Claims that Felix von Luckner as having spent time as a spy and saboteur?

von Luckner

Great site you have on v. Luckner. Thanks!

I am particularly interested in claims I have read that describe v. Luckner as having spent time as a spy and saboteur. I see no mention of such on your  site.



Wm Yerkes

Hello William,

My thanks for your kind comments.

I have not seen any references to von Luckner being either a spy or a saboteur.

On his world tour from May 1937 until June of 1939, it was certainly designed as a propaganda tour partly supported by funds from Goebell's Department. The aims of this voyage as far as the Nazi authorities were concerned was to assist with " German propaganda" and " To elicit understanding for National Socialism."  here I quote fom James N. Bade's " von Luckner: A Reassessment.

" Count von Luckner in New Zealand and the South Pacific 1917-1919 and 1938.

Published by Peter Lang.Frankfurt am Main. 2004.

How well the Count carried out his part in disseminating German propaganda on this voyage seems open to doubt, there are reports that he ordered propaganda material to be dumped overboard  near the Panama Canal. He was reportedly friendly to Jewish people on this cruise, that did not sit well with the Nazi regime.

On the 5th. of August 1939, a Special Court of Honour met to consider whether von Luckner " had on his world cruise between May 1937 and June 1939 not kept to the Nationalist Socialist attitude expected of him and treated this trip, undertaken primarily in the interests of propaganda, as a private pleasure cruise."

The Chairman Dr Lehmann of the German Armed Forces High Command in his report concluded: " The trip, for which he received a considerable contribution from the Reich, was supposed to elicit and support appreciation for the new Germany. For outside appearances it was supposed to be mounted as a private pleasure cruise. The most contradictory remarks have been put forward as to the way Count von Luckner fulfilled this task. A final judgement of this question is at the moment not possible, as it presupposes extensive investigations overseas."

As Hitler had invaded Poland which set off WW2, that put a stop to any further investigations overseas.

But Lehmann went on to this conclusion: " Count Luckner will for the indefinite future be asked under no circumstances to make public appearances, to lead the completely retired life of a private person, and to make sure that in the press and in other public spheres his person is no long remembered in any way."

In short, the Nazi regime did not want to know the Count, nor did they want anyone else to remember him.

There is documentation about him assisiting a Jewish lady to escape the clutches of the Jewish Hunters in WW2 by providing her with a passport.

He also saved the city of Halle from destruction at the hands of the advancing US Army by negotiating with them to bypass the city.

William, these are basically the reasons why I do not make mention of spying, or spreading Nazi propaganda just prior to WW2 by the Count.

I still consider him a remarkable figure from WW1 in his handling of the Raider Seeadler, and also an honourable man and sailor.

My apologies for going on so long.

Best regards,

Mac. Gregory.

back to letters index

This site was created as a resource for educational use and the promotion of historical awareness. All rights of publicity of the individuals named herein are expressly reserved, and, should be respected consistent with the reverence in which this memorial site was established.

Copyright© 1984/2014 Mackenzie J. Gregory All rights reserved