The New York Times Archives
Published March 21, 1985
Hitler Yacht Stirs
A Town Official Said This Week He Would
Fight “Tooth And Nail”
Plans By A Local Developer To Turn Adolf Hitler’s
Yacht Into A Museum In Plymouth, Where The Pilgrims
Landed In The Mayflower.
“This Is America’s Hometown,
This Is Where Freedom Started,
Said Selectman George Butters.
“I’m Totally Against This
And I Will Fight Tooth And Nail To Stop This.”
Mr. Butters, A World War 11 European
Combat Veteran Who Was Wounded Several Times, Said
He Had Been Getting Phone Calls At Home From Angry
Residents Wanting To Stop The Plans For A Museum In
Hitler’s Boat, The Ostwind.
“The Mayflower Is A Symbol Of
Freedom,” Butters Said. “I Can’t
Understand Why He Wants To Put A Nazi Symbol In The
At Issue Is Charles Sanderson’s
Plan To Make The Boat Part Of A Military Museum. Mr
Sanderson, A Plymouth Developer, Recently Bought The
Decaying 85 Foot Yacht For $1.00 From Horace Glass
Of Lebanon, N.H. Who Had Her Docked In Jacksonville,
Mr. Sanderson Was Unavailable For Comment,
But Mr. Glass Said Mr. Sanderson Would Renovate The
Ostwind And Open Her As A Museum.
HITLER YACHT DROPPED ON LIVING CORAL REEF
BY BELINDA BROCKMAN
PALM BEACH POST STAFF WRITER
Adolf Hitler’s yacht, sunk off
Miami Beach in memory of the 50th anniversary of the
“Voyage of The Dammed,” was dropped mistakenly
on a delicate living reef.
“It is not a good situation”
said Ben Mostkoff, head of Dade County’s Department
of Environmental Resource Management artificial reef
The 85 foot Ostwind was intended to
become an artificial reef in 250 feet of water, but
instead was sunk a mile and a half southwest of the
authorized spot. It sits 23 feet down, near an anchorage
for freighters waiting to enter the Port of Miami.
On June 4, 27 survivors of the ill-fated
passage of the S.S. ST. Louis witnessed the sinking.
The St. Louis sailed from Hamburg, Germany, May 13,
1939, with 937 Jewish refugees aboard. The next month
it was turned away from Miami Beach by the U.S. Coast
Guard and forced to return to Europe, where most of
the refugees were sent to Nazi concentration camps.
At the memorial sinking, something went
More than an hour before schedule and
way short of the site, the Ostwind was scuttled.
“It was truly an incredible historic
event, and suddenly-boom!- somebody made a mistake,”
said Miami Beach Commissioner Abe Resnick.
Resnick blames the tugboat Captain,
A.M. Daly Jr. Daly in turn claims Chris Cadley, Captain
of the passenger ship had agreed to lead him to the
site. Cadley denies that.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has
given Resnick until June 22 to move the Ostwind from
the coral reef. The estimated cost is $7,500.
The Ostwind is one of two identical
yachts built by the Nazi government, after a poor
showing in the 1936 Olympic races. The original purpose
was to show the superiority of the Germans. It was
thought to have been brought to the U.S. by the U.S.
Navy in 1947. The sister ship, which is identical,
is named the Nordwind, Now sailing with no apparent
HITLER YACHT IN WRONG SPOT
The plan was to sink the battered wreck
of Adolf Hitler's yacht in 250 feet of water off Miami
Beach to make an artificial reef.
Instead, on June 4, the wooden yacht was dropped 20
feet onto a living reef that it is destroying, in
a shipping lane where it presents a hazard to navigation.
"They didn't get close," complained Susan
Markely, an administrator with Dade County's Department
of Environmental Resources Management (DERM).
The county had given Miami Beach Commissioner Abe
Resnick permission to sink the boat at a site 1.5
The 85-foot Ostwind is rocking on a healthy bed of
coral and sponges, at the border of an anchoring spot
for freighters and other vessels bound for the Port
Coast Guard Lt. Al Crespo said the wreck has been
marked with a flashing buoy.
"It's close enough that if a ship swings on its
anchor, it could hit it," Crespo said.
Resnick planned the yacht-sinking to coincide with
a cruise marking the 50th anniversary of the "Voyage
of the Damned," in which more than 900 Jewish
refugees aboard the S.S. St. Louis were forced off
the Florida coast and back to Europe, where most were
killed in concentration camps.
Resnick got the yacht for free from a Jacksonville
marina owner and raised more than $20,000 to bring
it to Miami Beach. He said he wanted to turn a symbol
of evil into a symbol of life.
On June 4, more than 300 people were jammed aboard
the tiny Florida Princess cruise ship, rocking in
four-foot seas, when somehow signals got crossed and
the yacht went down too soon.
Nobody has stepped forth to take the blame, but officials
from DERM and from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,
which has jurisdiction over federal waters, are demanding
that Resnick, as the owner of the yacht, take immediate
action to raise it.
Chuck Schnepel, the Army Corps' chief regulatory officer
in Miami, said if the yacht isn't removed by June
22, he'll do it and bill Resnick.
Schnepel said the salvage job would cost $5,000 to
$10,000 if the boat is intact -- and a lot more if
it's in pieces, which is likely.
Resnick blames A.M. Daly Jr., captain of the tug that
towed the yacht from Jacksonville to Miami Beach for
Resnick was at the bow of the Florida Princess helping
survivors of the St. Louis toss carnations into the
water in memory of Nazi victims when Daly's swing
of a sledgehammer sent the yacht into the sea.
"It was truly an incredible, incredible historic
event and suddenly -- boom! -- somebody made a mistake,"
Resnick, a Holocaust survivor from Lithuania, had
intended to swing the sledgehammer himself in front
of a crowd that included 60 journalists from around
Daly, who had met with DERM officials the day before
and was shown maps with the artificial reef site marked
on them, said he just did what the captain of the
Florida Princess, Chris Cadley, told him to do.
Cadley said Monday that Daly was sloppy. Cadley said
Daly suggested the two boats meet about two miles
off the Fontainebleau Hilton. The intended drop site
is in fact about two miles due east of the hotel.
But Cadley, who said his role was just piloting the
sightseeing ship, stopped about two miles southeast
of the Fontainebleau. And Daly dropped the boat right
Two DERM biologists waited in a boat at the artificial
reef site, but nobody came.
Resnick said he will not pay for the removal. "The
people who are responsible are going to pay,"
"I think that's going to end up being decided
by attorneys," said Ben Mostkoff, DERM's artificial
reef director, who spent Monday in Jacksonville interviewing
SOURCE: DAN FROOMKIN- MIAMI HERALD STAFF
FOOTNOTE: Many survivors of the St.
Louis tragedy were on hand to witness the sinking.
Please take a moment to read the heartbreaking story
of the “Voyage
of the Dammed” on this Website.