Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Greeks, Germans, and Gaels Commemorate Gallantry in 1939 Ireland.

More than 200 people attended various celebratory events in Ventry on Saturday, October 17 2009 to mark the rescue and landing of the Greek seamen.

The occasion was organised by the newly formed Ventry Historical Society.

The main ceremony was held on the green in front of Quinn's Pub, where an inscribed commemorative stone has been erected.

Guests included the German Ambassador Dr. Busso von Alvensleben and the Mayor of the Oinousses Islands in the Aegean, Evangelos Elias Angelakos who unveiled the memorial stone.

Other guests included descendants of Panagos Pateras, the captain and owner of the ill-fated Diamantis, officers of the Southern Command, members of the Irish Coast Guard, the crew of the Valentia lifeboat and a troop of Sea Scouts from Tralee.

The secretary of the historical society, Dr Breandán Ó Ciobháin, delivered a welcoming address in Irish, English, Greek and German and invited the German ambassador to address the gathering.

"I'm deeply moved about this gererous gesture of erecting this memorial. In that terrible war, which we all remember very well, it was indeed an exceptional action that we are going to honour today. I'm more than happy that nowadays our three countries are united in the European Union and that we can be sure that anything like that will never occur again. The only thing that should survive is the sense of magnanimity and of courage that will serve as an example for all of us," he said.

Mayor Angelakos said it was a great honour to attend the Ventry ceremony 70 years after the incident.

"I would like to remind you of the magnanimous stance of Werner Lott*, the commander of the U-35,
The Kerryman Newspaper

* Kptlt. Werner Lott was commander of U-35 from 15 August 1937 until 29 November 1939.
He was born on 03 December 1907 in Willenberg, East Prussia. He entered the Navy in 1926 (Crew 1926). He was promoted to the rank of Kapitänleutnant (Lietenant Commander) on 01 October 1934 (10th in the class). From September 1936 - 31 March 1937, he was commander of U-21. During April 1937, he participated in ship construction lessons at Germaniawerft, Kiel. From 15 April 1937 to 15 August 1937, he was commander of U-32. [1,3,15]
"I was named as commander of U-35 by Dönitz personally on 15 August 1937. Thereupon I gave up command of U-32 to Paul Büchel

"On board HMS KINGSTON after the sinking of U-35, Werner Lott entered the following note in the wardroom visitor's book: "Wishing you the best of luck except against German U-Boats" .
He was assigned POW Number 37421.

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