Otto Giese Papers, 1938-1979: Finding Aid
Published in May 2003
- Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
- Publisher Address:
589 McNair Road
Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
- Call number: MS 346
- Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
- Title: Otto Giese Papers
- Dates: 1938-1979
- Size: 4.88 linear feet
- Container Summary: 7 manuscript boxes, 1 half-manuscript box, 3 flat 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.
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.
The material is arranged chronologically, unless otherwise noted.
Access and Use
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.
Acquisition and Appraisal
Provenance and Acquisition
Gift of Otto Giese and Capt. James E. Wise, USN (Ret.) in October 2001 and May 2003. Accession No. 01-28 and 03-15.
Processing and Other Information
Otto Giese Papers, MS 346
Special Collections & Archives Department
United States Naval Academy
This collection was processed by Ruth Hennessy in May 2003. Finding aid written by Ruth Hennessy in May 2003.
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
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).