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Auxiliary Cruiser ' Pinguin' Wehrpass & Paperwork

Article about: The latest addition to my collection - a Wehrpass and some paperwork for Mechanikergefreiten (T) Alfonso Romahn who served aboard the Hilfskreuzer 'Pinguin' (Schiff 33 / HSK 5) from the 1st

  1. #1

    Default Auxiliary Cruiser ' Pinguin' Wehrpass & Paperwork

    The latest addition to my collection - a Wehrpass and some paperwork for Mechanikergefreiten (T) Alfonso Romahn who served aboard the Hilfskreuzer 'Pinguin' (Schiff 33 / HSK 5) from the 1st May 1940 until she was sunk by HMS Cornwall on 8th May 1941, with Romahn being initially reported as Missing as a result of this engagement. Paperwork to members of the Auxiliary Cruisers is scarce, especially to members of Pinguin so I am very happy to of obtained this set.

    Romahn was born in Schoenebeck which is loacated on the Elbe River just south of Magdeburg and north of Bernburg.
    The Auxiliary Cruiser Badge was awarded posthumously and was entered in to the Wehrpass at the Wehrbezirkskommando in Bernburg before it was forwarded onto the family. There is a chance the EK II entry on the awards page has been falsely added but if so I'm happy to overlook that for the sake of the overall group. The paperwork includes a newspaper entry for his death, the Sterbeurkunde reporting the details of his death in the Indian Ocean, a letter, two 1943 dated newspapers with features about the Pinguin, 2 photos and some misc papers.

    In terms of numbers of ships sunk/captured (28) Pinguin was the most successful of all the Auxiliary Cruisers and in terms of tonnage sunk/captured (136,000 Tons) I believe she was only second behind 'Atlantis' by 5,000 or so tons. She was also the first to be sunk and out of a crew of 402 & 225 prisoners that she was carrying at the time only 60 & 22 survived respectively when a shell from HMS Cornwall hit Pinguin in the area where her mines were stored causing a massive explosion during the engagement in the Indian Ocean.
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  3. #2

    Default Re: Auxiliary Cruiser ' Pinguin' Wehrpass & Paperwork

    And his entry in the Volksbund database...
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  4. #3

    Default Re: Auxiliary Cruiser ' Pinguin' Wehrpass & Paperwork

    Very nice historical group.

    Cheers, Ade.

  5. #4

    Default Re: Auxiliary Cruiser ' Pinguin' Wehrpass & Paperwork

    Indeed, a fine grouping. For the benefit of the non-German speaking members, allow me to add the translation of the letter posted above:

    "Dear Mr. Heinrichs,

    to my deepest regrets I have to inform you that the ship onto which your son, the
    Mechanikergefreite Alfons Rohman, had been detailed, has sunk during an operation against the enemy and that your son is not recorded on the list of those saved that has found its way here. Thus, sadly it has to be assumed with certainty that he has met with a Hero's Death for our Fatherland.

    In case we receive additional news, you will be notified immediately.

    Your son had belonged to a crew whose members had achieved the most outstanding merits in the Greater German Reich's struggle for liberty through their long and most successful cruises in the waters overseas and whose achievements shall be a particularly glorious chapter in history. The names of these heroes shall remain unforgotten in the Navy and be cherished highly.

    May the thought that your son had laid his life on the line for Germany's liberty and greatness be a consolation for you.

    In heartfelt sympathy,

    Your


    [signed: S. Sorge]

    Kapitän zur See
    and Chief of the Staff of the
    2nd Admiral of the Baltic Sea Station
    "

  6. #5

    Default Re: Auxiliary Cruiser ' Pinguin' Wehrpass & Paperwork

    Thank you HPL. I was trying to figure out the letter in my horrible broken German. Your translation is excellent.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Auxiliary Cruiser ' Pinguin' Wehrpass & Paperwork

    Quote by tampalam View Post
    Your translation is excellent.
    It is indeed, many thanks HPL. I spent an hour typing it into a Google translator earlier today - I wish I'd waited now

  8. #7

    Default Re: Auxiliary Cruiser ' Pinguin' Wehrpass & Paperwork

    Thanks, you're welcome! By the way, I forgot to add that, oddly, Mr. Fritz Heinrichs - although Alfons Rohman is referred to in the Captain's letter as his son - was apparently not really his father:
    On the death certificate, the biological father is identified as Wilhelm Albert Karl Rohman with the ominous remark "whereabouts unknown".
    Maybe Heinrichs was his adoptive father?

  9. #8

    Default Re: Auxiliary Cruiser ' Pinguin' Wehrpass & Paperwork

    Postscript: Alright, Mr. Fritz Heinrichs was clearly the late sailor's stepfather: On the death certificate, his mother's name is given as Berta Rohman, neé Seraphin; but in the newspaper obituary, the parents appear as Fritz Heinrichs and Berta Heinrichs, so they probably had married not too long before. I should have looked closer at all the attachments.
    Last edited by HPL2008; 08-26-2010 at 11:18 PM.

  10. #9

    Default Re: Auxiliary Cruiser ' Pinguin' Wehrpass & Paperwork

    Hucks,

    Nice piece, gone to a good home!

    Jock

  11. #10

    Default Re: Auxiliary Cruiser ' Pinguin' Wehrpass & Paperwork

    Sounds like most interesting grouping--I cant see pics) Poor connection my end. We don't see many WP/SB Shared-Apart from jammy Jocks, Last Find) Look forward to seeing this soon.

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