56 newspaper clippings / photos cut out during the war. Most of these are AP photos of various ships sinking, burning, picking up survivors, & bomb blasts. Several of the newspaper articles can be viewed below under the last PDF file.
Unknown KdF Liner passing the Hindenburg at sea. - Possibly the Oceana or Sierra Cordoba. Beautiful images of the great airship over the ocean.
Photo #1: Likely the British battleship HMS Nelson. Photo #13: The German Panzerschiff Deutschland. Photo at Right: Colorized Hindenburg photo.
While not related to the Wilhelm Gustloff - this film is related to another great ship, the Cap Arcona. Titanic was a 1943 Nazi propaganda film made during World War II in Berlin by Tobis Productions for UFA, which was later banned from Nazi Germany by Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. The film used the sinking of the RMS Titanic as a setting for an attempt to discredit British and American capitalist dealings and glorify the bravery and selflessness of German men. The film is known for its extremely dark production history and, ironically, became the symbol of the corruption and "sinking" of the Third Reich itself. The film was shot on board the SS Cap Arcona, a passenger cruise ship which itself was sunk in the last weeks of World War II with a loss of life far heavier than that on the actual Titanic. The scenes with the lifeboats were filmed on the Baltic Sea and some of the interior scenes were shot in Tobis Studios. In 1992, a censored, low quality VHS copy, (shown here) was released in Germany. This version deleted the strongest propaganda scenes, which immensely watered down its controversial content. Finally, in 2005, Titanic was completely restored and, for the first time, the uncensored version was released in a special edition DVD by Kino Video. Source: Wikipedia: Titanic (1943 Film).
Below: The full version of the 1943 Titanic with English subtitles. The movie begins at 4:10.
Set of 13 photographs featuring a seaman's time aboard the 1937 German built training ship Albert Leo Schlageter (NRP Sagres). His photo album begins with the last photo under the name of Kptl. z.S. Jurgens and includes a Kriegsmarine Anti-Aircraft Artillery Senior Specialist Trade Badge in fabric. Other photos show him behind a flak gun. These photos show a 1944 voyage and are noteworthy because one image shows the damage the Schlageter took when she struck a mine on November 14th, 1944. The Horst Wessel (USCG Eagle) had to take her under tow to Swinemunde. I tried to find additional images of her mine strike online, but I was unable to. (I no longer have this photo album, but wanted to still share these photos).
If the Wilhelm Gustloff and Robert Ley are my first loves, the Cap Arcona comes in third. Built by Blohm + Voss in 1926 and launched in 1927, she was the flagship of the Hamburg Südamerikanische Dampfschifffahrts-Gesellschaft (Hamburg-South America Line or HSDG) fleet. The Germans wanted to rival the luxury of the RMS Titanic and decided that the Cap Arcona would be the ship to do it. Her luxurious interiors would be based loosely on the famous White Star Line ship, and luxury was needed for the lengthy voyages from Hamburg to South America. Her statistics were:
Length: 675 ft Width: 84 ft Tonnage: 27,561 Engines: 8 steam turbines Speed: 20 knots Lifeboats: 26 Maiden Voyage: Oct 29, 1927 Range: 12,790 miles
Passenger capacity: From 1927: 575 1st class, 275 2nd class, 465 in dormitories; total 1,315
From 1937: Total 850 Crew: 475 Nicknames: Queen of the South Atlantic, The Floating Palace
1 - The launching of the Cap Arcona in 1926. 2 - 6 - Postcard views of the Cap Arcona. 7 - Passage to the Ballroom. 8 - View of the Ballroom. 9 - Ballroom 10 - Wintergarden 11 - Smoking Lounge 12 - Dining Room 13 - Swimming Pool 14 - Engine Room
While I was always aware of the Cap Arcona and her story, what finally made me decide to dedicate a page to her was the book "The Nazi Titanic" by Robert P. Watson. I read this book twice while on vacation and became so enthralled with the liner, I soon found myself searching online for physical artifacts from the ship and wreck. (This was a fantastic book, but there were several inaccuracies in the Wilhelm Gustloff chapter). For the most famous ocean liner in the German fleet for 18 years, there is surprisingly little on her aside from the sailing views and souvenir postcards shown above. Most internet searches direct you to stories of her gruesome end, and there are almost no photographs or albums from aboard the ship available to view. Shown below is my current Cap Arcona artifact and memorabilia collection:
Cap Arcona Photo Album Voyage to Rio de Janeiro & Buenos Aires March 1938
The biggest thing about the Cap Arconathat surprised me is after days of searching, I could not find any photos or albums taken on one of her regular South American voyages. I found one website which had a handful of photos of passengers and crew on the decks and with a life ring, but that was it. When I came across this album for sale, I snapped it up immediately. Of the 230 photographs, the album begins with photos from her voyage and includes 3 cut and glued cap tallies from the ship. Photos show the passengers playing tennis and dancing on the liner, along with several port and harbor views. There are also 2 souvenir postcards and a card which Captain Niejahr sent to request passengers for cocktail hour. The album ends with several random photos and large full page photos of people hunting. Interestingly enough, all the captions are in English. I decided to just post all of the photographs relating to the ship below.
Notable Photos: 5 & 6 - These are fantastic because they not only show passengers enjoying themselves dancing in the ship's ballroom, but you can clearly see the styles of HSDG glassware and silver used on the tables.
6 - The names Joanna & Jimmy James.
12 - Herr Schroeder
16 - The Conte Grand in Montevideo.
22-24 - Equator crossing celebration on deck.
Cap Arcona Menu September 26th, 1934 Equator-crossing Festival
German Reich Sailor's Discharge Book #4 - Issued in Hamburg, 9/4/ 1930
This Sailor's Log Book comes from steward Pierre Cyrus: Born April 9th, 1892. His log book also starts with the Wilhelm Gustloff's very first sea trial voyage stamped inside - March 14th, 1938. His records for the Cap Arcona are as follows:
Cap Arcona - 1/23/35 to 5/21/35
Cap Arcona - 12/20/35 to 1/8/36 - Signed Bertram, I Officer.
1 - WW2 U.S. Army Air Force Ship Identification Slide - Cap Arcona. 2 - The Cap Arcona with the New York in Gotenhafen just after the war's beginning. She is still in her ocean liner colors. 3 - Her hull still black, her funnels appear all white. I read this was done for the filming of Titanic in 1943, so likely from that timeframe. 4 - Circa 1943. 5 - Circa 1943. 6 - Now in all dark gray paint, c 1944. 7 - Now in all dark gray paint, c 1944. 8 - Now in all dark gray paint, c 1944.
So The Cap Arcona Sank.
German newspaper article from between 1950 and 1954. By: Heinrich Lietz On May 3, 1945 in the evening hours, one of the largest ships of the then German merchant navy sank in the Neustädt Bay - the "Cap Arcona", a luxury steamer of the "Hamburg-South American Steamship Company". There were over five and a half thousand people on board. Hardly more than 500 could be saved. At the same time, the "Thielbeck" with 2,500 inmates sank alongside of the "Cap Arcona", of which only 20 could be rescued. Little was known about this horrific drama in the last days of the war today, after the events of the collapse of the Third Reich overshadowed everything else.
The dawn of doom lies over Hitler's Germany! The Russian armored armaments crossed the borders of the Reich at the end of 1944. Now the tide is licking at the East Prussian Wall, damming up the Vistula and rising and rising ...
The "Cap Arcona" lies on the pier of the large ocean liners in Gotenhafen. Once a jewel of the German merchant navy, the pride of its shipowners, it has been idle for a long time now. The ship, built in 1927 and weighing 27,500 tonnes, had served luxury passenger transport between Hamburg and the South American capitals Rio and Bueno Aires for ten years. No more than seven hundred passengers were accepted; but they saw themselves surrounded by every conceivable luxury. The height of the ship was 22 meters from the waterline to the bridge. With its endless promenade decks, its play and rest areas, true escapes from dining rooms, salons, music rooms, smoking rooms, libraries and ballrooms, the proud ship had once measured the waves of the Atlantic in those happy days before the outbreak of madness. Now the colossus lay on the lonely pier in the deserted harbor. In the halls and halls - dead silence, the promenade decks - swept empty. In the luxury cabins, have turned into a marine assistant school residential accommodation.
In mid-January 1945, the disaster strikes. Together with the icy blizzards of the east, the Red Army rushes into the country, driving unpredictable flows of refugees. Crowds gather in the cities. Westward - or death! is the watchword. The "Cap Arcona" also receives the order to get ready to leave. The naval assistants disappear. With 10,000 East Prussian refugees on board, without food, the ship goes to the Bay of Lübeck. The refugees are unloaded in Neustadt in Holstein. The ship should immediately go back to the east. The captain shoots himself.
His successor, a man in his mid-forties who has sailed all the seas, represents the best tradition of the German merchant navy. During the war, he proved that discipline can be combined with civil courage if there is real responsibility. He knows the world beyond the German fence posts; For this reason, it has long been clear to him where the journey of the German state ship is under an inept and criminal leadership. He is also not afraid to express his views sometimes quite drastically.
After repairing a machine damage in the Neustädter Bucht the "Cap Arcona" runs to Hela, from where it brings the wounded to Copenhagen. A planned second trip is omitted: the oil consumption of the powerful ship is enormous, the situation in the east has already become too dangerous.
On April 13th the "Cap Arcona" is still in Copenhagen. There comes a radio message with the command to immediately leave Neustadt. The news is received with mixed feelings: Copenhagen would have been preferable, but the quiet Neustadt Bay also offers a good chance of surviving the end of the war. Only the date of the command is embarrassing: Friday, the 13th is a very demonized constellation, according to old seaman beliefs.
With a crew of 350 men, including a Navy command of 80 men, the "Cap Arcona" anchored in the bay on the evening of April 14, about 2.5 nautical miles from Neustadt. The ship itself is unarmed. The captain and crew are considered to be under military service, although they remain members of the merchant navy and wear their uniforms. According to orders, they are subordinate to the Navy.
A few days of relative calm follow. The 80 marines are withdrawn, and the crew are reduced to 76 non-front-line personnel by order of the navy. The ship lies without oil with partly disassembled machine. The events of the war, in particular the stormy advance of the English towards Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, are followed closely. The captain goes to Hamburg to receive instructions from the shipping company. On the second day after the captain's departure, the ship's first officer received an order from the Reich Commissioner for Maritime Affairs to clear the ship for the admission of 10,000 concentration camp prisoners. Soon afterwards the "Athens", a 3000-tonne vessel, appeared and announced that it had been ordered not to be able to carry out some 2,500 of the people on board and claimed that the captain was absent. The "Athens" goes close to anchor, but leaves the bay towards Lübeck on the second day.
The captain of the "Cap Arcona" learns in Hamburg of the order intended for him and his ship. He returns quickly. On April 26, he was standing on the quay in Neustadt when an SS assault leader and his entourage approached him and asked how he could get to "Cap Arcona". When the captain reveals himself and asks why ne needs to, the SS officer, hoarse with excitement, screams to him that he has been ordered to shoot him legally, if he should refuse to keep taking the concentration camp prisoners on board. Faced with this most brutal threat of a great system, the captain backs off. In the afternoon, the SS visits the ship. Some of their people stay on board. The "Athens" appears on April 27 and lies alongside. It brings 2,500 prisoners. The chain gang on the "Cap Arcona" flows over the gangways. They are members of 26 nations; all men from the Neuengamme concentration camp near Hamburg. Completely tired, swaying, emaciated wailing figures in prison clothes with the badges of the categories created by the SS.
The next day, the second batch, worth another 2,500 men, was taken over, plus 500 men of coastal artillerymen, all older people aged 50 and over, pressed by the SS to the security service. The captain manages the accommodation himself. He cleverly knows how to ward off the worst, the crumbling of 10,000 prisoners, among other things. The occupancy of the potato cellar, a room of less than standing height. He categorically declares that he cannot take over a man over 5,000. As a luxury passenger ship, the "Cap Arcona" has only very little cargo space. The largest group, the Russians, is housed in these fore rooms. The French follow a little further amidships. The coastal artillerymen install themselves in the centrally located large dining rooms. But all the cabins are also occupied by 12 prisoners each. Scary, grotesque finale! The concentration camp inmates in luxury cabins with bathrooms and water closets! And the rock bottom was exposed to the last, the deepest misery!
Prisoners are strictly prohibited from leaving their accommodation. This command is not required, the general state of exhaustion is much too great. 126 men die within the next five days. For five days, a dead man is carried out every thirty minutes and placed on the quarterdeck. Embarkation ends on the 28th evening. There are now around 5,000 prisoners, 500 security guards, 76 crew members and a small SS commando on board. The catering question is completely unresolved, only a small amount of food was taken over from the "Athens". Absolutely inadequate amounts of water are brought in from Neustadt by boat. The kitchen of the "Cap Arcona" can supply 1,200 people in extreme cases. The problems that are suddenly piling up in front of the captain are likely to deprive him of sleep, and their effect on most of the officers and men is achingly depressing. They are seafarers who are used to helping people in need. They have hardly eaten anything in the next few days and have done their utmost to alleviate the worst suffering. It was a drop of water on the hot stone.
After delivery of her second load, the "Athens" had left for Lübeck again and returned on April 29 with another 3,000 prisoners. There is no attempt to hand this over to the "Cap Arcona". Instead, the "Athens" anchored nearby. Another ship appeared shortly afterwards, the "Thielbeck", about 3,000 tons. She had about 2,500 concentration camp prisoners on board and anchored at a distance of about 700 meters from our hooks. Together with the 22,000-ton stationary hospital ship "Deutschland" (formerly on the Hamburg - New York run), about two nautical miles further south, there were four ships off Neustadt on April 30th.
On May 1st, a tugboat with three barges deep in the water approached the "Cap Arcona". Concentration Camp Prisoners Again! This time from Danzig-Stutthof, about 1,000 people, including numerous women. Nationally predominantly Polish Jews, but also some Norwegians. The barges are leaking and take on plenty of water. After the complete impossibility of accommodating further prisoners on the "Cap Arcona" turns out, the tug steams off towards the pilot's house and puts the barges on the ground a few 100 meters to the west in the shallow water.
At the same time, the captain learns that a high SS official, the deputy commandant of Neuengamme, is in Neustadt. The second officer is ordered to take him on board under all circumstances. It is made clear to him that the captain and the ship's management reject any further responsibility.
May 2, 1945. An atmosphere of extreme nervousness spreads across the entire ship. Hostile aviation has been active since early morning. Hurricanes and Spitfires fly over the ship several times. Rumors want to know that Hamburg has already fallen and that the English are standing in front of Lübeck. The whimpering of the starving Russians and Frenchmen sounds from the hatches of the foreship. There are well over 100 bodies on the quarterdeck. A yacht is organized in case the barge traffic has to be stopped completely due to lack of fuel. The "Athens" opens and runs into the port, because the conditions there have become unsustainable.
In the evening, the SS commander orders the dead to be thrown overboard. The captain brusquely refuses and instructs his second officer to bring the dead ashore and arrange for a burial in the Neustädter Friedhof. The transfer by means of the barge takes place at night, the burial itself on the morning of May 3rd. At the same time the sailing yacht seized by the captain, but not ready for sailing, is brought in and moored alongside.
May 3, 1945. Cold, windy weather with changing clouds. After the excitement of the morning, the ship is relatively calm. But the tension in Neustadt has risen to the highest. The Volksstrum is called up. The mayor is informed that a bunch of concentration camp prisoners arrived on foot from Silesia. In addition, in the night from 2nd to 3rd, the 1,000 prisoners, men and women, went ashore on their own from their semi-soaked barges and begged for food , strayed through the streets of the suburbs. In the morning they are surrounded by SS and driven into the submarine school area.
Aviation activity is increasing. Shortly before noon the funeral team returns on board. 2.30 p.m .: A single plane zooms in and shoots off a rocket bomb. It falls into the sea between the "Cap Arcona" and the "Thielbeck". In view of the immediate attack, the captain orders the raising of a white flag on the bridge. The SS officer disagrees.
3:00 p.m .: Approach by four enemy bombers. They hit the attack almost to the mast height. The rocket projectiles explode amidships and destroy the majority of the security teams in the dining rooms. Smoke and smoke rise from the explosion, cries for help are heard. There will be five more approaches over the next 15 minutes. From the quarterdeck to the bridge, the ship receives a large number of heavy hits from the highly explosive, devastating missile projectiles. No whistle is possible.
The ship is terribly battered, thick smoke comes from inside. The captain stands on the bridge with some officers. His commands try to contain the sudden panic. An indescribable mess begins. The masses of prisoners and security guards that swell from the inside tumble without a plan.
Some officers desperately try to organize fire squadrons and bring them to the frenzied fire: the pumps fail. Concentration camp inmates cut off inside the ship begin to jump out of the portholes into the water. The height of the case and the debilitated, emaciated prisoners shocked the immediate death. They immediately disappear below the surface of the water.
II. 3.20 p.m .: The captain orders to suspend the still usable boats. But almost everyone turns out to be shot and smashed. Even the captain's gig, although in one sound piece, can no longer be made clear. A bunch, consisting of ship crews, guards and prisoners, rolls to the port side, only the boat heals. The SS camp commandant also got out of a place, as did three staff assistants, the only women on board. With difficulty the boat swings out in the davits, the rear rope breaks and it rushes almost 20 meters into the depths, pulling all the passengers with it. Not a single one gets away with life.
The fire spreads at a frantic pace. The flames no longer crackle and hiss, the orange fire roars over three quarters of the entire length of the ship. The large salon windows on the boat deck crack, followed by roaring bursts of fire. Once again the captain leaves the bridge and hurries through the passable parts of the ship, followed by his dog, a great Newfoundland dog, the faithful companion on many journeys. He orders the crew to distribute the life jackets that are still available; there are no other rescue options. Then he goes back to the bridge and shoots his dog.
A terrible tragedy is taking place in the large holds of the foredeck. Hundreds of Russians are imprisoned there. They storm the only ladder available to reach the deck 15 meters above them, but no one succeeds. Each individual is pulled back by those pushing down below. The officers try in vain to help them. Creepy inferno! No more human cries penetrate from the depths, which approach the sea of flames with uncanny speed.
At 4:40 p.m. the second officer overboard on a rope and lets himself fall into the water. The flames are now popping out of the portholes, from which streams of naked, sometimes burning people are still flowing. He heads for a raft where 24 people can save by holding on. But five sit on top of it and push the raft under water. The same thing happens with a light barrel. In the far distance, some dark spots are visible that are rapidly approaching. There is no doubt that they are navy motor boats. Now they are very close. Calling loudly, the 2nd officer swings his arm with the gold badge of the ship's officer. They roar past, densely manned. Navy fleeing from Neustadt? There he sees the yacht that has come off the ship and is floating away some distance away. About 70 prisoners had taken possession of it and are now trying to get to the coast with the help of boards. At the stern of the yacht there is a rope in the water to which dozens of people have clung. The rope breaks, an elongated cry echoes over it. Using his last strength, he manages to approach the yacht and grab the end of the rope that has been torn off. Two arms in convict clothes stretch towards him and pull him onto the boat deck. At the top of the ship, given the almost inevitable end, he had his revolver strapped on, an almost mechanical reflex action. Now he sees the Russian groping for the weapon and closes his eyes, unable to defend himself. But the Russian only cheerfully says: "Don't gnaw", and throws the revolver into the water in a high arc. The officer suffers from severe chills and temporarily loses consciousness. As he regains consciousness, he lies in the small cabin, half undressed, two Frenchmen massage his frozen limbs. After half an hour he is ready to come on deck.
Dark clouds have appeared, a violent hail is falling. In addition to the prisoners, there is also a "Cap Arcona" ship boy on board. After tedious rowing, you can reach the coast. With everyone's approval, the second officer rowed over to mobilize help for the ship. He calls the mayor from the pilot's house. But the English are already there. On the next street corner, an English jeep stops him and takes him into town. On the morning of May 3, another "Cap Arcona" ship boy was ashore to carry out an order from the captain. From the land, he watches the disaster and runs to the marina captain for help. He finds the department full of navy members who are in a hurry to write off discharge papers. Nobody cares about the boy. From the windows you can see the burning "Cap Arcona". The port captain regretted that he could not do anything. The ship boy desperately hurries on. He manages to get an old tug to run out. They rescue several floating members of the crew and many concentration camp prisoners. Three minesweeper fishing trawlers run out and save a number of the drowning people who are brought ashore in Pelzerhafen.
The "Cap Arcona" capsizes at 8:00 p.m., but due to its size remains part of the hull afloat. Crowded on the foredeck, 89 survivors are found and saved in the night. The "Thiebeck", which was attacked a little later, capsized and went underwater with the stern ahead. Out of around 2,500 inmates, maybe 20 were saved. The "Deutschland" also burned and capsized (the reporter has no data on the loss on this ship).
On the "Cap Arcona" died: around 5,000 prisoners and guards (of 5,500) and 60 men of the ship's crew (of 76). In addition to this factual report, a brief summary of the fate of the former German ocean liners can be drawn up. The majority of these ships sank, burned out or were otherwise destroyed, the rest passed to the victorious states with the unconditional surrender and the Potsdam decisions.
The "Hamburg" near Sassnitz, the "Hansa" near Warnemünde, the "New York" in the port of Kiel, the "Columbus" shortly after the beginning of the war in the Atlantic, the "Gneisenau" in 1942 in the Baltic Sea, the "Berlin" and the "Steuben" near Swinoujscie. From the former KdF ships, the "Gustloff" sank near Stolpmünde in January 1945, laden with refugees, while the "Ley" was towed to England in 1947 as a wreck.
The war survived: the "Milwaukee" and the "Cariba" which were delivered to America. The "St. Louis" does its job as a hotel ship in Hamburg's port, although two thirds of it burned out. The "Reliance", the ship of the world travelers, was sold and dismantled as a wreck after the war. The former "Europa" operates under the name "Liberte" under the flag of a French shipping company. Her sister ship, the "Bremen", burned out in Bremerhaven in 1941. The former Asian vessels "Potsdam" and "Scharnhorst" sought refuge in Japanese ports when the war broke out. There they were lost in the confusion of the war - actually strange with their monstrous dimensions with an average of 18,000 gross register tons.
From the Monte class, the "Monte Rosa" was delivered to England at the end of 1945, while the "Monte Olivia" and the "Monte Sarmiento" were destroyed by bombs. "Monte Pascoal" was sunk with gas ammunition in Skagerrak after the war. Of the former African ships, the "Windhoek" sails under the Brazilian flag, while the "Watusi" was sunk by the crew itself during the war. The "Pretoria" and the "Ubena" now bear the English flag.
The largest ship in Lübeck and Neustädter Bay is gradually being dismantled. The "Cap Arcona" did not burn out completely at the time because the water extinguished the fire when it capsized. But nothing of its former glory can be seen on the ship's hull lying in the shallow water. All that was left was a black-burned and rusty colossus. Over the years, the fishermen from the bay have been pulling all sorts of useful things out of the wreck. Above all, all wooden parts were removed as heating material in the cold winter of 1946/47. It is owned by the military government, which determines whether a wreck is recovered and what should happen to it afterwards.
The construction of the "Cap Arcona" was a sensation in shipbuilding at the time. The most admired was the dining room, which spanned a room without a single porter, in which 600 to 800 1st class passengers were catered for at the same time. As a special feature, the ship had an additional sports deck with a tennis court, while in the depth of the hull a large swimming pool with a bar was the main attraction for passengers.
The irony of fate was that it was this luxury ship of all people that should accommodate those who, according to the will of those in power at that time, should be the disinherited and damned forever when the Third Reich collapsed. It remains, however, a truly tragic tragedy that these unfortunate people had to die in the hour, since the luxury of this ship must have seemed to them a harbinger of near freedom.
They died on the day that could have been the day of their liberation. Cruel, pitiful skill! Cursed regime that handed people over to such a fate! All hell spirits seem to have united to present a horrified humanity with the madness of total contempt for human beings in a final, extreme, infernal furioso! What for? - Perhaps, - we hope - there - with the "never again!" finally come true.
Wreck of the Cap Arcona & Memorial
It has been noted that over the years, as the wreck was dismantled, fisherman, divers, and others have pulled many items off the wreck for use or curiosity. Her wreck laid there from 1945 to 1949, before finally being broken up. I've heard some of the liner still sits on the bottom of the bay, but diving is prohibited on the remains. These are standard photographs I've found online, as images of her wreck are far and few between. The wreck was extensively documented by the British after the war, but the only image I was able to find from all of their work is the second to last one below. I am always looking for pieces with provenance from the wreck to add to the collection. If you know of any available, please email me under the Introduction page.
Other Ships of the German Fleet
Artifacts recovered from the wreck of the U-534.
The German submarine U-534 was launched on September 3rd, 1942 and commissioned 3 months later during World War 2. After an uneventful career, she was hit by a depth charge from a British RAF Liberator aircraft on May 5th, 1945 and sunk. The U-534 had aboard a crew of 52 men; all escaped the sub, and 49 survived to be rescued. Five were trapped in the torpedo room as she began to sink, but they managed to escape through the torpedo loading hatch once the boat had settled on the sea bed. They planned their escape the way that they had been trained, exiting through the forward torpedo hatch once the U-534 had settled on the seabed and swimming to the surface from a depth of 67 metres (220 ft). One of them, 17-year-old radio operator, Josef Neudorfer, failed to exhale as he was surfacing and died from damage to his lungs. The two others (including their Argentine radio operator) died of exposure while in the water.
The U-534 lay on the sea bed for nearly 41 years, until she was discovered at a depth of 67 meters in 1986 by a Danish wreck hunter, Aage Jensen. The U-534 was raised to the surface on 23 August 1993 by the Dutch salvage company Smit Tak and many artifacts were given out to crew as souvenirs from their venture. Transported to Birkenhead, England, in 1996, the vessel formed part of the Warship Preservation Trust's collection at Birkenhead Docks until the museum closed on February 5th, 2006. It was from this collection that several additional pieces were sold when there was no room to display them at the museum. On June 27th, 2007, the Merseytravel transit authority announced that it had acquired the submarine to display at the Woodside Ferry Terminal. These were acquired indirectly from the first museum in 2021 through Relics from the Front, a UK bases militaria website focusing on artifacts from the war.
The capsized wreck of the SS New York. https://www.wlb-stuttgart.de/seekrieg/45-04.htm
Dinner aboard the Cap Arcona. June 14th, 1938. The names on the back of the postcard are Pablo Comino, Blanquita, Sol-edad Julio, and Angel Rocen.
Letter sent to the Cap Arcona in her final days.
Feldpost envelope sent to sailor Adolf Dronski on board the Cap Arcona via Hamburg. (Unfortunately missing the original letter). It was sent on March 10th, 1945, after the ship finished her first of 3 evacuation runs from Gotenhafen (Gdynia) to Copenhagen. Her final voyage left Copenhagen on March 27, then Gotenhafen on March 30, and arriving in Denmark on April 5. She was finally placed in Lübeck Bay where she would be bombed in less than 2 months with the loss of nearly 5,000. Adolf survived, as the envelope came with two pay slips and a pension receipt from 1947.
German Reich Sailor's Discharge Book #5 - Issued in Hamburg, 6/28/1929
This log book belonged to Gerhard Köster born in 1912. In addition to several Wilhelm Gustloff entries, he was aboard the Cap Arcona for a year and a half:
Cap Arcona - 8/30/33 to 3/2/35 - Kapitän Robin? Roliu?
I am really unsure of the captain's name - if anyone knows, please email me from the introduction page. Thanks!
Death card for Andre Jozef Christiaens. Born March 2oth, 1922, he was one of the Neuengamme prisoners transferred to the Cap Arcona, where he lost his life on May 3rd, 1945 in the bombing and fires.
HSDG oval plate taken from the Cap Arcona sometime during her career. Someone wrote the information on the back in a red marker to remember.