f e a t u r e d i t e m
(340) GERMAN MERCHANT SEAMAN’S PAPERS
Deutsche Handelsmarine, Seemanskartei und Personalausweis
Hartig Möller was a merchant seaman during the early years of the Third Reich. He worked for the Hamburg-South America Steamship Company (Hamburg-Südamerikanische Dampf-schifffahrts-Gesellschaft, HSDG) periodically from October 1937 to August 1939 as a cook on theluxury passenger liner Cap Arcona that sailed from Hamburg to the South American ports of Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. He returned to Hamburg on 28 August 1939, two days before war broke out when Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939.
Like most German merchant seamen Möller had the required life and health insurance with the Seamen's Accident Prevention & Insurance Association(See-Berufsgenossenschaft, SBG) that provided insurance and social services for German maritime workers. The SBG also functioned as a quasi-governmental agency responsible for implementation of international conventions for maritime safety and the prevention of shipboard accidents. This document is from his SBG card file (Semannskartei). Although this card was filled out in 10 August 1950, it lists hisdates of employment and positions on the S.S. Cap Arcona during the Third Reich.
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hamburg-in-germany hamburg city crest
ensign of the
When a ship puts into a foreign port, afterthe passengers have disembarked or cargo has been unloaded, there is much work for the crew to do to get the ship ready for sea. Maintenance and repairs must be made, the ship had to be refueled, passenger areas cleaned, supplies and stores to be replenished and, in the case of freighters, cargo to be loaded. To accomplish these tasks it was normal procedure for a ship’s crew to work within theport area. As most ports were considered customs zones not open to the general public the port authorities issued port identification cards that allowed crewmen access to the area. This port identification card was issued to Hartig Müller (Note the difference in spelling of the last name between the two documents), a crewman aboard the Cap Arcona. From the data, twenty-year-old German was about5’7” tall with red hair, blue eyes, white skin, regular nose and no distinguishing marks.
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His port identification card lists Möller’s shipboard duty on the Cap Arcona as Second Cook (II. Cocinero) while his SBG-Seemannskartei lists him as the ship’s Third Cook (3. Koch).
The well-heeled first class passengers aboard the S.S. Cap Arcona wouldexpect every luxury that the Hamburg-South America Steamship Company could provide. This would include the best food, vintage wines and the finest liquors and liqueurs.
The elegantly appointed dining room contained comfortable chairs and tables covered in crisp, white tablecloths and starched linen napkins set with fine china, crystal glassware and solid silver cutlery. As the highly trainedwaiters in tuxedos deftly served the gourmet meals wine stewards whispered recommendations then served the perfect wine to accompany the meal.
galley on a luxury passenger ship
The kitchen staff of a luxury liner was large and included butchers and bakers, pastry-chefs, preparation-cooks of all types, under-chefs and chefs supervised by an executive chef. There was a clean-up crew ofdish washers and pot washers. The carefully created menus featured gourmet and sometimes exotic cuisine prepared from the choicest of meat, fish and fowl, the freshest vegetables and succulent fruit. Each meal featured multiple courses with selections to tempt the upper-class diners. Freshly baked breads, rolls and pastries accompanied each meal.
hamburg-south america steamship...
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