MV Wilhelm Gustloff - Aftermath

Aftermath

Many ships carrying civilians were sunk during the war by both the Allies and Axis. However, based on the latest estimates of passenger numbers and those known to be saved, the Wilhelm Gustloff remains the largest loss of life resulting from the sinking of one vessel in maritime history. Günter Grass, in an interview published in The New York Times on Tuesday 8 April 2003 said, "One of the many reasons I wrote Crabwalk was to take the subject away from the extreme Right...They said the tragedy of the Gustloff was a war crime. It wasn’t. It was terrible, but it was a result of war, a terrible result of war."

About 1,000 German naval officers and men, were aboard and died in the sinking of the Gustloff. The women on board the ship at the time of the sinking were inaccurately described by Soviet propaganda as "SS personnel from the German concentration camps". There were however a number of female naval auxiliaries among the passengers.

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