HELMUT RUGE STORY
PART THREE - SOUTH AMERICA 1939 TO 1941
BUENOS AIRES, DECEMBER 1939 TO FEBRUARY 1940
Initially the crew were sent to 'Darsena Norte’, an old immigration camp in Buenos Aires left over from the beginning
of the century when the main Italian immigration into Argentina took place at the time the railways were built. We
were interned in Buenos Aires for around two months, before being transferred to a number of different camps in
order to reduce the chance of any united action being taken by the 1,100 members of the crew. All the officers were
to be interned on an island in the River Plate estuary.
Whilst we were in the camp in Buenos Aires we were supplied with civilian clothes by the German Government,
bought at the 'Casa lngles’, the only shop in Buenos Aires stocked with appropriate European clothes. We were allowed
to leave the camp between noon till 6 pm and as a result members of the large local German community were very
keen to meet and entertain the crew. We were able to meet many Germans who lived in Argentina and I was able
to play in matches at various sports against local teams. However, one of the people that I met, with two other
ex-'PT' Boat friends, was a German business man who originally came from Munich, called Mathias Zeiler, who owned
a local construction company. This meeting was to prove significant. By those strange chances in my life I was to
meet Mathias Zeiler again after the War 1956 when I was visiting the Reeperbahn in Hamburg with friends and
bumped into him in the street. I also found myself a very beautiful girlfriend in Beunos Aires called Hilde.
We were interrogated when we were in Buenos by an American agents, as the Americans were orchestrating
behind the scenes what was happening to us and they wished to find out what our operational plans and orders
were, without success in my case, as I gave the standard instructed reply of "no comment". I was to meet again, in
another extraordinary coincidence, this same FBI agent, when I attended a reception given by the Argentinean
Embassy in 1954 in Costa Rica. A man approached me the reception and said, "I recognise that nose, didn't
I interview you as a crew member of the 'Graf Spee' in Argentina in 1939". It was the American who interrogated me
in Buenos Aires in December 1940.
ST JUAN, FEBRUARY 1940 TO JANUARY 1941
In February 1940 I was sent, together with 50 other members of the crew, to be interned in St Juan, one and a half
day train ride from Buenos Aires, at the base of the Andes. By a lucky coincidence Mathais Zeiler was building a
barracks in the area for the Argentinean army Corps of Mountaineers and their mules and said I could have a job on
this site, providing I could get permission to leave the camp.
The camp was in a TB sanatorium about 30 kilometres from St Juan in a village called (?) and was under the
command of a Polish Jew, not the best choice to act as jailer to fifty citizens of 'The Fatherland' at that time in
German history! The senior German NCO responsible for the interned crew at St Juan was Herbert Brugman.
The sanatorium was only half built and had no facilities at all, our lavatory being the nearby cactus field. It was
only after visit by the 'Graff Spee's' doctor, whose job it was to visit the camps where the crew were interned to
check that they met conformed with conditions required by the Geneva Convention that we then had made a long
wooden 'multi-seater' lavatory, built over a pit, where a dozen men could sit to discuss life and carry-out their bodily
Initially we were unable to get permission to work on Matthias Zeiler's barracks project. However, after some
months, the internees were allowed out of the camp at certain hours and at weekends, being able to stay off camp
on the Saturday night. I asked whether I and one of my 'PT' Boat friends, called Heinz Geef, who had trained as a
mason, could get permission to get a job and to work on Zeiler's project. This was eventually granted around April
1940 and as the site needed both masons and carpenters we started work. Heinz as a mason and me as a helper
to the carpenters. I was also able to get permission for two other internees to work on the site.
The project was in a village called (Desemporados?) 18 kilometres from the Camp, which required us to leave
Camp at 4 am and walk to the site, returning to Camp at around 7pm in the evening. The distance we had to cover
each day was to prove good training for our later escape and we used to build up our stamina by running some of
the way. On the way back we would pass the small shops in the town and be invited in by their owners for a drink.
which was generally Grappa, an Italian spirit made from grapes. Many evenings we returned to camp tried, but
Eventually, around July, we got a permit to live outside the Camp and to stay at the site, living in a shack with some
Swiss carpenters who were also working on the project. We now had a semblance of independence, if not freedom,
and were able to go in the evenings and weekends by bus to St Juan and not have to return to camp with its
restrictions and rules, every evening. Our fellow Swiss workers had also organised their social life and would hold
parties every two weeks or so, to which they invited certain of the local girls. These girls used an interesting method
of birth control, ... but I have never been able to enjoy soda water ever since!
The living in the shack was very primitive, for example, water was supplied to the local villages by open ditch along
side the road. The authorities who controlled the supply from a river higher up in the hills would divert the water
every other day for a set time into the appropriate ditch for a village. When the water came down the ditch everyone
waited for the initial head of the water to pass carrying away the filth before drawing from the ditch any of the clean
water that followed to fill their buckets.
While working on the building site we thought we should try and escape. The opportunity came about through a
contact I had made with a German called ( ? ) Melcher who came from north Germany, who owned a construction
business in St Juan and whose family I got to know very well during my time at the camp. The cook from the 'Spee'
also used to cook for him at times and he stayed on alter the war to work for him and eventually ended up owning
a hotel in St Juan. One day when I mentioned to Melcher that I wanted to escape he said that he had a friend, a
Spaniard of Basque origin and who was pro German, that owned a lead mine high up in the Andes. He said he
would approach him and try and did arrange a meeting for me with him.
I had decided to escape because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do so. Most of the officers from the 'Spee'
were assisted in one way or another to escape to Brazil or other South American countries and then on to Lisbon
and thus back to Germany. Nothing was arranged for us in San Juan, as we were too far from Buenos Aires to use
the organised "escape routes". I wished to show that it could be done without official help.
When I met the Basque he confirmed that he would help us and that he knew of a Chilean Don Vicente, who hunted
chinchilla in the Andes and who might act as our guide. Don Vicente would know when the pass was open and he
knew a valley to the pass where the big ranch owners in St Juan sent their horses, mules and donkeys for grazing
and fattening when the grass was long. He contacted Don Vicente who also agreed to help us, but said that we
would have to go in early January as the pass was only open for a few days during that month. It was decided
therefore, that we should leave on the 6th January.
The problem was how to leave the building contract for sufficient time before it was noticed that we were missing.
The solution was solved by means of one of the official procedures that had been set up by the Argentinean
authorities to check that we were turning up to work at the Site each day. An official had to visit the Site everyday to
obtain our signatures in a book as proof that we were at the Site. He had a girl friend on the way to the Site and
once he said he couldn't make it. We said that was all right, we would sign in advance for the next day to help him
out. Eventually we were able to persuade him to allow us to sign for a few days in advance so that he wouldn't have
to come every day. Initially for one or two days in advance, then a week, until finally we got him to accept our
signatures for three weeks in advance.
Another German friend I made in St Juan was Walter Shultz who had a small farm in the area. He had up until the
War started been the manager of the local English owned vineyard. He had also been a fighter pilot ace in the First
World War. Heinz and myself helped him in one or two ways and we became friendly, so when Christmas 1940
approached he invited us to spend Christmas Eve with his family.
When we turned up who should I find there as another of his guests, but my girlfriend from Buenos Aires, Hilde.
She, by coincidence, knew a family in St Juan who told that I was spending Christmas with Walter Shultz and it was
agreed for her to be invited as well, so Hilde arranged to take a month's vacation in St Juan to be with me. This
family made all the arrangements so that she could meet me at Shultz's party on the 24th December. This was to
create a problem as we had planned to make our escape to Chile on the 6th January and we could not delay as the
pass over the Andes was only open between the 6th and 13th of January. I could not tell her that I was escaping
and that I had to set off before her holiday was over, Eventually I had to go without saying good bye.
When I was able to communicate again, once the war was over, I wrote to Hilde from Ellis Island. Her mother
replied saying she had destroyed the letter. Her mother, although German, was not a supporter of Nazi Germany
and she told me that she could not understand how I could be so obedient to my ideals to consider it more
important to escape back to Germany than to be with her daughter, especially considering that she travelled all the
way to St Juan to see me. She had told her daughter never to get in touch with me again. She explained it had been
very difficult for Hilde after I left and once, for example, when she had received a proposal of marriage, she had
replied to the man I cannot because I am waiting for Helmut. She had eventually got married and
when my letter arrived her mother had destroyed it because she did not want to open old wounds again for her daughter. In
1996 when I visited Argentina with Priscilla, I tried to trace Hilde, but not knowing her married name I was sadly
unsuccessful saying good bye.
CROSSING THE ANDES, JANUARY 1941
DAY 1 .
After spending eleven months at St Juan, Heinz, and myself left the shack with our few belongings, supposedly to
go to work as usual, met the Basque and set off in his car, a SX Super 6, a small 2 seater car. The car was a 2
seater, but which had a trunk that opened to provide 2 more seats for occasional passengers. The Basque had taken
out these seats so that he could carry more luggage and we had, therefore, to make the journey sitting on food
Our route took us through the towns of Talacasto and Jachal and the town of Rodeo where there was a border
check post. Before we arrived at the border check, the Basque made us lie down and hide in the trunk and then
closed the top over us. When we arrived at the border check be was questioned by the police as to why the car was
so heavily laden, be told them this was because he was carrying materials for the mine such a barbed wire. While
he was talking to the police, Heinz and myself were suffering in the trunk from the cramped conditions, the heat and
lack of air. We communicated with each other by tapping in morse and the longer we stayed stopped, the more
Heinz was getting desperate, saying he could not last out much longer, until when he said he could finally take
no more, the police at last told the Spaniard that he could, wishing him a good trip. As soon it was safe to do so.
the Basque stopped the car and opened the trunk and let us out once again in to the fresh air and with cramp in our
legs and unable to walk.
We followed a river and we drove until the evening when we stopped to spend the night with an Indian family that
the Basque knew. who raised goats in a lonely area of the mountains. The family was very poor and Heinz and
myself had to sleep out in the open in holes in the ground, while the Basque slept in another hole with the 16 year
old daughter of the family. This apparently was normal procedure wherever he visited the mine, stopping with this
family to break up the journey.
DAY 2 .
In the morning he woke us up, we had a simple meal and continued on our journey. On the way, we saw an Emu
and were told by the Don Vicente to shoot it, which I attempted to do without success, before handing the gun to
Don Vicente who succeeded in shooting the bird himself. That night when we got to the mine we cooked this huge
bird, which we found to be hard and tough and not pleasant to eat.
At the mine we were introduced to Don Vicente, our guide to take us over the Andes into Chile. Don Vicente was a
Chilean, about 50 years of age, who had lived and hunted chinchilla in the Andes for around 30 years. He had been
forced to spend his life in the mountains away from civilisation because, when young, he had tried to avoid doing his
army service in Chile and had shot 2 Chilean policeman who had been sent to arrest him causing him to have to
flee and hide in the mountains. He also could not go to towns or villages in Argentina because of the extradition
agreement between both countries. He caught the chinchillas with his bare hands, with the result that the ends of
his fingers had been bitten off by the chinchillas.
Whilst we were at the mine a stranger who was working elsewhere in the mountains came to speak to the owner.
The Basque said that we must not be seen by the stranger and told us to hide in the lead mine where we were
forced to spend three hours in the freezing cold until the stranger left. Once the stranger had gone we were able to
spend the night in a shack used by the Basque when he has to stay at the mine.
DAY 3 .
The next morning after breakfast Don Vicente appeared with three horses for us. There was only one saddle so
Henz and myself had to ride our horses on wool rags that were bound on top of them. Luckily we were able to ride a
horse as we had ridden during our time at St Juan and I had also learnt to ride a horse when a child in Cuxhaven on
a neighbours farm. To provide us with some form of story should we be stopped by the police and questioned, we
took with us a few pieces of lead as samples so that we could pretend to be Swedish geologists who were
prospecting for lead in the Andes.
We followed the Rio Blanco and rode for 6 or 7 hours, by which time the horses were really tired when we came
across a herd of about 150 horses. Don Vicente was good at using the lasso and he caught three fresh horses for
us to use. Leaving the three original horses with the herd, we continued on our way up in to the mountains on the
new fresher mounts. When we stopped for the night, Don Vicente made bread from a paste of flour, salt and snow,
cooked in a hole lined with hot stones heated from the fire. It was most delicious, although as they say in Germany,
"hunger makes for a good cook". We spent the night sleeping in the open on the grass and moss, covered by the
stinking, sweat covered rags off the horses.
DAY 4 .
The next day we continued on higher up in to the mountains until we found a herd of mules, four of which we
exchanged for our horses. The mules were much perfectly suited to the difficult terrain we were now having to travel
over. Later in the day when the mules had become exhausted, we swapped them for donkeys that we found
grazing. The donkeys although incapable of carrying us could carry our baggage and we continued on ever higher
until stopping again to spend another cold night in the Andes.
DAY 5 .
The next we climbed ever higher on foot, having abandoned the donkeys, over a 'pass' up the Cerro Las Torolas,
which rise to 20,745 ft (6,325 m), until the pass reached a height of 13,000 ft (4,000 m), at which altitude we were
struggling to breathe, Don Vicente was acclimatised to this altitude but we were having great difficulty in breathing
and to keep walking, even two steps making us breathless. Luckily neither of us got altitude sickness, "La Puna",
that can effect people not used to living at such heights with vomiting and fainting.
We came to an extraordinary and beautiful forest of snow columns situated on the rim of the Andes. Here the
strong winds that continuously blow from the barren Chilean side have carried stones and rocks, up to 20 cm in
size, over the rim and into the snow field, which is present summer and winter, on the Argentinean side. The rocks
being slightly warm melt the snow and over the years create incredible columns of snow. We had to pass through
this snow forest with the snow columns being so close together they could only be got through on foot.
Don Vicente lead us through the snow forest and we started toward the Chilean side until evening when he said that
he could not risk going any closer into Chile and told us to go along a trail for about 1 kilometre (it proved to be
nearer 10km) until we got to some disused hot wells and then to follow a path that goes down from the wells to the
main road that goes to Rivadavia.
It was now dark as we set off down a very narrow path used only by animals and by "iodine smugglers" going to
Argentina from Chile. On one side of the path was a steep bank which Heinz fell down about 50 meters. It took him
a long time to try and climb back because as he struggled to get a grip on the loose rocks and soil of the bank to
climb back the ground would slip and taking him down again. I could see him and whistled to him through
sunburnt lips so that he would know where I was, Finally he got back to the path exhausted, with his hands, arms
and legs cut and bleeding from the fall and from the climbing back. He said he was all right so we went on slowly and
carefully down the path to the wells.
We got to the wells about five hours later in the early morning, where we undressed and jumped in to a well to rest
and try and restore our tired bodies. The wells, which were supplied from hot springs, had once been developed as a
place for the local Chileans to visit and relax in but had fallen in to disuse probably over 50 years before. We slept
by the wells and then moved on at 8 in the morning, once it was daylight and after we had eaten some of the bread
we were carrying.
DAY 6 .
We continued walking down the trail until we finally reached a road which was next to a river, which although yellow
in colour did not stop us drinking from it as we were very thirsty by this time. We then followed the road until Heinz
said that he was too exhausted to continue any further. Heinz did not play any sports like me and was not therefore
as fit as I was and the journey had taken more out of him than me, so I told him we could rest for a couple of hours.
We both fell asleep on the edge of the road, to be woken up by a truck thundering by. We shouted without effect
and it was only when I managed to whistle, that the driver must have become aware of us in his rear view mirror
We explained that we were Swedish prospectors wanting to go to Rivadavia, but he was not deceived, guessing
that we were German and telling us not to give him "bullshit" or the equivalent expression of the times. He said that
he had friend at the port of Coquimbo where there were two small German ships, the 'Quito' and the 'Bogota', which
had been used around the Chilean coast to ports inaccessible to ocean going ships picking up cargoes and
passengers to transfer to the larger liners at Coquimbo. He told us that he would take us to the nearby port of La
Serena. I noticed that he was wearing a cap from the German Merchant Marine and he explained that he was a
Chilean of Spanish origin, called Don Bosco, who had a farm higher up in the Andes and was on his way to another
farm he had near (Acunya?). He was, by coincidence, also a friend of Captain Meier.
He had to hide us under the tarpaulins on his truck so that we could get past a police border check post outside
Rivadavia and we eventually arrived at Don Bosco's house in (Acunya?), five days after leaving the camp in St Juan
CHILE, JANUARY 1941 TO APRIL 1941
We had crossed over one of the high passes of the Andes by a mixture of horse, mule, donkey and ultimately on
foot, with little in the way of proper provisions or correct clothing, travelling at altitude without hats or any form of
protection from the burning sun. The exposed parts of our bodies had been badly burnt and our faces had strips of
burnt skin hanging from them. At no time, however, did I think that we might not succeed, youthful optimism and a
the feeling of adventure sustained me. I was, though, later to have doubts that we would escape from Chile once it
became evident that the ports were virtually closed to, not only German ships, but also Japanese.
We spent the night at Don Bosco's beautiful little house and the next day we left for La Serena, a long trip which
required spending a night on route in a small village at another of Don Bosco's farms, this one consisting of a
couple of shacks where he bought and smoked peaches to sell to big canning companies. The peaches are first
peeled then laid out on sieves and smoked over sulphur smoke. This process turns them yellow, the colour of
tinned peaches world-wide. We spent the night there enjoying eating some of smoked peaches and where was
woken in the morning by a chicken picking at the burnt skin hanging from my face.
The next day we arrived in La Serena where Don Bosco contacted the agent for the Hapag & Lloyd merchant
shipping line of Germany to see if we could get on a ship sailing to Japan and then said farewell and left us with the
agent. The agent told us that there was no chance of getting a ship from Coquimbo due to the blockade by the
British navy and suggested we try Valparaiso where he had a lady friend who was a nurse in a hospital there. He
went with us to the railway station and made the reservations and bought us railway tickets as we could speak very
little Spanish and gave us a recommendation to give to the nurse.
Although we thought the train was going to Valparaiso, it was in fact going to Santiago, where we were forced to
spend the night. On arrival at Santiago station we asked a taxi to take us to a hotel, which turned out to be the Hotel
Rio Rhine. This hotel was little more than a brothel, the doors having spy holes in them so that a check could be
kept on the 'girls' and their customers. Throughout the night we were spied on by the girls who laughed at us and
shouted insults at us through the door wanting to know why were we staying at the hotel and not using their
services! To add "injury to insult", the beds were full of bedbugs and after I had caught a matchbox full of them, we
abandoned the bed and slept on the floor. We left the next morning and took the train on to Valparaiso.
When we arrived in Valparaiso we went straight to the hospital and introduced ourselves to the head nurse who was
the friend of the Hapag & Lloyd agent in Coquimbo. She arranged to us to be admitted and we were put in a room
where we relished the wonderful beds and the chance to shower and clean ourselves up and get treatment for our
sunburn. Conveniently, at that time in the harbour of Valparaiso was a famous German square rigger sailing ship
called the 'Priwall', which was subsequently to be donated to the Chilean Navy as a training ship and we pretended
that we were members of the 'Priwall' crew suffering from severe sunburn. We stayed there as long as we were
able to pretend to be ill by warming up the thermometers when our temperatures were taken, to the confusion of the
doctors who could not understand how we had high temperatures yet appeared to be otherwise fit and well.
Another coincidence I was to find out later, was that a friend of mine, Hans Oldheifer, from Cuxhaven was a cadet
on the 'Priwall' when it was in Valparaiso at that time. He was later to be smuggled back to Germany on a German
liner and I was to meet him again in Germany in 1946 when we were both involved in the 'black market' that
operated after the War from the US air base at Nordholz.
We finally had to leave the hospital after a week, but whilst still there, I had yet another of those incredible
coincidences that have effected my life when I went one evening to the Plaza Central in Valparaiso to listen to the
band that played there. There I met a friend from Cuxhaven called Carsten Brodersen who was working at that time
in Chile as a teacher. We had been members of the same athletic club in Cuxhaven and he arranged for us to stay
with another German family who lived in Valparaiso, called Friedrichs. We stayed with this family for several days
during which time I changed my name to Muller.
However, the Friedrichs were already being watched by the Chilean authorities, so I was sent back to Santiago to
stay with another family who were of German origin but were second generation Chileans and Heinz went to stay
with another German family who had a fruit farm and Heinz worked for them in their garden.
There was introduced to the manager of the Lloyds agents in Santiago, called Von Appen. He said that there was
nothing that he was able to do to help us a get a ship back to Germany, but he introduced us to man who turned out
to be a Gestapo official. He was in Chile under a French passport in the name of Regnille, but was in fact a German
citizen from Alsace Lorraine whose real name was Ellinger, his false name being the reverse of his real name!
Ellinger arranged for us to get Chilean passports. He had a passport that could easily be adapted for Heinz, who
was nearly bald, but in my case, my blonde hair was a problem in a country of majoritively dark haired people. He
said he had a passport of someone close to your build and age, but you will have to dye your hair.
We went to a German barber, where the girl who was to dye my hair could not understand why I should want to do
this and said "Why do you change the colour of your beautiful blonde hair?". I reassured her that I was in Chile
making a film for an American company and that I would change my hair back to blonde once the filming was over.
The procedure of dyeing the hair was first to dye it red, then brown, although changing the colour of my eyebrows
proved to be a problem and I ended up with coloured spots around my eyes until they washed off after a number of
Having got the new photograph of me it then had to be stuck in the passport in place of the existing. This was
difficult because the existing photo had an official stamp stamped on it. The changing of the photos whilst retaining
the official stamp was done by rolling a warm hard boiled egg over the existing photograph to remove the stamp on
it, exchanging the original photograph with mine, then replacing the stamp by taking the hard boiled egg with the
stamp on it and rolling it over my photograph which cleverly put back the official stamp on to my photograph. I now
became Podolfo Betge, a Chilean born on 25th November 1915. Heinz became (name?).
When in Valparaiso, we met the German captain, called Von Appen, responsible in South America for the
inspection of German ships visiting South America. He suggested that, because of the British blockade of Chilean
ports, we might have a better chance of getting a ship from Peru. We therefore took the train north for two days to the
town of Iquique on the coast around 300 kms from the Peruvian border.
Here we learnt that there was no possibility whatsoever of sailing from Peru as Peru had confiscated all German
ships and no Japanese ships were calling at Peruvian harbours. We had no option but to go back and decided to try
the northern Chilean port of Antofagasta.
We got a lift from a friend of Ellinger who was driving up to Antofagasta in his car, a trip which took us through the
desert of northern Chile and the area of the saltpetre mines. As we drove into Antofagasta, disaster struck when our
car collided with a local school bus, slightly injuring some of the children. Because of our illegal papers it would have
been dangerous to stay at the scene of the accident and had, unfortunately no alternative but to run from the crash
Being sailors our natural reaction was to make for the port area where we believed it would be easier for us to avoid
the authorities and where, in one of the bars met two "ladies" who hid us in their rooms. "Ladies" with hearts of gold,
of which the one who hid me was called Anna, a name that was to re-occur number of times during my life
and I have found that I always seem to get on well with people of that name.
The Chilean police eventually started to search the port area and we had to find a way of escape so went down to
the docks where we saw a motor boat leave a German liner, called the 'Rhakotis', anchored in the harbour and
come to the dockside. When the motor boat had tied up and the captain had disembarked, I spoke to him in Nether
German, the local dialect of north eastern Germany, so that nobody would understand what I was saying and asked
him to take us on board his ship. Captain Jacobs was very reluctant to do so because of the risks he and the ship
would face if it was found out, but we luckily and he kindly was persuaded to take us on board, where we hid from
the Chilean port workers until the 'Rhakotis' sailed. However, before we sailed we met again the Lloyds agent for
South America, Von Appen, when he visited the ship as part of the checks he was carrying out on all the German
ships in Antofagasta.
At that time there were other German ships in Chile trying to escape the blockade of South American Pacific coast
ports imposed by the British Navy auxiliary cruisers the 'Prince Henry' and 'Prince Albert'. These German ships
were the 'Quito' and the 'Bogota' and a large new ship of the Lloyd Line, the 'Osorno'. The 'Osorno' had been
sheltering in the port of Valdivia where there happened to be a German brewery. The brewery had an official
government quota of diesel oil and this oil was, little by little, sneaked in drums on to the 'Osorno', sufficient not only
to fill the ships tanks, but also to be able store many more drums in the holds.
The Osorno had then put to sea and had drifted in the Humbold current under temporary sails made from the
tarpaulins used to cover the holds, in order to save fuel by not using the engines. The ship drifted up as far as Peru
and then sailed back down the Chile coast, being careful to avoid the blockading auxiliary cruisers, the 'Prince
Albert' and 'Prince Henry' which had been converted into cruisers from merchant ships
The plan was that when it was known that the blockading ships were not off the Chilean coast, the 'Rhakotis' in
Antofagasta and the 'Quito' and 'Bogota' in Coquimbo would sail and meet up with the 'Osorno' and take on
sufficient fuel to get them to the Marshall Islands where they could get more fuel from the German tanker the 'Elsa
Essberger' that was waiting there. The 'Rhakotis', for example, when we left Antofagasta had only enough fuel to
steam for 24 hours.
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