The BEST Guide to POLAND
Unanswered  |  Archives 
 
 
User: Guest

Home / History  % width posts: 66

The Gustloff - one of the worst maritime disasters that seemed to never have happened


spiritus 68 | 666
9 Mar 2010 #1
Anyone heard of the Gustloff ?

A german ship that left the port of Gdynia in WW2 containing German refugees and wounded soldiers.

It was sunk by a Russian boat with over 9000, NINE THOUSAND fatalities (many of them children).

Perhaps the reason why many people haven't heard of it is because Germany was the enemy and so any loss of German life carried little sympathy but 9,000 is a lot of people !
Amanda91 1 | 135
9 Mar 2010 #2
Anyone heard of the Gustloff ?

Yes I've heard about it. My dad's mom didn't make it with her parents on Gustloff's last trip otherwise I wouldn't have a dad.
Ksysia 25 | 430
9 Mar 2010 #3
I heard about it, it was mentioned in one of the major weeklies ten years ago, maybe it was an anniversary? I think it was Wprost.
Pibwl - | 50
9 Mar 2010 #4
I have a feeling, that it's the opposite - many people in Poland heard about Gustloff in fact.
Not many will be able to tell any of big British or US liners sunk during both world wars. And on the other hand, very few people in the Western part of the world heard about some Soviet hospital ship (I don't even remember its name) sunk in the Black Sea in 1941 with a roughly similar number of refugees, like on Gustloff.

By the way, there was other German ship: Goya, sunk in 1945, that, according to some, might have carried more people, than Gustloff.
nunczka 8 | 458
9 Mar 2010 #5
feldgrau.com/wilhelmgustloff.html

Here is the whole story of this tragic event
wildrover 98 | 4,451
9 Mar 2010 #6
Not so long ago they found the wreck of the Gustav...
mafketis 24 | 9,161
9 Mar 2010 #7
Recently saw a (not very good) fictionalized German movie based on this incident.

imdb.com/title/tt0991156/

It should be available in dvd rental places in Poland (and was shown on Polish tv). In German, so not for the Polish challenged.
Trevek 26 | 1,702
9 Mar 2010 #8
Isn't there a memorial by the beach in Gydnia? I seem to remember seeing one.
mephias 11 | 304
9 Mar 2010 #9
Anyone heard of the Gustloff ?

I read it in novel Crabwalk (Im Krebsgang) by Gunter Grass.

people haven't heard of it is because Germany was the enemy and so any loss of German life carried little sympathy

He made similar comments in the book. I recommend if you like reading.
Trevek 26 | 1,702
9 Mar 2010 #10
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_Gustloff_(ship)

banzaj.pl/Wilhelm-Gustloff-i-najwieksza-katastrofa-morska-5782.html
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,447
9 Mar 2010 #11
Well, till a few years back not many Germans had heard about it either...our losses were just not spoken of that often.
In the after war period people were much more preoccupied with surviving, then the re-building, the Wirtschaftswunder and also the reconciliation with the neighbours...only during the last years Germans begun to look inward, to mourn our own death, to remember our losses.

You can see it in the numbers and the topics of many new books or in the movies or in the many TV-documentations where they interview the old people...
wildrover 98 | 4,451
9 Mar 2010 #12
I am very aware that the farm that i live in was once the home of some German family who were probably forced to leave the farm at gunpoint...i always wondered if they survived the war....I was very happy to meet the daughter of the man who built my farm , and find out that not only did they survive the war , but came back to live in the farm after the war...

The loss of the ship was a terrible tragedy , but the war in the east was a war without rules , and the civilians suffered as much as the soldiers...
Trevek 26 | 1,702
9 Mar 2010 #13
There are stories of the German refugees walking over a frozen lake, only to be straffed by the Soviets. Locals say the eels were very fat for the next few years.

This page gives details of the other ships sunk in the baltic. The number of casualties is shocking.

ahoy.tk-jk.net/macslog/TragedyatSea.html
mafketis 24 | 9,161
9 Mar 2010 #14
and the civilians suffered as much as the soldiers...

That's pretty much always the case. Generally soldiers prefer shooting at civilians (since other soldiers are more likely to fire back).
wildrover 98 | 4,451
9 Mar 2010 #15
In a town only 22 kms from my home the Russians shot every male over 12 after some German youth took a pot shot at a Russian officer...The war in Russia was a war with no humanity , and of course the Russians were naturally going to take some revenge once they took control of German land...
f stop 25 | 2,513
9 Mar 2010 #16
how about those two: Thielbek and Cap Arcona.
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,447
9 Mar 2010 #17
I don't think it was about revenge! They could do what they wanted, yes, they were actually asked to do their worst, so many of them did.
skysoulmate 14 | 1,296
9 Mar 2010 #18
In a town only 22 kms from my home the Russians shot every male over 12 after some German youth took a pot shot at a Russian officer...The war in Russia was a war with no humanity , and of course the Russians were naturally going to take some revenge once they took control of German land...

I recently watched a Netflix movie titled "A Woman in Berlin" (Anonyma: Eine Frau in Berlin). It's in German with English subtitles and is based on a true story. A lady's memoirs from the Soviet occupation of Berlin turned into this movie. Shocking is an understatement; basically every woman had to be raped and humiliated over and over again to pay for "German sins."
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,447
9 Mar 2010 #19
The soldiers were given alcohol and a free card to do whatever they wanted...so they did.

Revenge? Still no. They did the same to Jews, Poles, Hungarian or any other unfortunate Female who happened to cross their way from the steppes to Berlin.

Not to mention that most of the rapists where from the Far East of the Soviet Union, the Wehrmacht never came this far.

This "revenge" came up as a kind of alibi, apologizing these crimes. After all Stalins Sovietunion wasn't some kind of peaceful, happy paradise either at that time. But since the soldiers couldn't have a shot at their tormentors at home they took it to everybody else they could get.
wildrover 98 | 4,451
9 Mar 2010 #20
Well , i think revenge played its part...Russian soldiers had many months of entering Russian towns to find out that terrible things had happened there..they were every day coming across evidence of great cruelty , a lot of it commited by other Russians of course , the partisans were killing other partisans as well as Germans , but usually it was all blamed on the Germans...Some of the crimes commited by Russian soldiers were horrific , but of course there was no Nuremburg style trial for the victors...The fate of German women especially in Berlin was usually to be raped , and often killed...There were no rules in this war in the east...and Germany paid a heavy price for losing it....
skysoulmate 14 | 1,296
9 Mar 2010 #21
Spiritus - not sure if this constitutes "One of the worst maritime disasters"? If the ship was properly marked with red cross insignia then it was one of the worst maritime war crimes. Maritime disasters are usually result of an "act of God". God, nature, etc. had hardly anything to do with this murder.
Trevek 26 | 1,702
9 Mar 2010 #22
Revenge? Still no. They did the same to Jews, Poles, Hungarian or any other unfortunate Female who happened to cross their way from the steppes to Berlin.
Not to mention that most of the rapists where from the Far East of the Soviet Union, the Wehrmacht never came this far.

I've just finished reading the wartime writings of Vasily Grossman, a Soviet novelist and war correspondent. Even he, who greatly admired the Russian soldiers he served alongside, commented that they changed for the worst when they crossed the Russian border. Considering these were his comrades and friends, he even mentions stoties of mass rapes, including one where the woman's family allegedly asked for her to be allowed a break to feed her crying baby.

He even mentions how Soviet soldiers raped Russian girls who had been POWs.

The ironic thing about the sinking of civilian ships is that that was exactly the charge used against the Germans in WW1 to bring the US into the war.
wildrover 98 | 4,451
10 Mar 2010 #23
I don,t believe the ship was marked with a red cross at the time of the sinking..but i may be wrong on that...It had been used as a hospital ship earlier in its life , but at the time of the sinking it was used as a kind of floating hotel for German naval staff...

In any case , at this stage of the war the Russians were not too bothered about what a ship was carrying..if it was German...it got sunk...!
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,447
10 Mar 2010 #24
He even mentions how Soviet soldiers raped Russian girls who had been POWs.

That's what I meant!
I read an article about just liberated women from the KZ Ravensbrück, they too were raped and abused by the soviet soldiers....where is the revenge here?

The ironic thing about the sinking of civilian ships is that that was exactly the charge used against the Germans in WW1 to bring the US into the war.

Her cargo had included an estimated 4,200,000 rounds of rifle cartridges, 1,250 empty shell cases, and 18 cases of non-explosive fuses[9], all of which were listed in her manifest, but the cartridges were not officially classed as ammunition by the Cunard Line.[10]

/wiki/RMS_Lusitania#Recent_developments

Yeah....how ironic....
wildrover 98 | 4,451
10 Mar 2010 #25
Many reports i have read state that the Gustloff was carrying red cross markings , but i just read the report on the official site , and as i thought , it was NOT carrying any red cross markings , and was painted in German navy grey colour rather than the internationaly agreed colour for a hospital ship of white with a green band aound the hull and the red cross marked on the side and decks...It was also carrying two anti aircraft guns on the upper decks....

The attack came at night , and ironically the ship was probably only spotted because it had turned on its navigation lights due to the risk of collision with some minesweepers that were in the area...

Among those that died on board were some 900 naval crew that were to man the new U boats waiting for them in Kiel , the ships destination...These new u boats were state of the art , and would have made a major difference to the war at sea...Many of these u boats never made it to sea due to the loss of these highly trained crews...
hague1cameron - | 85
10 Mar 2010 #26
They did the same to Jews, Poles, Hungarian or any other unfortunate Female who happened to cross their way from the steppes to Berlin.
Not to mention that most of the rapists where from the Far East of the Soviet Union, the Wehrmacht never came this far.

Putting this down into figures, how many female victims would there be, both German and Polish and how many of those who were raped would have produced offspring? Any rough ideas, I suppose it is all dependent on a woman's menstruation cycle and how inclined she would feel to abort a child that was the result of rape, any ideas BB or anybody else? This would make for a very interesting study albeit a study that would be close to impossible to conduct.
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,447
10 Mar 2010 #27
In Berlin not many...there was a study about that I remember. Nearly all surviving fetuses were aborted. They interviewed doctors and other witnesses....they used what they had, 24/7.

I think it was similiar everywhere....people had barely enough to feed themselves, who wanted to share it with offspring from rapists?

Of course there might be babies who were let alive but their stories are still a big taboo, they might not even know it themselves, even today.
wildrover 98 | 4,451
10 Mar 2010 #28
how many female victims would there be,

Totally impossible to even guess...but in Berlin alone the figures were very high , and thats only the ones that are known about...

Many women were killed after being raped , many killed themselves after being raped , or to avoid it...Of those that survived there will be no record i expect , all of Europe was in chaos , millions of people fleeing in all directions..There was nobody for these women to complain to about any rape, very scant and pushed to the limit medical help , and i suspect a woman wanting an abortion would be low on the list of priority when there were millions injured , hungry and suffering disease...

Of course in these days rape was not something you would readily admit to being a victim of , so there must be many who never spoke of their ordeal....

As a matter of interest my ex mother in law was German , a very lovely woman , who in the war was part of an anti aircraft unit . often called on to try to stop Russian tanks with their guns...She is from the area of Germany that is now Latvia , and like many miitary and civilians she was fleeing west in order to be captured by the British and American forces rather than the feared Russians....The first Americans she saw were a unit of Black soldiers who were ransacking a German town and raping the women...so it was not only the Russians that were commiting crimes...
hague1cameron - | 85
10 Mar 2010 #29
there was a study about that I remember. Nearly all surviving fetuses were aborted. They interviewed doctors and other witnesses....they used what they had, 24/7.

Fascinating, I assumed that abortion would be an obvious first resort. So I guess if we would conduct a very rough calculation, out of all the women who were raped maybe 10% would have become pregnant? (I am guessing unless a women or somebody who is more knowledgeable about this stuff tells me otherwise) Out of the 10% of these women about say 7%-8% would decide to abort and many of those born would also probably die in infancy, perhaps 10%.
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,447
10 Mar 2010 #30
As I said, the story of the "Russenbabies" is still a non-topic in Germany....and probably will stay that way.


Home / History / The Gustloff - one of the worst maritime disasters that seemed to never have happened
BoldItalic [quote]
 
To post as Guest, enter a temporary username or login and post as a member.