One of the enduring mysteries of the Flensburg period is the mysterious death of U-Boat ace Wolfgang Luth just a few days after the war ended. Now, as then, there have been dark suspicions that he was murdered, for one reason or another. Whatever the case, his funeral was the official final act of the Third Reich.
"The next morning the inquiry was convened, with several British and
American officers in attendance. Testimonies were presented and it was
quickly concluded that the whole thing had been a tragic accident,
nothing more. But out in the city, things were anything but calm. People
were angry and rumors continued to spread and intensify. The local
newspaper presented many as facts, including a front page headline which
read, Hero Shot From Behind. As the story continued to spin out of
control, the British retaliated with a bold gambit. There would be a
state funeral with all the honors and privileges which have a way of
transforming the mob’s anger into a mood of somber reflection.
The next day, swastikas flew again over Flensburg. All the banners and
flags with gold cord and bunting; all the splendor and dash of dress
uniforms; all the glittering Nazi regalia that had been put away, were
brought back out one last time.
And in the center of it, flanked by
six senior U-Boat captains, each with a sword and wearing the Knight’s
Cross, was Luth’s flag-draped casket, mounted on an artillery caisson
drawn by eight horses. Behind it walked Doenitz followed by Frau Luth
and her four children and then senior Navy, Army, and Luftwaffe
officers. There were generals and field marshals, colonels and majors,
along with a blue sea of sailors, looking smart and undefeated."
(Excerpt from Germania, Simon & Schuster, 2008, now also available on Kindle here).