Wilhelm Gustloff: Deadliest Shipwreck - Preface

Wilhelm Gustloff:  Deadliest Shipwreck (Illustration) Film Geography World History Social Studies Tragedies and Triumphs World War II Famous Historical Events Disasters

Photograph taken by Hans Sönnke in 1939.  Image maintained by the German Federal Archives.  Online, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.


The surging mass of people
attempted to storm the lifeboats,
hardly anyone hearing the command:
"women and children first."

Karl Hoffmann
Wilhelm Gustloff Survivor 

The night was freezing cold as an estimated 10,582 people (perhaps more) were crammed into the Wilhelm Gustloff

Most folks on the overcrowded ship, designed to carry 1,865 passengers, were German women and children. They thought they were escaping certain death at the hands of the approaching Soviet Army.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5197stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jan 01, 2002

Updated Last Revision: Jul 09, 2019

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