Admiral Graf Spee
Message Board
Messages 1 through 24

May 12, 2011

Former crewman Gerhard Richard Paul Lange passed away in Santa Fe, Argentina on May 10, 2011. Lange, a Funkgefreiter, was born in Berlin, Germany on May 29, 1920, served on the Admiral Graf Spee and remained in Argentina after the war.

Hugo R. Sochi

Feb. 28, 2011

I am interested to know how many of the 850 Graf Spee crew members that were repatriated in 1946 elected to remain and live in Argentina, was that option even available to them?  Also, why did only 320 members of the crew attend the burial of the 36 fellow crew members that died?  I would be pleased to correspond with anyone who is knowledgeable in these matters.  Many thanks for any information you can provide.

Best Regards,
Lawrence Squires

Reply 1
Apr. 24, 2011

The Graf Spee's crew were repatriated after six years of living in Argentina, in those six years, married to Argentine many of the German community and a national of Argentina, have had children, and that is why many have returned, in the same way that many returned to Argentina for the great problem of a country like Germany was entirely destroyed, let alone on German famine passed that unlike Argentina's fed disproportionately.

As for the guys who landed to lay the dead in the city of Montevideo is two divisions were chosen to make the funeral of fellow, quite the same as the death of Hans Langsdorff, in Argentina, I go with another division of men who had not attended the funeral of Montevideo.

Lic. Hernan Schneider
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Feb. 27, 2011

Buenos dias, quisiera encontrar algunos de los marineros que, despues de la batalla del rio de la Plata, ha hecho ruta de Buenos Aires a cordoba dirigidos por un militar argentino, suboficial Elijio Cardozo. O en su defecto intercambiar impreciones con sus descendientes. Tengo entendido que este hombre conservo una gran amistad con algunos de ellos, y que incluso estuvieron en su casamiento (1940-1941). Muchas graciad, cordialmente, Tina.

" I want to communicate with some of the sailors that after the Battle of River Plate stayed in Buenos Aires and traveled to Córdoba with the help of  Elijio Cardozo (an officer from Argentina) or exchange information and opinions with the sons and daughters of them. I know that this man had a great friendship with them and they participate in his wedding  (1940-1941).
(Translation provided by Eduardo Montemuiño)

Feb. 2, 2011

I was looking at your site, and I've examined several other sites concerning the names of officers and crew of the Graf Spee. Nowhere can I find the name of the Navigator, or third officer of the Graf Spee. Reason I am asking is that in the early 70's when I was stationed in the San Francisco Bay Area, there was a restaurant near Lombard Street called The Captain's Galley. It was owned and run by a former officer of the Graf Spee. To the best of my memory this gentleman was a Commander and the Navigator aboard the Graf Spee during the battle of the River Platte. The cuisine in this establishment was excellent - German food, of course. This gentleman was the chef in the establishment and in my experience eating there several times, only a teenage boy worked the tables as a server. The other remarkable thing about the restaurant was the presence of a huge German Sheppard dog that wandered around the premises. Thank you in advance if you can supply a name for me.

Robert F. Birtcil
Rear Admiral, USN (Ret.)

Reply 1
Feb. 3, 2011

The navigator was Paul Ascher, this according to Gen. Enrique R. Dick, Ascher was 3rd officer on Admiral Graf Spee, escaped from Argentina and returned to Germany where he was assigned to Bismarck and died when she was sunk May 27, 1941.

Michael W. Pocock

Reply 2
Apr. 24, 2011

Here is a small mistake, as the third in command of the Graf Spee was the FregattenKapìtan Paul Ascher he was the third man in the military hierarchy but it was the chief of artillery had nothing to do with the navigation of the ship, but the number one navigating officer was Captain Robert Hoepfner, Karl was the second and the third officer Meusemann navigation of the ship was Jurgen Wattenberg, famous for his stories of submarine escape and the U.S. territories. Anyway I do not think that Wattenberg has a restaurant in USA, I think there is a fact not true.

Hernen Schneider
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Jan. 16, 2011

I have been interested in the history of "Admiral Graf Spee" for some years now. I am in (for me) the long process of building a plastic model of the vessel and is looking for any pictures and stories related to the vessel. When building models it is always a part of the project to know the history. As part of this process this website is fantastic! I just want to thank you for all the efforts put into a detailed website like this one. The internet is perfect for this kind of sharing.

My very best regards,
Brian Soerensen
Copenhagen, Denmark

Dec. 28, 2010

I'm currently in Uruguay, Montevideo, and have just returned from a visit to the Northern Cemetery in the city. The 33 original graves are still there in a small enclosure, looking much like a chicken run, the original wooden crosses have been replaced by cast iron crosses. I have written to the German Ambassador and also the Military attache urging then to clean the site, which is somewhat of an eyesore in a most beautiful park of remembrance. The last burial took place in 1942 and there are now some 40 graves.

Best wishes,
John Tunstill

Reply 1
Jan. 19, 2011

In reply to John Tunstill's message: The reason for the condition of the cemetery is that in October 2010 someone damaged the trees around the German area of the cemetery, the German Embassy put up the money for new landscape and the trees are growing now.

One of the problems is that the cemetery is not owned by the German government, but by the City of Montevideo, who provides a paid caretaker, but the cemetery is located in a poor area of the city and it is constantly vandalized. Because of this protection of the site is very difficult. The wooden crosses were removed 20 years ago and replaced with the cast iron crosses by the German government to conform with other military graves in Germany.

Eduardo Montemuiño

The graves of the crewmen who were killed in the Battle of the River Plate in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Dec. 20, 2010

The below photo was taken Dec. 10, 2010 at an event held in Mendoza, Argentina commemorating the 71st Anniversary of the Battle of the Rio de La Plata. In attendance was former crewman Friedrich Bachmann (seated, blue shirt) and relatives of other former Admiral Graf Spee veterans.

Saludos cordiales,
Hugo R. Sochi

(Photo © 2010 Hugo R. Sochi all rights reserved)

Nov. 25, 2010

Exposición Los últimos días del Graf Spee, con el apoyo del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Ministerio de Educación y Cultura, Ministerio e Turismo y Deporte, la Intendencia de Montevideo y CMDF - Armada Nacional

El evento inaugural en el Museo Naval de Montevideo será el día 10 de diciembre de 2010 a las 20 hrs en coincidencia con la Noche de los Museos 2010.

Se presentarán 24 fotografías inéditas del Ernesto Trambauer y se completará con los elementos perteneciantes al museo Gráficos y Materiales de este suceso militar y diplomático que desde hace 71 años convoca a la memoria de los uruguayos y conmovió al mundo en 1939.
En la vigencia de un Encuentro de Civilizaciones y entendimiento entre culturas y países, se presenta esta muestra que resalta la Paz como objetivo para resolver conflictos como el que nos ocupa.

En la Inauguración hablarán el Director del Museo Capitán de Fragata (CG) Antonio Rodríguez, Capitán de Navío  (R) Mascarello -anterior director del Museo- por la parte de la Institución, Daniel Acosta y Lara por la organización  y finalmente el Arq. Eduardo Montemuiño como coordinador y gestor de este Proyecto.
Se presentará al inicio la banda de la Armada Nacional.

Se está conformando para la semana del 12 al 17 de diciembre un pequeño grupo de conferencias en este marco de actividades expositivas y conmemorativas. Será difundido una vez confirmen dos asistentes hoy en el extranjero los dias y temarios. Serán a las 19 hrs. en el mismo Museo  Naval.
La muestra permanecerá hasta el 21 de Enero en primera instancia para luego instalarse en el Museo Naval de Colonia del Sacramento.
Agradecemos la difusión del evento.

MUSEO NAVAL - Rambla Presidente Charles de Gaulle y Av. Luis A de Herrera visitas viernes a miércoles  de  8 a 12 y 14 a 18 h. Jueves cerrado - ,   TEL (00598)  2 622 10 84

Arquitecto Eduardo Montemuiño
Coordinador del Proyecto


Exhibition The last days of the Graf Spee, with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education and Culture, Tourism and Sports Ministry and the Municipality of Montevideo and CMDF - Navy

The inaugural event at the Naval Museum in Montevideo will be held on December 10, 2010 at 20 hrs in conjunction with the Night of Museums 2010.

Were 24 unpublished photographs of Ernesto Trambauer and supplemented with items to the museum perteneciantes Graphics and Materials from this military and diplomatic event since 71 years ago calling for the memory of the Uruguayan and shocked the world in 1939.

In the life of a Meeting of Civilizations and understanding between cultures and countries, will be an exhibition that highlights the Peace as a goal to resolve conflicts like the one at hand.

During the inauguration of the Museum Director will discuss the Commander (CG) Antonio Rodriguez, Captain (R) Mascarello, former director of the Museum "by the Institution, Daniel Acosta and Lara for the organization and finally the architect Eduardo Montemuiño as coordinator and facilitator of this project.

Be submitted to start the band of the Navy.

Is being formed for the week of 12 to 17 December a small group of conferences in the framework of exhibitions and memorial. Be released after today confirming two assistants abroad day and agendas. Will be at 19 hrs. in the same Naval Museum.

The exhibition will remain until January 21 in the first instance and then installed in the Naval Museum of Colonia del Sacramento.

We appreciate the publicity of the event.

NAVAL MUSEUM - Rambla President Charles de Gaulle and Avenue Luis A de Herrera visits Friday to Wednesday from 8 to 12 and 14 to 18 h. Closed Thursday -, TEL (00598) 2 622 10 84

Architect Eduardo Montemuiño
Project Coordinator

Feb. 27, 2010

I am the son of a crew member of the Graf Spee that was not with the rest of the crew that made their way to Buenos Aires. My father did not tell me of his role or even his identify until I was in my twenties, when I was serving in the US Air Force. Last year, I happened to see a photo from Mr Dick's book, and standing in the back row, on the far right behind the author's father was my own father, there with his fellow school mates. (The person looks like him).

My father said he was a gunnery, his first name was Ervin, but I don't know the last name that he would have used. His birth name was his mother's which would have been a problem in that it was Drexler or variant spelling of Drechsler or Dressler, which was a German Jewish name. I think he may have used his father's name that I do not know. My father may have been Hungarian not German.

He may have been wounded, he had two aircraft cannon wounds, one near his arm pit and another at waist level, both were through and through. He told me that during the battle he did not even know he was shot. After the ship was sunk he stayed in Montevideo and attended the Uruguayan Maritime Academy, working his way through until he graduated.

In 1942 The USA went looking for Maritime Officers and that began his second life.... Perhaps you might be interested in that story...

My father passed away in 1997 without leaving his story. I am trying to piece together who he was. If you would be so kind, could you please verify the photos? And the name of the person in the back row on the far right? The second photo (1938_00_00_heinrich_dick_e.jpg) is from your website, I think the person second from the left may be him.

Fred Saavedra

Reply 1
Apr. 24, 2011

Any member of the crew of Spee was recorded, including those who fulfilled the role of spies, which generally were in civilian members as waiters or cooks, with these tasks. No evidence suggests that what is stated in its court application to the facts.

Hernan Schneider
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Dec. 30, 2009

Mein Vater war Bootsmannsmaat auf der Admiral Graf Spee. Er war geboren am 18.06.1915 und starb am 30.04.2006. Er wurde in Lübeck geboren. Die Zeit auf dem Schiff und in Argentinien gehörten zu seinen schönsten Erinnerungen.

Sabine Debusmann, geb. Voigt
(Erwin Voigt Collection)

My father was Bootsmannsmaat on the Admiral Graf Spee. His name was Erwin Voigt, born 18th June 1915, died 30th April 2006. He was born in Lübeck. He always remember his time on board and in Argentina as a very good time in his life.

Nov. 7, 2009

Mein Name ist Holger Maiwald, mein Vater fuhr auf der Spee. Im Bordbuch, das nahezu neuwertig erhalten ist, sind einige Mannschaftsbilder sowie Aufnahmen zB aus Tanger mit Crew-Mitgliedern. Leider weiß ich aus der Dienstzeit meines Vaters nahezu nichts, er soll im Funkbereich tätig gewesen sein. Sein Name ist Hans Maiwald. Falls es Menschen gibt, die ihn kannten wäre es schön Kontakt aufzunehmen.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
Holger Maiwald

My name is Holger Maiwald, my father was a crewman on the Spee. I have some photos of him and other crewmen in a photo album. Sadly I have no knowledge of my fathers service on the ship, but he should have been involved with communications (radio).

Kind regards,
Holger Maiwald

Reply 1
Apr. 24, 2011

His father was in the fifth division of the ship, he was an Ober Matroseno Gefreiter, but this was a division specializing in communications, but he was not a radio operator.

Hernan Schneider
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Aug. 27, 2009

A new film on the Battle of the River Plate is to be screened, see invitation below.

Hugo Sochi

May 8, 2009

It is my sad duty to report the death of Peter Endres, Division 1, Admiral Graf Spee, Mr. Endres
passed away on May 5, 2009.

April 26, 2009

It is my sad duty to report the death of Kurt Wecker, Division 1, Admiral Graf Spee.

April 26, 2009

It is my sad duty to report the death of George Hoffmann, Division 8, Admiral Graf Spee.

Apr. 8, 2009

I am private maritime enthusiast from Bremerhaven, Germany. I discovered this website about the armoured cruiser GRAF SPEE and her crew men, thus found it most extraordinary and well done. My sincerest congratulations for your achievement! One question I like to ask: Is there still any information available about the 3 clergy men who attended the funeral ceremony in Montevideo on 15 December 1939 for the deceased in the Plate-River-Battle? According to the website statements they were: Pfarrer Kuhn, Pastor Kummer, and the unidentified young priest. Particularly I would also be interested to know something about their subsequent lives and whereabouts. Any meaningful information would be highly appreciated.

Best regards from Bremerhaven,
Franz Hörberg

Jan. 6, 2009

Im Jahr 1939, als das Panzerschiff Graf Spee sank, wurde ich geboren. 21 Jahre später war ich mit der Schulfregatte GRAF SPEE zu einem einmaligen historischen Besuch in Montevideo und Buenos Aires. Viele ehemalige Kameraden des Panzerschiffs, die in Argentinien geblieben sind, haben uns empfangen. Ich freue mich, dass wir jetzt mit den ehemaligen kameraden wieder Kontakt haben.

Herzliche Grüße,
Helmut Wittmann

I was born in 1939, the same year the Panzership Graf Spee was sunk. 21 years later I was with the school
frigate Graf Spee when we made a unique visit to Montevideo and Buenos Aires. Many sailors from the
Graf Spee who remained in Argentina were received aboard by us. I am pleased that we have now resumed

Helmut Wittmann

Nov. 22, 2008

I am wondering if anyone knows if the internment camp in Argentina where the crew of the Graf Spee was incarcerated held any German civilian crew members of Esso (Panama Transit Company) tankers?  Nine out of twenty seven Esso ships had their German crews replaced in foreign ports (non-United States) at the outbreak of WWII. Most of the seamen who were removed from the PTC/Esso ships in American ports in August of 1939 ended up interned at Ft. Lincoln, North Dakota. I am trying to find out if any of the crews from the following tankers were repatriated to Germany or ended up interned in South America. I am doing research on the internment of the German crews of the Esso - Panama Transit Company tankers owned by Standard Oil Company. Can anyone provide more information about WWII internment camps in South America?

Nine Esso/PTC tankers where the crews were removed in South American waters in August/September of

MS J. A. Mowinckel - August 1939 the ship was on her way around South America having discharged at Buenos
Aires - arrived at the canal zone the first day of the war - on Sept. 16 her German crew was replaced by Americans sent from NY.

MS Leda - at the outbreak of the war German crew was loading crude oil at Caripito - crews changes after 1939 American to Danes to American.

MS Calliope - arrived in Rio de Janeiro on 8-22-1939 with a German crew - all German shipmasters had been instructed by their government to proceed to German or friendly ports because war was imminent - British cruiser HMS Ajax was patrolling outside the harbor - the master of the Calliope refused to sail until he received from his government "assurance of safety for crew and vessel"- American officers were sent to Rio de Janeiro - the German captain refused to relinquish the tanker until he received a written guarantee that he and his crew would be cared for properly pending their repatriation - after considerable negotiation the American officers took charge of the vessel on 9-7-1939.

MS Harry G. Seidel - the first day of the European war, 9-3-1939, German crew removed in port at Buenos Aires where she arrived August 22, 1939 - American crew dispatched to take over ship - American officers take charge on 9-7-1939 after being divided between Harry G. Seidel and Calliope - Calliope sails on 9-12 - Harry G. Seidel ships on 9-18 manned with a mixed crew which 29 nationalities are represented.

MS Franz Klasen (8) - German crew replaced with Americans the ship left Aruba on Sept. 2, 1939 for Montreal - later American crew replaced with Danes.

MS F. H. Bedford (5) - 9/3/1939 Bedford on way from Buenos Aires to Aruba - Dutch refuse to let German crew come to land in Aruba - US State Department obtains authority to issue transit visas to the Germans - the crew sent on the Santa Rosa to NYC then via rail to Los Angeles to board the Asama Maru (men on Asama Maru are seized off the coast of Japan in violation of international law, men interned first at Hong Kong then transferred to Ceylon, and Canada,  for some reason 5 men including the captain end up at Ft. Lincoln).

MS Thalia (16) - 9/4/1939 German crew delivered Venezuelan crude to NYC 9/15/1939 American crew
put onboard. 

MS Prometheus (2) - last of the German manned vessels of the PTC - German crew, due to circumstances remained onboard until April 1, 1940 when American crew took charge at St. Vincent, Cape Verde Islands.

SS Niobe - (1) ship en route from Aruba to Sao Salvador, Brazil at the start of the war. German crew replaced with an American crew around 9-8-1939. No details of the crew transfer or repatriation of crews.

* Italics= Ships with Crew members interned at Ft. Lincoln according to roster dated 4/24/1943. Number of crew members interned at Ft. Lincoln in parentheses.

I would appreciate any and all assistance.

Shirley Weiss

Nov. 20, 2008

I have something unique in the world (I think), it's an original phone (Siemens) from this battleship. I am considering selling the phone on ebay. If anyone is interested please contact me.

Daniel Hermida

Reply 1
According to research done by Gen. Enrique R. Dick, this phone was not from the that time period and could not have been onboard Admiral Graf Spee.

Michael W. Pocock

Siemens phone.

Nov. 16, 2008

I am re-constructing a roster of WW2 German prisoners of war, interred at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. One record
includes the following:

Richard Schultze,
Marine Kuest. Batt,
Date of birth 4-9-1890
rank of Hptgefr.

His is the only name in my records that state he was a part of the crew of the Graf Spee (see below) Since
they were interred in Argentina, I am wondering how he ended up in a POW camp in central Indiana. The
roster is not yet available, but the website with considerably information concerning the POWs is at

Thank you,
James D. West

Reply 1
Nov. 19, 2008

This sailor is not in my own crew list. Perhaps, he was on board in the early days from Graf Spee (1936-38) and then came to other ship or a submarine. Submarine crews were POW's in Canada.

Best regards,
Maj. General Enrique R. Dick

Oct. 16, 2008

Very good page! My grandfather was a crew member of the Admiral Graf Spee (Herbert Manglitz) and I have many original things of him (uniform, photos,). I'm a fanatic of my grandfather, and the Spee. Greetings from Córdoba, Argentina.

Mariano Melfi Manglitz

Mar. 27, 2008

Le informo que el Capitán F.W. Rasenack falleció el día 23 de marzo de 2008 a la mañana, de causas naturales. Al momento de su deceso tenía 94 años.

(Ich gebe hiermit bekannt, dass Kapitaen zur See F.W. Rasenack am Morgen des 23. Maerz 2008 aus Altersgruenden verstorben ist. Er wurde 94 Jahre alt.)

(I must inform you that Captain F.W. Rasenack died on March 23, 2008 in the morning of natural causes. At
the time of his death he was 94.)

Hugo R. Sochi

Mar. 22, 2008

My name is Amalia Nélida Levalle and I am trying to contact Mr. Herbert Schaefer who was a crewman on the Admiral Graf Spee, Division 1. We met while he was interned in Argentina in 1943 and was wondering what became of him. I would be happy to hear from him or any of his relatives. Some of the information about him I
have is:
- born: 29/04/1919
- Father: Hugo Schaefer
- Mother: Ida Grosskopf

Thank you,
Amalia Nélida Levalle
Rosario, Argentina

(Mein Name ist Amalia Nélida Levalle und ich versuche gegenwaertig Herrn Herbert Schaefer zu kontaktieren.
Er war ein Besatzungsmitglied der Admiral Graf Spee und zaehlte zur 1. Division. Wir lernten uns 1943 waehrend seiner Internierung in Argentinien kennen und ich frage mich, was aus ihm seitdem geworden ist.
Aus diesem Grnd wuerde ich gerne mit ihm oder seinen Verwandten in Kontakt treten. Dies sind die Information,
die ich ueber ihn habe:
Geburtsdatum: 29.4.1919
Vater: Hugo Schaefer
Mutter: Ida Grosskopf
Heimatstadt: Recklinghausen, Nordrhein-Wesfalen/Ruhrgebiet)

Vielen Dank,
Amalia Nélida Levalle
Rosario, Argentinien

Jan. 5, 2008

I possess a significant piece of artwork (below) regarding the Admiral Graf Spee, could anyone be of any help
in determining it’s value and/or a buyer? It is hand made in-laid frame, original ribbon, various photos of Graf Spee, surrounded by actual butterfly wings. This was a common type of art during that period, more than likely done on the islands for one of the Graf Spee crew members during their internment.

Alan Niesen

Reply 1
January 23, 2011

This piece was made by the cook from Admiral Graf Spee, a Mr. Mueller (possibly Lother but in the U.S. known as Larry). It was made while he was interned in Buenos Aires, Argentina and is constructed with over 3,500 butterfly wings which it took him a year to catch, it measures 2' x 5½'. Mr. Mueller emigrated to the U.S.A. in the mid 1960's and settled in Florida, he passed away in 1970 and his wife sold the item on Oct. 25, 1970 to a Mr. Thomas Hardell for $2,100, it was later appraised at about $20,000. Mr. Hardell had it in his possession until at least Feb. 1973, after that I don't know who owned it.

Michael W. Pocock

Jan 24, 2011

Tom Hardell sold it to my father-in-Law Bob. He needed money for his gun shop. My father-in-law died of heart attack. We removed the picture from his estate. Tom and Bob were friends (sort of). Tom contacted us later after the funeral that he thought Bob still had the picture he had sold him. He asked if he could purchase it back.  Tom had stated that "Bob" purchased it for $2000.00 from him. He wanted to know what we would sell it back to him at? I was trying to establish a value on the item. Family stories and rumors had it at a value of $20,000.  In the end, after much time and research, having it appraised and putting it on ebay with no buyers interested. I ended up selling it back to Tom, the original owner for $2000.00, which actually probably was the actual value.  The photos in the item were reproductions. The banner (hat) inside was original and had the most value. The actual item was called a butterfly tray, which were not incredibly rare. I again appreciate your thoughts, sure brings memories back for me.

Alan Niesen

To post a message, comment or reply please email the webmaster.
All replies will be forwarded to the original sender.

Messages 1 to 24
Message Board
Page published Mar. 10, 2008