Award-winning author Cathryn Prince of Weston will discuss her new book, Death in the Baltic: The World War II Sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, on Monday, May 6, at 7:30 p.m. in the Westport Library’s McManus Room. Books will be available for purchase and signing at the event, which is free and open to the public.
Ms. Prince and her book were featured in the April 18 Forum. As reported, more than 9,000 German civilians drowned in the freezing waters of the Baltic Sea toward the end of World War II — six times the number lost on the Titanic. Yet this disaster went unreported; no one wanted to acknowledge the tragedy as the Cold War began. Now, almost 70 years later, Ms. Prince’s book has captured the historic event.
“An engaging study of a shocking tragedy,” declared Kirkus Reviews.
In January 1945, the outcome of World War II had been determined. The Third Reich was in free fall as the Russians closed in from the east. Berlin planned an 11th-hour exodus for the German civilians trapped in the Red Army’s way. More than 10,000 women, children, sick, and elderly boarded the Wilhelm Gustloff, a former cruise ship. Soon after the ship left port, three Soviet torpedoes struck it, inflicting catastrophic damage and throwing passengers into the frozen waters of the Baltic.
Her book draws on interviews with survivors, as well as the letters and diaries of those who perished, to reconstruct this forgotten moment in history.
Ms. Prince is the author of A Professor, a President, and a Meteor: The Birth of American Science, for which she won the Connecticut Press Club’s 2011 Book Award for nonfiction. She is also the author of Burn the Town and Sack the Banks: Confederates Attack Vermont! and Shot from the Sky: American POWs in Switzerland. She worked as a correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor in Switzerland and in New York, where she covered the United Nations. Ms. Prince works as a freelance journalist.
For more information, call 203-291-4800 or visit westportlibrary.org.