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The Loss of the Wiesbaden at Skagerak, 1916

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Gedenken: Im Skagerrak sank die SMS Wiesbaden in der Nacht vom 31. Mai auf 1. Juni 1916

by Ingrid Toth, Wiesbadener Kurier

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On the 31. May 1996, the 80th anniversary of the loss of SMS Wiesbaden former members of the Marinekameradschaft, Rudolf Kramer (r) and Alfred Bachmann showed the objects on loan to the Deutsches Marinemuseum in the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Saal of the Kurhaus Wiesbaden.
Foto: Harald Kaster

WIESBADEN - For decades the same ceremony on every 31. May can be witnessed. A ship's bell sounds the opening. There is a faded lifesaving ring with the inscription "SMS Wiesbaden" next to the Golden Book of the City. It is open at the page where in 1935 Oberheizer Hugo Senne made his entry. He had been the only man of a crew of 589 to surivive the sinking of the small cruiser "Wiesbaden". The vessel of the Imperial Navy under the command of Kapitän Fritz Reiß was badly hit on the 31. May 1916, that it became a floating target, before it sank at 2.45 hours in the early morning of the 1. June 1916

Under the dead was also Gorch Fock, alias Johann Kinau, a regional author and poet, who rose  to fame first shortly before the outbreak of the Great War, and after whose death became a myth and at the centre of public attention. In 1933 the Reichsmarine named a school ship after him, and this was again in use after 1958 with the Bundesmarine.
His body was found with several others a month later on the shore of a western Swedish Island. He was buried together with his comrades on the Island of Stensholmen near the Norwegian border. A memorial stands in Finkenwerder, where he was born.

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