Hitler took revenge for the death of German submariners in the

History 01/01/20 How Hitler avenged the death of German submariners in the “Wilhelm Gustloff”

30 January 1945, Soviet submarine s-13 commanded by Alexander Marinesko with torpedoed and sank the German liner “Wilhelm Gustloff”, on Board of which there were thousands passengers: refugees, wounded soldiers, cadets of the submarine division, naval women of the auxiliary battalion. The Germans reacted to the catastrophe of mass execution of Jews.

the Damage from “attack of the century”

most of the dead on the “Gustloff” was the people of East and West Prussia, which sank the ship in Gotenhafen in order to evacuate deeper into German territory. The airliner was Packed to the eyeballs, because the Germans were in a hurry to leave Danzig and its environs until the arrival of the red Army. According to researchers, on the ship there were about 9 thousand civilians, including 5 thousand children, the rest women and the elderly. Also the liner is transported to Kiel wounded soldiers of the Wehrmacht. Soviet historians have argued that a significant proportion of passengers “Gustloff” was the military, of which 1,000 people (according to others, 2500 or even 3700) were officers of the submarine, i.e., the direct opponents of Marinesko. It is worth noting that the Germans had violated the humanitarian rules of transportation of refugees, placing them on the same ship with the military.

frost on the Baltic sea at that time was about 18 degrees Celsius, and those who are not drowned, quickly died from hypothermia. Came to the rescue to help “Gustloff” the destroyer “Leve” was able to save on the water and from boats only 472 passengers. All in all, after surviving the “Attack of the century” was no more than 2.5 thousand people. Last saved was wrapped in a blanket with the baby – he’s seven hours in the boat among the dead, while it is not found the crew of the messenger spacecraft.


the Death of “William Gustloff” was a blow to the entire German society, and senior officials TrAtego Reich infuriated. The country has declared three days of mourning, although the number of victims is not publicly disclosed. To Adolf Hitler this event had a symbolic meaning. Just 30 January 1945, would have turned 50 years of “the Martyr of the NSDAP” Wilhelm Gustloff, which in 1936 in Switzerland killed the son of a Jewish Rabbi. The first thing the führer gave the order to shoot the commander of a torpedo boat, which was to ensure the safety of the ship.

this was followed by retaliation, and suffered from her people, who had to the Soviet submarine fleet is irrelevant. Published in recent years, the German documents show that the punitive action was planned by the functionaries of the SS and SD.

on the night of 1 February 1945 in the area Palmnicken (now Yantarny village, Kaliningrad region), the Germans withdrew on the coast thousands of emaciated Jews. They were prisoners of the concentration camp Stutthof camp and several “branches”, which previously were herded into the building canadaprazosin factory in Konigsberg. Initially the Germans planned to drown the Jews in an abandoned amber mine, but for various reasons this proved impossible to do, and then the prisoners drove the “death March” through Palmnicken in Pillau.
January 31, from Konigsberg received an order to destroy the prisoners. The guards brought Jews to the shore, and then groups of 50 people, starting with the tail of the column, began to drive them on ice and there to shoot.

Therefore, going ahead, the prisoners didn’t even realize what was happening until the queue has not reached them. In the shooting was attended by 25 members of the SS, the Germans, and the convoy – 150 Estonian and Latvian “Legionnaires”, the Ukrainian nationalists and Cossacks. Who commanded the “death March” obersturmfuhrer Fritz Weber in 1964 confirmed during interrogation that the shooting was committed in retaliation for the death of “William Gustloff”. The number of dead Jews is estimated at from 3 to 7 thousand people – slightly less than the number of passengers of the sunken ship.
Plan any other punitive action in retaliation for “Gustloff” the Germans in January-February 1945 was difficult because the Russian has entered into Brandenburg. From the Soviet territories under the control of the Nazis remained the only Western Latvia. And the allies-Bandera in Ukraine actually led the fight in offline mode, already not obeying the Reich.

Timur Sagdiyev

© Russian Seven

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