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SHARKHUNTERS International
2010 Argentina - we visit GRAF SPEE History.

After the beautiful Panzerschiff GRAF SPEE was blown up and scuttled in Montevideo Harbor, the crew was interned in Argentina.  While many of the officers found their way back to Germany and back into the war, most of the enlisted men moved to the little town of Villa General Belgrano in Cordoba Province, about 450 or 500 miles to the northwest of Buenos Aires.  At that time, this was far out in the Argentine wilderness.  Today this is a thriving resort town and GRAF SPEE souvenirs are found everywhere.  There is even a memorial to the ship and crew in the heart of town.  Come with us now as we visit this beautiful town.

 

For those of you who do not read Spanish, "Alpendorf" (photo left) means Alpine Village and "Steinhaus" (photo right) means stone house.  Wait a minute.........isn't that German language - out here in the middle of nowhere in Cordoba Province?
 

 

Soon we arrive at our hotel - the Edelweiß Hotel

 

then we tour the quaint little village of Villa General Belgrano

     
 

The main street of this village is not long, but we find the municipal

 

building (city hall, police etc.) and a memorial to GRAF SPEE

 

 

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We visit with a charming old gentleman - only 90 years of age but you would really think he was 65 or 70.  This is Fritz Sanders of the crew of GRAF SPEE.  His job was to operate the crane that brought the scout plane back aboard the great ship.

Young Fritz in the Kriegsmarine GRAF SPEE Fritz today
     
 

Fritz and his charming wife were lovely people, but we did not wish

 

to intrude too long so after a short visit, we departed.


Our next attraction is in the heart of the village of Villa General Belgrano - the Monument to GRAF SPEE and her crew.

Our traveling has made us hungry, so our next stop now is a nice restaurant.  Not just any restaurant, but the best restaurant in town and strangely enough, it is the Münchener Restaurant...............

 

In the restaurant, Nahuel enjoys his beer.  Last time we saw

 

steins filled like that was Oktoberfest in München.

     
 
Schweinebraten mit spätzle und rot kohl   Wurst mit kraut und kartofeln

The food and atmosphere was really great.  Now it is time to visit the man who built the monument and look at his treasures.

 
Our host has a veritable museum here   All artifacts from men of GRAF SPEE
     
 

What we are seeing is merely a scratch of

 

the tip of the iceberg of what he has.

     
 

In addition to literally thousands of such artifacts, our host also has a photo scrapbook of GRAF SPEE with photos showing her building up in the yards, her Indienststellung, her officers and men, her capturing merchant ships, the big guns blazing and so much more.  While we cannot estimate how many photos are in his book, we can say it is about four inches thick - a fantastic pictorial history of this beautiful ship.

CLICK HERE and we visit the little compound the crewmen built in 1939/1940 just outside this town.
 

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