Admiral Graf Spee
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Messages 50 to 74

June 5, 2022

Ich suche Informationen über meinen Großvater. Sein Name war Friedrich Gruschke und er wurde am 27.2.1919 in Deutschland geboren. Er trat der Besatzung der Graf Spee bei. Ich würde gerne wissen, ob Sie Informationen über meinen Urgroßvater haben und aus welcher Stadt er stammt. Ich hoffe, Sie können mir helfen, Informationen über meine Geschichte zu finden. Vielen Dank.

Grüße aus Argentinien,
Ezequiel Soppe
[I am looking for information about my grandfather, Friedrich Gruschke, born in Germany Feb. 27, 1919. He was a part of the crew of Graf Spee. I would like to know any information about my great grandfather and what city he was from. Many thanks.

Greetings from Argentina,
Ezequiel Soppe]
Reply 1
Aug. 22, 2022

Ud. le  preguntó al Sr. Michael Pocock de MaritimeQuest acerca de su abuelo, Friedrich Gruschke. Por la presente le envio una copia en Alemán que escribí  sobre el para un Archivo Histórico de la Marina en Alemania. Para completar mis datos, le ruego me envie el nombre de la esposa de Gruschke, año de casamiento y el nombre de su padre. Además si Ud. sabe la fecha y lugar de fallecimiento de Friedrich, le estaría muy agradecido. A proposito, le comunico que Gruschke también escribió su nombre como Gruschkje cuando se inscribió en el Círculo de Camaradería del Graf Spee. La madre de Friedrich se llamaba Ema Gruschke, pero no hay datos acerca del Padre.

Un cordial saludo,
Carlos Benemann
California, U.S.A.

Gruschke, Friedrich. 1. Division. Graf Spee: MtrGfr. Cédula 286. Geb: 27.02.1919 Sommerfeld, Brandenburg. Wurde 1940 in Calamuchita Córdoba, Pensión Lockmann interniert. 26. Nov. 946 geflüchtet. Nicht repatriiert sondern blieb in Argentinien bis nach 1947 versteckt. Zog später nach Villa José ingenieros, Provincia Buenos Aires, Calle San Martín 383. Interessant ist das Gruschke's Foto auch in dem Arg. Ausweis (Cédula) von Goldschmidt (Auch bekannt als Donath) auftaucht. Beide waren geflüchtet um der Repatriierung zu entgehen. Was der Identitätswechsel bezweckte ist unklar. Donath ist erst Jahre später nach Berlin zurückgekehrt Gruschke wurde Mitglied vom AGS Kamaradschaftskreis in Argentinien. (Quelle: Carlos Benemann).
Nov. 25, 2021

I've been working on a two-volume documentary history entitled 'Internment, Escape and Repatriation: Graf Spee and Tacoma Sailors in the Argentine and Uruguay during the Second World War'. Might MaritimeQuest members have any photographs of the Highland Monarch or HMS Ajax whilst embarking Graf Spee and Tacoma crews at Montevideo and Buenos Aires in February 1946 Due acknowledgement would be provided in the introduction and within the text.

Much appreciated,
Bernard O'Connor
Oct. 5, 2021

I am transcribing documents about the internment and escapes of Graf Spee seamen written by officials at the British Foreign Office, the British Admiralty and their embassies and consulates in Montevideo, Buenos Aires etc. 'Internment and Escape will be a documentary history. Might there be any accounts of the escapes? I'm particularly interested in finding information of Graf Spee seamen being engaged in a plot to sabotage the Fray Bentos meat canning plant in Uruguay?

Best wishes,
Bernard O'Connor

Reply 1
Nov. 2, 2021

Regarding your question about any accounts of the escapes, I can certainly respond affirmatively. Of course, your question seems to be mainly regarding Uruguay not Argentina were most of the escapes happened. With regard to that question you indicated interest in the Graf Spee crew members engaged in an alleged plot to sabotage the Fray Bentos Anglo meat packing plant in Uruguay. I am aware that there was a quasi political plot in Uruguay at the time that involved German civilians and resulted in some sentencing there. As for Graf Spee personnel involved it would be a bit of a stretch. However, such claims have recently been made by some Russian journalists filming a documentary in Uruguay and contemplating a book with Sergey Briev(?) and Raúl Vallarino. The latter author as former Director of the Uruguayan National Library has some standing, but he is a novelist too.

Carlos Benemann

Mar. 25, 2021

Thanks and congratulations on MaritimeQuest, a most educational site. I have been reading all I found on Graf Spee, her Captain Hans Langsdorff, her crew. Sadly,all crew members have passed away. I recently acquired this book by, Joseph Gilbey: "Langsdorff of the Graf Spee, Prince of Honor." Perhaps you've read it. I plan to write Mr. Gilbey (who lives in Canada) a letter of thanks for telling the story of this latter day Knight.

James Huddleston
Portland, Oregon

Dec. 3, 2019

Los rostros del Graf Spee
Compilado por Leandro Bustamante
Prólogo de Enrique Dick Kanon Editores
422 p. - 16 x 28 cm ISBN 978-987-47426-1-2

Esta inédita colección de fichas de identidad de la tripulación del Panzerschiff "Admiral Graf Spee" fue confeccionada en diciembre de 1939 por la Policía Federal como consecuencia de la internación de los 1.055 marinos de ese buque, desembarcados en Buenos Aires, Argentina. A cada uno de ellos se le entregaría posteriormente su Cédula de Internación. El trabajo es producto de la reciente apertura al público de un cúmulo de cajas y expedientes relativos a los antecedentes, sucesos y consecuencias de la Segunda guerra mundial y sus actores, provenientes del Archivo del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto. Fruto del registro, explotación y difusión de su compilador, Leandro Bustamante, la labor fue enorme y sin dudas, profesional. No hay medida que valorice ese esfuerzo de análisis, registro y expansiva síntesis, que cubrió la inspección preliminar del repositorio consistente en 452 carpetas en las cuales se conservan 15.192 documentos, no sólo las fichas policiales, sino una irrefutable variedad de material documental aún no del todo revelada. Las luces que iluminan el transitar de la investigación dejarán ver en un futuro cercano, es decir la realidad de ese período, para satisfacción de los historiadores. Y también nuestra, para nosotros los descendientes que velamos por preservar la memoria.

(Los rostros del Graf Spee (The faces of the Graf Spee)
Compiled by Leandro Bustamante
Foreword by Enrique Dick Kanon Ed.
422 p. - 16 x 28 cm ISBN 978-987-47426-1-2

This unpublished collection of the photo cards of the Panzerschiff Admiral Graf Spee crew was completed in December 1939 by the Argentine Police as a result of the internment of the 1.055 Graf Spee sailors who landed in Buenos Aires, Argentina, after the ship was sunk by its Captain. Each one of them would later be given his Identity Card.

This masterpiece is the result of the recent opening to the public of a cluster of holders and records from the archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, related to the background, events and consequences of the Second World War and its actors. As the outcome of registration, exploitation and dissemination, the work of its compiler, Leandro Bustamante, was enormous and undoubtedly professional. There is no measure that values this effort of analysis and expansive synthesis, which covered the initial record of the collection consisting of 452 folders in which 15.192 documents are kept, not only the police files, but an assorted variety of records not yet fully revealed. The radiance that illuminates the course of this documentary research will reveal in the near future, the veracity of that period, to the satisfaction of historians, and we the descendants.)

To order see below.


July 12, 2019

I would like to know the fate or any information of the German Officer Lieutenant  Engineer Hartmuth Graff, who was a crewman from Admiral Graf Spee. He was interned in Argentina after the Graf Spee was scuttled in La Plata River (River Plate battle) on Dec. 1939. Thank you very much.

Aldo C.
Sacramento, California, USA.

Reply 1
Oct. 29, 2019

I can provide  the following: He was a ranking Engineering Officer from Hannover. Internment Number 29. He was a fugitive from internment in Buenos Aires, leaving Darsena Norte in the port in the morning of August 1940 with several other officers to return to Germany. I can provide his photograph and information about his parents and birthplace if requested. I like to add that he returned to Germany and was sunk on U-119 in 1943.

Carlos Benemann
Ferndale, California

June 4, 2019

I am the granddaughter of the founder and mayor of La Granja, Argentina. My mother had very fond memories as a young girl of a group of sailors from the Graf Spee marching up the hill to the castle where my grandfather, a German and a Nationalist, lived. I don't know how long the sailors stayed at the castle, but I do know a friendship developed. Two of the sailors whose names I remember were Willi Schmidt and Willi Scharf. My spelling may be slightly off, but I believe these are the two young men who corresponded with my mother for a bit after they left the castle. I have their letters in my possession.

In gratitude for my grandfather's help, it is said that the gold ring (showing below) I also have in my possession which bears the worn out crest of the Graf Spee was Captain Langsdorff's, and given to my grandfather by an officer who stayed at the castle. My father wore it for years, so it is very worn thin, but it is made of 18k gold and still bears some of the red enamel where the diamonds are present on the crest. I have seen pictures of Captain Langsdorff wearing a ring that looks very much like this, but I do not know for certain it is the same ring. It would be nice to know if there is any information available as to whether such a ring would be worn only by the captain of a ship, or if it was common for officers to wear them as well. Any help and information regarding the ring, the "Willi's" and anyone who may know something about the sailors who stayed at the castle in La Granja, Cordoba, would be appreciated.


Reply 1
Oct. 29, 2019

There is indeed a Willi Scharf sailor of the Graf Spee. Internment Number 802 aka Guillermo = Wilhelm = Willi Scharf interned in Cordoba. He was born in  Bochum, Westfahlen  April 29 1916. I will be happy to provide name of parents and a photograph on request.

Carlos Benemann
Ferndale, California

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Page published June 15, 2019