Friday, September 19, 2008
Cap Arcona and Thielbeck
The luxury liner Cap Arcona of 27,561 tons owned by Hamburg-Sudamerica Dampfschiffaharts - Gesellschaft, had been called the Queen of the South Atlantic, and she was anchored in Lubeck bay.
It is quite ironic that a Jewish immigrant in Germany had been the founder of this ship's original owner, the Hamburg -Amerika Line.
Cap Arcona's Captain Hemvick Bertram was forced by 500 German SS guards of these concentration inmates to load 4,500 of them into his vessels holds.
The smaller Thielbeck, also anchored in the bay was similarly loaded with these unfortunate people.
On May the 3rd. 1945, Royal Air Force aircraft from 83 Group 2nd. Tactical airforce attacked both ships, plus a much smaller, ship Athens which had been used to ferry the prisoners from the shore to the respective ships at anchor.
Fire from the attacking aircraft caught the prisoners trapped below decks, Cap Arcona burning furiously rolled onto her side, Thielbeck sank within forty five minutes, and something of the order of 6,000 died from both these ships.
It was repoted that survivors in the water were gunned down by SS units on shore manning machine guns there.