Jürgen Wattenberg, Kommandant of U-162 (Part 2 of 2): What Was On His Mind? Excerpt from Letter of Complaint to the Swiss

In the entire letter, I think his strangest complaint was his claim that his men were forced to run naked down a corridor to reach the bathroom. Wrote Wattenberg:

They were forced to run naked through the corridor where the approaching sentry obviously feasted their eyes on them. One American soldier, in the presence of a German prisoner, pulled out his sexual organs and played with them a long time in a not to be reproduced manner.

I think he inserted his own fantasy here. That’s cool. I’m gay. Still, ‘feasted their eyes on them.’ Who is feasting their eyes on whom here? It seems a rather strange thing to write a letter to the Swiss about.

One final complaint is almost funny, nor did the distinguished Kommandant of U-162 see it for himself.

It has several times been established that the guarding of Prisoners of War is carried out by soldiers of the military police with fowling pieces (hunting rifles). Since these weapons are not allowed to be used at the front, their use in guarding Prisoners of War is in my opinion neither permissible.

While in captivity, Wattenberg was promoted to Kapitan zur See – the last two words meaning “deck officer” or an officer qualified to take command of a warship at sea – a very important distinction in the German Navy then and now. He was repatriated to Germany after the war and became the manager of the St. Pauli Brewery in Lübeck where he was able to feast his eyes on whomever he wished.

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

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