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  • Writer's pictureIlka Knüppel

Stuttgart - the Norddeutscher Lloyd ship of dreams

Stuttgart postcard belonging to Elsbeth Perlitz.

As I described in my previous post, at the age of 18, my grandmother, Elsbeth Perlitz, boarded the ship Stuttgart, by herself, and departed for the United States on July 31, 1930. She arrived in America at New York City on August 10, 1930. The Stuttgart was a fine example of the ships owned by the Norddeutscher Lloyd line. The Norddeutscher Lloyd line was founded in 1857 and carried many thousands of German immigrants, and thousands of pounds of mail, from Germany to America before its merger with the Hamburg-American Line to form Hapag-Lloyd in 1970.

Coffee served on the Norddeutscher Lloyd Bremen line that ran from Bremen, Germany, to New York City, USA. Author’s photo.

My grandmother kept the Schiffsverbindungen booklet given to her on board the Stuttgart. Our family has since donated it to the Baltimore Immigration Museum for safe-keeping and research. Pictures below are from my grandmother’s original booklet:

Elsbeth Perlitz kept her ‘Schiffsverbindungen’ booklet from her voyage. Elsbeth’s granddaughter and blog's author, Ilka Knuppel, and Elsbeth’s great-granddaughter, Emmy Knuppel, donated the booklet to an employee of the Baltimore Immigration Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, in August 2022.

The Baltimore Immigration Museum in Baltimore Maryland is a fascinating place to visit. For more information, check out their website at:

The Third Class Lounge on the Stuttgart in August 1930. Elsbeth is fourth from left in the middle row.

Picture of Elsbeth Perlitz on the deck of the ship Stuttgart during the crossing. The names of gentlemen photographed with her are unknown but they look like a fun bunch!

The Stuttgart was in service with Norddeutscher Lloyd from 1924-1938. It was 166.80 meters long by 19.80 meters wide and tonnage was 13,367. Powered by 2x Triple Expansion oil fired engines which had 8,500 horsepower with a top speed of 15.5 knots. During WWII, it was used as a hospital ship. On Oct. 9, 1943, the Stuttgart was set afire by American planes during an Allied air raid at Gdynia, Poland, and burned. The wreck was towed out and sank in Danzig Bay with uncounted dead aboard. The Stuttgart, while working as a hospital ship, Lazarrettschiff, was partially camouflaged and did not have Red Cross markings displayed on its decks at the time of the attack, so therefore it was determined that no war crime was committed.

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