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The following file contains the official letter sent to Mrs. Scharhag regarding the death of her husband master signal mate Franz J. Scharhag who went down with the Bismarck at the age of 23. This letter was provided to the Archives by Gloria Scharhag, the wife of Franz's son, and it has been translated from the German by Ulrich H. Rudofsky and Andreas Müller. To view the original German language version, CLICK HERE

Obersignalmaat Franz J. Scharhag



The 2nd Admiral of the Baltic Sea Station                                                 Kiel, 4. July 1941
      Chief of Staff

Dear honorable Mrs. Scharhag!

It is with my deep sorrow that I must inform you that your husband, master signal mate Franz Scharhag, is not listed among the (those) rescued from the Battleship “Bismarck” on the final rosters received. Therefore, there is no doubt anymore that he found a hero’s death for the fatherland.

I have found it especially painful to have left you in a state of prolonged uncertainty regarding the fate of your husband. But the notification unfortunately could not be made sooner, because inquiries to the Red Cross have required a considerable amount of time.

Since his mortal remains were not recovered, your husband must be carried as “missing (in action)” for the duration of a legal waiting period. Then a death certificate will be issued by the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, Armed Forces Office of Information for War Casualties and Prisoners of War, Berlin W 30, Lohenstaufenstr. 47-48.

Your husband went to a hero’s death together with his Chief-of-the-Fleet and his comrades as a valiant German man in loyal duty to (the) Führer, (the) people, and (the) fatherland.

After a victorious battle against the largest battleship and true to their oath until death the heroes rest united on the ocean floor. They live on in our hearts for distant times as an example for young soldiers of our ships.

May this consciousness (knowledge) and thought be a consolation (comfort) that your husband offered and sacrificed his life for Germany’s liberty and greatness.

With sincere compassion


                                                                                              S. Sorge
                                                                                            Kapitän-zur-See (Captain)
                                                                                          and Chief of Staff of
                                                                                        the 2nd Admiral of the Baltic Sea Station

Crossed out stamp at left: Für richtige Abschrift (signature illegible) chief bookkeeper

Gebührenfrei! (gratis or free-of-charge)

Official seal:
Upper half: Polizeipräsidium in Kiel (Police Headquarters in Kiel)
Lower half: 2. Polizei-Revier-Meldestelle (2nd Police Precinct Reporting Office)

Stamp on right: Daß vorstehende (r crossed out) Abschrift - (Auszug crossed out)
mit der Urschrift wörtlich übereinstimmt,
wird hiermit bescheingt.

That preceding transcript - abstract - agrees with the original document
is being herewith certified.
Kiel 17. July 1941
(signature and title illegible)

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