Schlachtschiff Bismarck | Das wahre Gesicht eines Schiffes

The Crew

Here are the stories of some of the Bismarck crew. There are more stories in our book.

The ships' administration officers, Lieutenant Commander (V) Rudolf Hartkopf and First Lieutenant (V) Günther Tischendorf, together with an administration sergeant, coordinate the loading of the Bismarck on March 15, 1941 in Kiel's Scheerhafen.

Stories from Volume 2


Hans-Günther Busch went to the navy after licensed as a doctor. Together with his brother he survived the sinking of the sail training ship Niobe. Years later he became the Chief Ships Doctor aboard Bismarck.

Read his story

Bruno Köhler

For Lieutenant (W) Bruno Köhler a dream came true when he got to serve aboard the Bismarck. Therefor he especially had changed command with a friend of his.

Read his story

Turbine control station on the battleship Tirpitz

Stories from Volume 3

Werner Böttner

Stoker 2nd Class Werner Böttner from Hörselgau, Thuringia was trained as a metal worker. Shortly after the war broke out, he joined the Kriegsmarine. Bismarck was his first and last seagoing assignment.

Read his story

Herbert Engmann

Stoker 2nd Class Herbert Engmann from Hamburg was transferred to another duty shortly before Bismarck started on Operation Rheinübung.

Read his story

Gerhard Gränitz

Machinist’s Mate Gerhard Gränitz from St. Egidien, Saxony joined the Kriegsmarine after finishing job training as a metal worker. One of his crewmates hailed from the same small village as he.

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Herbert Jahn

Stoker 2nd Class Herbert Jahn from Nünchritz, Saxony, witnessed horrific things during Bismarck’s final battle but was fortunate to have survived and been rescued by the RN. For the next six years he was a British Prisoner of War.

Read his story

Hans Luchs

Right after his graduation from the technical course and his promotion, Machinist’s Mate Hans Luchs from Düsseldorf was sent straight to the Bismarck while she was still under construction at Blohm & Voss. In April 1941 he sent his family one last letter.

Read his story

Richard Rebhan

Stoker 3rd Class Richard Rebhan from Lindenau, Thuringia was drafted shortly after his 17th birthday. Originally he had intended to join the Merchant Marine, but the outbreak of the war prevented him. He died at the age of 17.

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Werner Seeliger

Staff Sergeant Werner Seeliger from Silesia was with the small Luftwaffe contingent which manned and maintained Arado Ar 196 seaplanes. He piloted the plane T3+MK.

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Erich Seifert

Stoker First Class Erich Seifert from Frauenreuth, Thuringia served on the cruiser Karlsruhe which was sunk during the invasion of Norway. However, he did not survive Bismarck’s final battle. He was last seen in the burning superstructure of the sinking ship.

Read his story


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Volume 1.1

Volume 1.2

Volume 1.3

Volume 2

Volume 3

Volume 4

Volume 5