Eichendorffschule Wolfsburg

Hans Möller

This cemetery is the final resting place of not only German soldiers, but also of 48 civilians who lost their lives during World War Two.

One of them is Hans Möller, a German Jew. He was born in Bremen, Germany on 21st August 1912. In 1938 due to the increasing hate of Jews in Germany he fled to London via the Netherlands and Belgium. There, at the age of 26, he met Dora Lucas and learned to love her. In 1939 they got engaged and moved to an apartment in Hammersmith, a district in London.

However, the happy times weren’t meant to last. Great Britain declared war on Germany after the German invasion on Poland. Hans Möller was interned as an “Enemy Alien” in November 1939. At the internment camp, Warner’s Holiday Camp, Seaton Doon in Devon, he was forced to weave nets. Without success, his fiancé Dora Lucas fought for his release.

When the war broke out many people in England, those that had fled from Germany and its National Socialist Dictatorship, like Hans Möller had, were interned as “Enemy Aliens”.

The internment camps were therefore quickly overcrowded. They often consisted of two sections: one for National Socialists and one for Communists. Those who didn’t fit into either category ended up with the National Socialists.

To ease the tension at the camps, plans were made to relocate interns to Canada by ship. As a British Dominion, Canada stood by Great Britain during the war against National Socialist Germany.

One of those ships was the Arandora Star. On 1st July 1940 it went to sea carrying 1657 passengers, including Hans Möller. The ship was hopelessly overcrowded.

On 2nd July 1940, just one day after its departure, a German submarine torpedoed the ship, 120 kilometers off Donegal, Ireland and it sank within an hour. One of the survivors remembers the indescribable panic and chaos when the interns tried to get on deck in absolute darkness. After succeeding a barbed wire fence blocked their way to the lifeboats. Many sustained severe injuries while trying to overcome that obstacle.

In total, 805 passengers drowned. Many were washed up on the Irish coast. Hans Möller met the same fate. His corpse was recovered on the coast of Maghery, Dungloe. Presumably he broke his neck when falling into water.

He was wearing a life jacket and a policeman found a paper with the letterhead of his fiancé’s employer in London in his purse. Furthermore, a songbook titled “Holiday Songs” with the annotation “In memory of many sing-song whilstmaking nets in hut D21, Warner’s Camp, Seaton, 7/4/1940” was found with him.

With the support of the London Metropolitan Police the Irish police located Hans Möller’s fiancé Dora Lucas, who identified his body. She confirmed that they had lived together and vainly tried to retrieve his belongings, which have been sent to the Irish embassy in Dublin.

At first Hans Möller was buried at a catholic cemetery in Termon, Maghery. In 1960, 20 years after his death, the transfer of his body to the German Military Cemetery Glencree was made possible.

Hans Möller shares a gravestone with Hans Denes, another Jewish victim of the ship accident. Today they lie buried among German soldiers, whom they originally wanted to escape. The Star of David, engraved on their gravestone, is probably the only consolation they now have. Hopefully it is a consolation for the visitors of this grave, too.