Wilhelm Gustlof


Wilhelm Gustlof was a German luxury cruise liner built for the Deutsche Arbeidsfront and was laid down by Blohm & Voss in August 1936. She was launched in May 1937, and was commissioned the year after. She was the first purpose built ship
where the sole idea were to provide cultural activities for German functionaries and workers and to serve as a public relations tool to present the National Socialism and The Third Reich in a better image. After the outbreak of World War Two she was requisitioned by the Kriegsmaine, and served as both a hospital ship and accommodation vessel for uboat trainees.In Operation Hannibal, the evacuation of the eastern territories in early 1945, she was assigned as a a troop transport. Under a journey from Danzig to Stettin loaded with more than 10.000 people, among them many civilian refugees and wounded soldiers, she was spotted and hit with three torpedoes from the Soviet submarine S-13 under command of Alexander Marinesko 30. January 1945 outside Leba. It is believed that as many as 9343 people lost their lives in the sinking, but the exact number is even today disputed.  The wreck was after the war partly blown up by the Soviet Navy, and the battered war grave rest today on a depth of 35 to 47 meter east of Leba. Also see the the wrecks of General Von Steuben and Goya.

Former names:
Wilhelm Gustlof

208,5 x 23,6 x 6,5 m
Tons: Built: Home Port:
25484 grt Hamburg ( D ) 1938 Hamburg ( D )

55° 07′ 29" N 17° 42′ 13" E
( Source: Baltic Wrecks )

Picture: Wilhelm Gustlof
Courtesy of Wilhelm Gustlof Museum

Last updated: January 2021