The Third Reich in Antarctica: The German Antarctic Expedition 1938-39.

Ignoring the potential onset of war, this German exploration involved study of whaling possibilities, the study of the usual scientific subjects, the search for raw materials and strategic military advantages, and land claims over what Norwegians had already claimed as Dronning Maud Land. It was a short trip during the Antarctic summer, and plans for subsequent expeditions were abandoned when WWII began. Its ship was the Schwabenland with Alfred Ritscher as leader of the expedition and Alfred Kottas as Captain of the ship. The book examines the accomplishments of the trip and debunks the various myths that had grown around this German initiative (secret bases, submarines, and UFOs) and dismisses them as fantasy.

p. 43: As usual the ship’s party ate in different messes, but aboard everybody got the same menu. The sailors ate forward in the fo’c’sle; the engineers and diesel mechanics ate aft; the Lufthansa staff ate together. The ship’s officers, expedition leader, ice master and scientists ate in the saloon, which became rather overcrowded as a result…. For relaxation there were chess, table tennis, cards and light reading from the ship’s library of 150 volumes.

p. 47—Ritscher established and evening lecture series “to combat the general idleness with one or two talks a week.”

p. 70, in the roaring ‘40s: The ship rolled, and a wave poured green water through the open porthole [opened to let tobaccco smoke out], soaking the two of them and turning their scientific books and papers to mush.

p. 71: Nonetheless, the crew had a hard time. To take their minds off the discomfort and the tedium a ‘Choral Society’ and a band were established. One evening Gburek arranged a circus, starring plump, powerful Hartman[n] as a musical clown towing a plush-covered wooden dog. This had everyone in stiches. Gburek wrote and directed a play, a drama called [‘]The King of Salern’, starring Ppreuschoff as king, Hartmann as prince, and Lange as a poor shepherdess; it became the highlight of the journey.