Maritime Monday for April 29th, 2013: Weimar

Monkey Fist
Total Views: 180
April 28, 2013


Lasar Segall‘s work was considered “degenerate art” by Nazi Germany and and could no longer be shown in exhibitions. Segall created one of his most famous artworks in 1939, known as Navio de emigrantes (Ship of Emigrants). A ship, overcrowded with emigrant passengers, their solemn faces and lack of expression showing the brutal reality of emigrants during their depressing, and sometimes dangerous, voyage to a new life.


Immigrants on the SS Bremen
( 3748 × 2772 pixels)


Hapag / Cruise Brochure 1894


Hamburg-American Lines Piers at Hoboken, NJ

Hamburg America Line (Hapag)

imageThe Hamburg Amerikanische Paketfahrt Actien-Gesellschaft (HAPAG for short, often referred to in English as Hamburg America Line) was a transatlantic shipping enterprise established in Hamburg, Germany, in 1847.

It soon developed into the largest German, and at times the world’s largest, shipping company, serving the market created by the German immigration to the United States and later immigration from Eastern Europe.

In the early years, the Hamburg America Line exclusively connected European ports with North American ports, such as Hoboken, New Jersey, or New Orleans, Louisiana. With time, however, the company established lines to all continents.

In 1970, the company merged with longtime rival Norddeutscher Lloyd (North German Lloyd) of Bremen to establish the current-day Hapag-Lloyd.

inset: Around the World – 110 Days: SS Victoria Luise, c.1912

Hamburg America Line (HAPAG)
fleet postcards on


German Steamship Victoria Luise in San Juan Harbor
set: The Victoria Luise Cruise, 1914; Photo Album,
Archivo Historico y Fotografico de Puerto Rico

Hapag Flickr set


 Deutschland at the Prince of Wales Pier, Dover
(full size)

SS Deutschland (1900)

Built in response to the success of the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse, Hamburg America joined the battle for passenger liner supremacy on the Atlantic.

North German Lloyd retaliated to the Deutschland by ordering three more liners, the Kaiser class liners: Kronprinz Wilhelm (1901), SS Kaiser Wilhelm II (1903) and the SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie (1906).

shakenWith these the company offered a regular service across the Atlantic to its docks at Hoboken, New Jersey, across the Hudson River from New York. +

Launched in 1900, she won the Blue Riband after crossing the Atlantic Ocean in just a little over five days. Her service speed was 22 kn (41 km/h; 25 mph) She carried 2,050 passengers in first, second and third class.

Speed came at the expense of passenger comfort—her engines were so powerful that they caused severe vibrations in her passenger accommodations (thus the sobriquet “The Cocktail Shaker”). Despite the amusing name, this made her very unpopular with passengers.

keep reading

image above rt: Postcard of Deutschland in drydock (more)

See Deutschland Incident, March 1902


New York SS Deutschland Ship 1900’s
(full size  1152 × 734)

see also: SS DEUTSCHLAND at 3076 × 1891
on Coasters & Other Ships Revived


1935 HAL Deutschland; Deutsche Seepost

SS Deutschland (1923) –  a 21,046 GRT HAPAG liner which was sunk in a British air attack in 1945, with great loss of life.

One of a group of four ships that included the SS Albert Ballin, SS Hamburg, and SS New York, the Deutschland was launched on 28 April 1923.

In 1940, she became an accommodation ship for the German navy at Gotenhafen. By the end of the war, she had carried 70,000 soldiers and refugees from the German eastern territories to the west.

On 3 May 1945, she capsized and sank in the Bay of Lübeck off Neustadt after a British air attack. Her wreck was raised and scrapped in 1949.


The Amerika of Hamburg America Line at the Prince of Wales Pier, Dover

Built by Harland & Wolff in Belfast for the HAPAG New York service in 1905; seized by the USA in 1917, and renamed America. Initially used as a troopship, then passed to the United States Lines in 1921.  Badly damaged by fire in 1926, laid up from 1927-31. Rebuilt in 1942, used as the US Army transport Edmund B. Alexander until 1949. Broken up in 1958. +

In 1912, the liner Amerika was the first ship to warn Titanic of icebergs. +


Prinzessin Victoria Luise (2521 x 1296)

imageBuilt by Blohm & Voss for the Hamburg America Line, she was launched on June 29, 1900 and served as a cruising passenger ship until December 16, 1906, whenshe was accidentally grounded off Jamaica.

With cruises targeted toward wealthy travelers, the Victoria Luise was designed to look more like a private yacht than any of her commercial counterparts. She had a trim hull 52.2 feet wide by 407.5 feet long. Service speed 15 knots.

The Prinzessin Victoria Luise – world’s first purpose-built cruise ship
on Cruising The Past


Photo Album:
S.S. Prinzessin Victoria Luise

Onboard, she also did not look like other commercial vessels of the time. She contained 120 cabins, all first class. All staterooms were luxuriously appointed. There was also a library, a gymnasium, and a darkroom for the development of film by amateur photographers.

After fitting out, the Kaiser formally inspected the vessel and was unhappy that it was slightly longer than the royal yacht Hohenzollern.

Five years after her debut, her illustrious career came to an end. On the night of December 16 the ship had tried to enter the harbor of Kingston. Heading north at 14 knots, the ship hit and climbed onto the rocks bow first at about 9:30 pm.

After getting all the passengers safely off the ship, the captain retreated to his cabin and shot himself. +


SS Kaiserin Auguste Victoria


SS Kaiserin Auguste Victoria
painting by Fred Pansing
(900 x 655)

RMS Empress of Scotland (1906) – Later name of an ocean liner built in 1905-1906 by Vulcan, Stettin, for the Hamburg America Line. Was to have been a sister ship to the SS Amerika which was being built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast during the same period.

Accommodation for 472 first-class passengers, 174 second class passengers, room for 212 third-class passengers and for 1,608 fourth-class passengers. 677.5 feet in length, 77.3 foot beam, average speed of 18 knots.  At 24,000 plus tons she was the largest passenger liner in the world from 1905 to 1907 until the advent of Cunard’s Lusitania. Launched as the SS Kaiserin Auguste Victoria; she regularly sailed between Hamburg and New York until the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914.


RMS Empress of Scotland
more views on NavSource

In 1910 the ship was to be used in experiments for the world’s first ship-to-shore airplane flights by pilot John McCurdy. A special platform was built on the her deck to provide a runway for McCurdy’s plane. McCurdy abandoned the attempt when rival pilot Eugene Ely flew off a naval warship in Virginia in November 1910. A similar experiment using airplanes launched at sea to carry mail was carried out on the SS Bremen twenty years later.

At the end of hostilities, re-flagged the USS Kaiserin Auguste Victoria, she transported American troops from Europe to the United States.  In March 1919, she was surrendered to Britain. For a brief time Cunard sailed the re-flagged ship between Liverpool and New York. +

Refitted for Canadian Pacific Steamships in 1921 and renamed the Empress of Scotland.


Sailings September 1912-January 1913


Brochure, Pre-Maiden Voyage


“On board the quadruple-screw steamship Imperator”
see also


HAPAG’s leader Albert Ballin, believed that safety, size, comfort and luxury would always win out over speed. Thus he conceived the three largest liners yet build, to be named Imperator, Vaterland and Bismarck.

The first two were briefly in service before the First World War,In 1914,Vaterland was caught in port at Hoboken, New Jersey at the outbreak of World War I and interned by the United States. Renamed Leviathan after the declaration of war on Germany in 1917, and served for the duration and beyond as a troopship.

After the war, she was retained by the Americans for war reparations. In 1919 Vaterland’s sister ships —Imperator and the unfinished Bismarck—were handed over to the allies as war reparations to Britain and sold to Cunard Line and White Star Line, respectively, then renamed Berengaria and Majestic.

abover rt: Postage stamp issued by the Deutsche Bundespost in 1957
in commemoration of Ballin’s 100th birthday


Imperator; Envelope and letter – July 4, 1914

Ballin acted as mediator between the United Kingdom and the German Empire in the tense years prior to the outbreak of World War I. Terrified that he would lose his ships in the event of naval hostilities, Ballin attempted to broker a deal whereby the United Kingdom and Germany would continue to race one another in passenger liners but desist in their attempts to best one another’s naval fleets.

The outbreak of war deeply disillusioned him. Many of the Hamburg-America Line’s ships were lost or suffered considerable damage during the hostilities. Consequences of the 2 World Wars resulted in Hamburg America Line losing almost the entirety of its fleet, twice. +


Vaterland tied up at her New York pier on 8 April 1917,
the day after her seizure by the U.S. government
(more photos on NavSource)

The second of three sister ships built by Germany’s Hamburg America Line for their transatlantic passenger service, she sailed as the Vaterland for less than a year before her early career was halted by the start of World War I, when she was  seized by the U.S. government and renamed Leviathan.

Built by Blohm & Voss at Hamburg,  launched 13 April 1913 and was the largest passenger ship in the world upon her completion. Vaterland had made only a few crossings when, in late July 1914, she arrived at New York City. Safe return to Germany was virtually impossible, so she laid up at Hoboken, NJ, terminal where she sat for nearly three years.

Redesignated SP-1326 by President Woodrow Wilson on 6 September 1917.  In December she took troops to Liverpool, England, but repairs delayed her return to the U.S. until mid-February 1918. At that time she was repainted with the British dazzle camouflage scheme that she carried for the rest of the war.


“The Ship That Brought Me Home”

She immediately proved popular with the American public in the 20’s, starting her career fully booked for her maiden voyage 4 July 1923. Her passenger average reached a strong 1,300 by 1926 and making her the #1 traveled ship on the Atlantic, but compared to her capacity of 3,000 it was too little to be profitable.

High labor and fuel costs which were compounded by the passage of prohibition. With the Atlantic capacity oversaturated, especially after the Immigration Act of 1924, alcohol-seeking passengers readily chose other liners. The Great Depression was the final nail in the coffin. She was laid up at her pier in Hoboken, New Jersey, in June 1933, having lost $75,000 per round trip since 1929.

In 1937 she was finally sold to the British Metal Industries Ltd. On 26 January 1938 Leviathan set out on her 301st and last voyage, arriving at Rosyth, Scotland, 14 February. In the 21 years she served U.S. Lines she carried more than a quarter-million passengers, having never made a cent. +


“Sucks to be Me”
SS Leviathan entering New York – 1928


Blohm & Voss built Hamburg America Line liner SS Bismarck launched in 1914
‎(1,000 × 613 pixels)

The third and largest member of German HAPAG Line’s trio of transatlantic liners, her completion was delayed by World War I. She never sailed under the German flag except on her sea trials.

Following the war, she was finished by her German builders, handed over to the allies as war reparations and became the White Star Line flagship RMS Majestic (1914).

She served successfully throughout the 1920s but the onset of the Great Depression made her increasingly unprofitable. She served the Royal Navy as the training ship HMS Caledonia before catching fire in 1939 and sinking. Raised and scrapped in 1943.


largest passenger liner afloat in the 1920s
(2040 × 1285)

RMS MAJESTIC crossed the Atlantic in five days, carrying 2,145 passengers (750 first class, 545 second class, 850 third class). The interiors during this period would never be seen again aboard passenger ships after World War II.

Henry Ford, Fred Astaire and Paul Robeson aboard the SS Majestic – Cunard/White Star Line – The world’s largest liner crossing the pond during the 1920s


Agentur Hamburg-Süd
‎(2,635 × 3,953 pixels)
see also: Cap Polonio / full size
see also: interiors


Postcard Hamburg/ 1029 – Dampfer Cap Polonio der HSDG im Hafen

The steam ship SS Cap Polonio was a German transatlantic ocean liner of the early 20th century.  Constructed in Hamburg by Blohm & Voss for the Hamburg-South America Line, she was launched in 1914 and named for Cabo Polonio in Uruguay.

In World War I, she was requisitioned by the Imperial German Navy with the prior agreement of the owners for conversion as an auxiliary cruiser named SMS Vineta.

imageWith a coal consumption of 250 tons per day her maximum endurance at sea was less than three weeks.  She was expected to achieve a top speed of 17 knots, but was unable to. Vineta was handed back to her owners.

She remained blockaded at Hamburg and at the end of the war was seized by the Allies as war reparations. Transferred to the British Union Castle Line for service to South Africa, but her engines were found to be deficient. Scrapped in 1935.

image; above rt


Hamburg-Süd docks in Hamburg
(more images)
see also – 2560 × 1632


SS Cap Arcona (1927) (27,560 grt, 676 ft. long) initially the most beautiful passenger liner in its time, entered service on the route to the east coast of South America in 1927. converted to serve the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) as a converted transport vessel in 1940. During WW2 she was used as an accommodation ship by the German Navy.

At the end of 1944 it was then commandeered as a troopship, primarily transporting refugees and prisoners of war along the Baltic Sea. In May 1945 she was sunk by the RAF with more than 5,000 casualties.

The Cap Arcona remained capsized in Lübeck Bay until 1950 and was then taken apart by divers, over a period of years, and scrapped. The wreckage was registered and photographed in detail by Rolls Royce, who had produced the RAF rockets, to assess their effectiveness. +

(more imagesabove: Sailings April-December 1931


The Hapag liner Hansa

Built by Blohm & Voss in Hamburg, and served on the Hamburg-New York City route. Originally built as a 16 knot ship, the engines were replaced in 1929 resulting in a speed of 19 knots. In 1934 she was lengthened by 50 feet, and speed increased again, this time to 21.5 knots.

She was originally named SS Albert Ballin, after the  visionary director of the line who had committed suicide several years earlier; but as he was Jewish, she was renamed in 1935 on the orders of the Nazi government.

Hansa’s last Atlantic crossing was in 1939. In 1945, she was employed to evacuate Gdynia, but on 6 March hit a mine off Warnemünde and sank.

see Operation Hannibal

The wreck was raised and rebuilt by the Soviet Union around 1949, and renamed Sovetsky Soyuz, making her the largest passenger ship operating under the Soviet flag. From 1955 she operated between Vladivostok and points in the Far East. Scrapped 1981. +


Hapag Seebäderdienst; Sailings May-September 1934



In 1970, the company merged with longtime rival Norddeutscher Lloyd (North German Lloyd) of Bremen to establish the current-day Hapag-Lloyd. +

Hamburg-Amerika Linie/HAPAG/Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt
on Martime Timetable Images


An oil painting from Hamburg Süd’s early days
Pictured left is the Corrientes, built in 1881, and the Rio (rt),
one of the first three ships to be purchased in 1871

Hamburg Süd

image_thumb16Hamburg Südamerikanische Dampfschiffahrts-Gesellschaft (Hamburg – South America Steamship Company or Hamburg South America Line) was established in 1871 by a conglomerate of 11 Hamburg-based merchant houses. Three steam-ships began sailing to Brazil and Argentina in a monthly shipping service. By 1914 the company was operating over 50 ships totaling approximately 325,000 GRT.

World War I culminated in the loss of all Hamburg Süd’s vessels, and the company was forced to begin again by chartering other ships. The early 1950s saw the company embark on tramp shipping and tanker shipping, and large growth of refrigerated cargoes. In 1955, the company began rapid expansion of the liner and passenger services. +

rt: Poster de la Hamburg-Südamerikanische

History of Hamburg Süd


Hamburg Sud Amerika Line advertising card
Thrilling Tale of the Battle between the Carmania and the Cap Trafalgar

see also: Carmania’s Rangefinder


postcard image of Cap Trafalgar

The Cap Trafalgar was a brand-new passenger liner, having been completed only on March 1, 1914 and had commenced her maiden voyage only on March 10, 1914. Germany had lightly armed the vessel with two 10.5 cm guns and 6 heavy machine guns, and had removed one of the three steam-funnels and re-coloured the vessel to disguise it as a British liner.

The vessel encountered the British fully armed ex-steam liner Carmania about 700 miles east off the Brazilian coast, near the island of Trinidade, at 9:30 a.m. on September 14, 1914. After a heated barrage of fire from both vessels, the Cap Trafalgar began listing to the left, then sunk bow-first. +


Cap Trafalgar
more about the engagement that caused the sinking of the Trafalgar here

Dampfschifffahrts-Gesellschaft / Hamburg-South America Line

on Maritime Timetable Images


 SS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse
One of the four-stackers of the NDL


interior: North German Lloyd steamer Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse, ca. 1895
(3528 x 2640)

 Built by Vulcan, Stettin and completed her maiden voyage from Bremerhaven to New York City on September 19, 1897. Interior views here.

She entered service in 1897 and was the first liner to have four funnels. The first of four sister ships built between 1903 and 1907 by NDL; the others being SS Kronprinz Wilhelm, the SS Kaiser Wilhelm II and the SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie.

Quickly established on the Atlantic, she gained the Blue Riband for Germany. After the debut of her sister ships, she was converted to all third class in order to take full advantage of the lucrative immigrant market to the United States.

Converted into an auxiliary cruiser during World War I, she was given orders to capture and destroy enemy ships within the first months of the war. Relatively successful, she destroyed several enemy ships before eventually being destroyed in the Battle of Río de Oro in August 1914, the first month of the war, by the British cruiser HMS Highflyer. +

more views


left: Passenger list of the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse, 1899
right: Europa III; Hapag-Lloyd built 1981 by Bremer Vulkan

Norddeutsche Lloyd (NDL)

Norddeutscher Lloyd (NDL) (North German Lloyd) was a German shipping company  founded by Hermann Henrich Meier and Eduard Crüsemann in Bremen on February 20, 1857.

Crüsemann was in charge of both cargo services and passenger transport, which, as a result of emigration, was growing significantly. The company was also active in other areas, including tugboats, insurance, and ship repair (the last of which it still provides).

The company started with a route to England prior to starting a transatlantic service. In 1857, the first ship, the Adler (Eagle), began regular passenger service between Bremen and England.

One year later, regular, scheduled services were started between the new port in Bremerhaven and New York; aboard the Bremen and the New York. During the succeeding years, passenger connections to Baltimore and New Orleans were added to the schedule, and in 1869, they bought facilities on the waterfront in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Starting in 1877, the company established a new policy to emphasize fast liners.

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SS Friedrich der Grosse (or Friedrich der Große)
built in 1896

SS Friedrich der Grosse; built in 1896 by Vulcan, Stettin. Regularly sailed Atlantic routes from Germany and sometimes Italy to the United States and on the post run to Australia.

Seized by the US in 1917, converted to a troop transport, renamed USS Huron (ID-1408). Went on to carry almost 21,000 men to France during the hostilities, and returned over 22,000 healthy and wounded men after the Armistice.

Later transferred to the United States Mail Steamship Company, for whom she sailed in the Atlantic as SS Huron. In 1922, allocated to the Los Angeles Steamship Co. and renamed SS City of Honolulu.

The ship caught fire on 12 October 1922 during her maiden voyage, and sank with no loss of life. +


S/S Kaiser Friedrich approaching Bremerhaven


The sad story of SS Burdigala, former SS Kaiser Friedrich (1897-1916)

Kaiser Friedrich 1898 — 1899 chartered to HAPAG, 1900-1912 laid up, 1912 sold to Compagnie de Navigation Sud-Atlantique, Paris, renamed Burdigala.


This idyllic post card, showing SS Kaiser Friedrich with only two funnels, was written on 28th April 1899, during her second to last passage under the flag of Norddeutscher Lloyd.

The first written over inscription of 15th April 1899, indicates the common practice of the big liner companies of the period for printing memorabilia post cards with the ship’s name and date of sailing for each transatlantic passage. +


interior of the Europa; 1932, Deutsche Seepost


THE SS EUROPA and Celebrities Who Crossed The Pond
Aboard The Great German Liner

Hitler’s Pet Leni Riefenstahl Found the Europa A Great Way To Visit The USA

image_thumb41The SS Europa (1928) (later the French Line SS Liberté) was one of a pair of fast ocean liners built in the late nineteen-twenties for the Norddeutsche Lloyd line (NDL) for the transatlantic passenger service. Her sister ship was the SS Bremen (1929), and the two were very similar, though not identical. +

left: 11/4/1938- New York, NY- Leni Riefenstahl, 27-year-old Queen of German Cinema and a reported favorite of Adolf Hitler, as she arrived in New York, Nov. 4, on the SS Europa.

Europa was built in 1929 with her sister ship Bremen to be the second 50,000 gross tons North German Lloyd liner. With both ships, the NDL will reach the top class shipping company of Atlantic traffic once more.

Europa and her slightly larger sister were designed to have a cruising speed of 27.5 knots, allowing an Atlantic crossing time of 5 days. This enabled Norddeutsche Lloyd to run regular weekly crossings with two ships, a feat that normally required three.

Europa made her maiden voyage to New York on 19 March 1930 taking the westbound Blue Riband from the Bremen with an average speed of 27.91 knots and a crossing time of 4 days, 17 hours and 6 minutes.

keep reading


SS Bremen


1932 NDL Bremen Sea Mail

The SS Bremen (1929) was a German-built ocean liner constructed for the Norddeutscher Lloyd line to work the transatlantic sea route. The Bremen was notable for her bulbous bow construction, high-speed engines, and low, streamlined profile. At the time of her construction, she and her sister ship Europa were the two most advanced high-speed steam turbine ocean liners of their day, and were national symbols of prestige during the pre-war years of the 1930s.


1936 American Olympic cycling team headed to the games aboard the Bremen

She was also the first commercial ship to be designed with the Taylor bulbous bow. Each ship required an engineering crew of some 170 men. As on her sister ship Europa, Bremen had a catapult on the upper deck between the two funnels with a small seaplane, which facilitated faster mail service.

As Nazism gained power in Germany, Bremen and her pier in New York were often the site of Anti-Nazi demonstrations. On 26 July 1935 a group of demonstrators boarded Bremen just before she sailed and tore the German flag from the jackstaff and tossed it into the Hudson River.

With the outbreak of war, there were plans to use her as a transport in Operation Sea Lion, the intended invasion of Great Britain. However, she was set alight by a crew member while at her dock in Bremerhaven and completely gutted. +


 SS Bremen sailing into Bremerhaven 1933
Oil painting by Gustav Lüttgens

List: The Norddeutscher Lloyd Fleet

Norddeutscher Lloyd Bremen Line Steamship Postcards (104)


Max Beckmann enjoyed great success and official honors during the Weimar Republic. Many of Max Beckmann‘s paintings express the agonies of Europe in the first half of the 20th century. Some of his imagery refers to the decadent glamor of the Weimar Republic’s cabaret culture, but from the 1930s on, his works often contain mythologized references to the brutalities of the Nazis.

After Hitler’s assumption of power in 1933, Beckmann lost his teaching position at the Städelschule in Frankfurt and was forced to retreat into private life.  In 1937, more than 500 of his works were confiscated from German museums.  The day after Hitler’s infamous radio speech about degenerate art, Beckmann left Germany.

After the war, Beckmann moved to the United States. He suffered from angina and died  December 28 1950, struck down by a heart attack at the corner of 61st Street and Central Park West in New York.

As the artist’s widow recalled, he was on his way to see one of his own paintings then hanging in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. +

Header image and above featured in Shipwrecked,
a collection of nautical art on the art blog Weimar.


March, 1939 “House Beautiful” Ad from Hamburg-America Line

North German Lloyd pitching their Trans-Atlantic commuter service.
World War 2 would start in six months.

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