Resume of Interrogation of Lieut.(j.g.) Otto WERMUTH, Commanding Officer of the German submarine U-530.
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          WERMUTH stated that he is a native born German, aged 25 years, and the Commanding Officer of the submarine U-530.  He stated that he had joined the German Navy in April 1941 and was sent immediately to the submarine school from which he was graduated in October 1941.  He was then sent to the officers school from which he was graduated in March 1942.  
     
          He stated that he had no friends or relatives in Argentina, that he had never been here before, and that he knew none of the internees of the ex-battleship GRAF SPEE, though he has met some of the escaped officers of that ship in Hamburg, Germany, in 1941.  He stated that as far as he knew none of his crew were related to or had friends among the internees here.  
     
          He stated that he was the holder of four decorations, they being:  The Kreigs Abzeichen, a service medal; the Front Abzeichen, for U-boats; and the 1st and 2nd Class Iron Crosses.  He had received both of these latter for service in another submarine, the number of which he would not give.  
     
          He stated that the U-530, on the present voyage, was his first command.  He had been selected by Admiral Hans Von FRIEDEBERG, Chief of the German Submarine Division, about the middle of 1944, to command a submarine then in Lorient, France, for repairs.  These repairs were delayed, though, and he had later been sent to Hamburg, Germany, to take command of the U-530.  
     
          He has no identification of any kind to support his statement that he was actually in command of the submarine and upon being questioned as to whether or not he could substantiate this he, after much reflection, recalled that one of his seamen, Joachim KRATZIG, had married a girl in Kiel, Germany, by proxy and radio during the voyage and that he, as commanding officer of the submarine, had signed the marriage document.  He thought that KRATZIG still had the certificate and was sure that it would be registered in the Civil registry of Kiel.  
     
          WERMUTH stated that his rank, which corresponds to a Lieutenant (j.g.) was the minimum for command of a submarine and that such officers were usually of that rank or the next higher.  However, he stated, officers of higher rank (equivalent to our lieutenant commander) were allowed to command submarines if they specially requested it.  
     
          He said that after being in dry dock around the first of the year 1945, the U-530 went to Kiel which, he said, as the supply base for all submarines operating out of Germany proper.  Here it was supplied and on 19 February 1945 sailed for Christiansand (Skaggerak), Norway, where she was fueled.  
     
          He said that the U-530 had a fuel oil capacity of 245 tons, but at the request of the Chief Engineer he took aboard but 225 tons.  This request was made for reasons of better stability.  In addition to this the craft had 5 tons of lubricating oil on board.  He stated that in Kiel he had taken on board a one weeks' supply of fresh provisions including meat, vegetables, bread, etc., and a 17 weeks' supply of special submarine foodstuffs.  A normal supply of torpedoes and ammunition were on board, but no mines.  He further stated that at no time did he receive further provisions.  
     
  Enclosure (A)  
  NA BAries R-201-45                                    - 1 -                                           CONFIDENTIAL  
     
 
 

 

     
     
          WERMUTH refused to state whether or not the U-530 was alone or a member of a flotilla, but did say that he operated directly from Berlin.  He was ordered to proceed to his combat area to attack enemy shipping, but refused to state the location of that area.
     
          He said that he left Christiansand on 3 March 1945 and proceeded to Horten (Oslo Fjord), Norway, where for some reason not stated he remained for two days.  At the end of that time he sailed for his combat area.  He stated that he did not know the route chosen, but that it was to the north of England and that to reach it they travelled continuously submerged for approximately three weeks, charging their batteries at night by means of the Schnorkel device, with which the U-530 is equipped.  This undersea travel was for the purpose of avoiding air attacks which he stated were terrible.  
     
          WERMUTH said that while in his combat area, as was the common procedure, he did not report attacks made or received.  His only radio messages sent were daily weather reports.  He said that the last contact that he had with his commanding officer in Berlin was on 26 April, which was a message concerning defensive measures to be taken.  
     
          He stated that he received a message over his regular wave length to cease hostilities on 8 May.  Subsequently he changed this date to 10 May.  These messages instructed all submarines to cease attacks, to use navigation lights at night, to fly a blue flag, to travel only on the surface, and to proceed to the nearest United Nations port for surrender.  Further, they ordered that detonators be removed from all torpedoes, that mines be immunized, and that all ammunition be dumped overboard.  
     
          WERMUTH stated that he did not believe these orders to be official but, rather, to be an enemy trick.  
     
          Whether he did or not, he attached sufficient weight to them to decide to quit his zone of action, according to his testimony, and to intern his submarine and crew in some neutral country.  He said that Portugal and Spain were discarded as being too close to the battle zone.  He said that at that time, though they knew that Argentina had broken diplomatic relations with Germany, they did not know that they had declared war and that he decided to come here for internment because it was far from the fighting zone and because he thought they would get better treatment here.  He said that he did not learn that this country had declared war until he arrived in Mar del Plata.  
     
          He stated that immediately upon receiving the surrender orders (which he considered false) they quit their attack zone and that at that time they were approximately 1000 miles east-northeast of Puerto Rico.  They ran for some time underwater, for fear of aerial attack, and throughout the whole voyage ran underwater during the daylight hours.  He stated that they passed between the Rocks of Saints Peter and Paul and the island of San Fernando Naronha and that on 17 June they crossed the Equator.  
     
  Enclosure (A)  
  NA BAries R-201-45                                    - 2 -                                           CONFIDENTIAL  
     
 
 

 

     
     
          He said that until he reached latitude 20° south he traveled at 7-1/2 knots on the surface, recharging batteries, and 2 knots submerged.  Once reaching that latitude he stepped his surface speed up to 9 knots.
     
          The Commander said that it had been his first intention to go to Miramar to surrender, but later decided to go to the Argentine submarine base at Mar del Plata.  He stated that he first sighted Mogotes Light at 0300 of 10 July from a distance of 18 miles.  According to him, his position at that time gave him a true bearing of 240° on the light.  He then submerged and waited for the first light of dawn to look over the port of Mar del Plata.  At that time approached he neared the port and cruised some three miles offshore awaiting sufficient light to enter.  At 0630 he lit his navigation lights and entered the port.  In answer to signals he flashed with his blinker the letters "A-L-E-M-A-N-A  S-U-B-M-A-R-I-N-O".  This has been verified by officers of the Argentine Navy.  
     
          WERMUTH stated that 54 men was the normal complement of a submarine of the type of the U-530; that the crew aboard was the original crew that had left Germany; that they were all crew members and all of the crew members; and that at no time during the voyage had the U-530 had aboard ant passengers of any nationality, civilian or military.  
     
          In answer to a specific question, he stated that no prisoners of war had been aboard the submarine during the cruise.  He added though that he had served on board another submarine which, in October 1942, sank the British merchant motor ship "HENRY STANLEY" which was en route for Freetown at the time, and that the Captain of the ship RICHARD JONES was taken aboard the submarine as a prisoner of war.  The sinking, according to WERMUTH, took place in the North Atlantic.  He stated that the ship apparently was loaded with explosives, as it exploded when hit and a huge flame flared up following the explosion.  
     
          He stated that no persons or treasure had been landed in Argentina or elsewhere prior to the surrender and that at no time had any treasure been aboard it.  
     
          In answer to questions, WERMUTH said that he did not know of any other submarines which were headed for Argentina, that he had been in touch with no other submarines.  He added the somewhat enigmatic remark, however, that if any more were coming they would arrive within a week of his arrival.  The reason for this statement was not given.  
     
          WERMUTH first stated (on his arrival) that the motors of the submarine had been in bad condition for about four days due to constant wear.  Under questioning, however, he confessed that he had had them sabotaged just before entering the port.  This was done by cutting off the oil circulation, drawing the oil and racing the motors, then putting about 1-1/2 liters of a mixture of nitric, sulfuric and hydrochloric acids in the oil and circulating that through the motors.  He stated that acid had been added to all the oil tanks still containing oil.  
     
  Enclosure (A)  
  NA BAries R-201-45                                    - 3 -                                           CONFIDENTIAL  
     
 
 

 

     
     
  He stated that he had dumped the following overboard:
     
  Log and other secret books.  
  Torpedoes which had not been used, with the exception of one in which the battery had exploded.  
  Gyroscope and warhead of the remaining torpedo.  
  Torpedo aiming apparatus.  
  20 mm AA ammunition.  
  37 mm AA ammunition and parts of the 37 mm gun.  
  20 mm and 30 mm ammunition  
  Dynamite scuttling charges.  
  Gauges.  
  3 anti-radar apparatus.  
  1 complete radar equipment with antenna.  
     
          He stated that he had arrived in Mar del Plata with approximately six tons of fuel oil and 1.8 tons of lubricating oil.  In reply to questions, he stated that he did not know how much fresh water was aboard as the distilling apparatus aboard more than took care of the daily consumption.  
     
          WERMUTH stated that the submarine carried two short-wave radio receivers, one all-wave receiver, one long-wave transmitter, one short-wave transmitter, and one fixed 600 meter portable transmitter to be used with the rubber life boats.  He thought that one of the two short-wave receivers was damaged, but that the rest of the equipment was in good order.  
     
          The commander said that, dividing the trip into four zones, the weather was as follows:  Zone 1 (North Pole to Bahia, Brazil), strong north-east winds, 5 miles visibility at 5 meters above sea level, 3 meter waves with regular swells; Zone 2 (Bahia to latitude 20° south), southeast winds six meters per second, 3 to 4 miles visibility at 5 meters above sea level, 3 meter waves, regular swells; Zone 3 (latitude 20° south to Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil), wind varying from southeast to northeast, 3 meters per second, 8 miles visibility at 5 meters above sea level, no waves, slight swell; Zone 4 (Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, to Mar del Plata, Argentina), northeast winds 28 meters per second, 4 to 5 miles visibility at 5 meters above sea level, showers, waves 4 to 5 meters high, slight swell.  
     
          WERMUTH signed his confession.  
     
  COMMENT:  
     
          According to the interrogators, WERMUTH talked very freely in general, but consistently refused to give information about specific routes and areas.  
     
          He displayed considerable fear of his and his men being turned over to the English or the Americans, both of whom he hates and fears.  
     
          In his answers he seemed to be endeavoring to present himself and his actions in a good light and indicated that since the was was over he had the right of choice of action.  There is little doubt but that he knew positively that the surrender message were authentic.  
     
  Enclosure (A)  
  NA BAries R-201-45                                    - 4 -                                           CONFIDENTIAL  
     
 
 

 

     
     
          The interrogators stated that at first he seemed completely dispirited that Germany had lost the war and seemed to have no hopes for the future.  However, in private conversations with them some days after his interrogation was concluded, he seemed to brighten up.  On one occasion he remarked that he "liked this country -- it was a good place to live" and that "after all of this had blown over" he thought he'd send for his family and settle down here.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
  Enclosure (A)  
  NA BAries R-201-45                                    - 5 -                                           CONFIDENTIAL  
     
 
 

 


 

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