More than 9,000 East Prussian refugees died when a Soviet submarine torpedoed the cruise liner they were aboard on January 30, 1945. When the Wilhelm Gustloff disappeared into the freezing waters of the Baltic Sea, she took with her more than six times the number of people lost on Titanic.
Generally overlooked by maritime historians, Connecticut resident Cathryn Prince has researched the sinking of that ship and has written about it in her new book Death in The Baltic: The WWI Sinking of The Wilhelm Gustloff.
She will be speaking about her book and the historic event it concerns, and also doing a slide presentation, at C.H. Booth Library on Thursday, April 25. The program will begin at 7 pm.
“Prince has scoured the planet for survivors, treating their harrowing stories with gentle empathy, from the first sickening bolts of the torpedoes to the chaos and terror of the ship’s swift sinking as passengers fell into the freezing water, clambered for lifeboats and watched loved ones disappear in the tumult … An engaging study of a shocking tragedy,” Kirkus Reviews has said of the brand-new release.
Hugh Brewster, author of Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage: The Titanic’s First-Class Passengers And Their World, was also very complementary in his review, saying in part “The sinking of the cruise liner that was once the pride of Hitler’s Strength Through Joy program has long been overlooked by maritime historians. … Through careful research and interviews with the few remaining survivors. Cathryn J. Prince vividly recreates the chaos and terror of this epic maritime disaster.”
Cathryn J. Prince is the author of A Professor, a President, and a Meteor: The Birth of American Science (Prometheus, 2010), for which she won the Connecticut Press Club’s 2011 Book Award for non-fiction. She is also the author of Burn the Town and Sack the Banks: Confederates Attack Vermont! (Carroll & Graf, 2006) and Shot from the Sky: American POWs in Switzerland (US Naval Institute Press, 2003).
She worked as a correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor in Switzerland and in New York, where she covered the United Nations. Ms Prince currently works as a freelance journalist and is an adjunct professor of journalism at Quinnipiac University.
C.H. Booth Library is at 25 Main Street in Newtown; call 203-426-4533 or visit CHBoothLibrary.org for additional information.