Wilhelm Gustloff


Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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A closer view, actually first in the sequence, taken from aboard the warship as she passed. I know nothing about the Robert Ley, but am assuming from the amount of rust and peeling paint visible in the original photo that she had been laid up during the earlier part of the war. The man who kept this album was photographed on the shore side of the bow, posing with the name visible.
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Nicolas Roughol

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The Wilhelm Gustloff will be the subject of an almost two-hour long TV show on Friday (March 19th), on French TV (channel is France 3). Part of the weekly show called "Thalassa", which focuses on anything maritime and sea related.

A nice trailer is available here: http://www.thalassa.france3.fr/emission_video.php3?id_rubrique=73, it shows some footage of the ship and the wreck...
 
Dec 8, 2000
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I'm currently reading Crabwalk and it's quite interesting. There's a lot more history in the book than I'd anticipated, as the journalist Paul (born immediately after his mother's rescue during the sinking of Wilhelm Gustloff) travels through his family's immediate history in parallel with the story of Wilhelm Gustloff, man and ship.

Titanic is mentioned a couple of times, including a reference to that 'Hollywood tearjerker'.

Bob, I've just looked at that link again and even though I knew the story, the impact wasn't lessened.
 
Mar 28, 2002
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I caught the last half hour of a 1-hour documentary last night about the Wilhelm Gustloff called The Nazi Sea Disaster or something like that. Atually, it was very informative. Based on survivor accounts, computer simulations, and official records, they concluded that 10,614 people were aboard on the night of the disaster. As only 996 people survived, it is to be assumed that the death toll from this disaster was approximately 9,618.

The survivor interviews alone made for grim viewing.

Cheers,

Boz
 
Aug 19, 2004
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The Sea Hunters did an episode on the Wilhelm Gustloff. It airs on History Television and National Geographic. or you can order it from their site.
 

Wesley Burton

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Apr 22, 2004
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Yeah I just saw the Sea Hunters episode a few weeks ago. It was well done I think. I wasnt surprised that they didnt find any human remains, considering the condition of the wreck.
 

tony sehn

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Dec 30, 2004
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Hi, I am new here. We have a family friend who was a red cross nurse on the Wilhelm Gustloff during the war and would like to find for her some good pictures and possibly a german film.
 

John Clifford

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Mar 30, 1997
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Hi Tony.

If you can find a copy of "The Cruelest Night", there are many pictures of the ship, which can be scanned.

Please note: the book, to my knowledge, is out-of-print, so you may have to check with the many book collectors sites, instead of Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.

The other alternative is to see if you can find the book at your local library.
 
May 3, 2002
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Thorsten,

thanks for the Gustloff URL. i spent a good while cruising through Herr Krawczyk's site and found it to be very good. I also checked out your own and was very impressed.

As to pictures of the Willi G, Heinz Shoen's books are a must. I own a copy of "The Gustloff Katastrophe" and from the publication details "SOS Gustloff" is also a good source.

A happy and peaceful new year to you all

Martin
 
May 3, 2002
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BALTIC SEA TRAGEDIES

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL, 2 hrs, Airdate: Winter 2005

Description:

As the Third Reich collapsed, the Nazis who had ruled Poland with an iron grip tried to flee the wrath of the advancing Red Army by sea. Nearly 20,000 German men, women and children crammed aboard a trio of converted liners and freighters... and sailed right into the sights of Soviet submarines. Join Bob Ballard as he explores the forgotten and ironic tragedy of the most murderous naval attacks in history.


source; Partisan Pictures


Martin
 
Apr 27, 2005
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The ship and it's sinking is the dramatic part of the story. I am sure I will engender some reprisals with this comment, but, let's not get too "touchy-feely" about these deaths. These passengers were largely members of the SS, and bequeathing a horrific death to others, especially innocents, was their stock and trade. Sorry, but they reaped what they sowed after murdering millions and raping Eastern Europe.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
>>These passengers were largely members of the SS, and bequeathing a horrific death to others, especially innocents, was their stock and trade. Sorry, but they reaped what they sowed after murdering millions and raping Eastern Europe.<<

And a lot of them were also women and children who had nothing to do with the atrocities committed by the SS. I think it's worth noting that the Germans gave notice about this through the Swiss so that the ship would be protected. Unfortunately for the innocent bystanders aboard...and they were there....either the Russians didn't get the word or they didn't care. For obvious reasons, there was not a lot of love lost between the Russians and the Germans.
 
Apr 27, 2005
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Michael, I respect your difference of opinion. Here, we must agree to disagree. I will warm to the idea that children should not have been made accountable for having monsterous parents. Adults are responsible for their own behaviors, actions , and choices. And you are also right again in stating that the Russians had no reason to apply remorse to this type of action. The retribution exacted by the Red Army on the people of Germany was nearly as horrific as what the Nazi Germans had meted out on Eastern Europeans.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Here, we must agree to disagree.<<

On what point exactly? I have no sympathy for the SS troop now or ever. They were combatants and took the same chances combatants would take in war. However, neither the women nor the children signed on for that and neither had any part of what the soldiers did.
 
Apr 27, 2005
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My reference would be the excellent PBS three-part series on Auschwitz, recently aired. SS officers with their wives and children living on the grounds of the extermination camp, within a few hundred feet of the atrocities, within hearing distance of the bullets, within view of the fences, within range of the stench of burning human flesh, can never legitimately feign ignorance of what was happening.
The SS officers no doubt shared their political and racial views with their wives and children. Whether they discussed the day to day sadism they inflicted upon their prisoners is an unanswered question.
 

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