Inge Goldberg was born on the 10th July 1918. She was to be the oldest of 4 children.A younger sister called Susanne was born in 1920, followed by a brother Karl born in 1922 and another brother called Christian born in 1929.
Inge Goldberg had red hair, blue eyes and freckles.
Above in this photo with her parents.
Above in this photo she is on the right and her sister Susanne is on the left.
Above in this photo from left to right we have Christian, Inge, Karl and Susanne. The photo below is the back of this photograph which shows the children’s ages. Inge was 18 years old at this time.
Below is my last photo of Inge
Inge studied interior design in Danzig (Gdansk).
In 1945 towards the end of the second world war the Russian army were entering Dansk and refugees were fleeing Germany.
Full-fledged panic is erupting in East Prussia in January 1945. Tales of Russian revenge for the Nazi invasion of the “Motherland” spread like wildfire all the way to the Wilhelm Gustloff’s port in Gotenhafen’s Oxhöft Pier. Hundreds of thousands of German refugees continue to stream in to the Danzig , hoping for safe passage to the West.
A major offensive launched by the Soviets in mid-January accelerates the exodus from East Prussia . Many Ethnic Germans cut off from the Danzig by Red Army troops negotiate passage across the frozen Frisches Haff, a freshwater lagoon on the Baltic coast. Soviet planes circle in the sky, bombing defenceless refugees. Direct hits are not necessary – weakening the ice is enough to send families with their wagons and horses through to an icy death. To the many refugees streaming toward ports in the Danzig , escape to the West is the only hope of avoiding certain suffering and death.
Above a model of the Wilhelm Gustloff ship
On January 22, 1945 , the Gustloff begins preparations to accept thousands of refugees. There are also obvious challenges involved in getting the ship running properly. With the exception of minor test runs, the Gustloff’s engines have not operated in over 4 years.
Ships of all shapes and sizes are assembled and prepared for sailing West. Joining the Gustloff for the evacuation will be other submarine training ships such as the Hansa, Hamburg. Unfotunately the Hansa Hamburg developed engine trouble and was unable to escort the Gustloff ship.
The scene in Gotenhafen is panic-laced chaos. Thousands and thousands of refugees – mostly women and children – jam the harbour. You won’t find too many able-bodied men. Those who can fight the Russians have already been procured for duty (feared SS Stormtroopers patrolling the crowds ensure none are overlooked). Many are not well – having endured bitter cold and long distances by carriage or foot in unforgiving January weather. Thousands do not make it to the Danzig ports. Unimaginable death litters the roadsides and in places like the frozen Frisches Haff lagoon.
Despite the mass of pulsating humanity on the docks, boarding the Gustloff is relatively orderly in the early stages. Armed sentries guard the gangways to keep out those without priority or privilege. The ship’s printing press, once used to create colourful cruise agendas, now cranks out the coveted “ Identity Pass ” that allows access to the Gustloff. The precious piece of paper with the Gothic type offers hope.
As expected, the first right to these passes is provided for the U-boat officers, crew members, and a few hundred members of the Women’s Naval Auxiliary (some members of which are accommodated in the drained swimming pool). Wounded soldiers arriving by train are also given priority. “Privileged” refugees then get their turn. The first ones to receive passes are those with “connections” – to family and friends on board, or to those with local influence. Of course, those with money attempt to buy them. We will never know how many underhanded deals are made. One thing is sure: as more and more privileged board, tension and envy mount in “ordinary” refugees crowded around the gangways.
Inge was a Marine Helper and was placed in he drained swimming pool area of the ship.
With less than two days until the ship until departure, 10 of the 22 lifeboats are missing. After over four years as floating barracks, lifeboats have gradually disappeared fromtheir davits – requisitioned for other duties in the harbour such as creating smoke screens to obscure Allied air raids. Hastily, 18 small boats are hoisted on and secured to the sundeck. Numerous life rafts are added in strategic places around the decks. Anti-aircraft guns are affixed to the deck to offer token protection – Luftwaffe control of the skies a distant memory.
According to an official list, only three thousand refugees are already loaded onto the Gustloff by the morning of January 30th, 1945 (they have stopped counting). As it becomes more certain the ship will sail on this day, more crowds rush the gangways. Mothers and children become separated. Children and infants are handed to those going on board. In terrifying manner, shoving on gangways throw some children overboard – disappearing into the ice cold water between the dock and hull. Small boats pull up along side filled with mothers and children begging for a spot on board. For some, persistence is rewarded as nets and gangways are lowered to take more on board.
On this bitter cold grey day in Gotenhafen, scattered with snow and sleet, exact numbers of those aboard will never be known. By the time the Gustloff is ready to leave port, well over 10,000 anxious evacuees are crammed aboard the ship.
Within 9 hours, 3 torpedoes will hit the Wilhelm Gustloff. It will sink to the bottom of the Baltic Sea , taking over 9,500 souls with it.
Below deck, thousands of passengers attempt to settle in to their assigned areas for the journey. Last minute arrivals carve out any reasonable living space they are lucky to find. Every possible space on the ship is occupied. All are instructed over the loudspeaker to wear the lifejackets provided to them. Under no circumstances are they to remove them. Above deck, wind, snow and hail pelt the Gustloff. The seas become rougher as the Bay is left behind. Seasickness begins to set in for many. Unable to relieve themselves overboard, on board toilets become clogged and the stench nauseating. Even so, for many it is a small price to pay for the hardships endured recently.
On board the escape ship, cheerful music resumes its tinny resonance from the ship’s speakers – accompanied the whimpering of discontented children and adults alike. On the bridge, there is a cautious sense of relief among the four captains now that they’ve reached the Stolpe Bank. They share a sentiment that the most dangerous waters in the journey are behind them. In addition to their first meal since departure, a round of cognac is poured to toast good fortune. Captain Weller remains on duty on the bridge. And then…
At 9:16PM , the first torpedo strikes the front of the ship, blowing a gaping hole in the port bow. Moments later, the second hits further astern where the swimming pool is located. Finally, the third scores a direct hit in the engine room below the funnel. Passengers and crew are thrown off their feet with the thunderous booms. Those near direct points of impact are practically vaporized and perhaps spared the ensuing panic and suffering.
Upon first reports of damage, the watertight doors are ordered shut to seal off the forward part of the ship. Unfortunately, this area contains the crews quarters. Many off-duty crew members (especially those trained in lowering lifeboats and emergency procedures) are sealed to their doom.
The scene of the second torpedo impact is greatly distressing. The drained swimming pool (and cabins in the immediate area) had been makeshift accommodations for many of the Women’s Naval Auxiliary. The torpedo blast creates airborne missiles out of splintered tiles which just moments before decorated the pool area with lavish mosaics. Girls in the direct area are cut to pieces by flying tiles and twisted metal. For the first time in years, water rushes in to the pool. But this time, floating corpses, body parts and empty life jackets swim in its water. Only two or three of the 373 girls are able to escape.
With that, the total number of survivors rescued number approximately 1,230. Over 9,000 go to their deaths – trapped at the bottom of the Baltic or floating frozen on its unforgiving surface.
Today, the wreck is officially designated as a grave site and is off limits to divers by order of Polish authorities.
Above an image of the wrecked ship
Inge Golberg perished on this ship at the age of 26, such a tragic loss especially to her family and younger sister Susanne.
In the 1960’s Susanne’s mother had a studio doll made in Inge Goldberg’s likeness with Red hair, Blue eyes and Freckles. The studio doll was given to Susanne as a gift from her mother in memory of her older sister Inge.
The doll is called Inge and now lives with me.
Inga’s freckles go right up into her brow. Her outfit is all original and she is a B11 type face with cloth body. She is in excellent condition having been looked after very well by her original family.
Inge is wearing her new shoes from Brigitte.
I would like to thank Uli Goldberg who was Inge Goldberg’s Nephew and son of her brother Karl for all the photos and information he and his 90 year old mother were able to tell me about Inge Goldberg.
her memory will live on forever in this wonderful studio doll Inge.