The Nazi Titanic
The Incredible Untold Story of a Doomed Ship in World War II
Robert P. Watson
Da Capo Press
ISBN 13: 9780306824890
ISBN 10: 0306824892
2017 National Jewish Book Council Award
Built in 1927, the German ocean liner SS Cap Arcona was the greatest ship since the RMS Titanic and one of the most celebrated luxury liners in the world. When the Nazis seized control in Germany, she was stripped down for use as a floating barracks and troop transport. Later, during the war, Hitler’s minister, Joseph Goebbels, cast her as the 'star' in his epic propaganda film about the sinking of the legendary Titanic.
Following the film’s enormous failure, the German navy used the Cap Arcona to transport German soldiers and civilians across the Baltic, away from the Red Army’s advance. In the Third Reich’s final days, the ill-fated ship was packed with thousands of concentration camp prisoners. Without adequate water, food, or sanitary facilities, the prisoners suffered as they waited for the end of the war. Just days before Germany surrendered, the Cap Arcona was mistakenly bombed by the British Royal Air Force, and nearly all of the prisoners were killed in the last major tragedy of the Holocaust and one of history’s worst maritime disasters.
Although the British government sealed many documents pertaining to the ship’s sinking, Robert P. Watson has unearthed forgotten records, conducted many interviews, and used over 100 sources, including diaries and oral histories, to expose this story. As a result, The Nazi Titanic is a riveting and astonishing account of an enigmatic ship that played a devastating role in World War II and the Holocaust.
Praise for The Nazi Titanic
The Nazi Titanic is a superb marriage of deep research and first class storytelling—a fascinating tale of a German luxury liner whose fate eerily and tragically mirrored that of the Third Reich.
Alex Kershaw, New York Times bestselling author of The Bedford Boys and The Longest Winter
Wow! What an incredible and tragic story. Just when you think nothing more could be written about what the Jewish prisoners suffered during the Holocaust, along comes this remarkable account. I cried with pain at Professor Watson's portrayal of hell during the final days of World War II. A must read for anyone who cares about the brutality of war.
Alan Dershowitz, acclaimed Harvard Law School professor and award-winning author
Dr. Robert Watson is an American scholar, researcher, author, and lecturer without peer in his field. His brilliance and indefatigable research in uncovering previously untold stories of history will keep you spellbound. In The Nazi Titanic, Watson reveals the previously untold story of the Nazi ship Cap Arcona in order to enlighten future generations about the horrors of the Holocaust in the hope that they may avoid experiencing a repeat of this horrible event.
Jay Weinberg, J.D., Board Member, Virginia Holocaust Museum
Based on de-classified British Government files, The Nazi Titanic is a book that reveals heretofore unknown and shocking information about what happened to thousands of Holocaust survivors who, three days after Hitler committed suicide, were put aboard a gigantic ocean liner dubbed "The Nazi Titanc" which was anchored in the Baltic Sea. The fate of the few survivors who did not drown was brutal and devastating when the prison ship was mistakenly sunk by the Royal Air Force. Absorbingly written and painstakingly researched, Professor Robert Watson's newest book tells a compelling and vital story for anyone interested in the Holocasut, human behavior in extremis, and the possible human future.
Alan L. Berger, Ph.D., Raddock Family Eminent Scholar Chair in Holocaust Studies, Florida Atlantic University
The Nazi Titanic demonstrates that even within an area so deeply researched as the Second World War, researcher willing to do some digging can still uncover significant untold history. Well-known to South Florida audiences as a master story-teller, historian, and political commentator, Robert Watson lives up to his reputation in revealing an episode in WWII previously unknown even to scholars of the Holocaust. Beyond the mere telling of the tale, Watson offers a compelling account of the Cap Arcona's history and the personalities critical to its final tragic voyage in the last moments of the war. Watson offers that rare combination of meticulous research and compelling narrative, making The Nazi Titanic a compelling text for both scholars of the era and those with a more general interest.
Brian Amkraut, Ph.D., Executive Director, Laura and Alan Siegel Lifelong Learning Program, Case Western Reserve University
Combining rigorous scholarship with a compelling 'you-are-there' narrative, The Nazi Titanic is at once fascinating, engaging, chilling, and revelatory. It's a journey everyone should undergo.
Martin Goldsmith, award-winning author of The Inextinguishable Symphony and Alex's Wake
Fascinating, insightful, and dramatic, Robert Watson's The Nazi Titanic offers a unique WWII story -- a single ship whose tumultuous history unfolds as a metaphor for the Nazi ship of state. Readers will be caught up in a compelling and startling voyage.
Howard Blum, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Goodnight and Dark Invasion
Robert Watson has brought to vivid life with extensively researched detail the powerful story of this singular ship and the harrowing plight of those sent to a tragic fate in the final hours of the war. It is a riveting, little-known story of disaster and, for all too few, survival.
Deborah Oppenheimer, Academy Award-winning filmmaker of Into the Arms of Strangers and board member of the US Holocaust Memorial and Museum
Robert Watson has told the story of the voyage of the Cap Arcona with poignancy and power and, above all, fidelity to history and respect for those whose lives were lost. The Nazi Titanic is a story worth telling--unpredictable and unendingly interesting. Watson's prodigious research and mastery of the art of storytelling shine forth in every page. How sad and how angry this reader felt when the great ship went down.
Michael Berenbaum, prominent Holocaust scholar, author, filmmaker, and director of the Sigi Ziering Institute
Set with great skill within the larger context of the war, the Holocaust, and several of its principal perpetrators, this long-suppressed, gripping, and moving story is told with the historian's rigor and the narrative artistry of the gifted storyteller. Unforgettable!
Rabbi David Gordis, President Emeritus of Hebrew College