Baltimore & Chesapeake Steamboat Company and the German Society of Maryland co-hosted the 80th Observance of the Baltimore Memorial Service for Capt. Paul L. Koenig, Commander of the U-Deutschland Merchant Submarine’s Historic 1916 Maiden Solo Voyage Across the Atlantic Ocean.
Baltimore, MD – September 15, 2013:- The Baltimore & Chesapeake Steamboat Company (B&CSC) and the German Society of Maryland co-hosted aboard the Nuclear Ship Savannah
observance of the memorial service held in Baltimore upon the death of Captain Paul Liebrecht Koenig (1867-1933).
Two presentations were given. The first was “An Historic Voyage: Koenig and the U-Deutschland
,” by Maizie Rocke, vice president of the B&CSC, and historian Valerie Mathers, which included readings from Captain Koenig’s 1916 book about his exploits, Voyage of the Deutschland: the First Merchant Submarine. Historian Walt Mathers then presented “Of Maritime Pioneers,” which included insights placing Koenig’s achievem
ents within the larger context of maritime accomplishments. The Dockenspielers, a German band that has performed for over 35 years in this area, provided musical selections accompanied by singer Ms. Beth Schleigal courtesy of the German Society of Maryland.
L to R, Wreath Casting Ceremony aboard the N.S. Savannah: Dr. David A. Denisch, Board of Directors, German Society of Maryland and collateral descendant of Captain Koenig; Captain Karl Michael “Mike” Setzer of the German Navy and Naval Attaché stationed in Washington, DC; Ms. Cornelia Mueller, Steamship Historical Society of America; Holton F. Brown, President, Baltimore & Chesapeake Steamboat Company. Photo by Maizie Rocke.
A memorial wreath was cast from the N.S. Savannah, which is moored across from where the U-Deutschland first set anchor in American waters at Quarantine Point. Dr. David A. Denisch, on behalf of the German Society of Maryland and a collateral descendant of Captain Koenig; fellow submariner Karl Michael “Mike” Setzer, a Captain in the German Navy and the Naval Attaché stationed in Washington, DC; Ms. Cornelia Mueller, a member of the Steamship Historical Society of America; and Mr. Holton F. Brown, president of the B&CSC, cast the memorial wreath overboard while the Dockenspielers performed “Die Wacht am Rhein”. Also attending were Lottie and Howard Hirsch, who operate the Live and Learn toy store in Ownings Mills, Maryland. Mr. Hirsch is the grandson of Ludwig Schwarzschild, the youngest crew member of the U-Deutschland, who served as a mechanic in the engine room aboard both voyages to America in 1916. Captain Setzer rang 8 bells on the Savannah’s ship bell to close the ceremony.
L to R, aboard the N.S. Savannah: Theodore Potthast, Jr., Treasurer & Life Board Member, German Society of Maryland; Dr. David A. Denisch, Board of Directors, German Society of Maryland and collateral descendant of Captain Koenig; Captain Karl Michael Setzer of the German Navy and Naval Attaché stationed in Washington, DC; Mr. Howard Hirsch, descendant of the youngest crewmember on the U-Deutschland, Ludwig Schwarzschild; Walt Mathers, Baltimore & Chesapeake Steamboat Company; Erhard Koehler, Project Manager, N.S. Savannah. Photo by Maizie Rocke
The B&CSC presented Captain Setzer and Mr. Erhard Koehler, Project Manager for the N.S. Savannah, with copies of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, written by Jules Verne. Ms. Rocke stated that, “It is only right that we end this observance on an appropriate nautical note, for another pioneer captain, Captain Koenig, received this book upon leaving Baltimore on August 2, 1916, to make his return trip to Germany.“.
Captain Koenig was well known internationally for his maritime accomplishments. There were several memorial services held in his honor upon his death. The only two locations known outside of the German speaking countries that held services 80 years ago, were New York City and here in Baltimore.
As a maritime pioneer, Captain Koenig commanded the world’s first merchant submarine, the U-Deutschland
, a vessel he helped develop and test for the German Ocean Navigation Company, which was formed for this venture by Mr. Alfred Lohmann. Captain Koenig led the U-Deutschland
on its maiden voyage, where it became the first submarine to cross the Atlantic Ocean unaided, traveling from Germany, and arriving in Baltimore on July 10th
, 1916, to enthusiastic crowds. He would make a second voyage in November, putting in atNew London, Connecticut. It was for these feats, for which he twice evaded the British blockade of WWI to deliver raw materials to Germany,
U-Deutschland with tug Baltimore (on left), Baltimore, MD, 1916.
that he was awarded the German Iron Cross, 1st Class. After the war, he served as an executive for the North German Lloyd shipping company from 1919 to 1931. He would return to America several times on popular speaking tours. The U-Deutschland’s centennial will be in 2016.
L to R, aboard the N.S. Savannah: Maizie Rocke, vice president, B&CSC; Ms. Cornelia Mueller; Dr. David A. Denisch; Captain “Mike” Setzer, German Navy; Mr. Erhard Koehler; Mr. Walt Mathers; and Ms. Valerie Mathers.
The Baltimore & Chesapeake Steamboat Company, which formed in 2004, and began operating in 2005, is an all-volunteer non-profit educational organization that preserves, interprets and supports industrial maritime heritage efforts at the Port of Baltimore and throughout the Chesapeake Bay Region. Contact them at: firstname.lastname@example.org or join us on Facebook.
The nonprofit German Society of Maryland, established in 1783 and incorporated at Annapolis, Maryland in 1817 maintains offices at: 15 West Mt Vernon Place, Baltimore, MD, 21201. Visit them at: www.germansociety-md.com.
Captain Setzer with the memorial wreath made by Valerie Mathers. Photo by Maizie Rocke.