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U-156 Society founded in Hartenstein's home town


Painting of U-156 under fire

Werner Hartenstein was born on 27th February 1908 in Plauen, Saxony near the German border with the present-day Czech Republic.   Hartenstein's U-boat, U-156, was named after Plauen and bore the town's coat of arms on its conning tower.  November 23rd 2002 witnessed the establishment in Plauen of a memorial society honouring Hartenstein and his crew.  Donatello Bellomo, author of the Italian-language book Prisoners of the Ocean - the Tragedy of the Laconia is also a member.

It is fitting therefore that the International Submarine Connection U-156 Plauen (Internationaler U-boot Freundeskreis U-156 Plauen) was officially welcomed into existence by the Mayor of Plauen, Ralf Oberdorfer.  Founding members include Captain David Jones of Swansea, Wales, who is the new organisation's President, and Efraim Tsouk of Haifa, Israel.  Both men were torpedoed and subsequently rescued by Hartenstein's U-156.

The fledgling society has a newsletter, Periskop, edited by Wolfgang Strobel, Press Officer of the Plauen Naval Association.  The inaugural issue, published in German with an English translation, contained the text of Captain Jones' speech (delivered in his absence by Herr Strobel) plus letters of encouragement the Mayor of Plauen, Efraim Tsouk and Hartenstein's nephew, Werner Shuppan.

It is envisaged that a major event to commemorate Werner Hartenstein and his crew will be held in Plauen in April 2003, shortly after the 60th anniversary of the 1943 sinking of U-156 with all hands off Barbados.

For further information, please contact Herr Wolfgang Strobel.

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The Enemy We Killed, My Friend

David Cledlyn Jones, The Enemy We Killed, My Friend (1999)
The autobiography of Captain David Cledlyn Jones, a survivor of the Quebec City, a ship sunk by Hartenstein one week after the Laconia. Jones describes how the Quebec City survivors made land after receiving assistance from U-156.  He then takes us through his own distinguished merchant marine career and recounts how, in retirement, he researched Werner Hartenstein, the man who had first torpedoed then rescued him.    Read a review here.   Buy this book

Cunard postcards of the Laconia