Death in the Baltic: The World War II Sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff

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St. Martin's Publishing Group, Apr 9, 2013 - History - 256 pages

The worst maritime disaster ever occurred during World War II, when more than 9,000 German civilians drowned. It went unreported.

January 1945: The outcome of World War II has been determined. The Third Reich is in free fall as the Russians close in from the east. Berlin plans an eleventh-hour exodus for the German civilians trapped in the Red Army's way. More than 10,000 women, children, sick, and elderly pack aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a former cruise ship. Soon after the ship leaves port and the passengers sigh in relief, three Soviet torpedoes strike it, inflicting catastrophic damage and throwing passengers into the frozen waters of the Baltic.

More than 9,400 perished in the night—six times the number lost on the Titanic. Yet as the Cold War started no one wanted to acknowledge the sinking. Drawing on interviews with survivors, as well as the letters and diaries of those who perished, award-wining author Cathryn Prince reconstructs this forgotten moment in history. She weaves these personal narratives into a broader story, finally giving this WWII tragedy its rightful remembrance.


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User Review  - smasler - LibraryThing

A mess of storytelling. The eyewitness accounts were jumbles and hard to follow. I actually gave up trying to follow who was who to just get the gist of what they were saying. Almost stopped reading ... Read full review

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User Review  - bucketyell - LibraryThing

Interesting book on a topic that has not received much attention in either academia nor popular media in the English-speaking world. Indeed the book exposes tragedy that the years 1941 to 1945 was the ... Read full review


One You Have to Go on This Ship
Life in the Eastern Territories
Three Operation Hannibal and the Crown
Four We Knew We Had to Get Out
Five Saving a Scuttled Reputation
Six Battle for the Baltic
Seven Chaos on Deck
Eight Plummeting to the Sea Floor
Nine The Little Red Sweater
Ten The Forgotten Story
Eleven We Had To Get Over It

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About the author (2013)

Cathryn J. Prince is the author of A Professor, a President, and a Meteor: The Birth of American Science, for which she won the Connecticut Press Club's 2011 Book Award for non-fiction. She is also the author of Burn the Town and Sack the Banks: Confederates Attack Vermont! and Shot from the Sky: American POWs in Switzerland. She worked as a correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor in Switzerland and in New York, where she covered the United Nations. Prince covers the Connecticut State House for

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