The biggest maritime disaster in History was not Titanic but a ship called “Wilhelm Gustloff ” that sank and killed 9,343 people
The biggest maritime disaster in History was not Titanic but a ship called “Wilhelm Gustloff ” that sank and killed 9,343 people: The sinking of “Wilhelm Gustloff ” has been considered as the biggest maritime catastrophe of all time- even surpassing the combined calamities of Titanic (which sank taking more than 1,500 people with it after hitting an iceberg) and Lusitania (which sank with 1,119 people after getting hit by a German torpedo). We have often heard and even seen (through movies, of course) the magnitude of “Titanic” and the greatest tragedy (as it has frequently been put) associated with it. However, if one digs into the metaphorical “graves” of history, one would realize the sheer magnitude of the devastation that was represented by the German ship.
“Wilhelm Gustloff ” was named after the assasinated leader of the Swiss Nazi Party. The colossal ship measured 25,000 tons in weight and almost 700 feet in length with a carrying capacity of 2,000 people. In its initial days, the ship was used as a luxury cruise liner for the German workers of Hitler’s Third Reich, and, until the outbreak of the Second World War, had sailed over fifty cruises.
“Wilhelm Gustloff “
In 1941, when Hitler launched “Operation Barbarossa” against the Soviet Union, the German army had reached deep into the Soviet Union’s territory until Stalin turned the tables and by October 1944, the Soviet Union’s Red Army had fought the Germans out of the Soviet Union and entered East Prussia. Fearing the approaching Red Army, the German civilians in East Prussia fled to Baltic ports and “Wilhelm Gustloff “, besides other ships, was pressed into action to evacuate the millions of Germans-civilians and military personnel alike.