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Nimitz Library

Otto Giese Papers, 1938-1979: Finding Aid

Published in May 2003

Summary Information

  • Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
  • Publisher Address:
    589 McNair Road
    Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
    Phone: 410-293-6917
    https://www.usna.edu/Library/sca/index.php
  • Call number: MS 346
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Otto Giese Papers
  • Dates: 1938-1979
  • Size: 4 linear feet (11 boxes)
  • Creator: Giese, Otto, 1914-1981
  • Language(s) of material: English German Japanese Spanish
  • Abstract: Giese was a German U-Boat officer. After World War II, he obtained a master's license and started his own shipping line, which operated in the North Sea, the Baltic, the Caribbean and the Far East

Biography of Otto Giese

Otto Giese was born November 8, 1914 in Bremen, Germany. Starting in 1933, he served aboard square-riggers and numerous oceangoing freighters, after which he attended the German Nautical Academy for his mate’s license, which he received in 1938. He was a junior officer aboard the ocean liner S.S. Columbus when war was declared in September of 1939. The ship was scuttled and he was taken to Ellis Island by the U.S.S. Tuscaloosa. The crewmen who were of military age were then sent to Angel Island off San Francisco. With several other fit officers, he eluded immigration officials to escape to the Japanese. He was involved with blockade running, returning to Germany and training for U-boat service.

Giese’s U-Bootwaffe service was in the Far East, North Atlantic, and Indian Ocean. Even after Germany’s surrender he was interned by the British in the infamous Changi jail in Malaya and was not repatriated until 1947. After World War II, he obtained a master’s license and started his own shipping line, which operated in the North Sea, the Baltic, the Caribbean and the Far East. In 1964, he moved to Florida, and became a US citizen in 1968. He was pier superintendent and manager of Fillette Green Steamship Agency in Pensacola, Florida until he retired in 1981. He died September 29, 2001.

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Description of Contents

The Otto Giese Papers contain correspondence, speeches, audiotapes, artwork sketches, photographs, writings, scrapbooks, clippings, memorabilia and other material documenting the private and public life of this mariner. The collection spans the dates 1938 to 1979, with the bulk of the material dating from 1938 to 1947. The collection records Giese’s extraordinary career, and includes materials relevant to the politics and attitudes of a seafaring German in World War II.

The strengths of the collection lie in the extensive documentation in a variety of media of Giese’s career, from charming sketches of life at sea to a superb collection of photographs and audiotapes of interviews. He records the social, political and personal aspects of the period by combining news clippings, photographs and his personal assessment of key events. This unique historical overview includes his justification for the invasion of Poland, and he offers an unwavering assessment of the dictates of duty. Although hardship and loss are part of his life, his anecdotes are positive and relay the camaraderie of U-boat sailors at war.

The material is arranged chronologically, unless otherwise noted, and includes items in German, Japanese, Spanish, and English.

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Arrangement

The material is arranged chronologically, unless otherwise noted.

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Access and Use

Access

Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Otto Giese Papers are the physical property of Nimitz Library. Copyright belongs to the authors or creators of the works, or their legal representatives. For further information, consult the Head, Special Collections & Archives.

It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure written permission to publish, reprint, or reproduce material from Special Collections & Archives. The researcher assumes responsibility for infringement of copyright or literary or publication rights. Please contact the Head, Special Collections & Archives for permission to publish and for further information.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The collection contains nine items on audio cassette and two CDs.

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Acquisition and Appraisal

Provenance and Acquisition

Gift of Otto Giese and Capt. James E. Wise, USN (Ret.) in October 2001 and May 2003.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Otto Giese Papers, MS 346

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Ruth Hennessy in May 2003. Finding aid written by Ruth Hennessy in May 2003.

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Subject Headings

These materials have been indexed in the Naval Academy Library online catalog using the following terms. Those seeking related materials should search under these terms.

Name and Subject Terms

  • Germany. Kriegsmarine -- History -- World War, 1939-1945
  • Giese, Otto, 1914-1981
  • Sailors -- Germany -- History -- World War, 1939-1945
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Naval operations, German
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Naval operations -- Submarine
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, German

Genre Terms

  • Manuscripts
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Clippings - Giese Biography, Obituary and Miniature Church Display, 2001-2003

Box 1 Folder 2

Clippings - Via Pensacola, 1977-1981 and undated

Includes photographs used in featured articles.

Box 1 Folder 3

Diaries - Nr. 1 and Nr. 2: S.S. Columbus Tragodie, 1939 September-December and 1939 December-1940 January

S.S. Columbus Tragedy, in the German language.

Box 1 Folder 4-7

Diaries - Nr. 3 (Clippings), 1940

Ellis Island, Angel Island, and escape via Hawaii to Japan, in the German language.

Box 1 Folder 8

Diaries - Nr. 4 and Nr. 5: Blockadebrecher Anneliese Essberger nebst Tarnugen, 1941 January-July and July-September

In the German language.

Box 2 Folder 1

Diaries - Nr. 6: Blockadefahrt, U-405, U-Boots WO Kurse, U-181, POW Changi Jail, Malaya und England, 1941 September-1947 September

Operations with U-405; U-boat watch officer courses; Operations with U-181; POW Changi Jail, Malaya and England, in the German language.

Box 2 Folder 2

Diary, 1949-1963

German, Spanish and some English language clippings, letters, photographs.

Box 2 Folder 3

Diary, 1952-1953

German language, clippings and letters included.

Box 3 Folder 1

Diary, 1953-1956

German language, contains some photographs.

Box 3 Folder 2

Diary, 1959-1960

German, Spanish and some English language. Contains involvement in Havana shipping.

Box 3 Folder 3

Diary, 1960 April-August

Primarily German language. Contains information on political climate for shipping in Latin America.

Box 4 Folder 1

Diary, 1960 September-December

Primarily German language. Contains information on political climate for shipping in Latin America.

Box 4 Folder 2

Diary, 1961 January-May

Mostly English language, some German. Emphasis on Cuban, Mexican and Dominican Republic politics.

Box 4 Folder 3

Diary, 1961 June-November

Mostly English language, some German. Emphasis on Cuban, Mexican and Dominican Republic politics.

Box 5 Folder 1

Diary, 1961 December-1962 May

Mostly English language, some German. Emphasis on Cuban, Mexican and Dominican Republic politics.

Box 5 Folder 2

Diary, 1962 May-December

English and German language.

Box 6 Folder 1

Diary, 1962 October-1963 April

English and German language.

Box 6 Folder 2

Diary, 1963 May-September

English and German language.

Box 7 Folder 1

Photographs and Negatives, undated

102 Photographs, 13 sleeves of negatives and 2 CD-ROMs used in preparing the manuscript for, with annotations to corresponding pages in Shooting the War: The Memoir and Photographs of a U-boat Officer in World War II by Otto Giese and James E. Wise, Jr. (Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, c1994)

Box 8 Folder 1

Photograph Albums, 1935-1940

Albums numbered one through five.

Box 9 Folder 1

Photograph Albums, 1940-1946

Albums numbered six and seven.

Box 10 Folder 1

Family and Ship Photographs (6), undated

Box 11 Folder 1

Audio Cassettes - Anneliese Essberger Blockade Run: Dairen (June 21, 1941) and Bordeaux (September 9, 1941) Master’s Report, undated

Box 11 Folder 2

Audio Cassettes - Anneliese Essberger Supplying Raider Komet in Pacific (July 1941), undated

Box 11 Folder 3

Audio Cassettes - Otto Giese: My Memories of World War II (1939-1945), undated

Box 11 Folder 4

Audio Cassettes - Otto Giese: My Memories of World War II (1939-1945), undated

Box 11 Folder 5

Audio Cassettes - Translation of a Report by H. Hochner of U-425 Sinking, 1992 January 15-16

Box 11 Folder 6

Audio Cassettes - U-405 (May 10-August 16, 1942), undated

Box 11 Folder 7

Audio Cassettes - U-405 (August 16-September 13, 1942), undated

Box 11 Folder 8

Audio Cassettes - U-405 KTB (August 16-September 16, 1942), undated

Box 11 Folder 9

Audio Cassettes - U-405 KTB: Report by Hopman-AOM Polar Sea (November-December 1942), undated

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