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  • A German Labour Front KdF  "M.S. Wilhelm Gustloff" Tally Ribbon
  • A German Labour Front KdF  "M.S. Wilhelm Gustloff" Tally Ribbon
  • A German Labour Front KdF  "M.S. Wilhelm Gustloff" Tally Ribbon
  • A German Labour Front KdF  "M.S. Wilhelm Gustloff" Tally Ribbon

Item: G20133

A German Labour Front KdF "M.S. Wilhelm Gustloff" Tally Ribbon

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A German Labour Front KdF "M.S. Wilhelm Gustloff" Tally Ribbon

(Deutsche Arbeitsfront, Kraft durch Freude): Black rayon with machine-woven gold-coloured celleon threading, inscribed "M.S. Wilhelm Gustloff" in Gothic script, flanked by the red, white and gold embroidered Nazi flag at the left and the red, white and gold embroidered German Labour Front flag at the right, 32 mm x 850 mm, scattered pinholes at either end, extremely fine.

Footnote: The M.S. Wilhelm Gustloff was constructed as a cruise ship for the Nazi Kraft durch Freude (Strength Through Joy) organization in 1937. It was the first purpose-built cruise liner for the German Labour Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront). Her purposes were to provide recreational and cultural activities for German functionaries and workers, including concerts, cruises, and other holiday trips, and as a public relations tool, to present "a more acceptable image of the Third Reich." She was the flagship of the KdF cruise fleet, her last civilian role, until the spring of 1939. During the summer of 1939, she was pressed into service to bring the Condor Legion back from Spain after the victory of the Nationalist forces under General Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War. Beginning on November 20, 1940, the medical equipment was removed from the ship and she was repainted from the hospital ship colours of white with a green stripe to standard naval gray. As a consequence of the British blockade of the German coastline, she was used as an accommodations ship (barracks) for approximately 1,000 U-boat trainees of the 2nd Submarine Training Division (2. Unterseeboot-Lehrdivision) in the port of Gdynia, which had been occupied by Germany and renamed "Gotenhafen", located near Danzig. In 1942, the SS Cap Arcona was used as a stand-in for the RMS Titanic in the German film version of the disaster. Filmed in Gotenhafen, the 2nd Submarine Training Division acted as extras in the movie. Wilhelm Gustloff sat dockside for over four years, until she was put back in service to transport civilians and military personnel as part of Operation Hannibal. She was sunk on January 30, 1945 by Soviet submarine S-13 in the Baltic Sea while evacuating German civilians, Nazi officials and military personnel from Gdynia (Gotenhafen) as the Red Army advanced. By one estimate, 9,400 people died, which makes it the largest loss of life in a single ship sinking in history.

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