Gustlof sank after being torpedoed in the Baltic Sea
30.January 1945 under a journey from Danzig to Stettin. On
board this former "Kraft Durch Freude" cruise ship there
were 10582 people, among them many civilian refugees and
wounded soldiers from the fighting on the Eastern front.
It is believed that as many as 9343 people perished, but
the exact number is disputed. The sinking is the worst
maritime disaster when it comes to loss of human lives.
She was sunk by three torpedoes from the Soviet submarine
S-13 under command of Alexander Marinesko. The wreck rest
today on a depth of 35 to 47 meter east of Leba. The wreck
is considered a war grave.
| 208,5 x 23,6 x 6,5 m
||Hamburg ( D ) 1938
||Hamburg ( D )
55° 07′ 29" N 17° 42′ 13" E
( Source: Baltic Wrecks )
Courtesy of Wilhelm Gustlof Museum
Wanna know more?
Visit the Wilhelm Gustlof Museum
"The German luxury cruise liner
was built to carry 1,465 passengers and a crew of 400.
The Gustloff and her sister ship Robert Ley were the
world's first purpose-built cruise ships. The ship, now
converted to a 500 bed hospital ship, set sail from the
Bay of Danzig en route to the port of Stettin,
overcrowded with 4,658 persons including 918 naval
officers and men, 373 German Women Naval Auxiliaries,
162 wounded soldiers of whom 73 were stretcher cases,
and 173 crew, all fleeing from the advancing Red Army.
Just before midnight, as the ship plowed her way through
the icy waters of the Baltic Sea, the ship was hit by
three torpedoes from the Russian submarine S-13 (a
German designed boat) commanded by Alexander Marinesko.
The first torpedo hit the bow of the ship, the second,
below the empty swimming pool on E-deck where the Women
Auxiliaries were accommodated (most were killed) and the
third hit amidships. Indescribable panic reigned as the
ship listed and sank in about ninety minutes. Rescue
boats picked from the stormy seas 964 survivors, many of
whom were landed at Sassnitz on the island of Ruegen and
taken on board the Danish hospital ship Prince Olaf
which was anchored in the harbour. The exact number of
drowned will never be known, as many more refugees were
picked up from small boats as the Wilhelm Gustloff
headed for the open sea and were never counted. Latest
research puts the number of people on board at 10,582.
Many of the 964 persons rescued from the sea, died
Last updated: September