Was there a Chaplain on the Bismarck?

Anything about the crew, families, origins, etc.
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Ulrich Rudofsky
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Was there a Chaplain on the Bismarck?

Post by Ulrich Rudofsky » Thu Jun 30, 2005 12:56 am

There is an interesting question at schlachtschiff.com: "Was there a navy chaplain aboard Bismarck?" I know that not all chaplains were made officers. My father was an Oberstabsarzt in the Wehrmacht and he had a lowly Gefreiter as personal orderly who was a Jesuit priest and he said mass for the troops at the Odessa front!

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Post by tommy303 » Sat Jul 02, 2005 1:53 am

Hi Ulrich,

In the Kriegsmarine, chaplins were Marinebeamten usually with officer status but not officer rank. However, any ordained minister, even if serving in the ranks, could perform the offices of his vocation as well. I am not aware of any chaplin assigned to the Bismarck, although I would not be surprised if there was indeed one aboard. In his memoirs, Raeder states that the number of chaplins in the Navy rose from ten in 1939 to 74 during the war, and that five Lutheran and three Catholic naval chaplins were killed in action; it would not suprise me if one or more of those perished with the Bismarck.


Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood and Earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned these defended;
And saved the sum of things for pay.

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