Hindenburg’s Maiden Voyage Passenger List

Hindenburg’s first flight to the United States was filled with journalists, prominent notables, frequent zeppelin travelers, and members of the Nazi elite.

(For more information about the flight, see below:  Was it really the “Maiden Voyage”?)

The following passenger list is based on the manifest submitted the United States Immigration Service upon Hindenburg’s arrival at Lakehurst, New Jersey.  The additional information in italics is based on the author’s research.

Clara Adams and Amelia Earhart

Clara Adams
Age: 51
Nationality: United States
Home: Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

Clara Adams (biography) was an aviation enthusiast who developed a reputation as a “First Flighter” who traveled as a passenger on many important first flights by airships, flying boats, and other airliners. The American daughter of German parents, she was related to Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg, and through her connections in Germany she was introduced to Hugo Eckener and invited to fly on a test flight of the LZ-126.  In 1928, Adams purchased a ticket for the Graf Zeppelin’s first flight from North America to Europe in October, 1928; it was the first transatlantic air ticket ever sold to a female passenger.

Ralph Barnes
Age: 36
Nationality: United States
Home: Salem, Oregon

Ralph Waldo Barnes was the Berlin bureau chief for New York Herald Tribune at the time of Hindenburg’s flight, and was a last-minute addition to the flight.

William Gerhard Beckers
Age: 62
Nationality: United States
Home: Beckersville, NY

William Beckers was a German-born chemist who was on the Board of Directors of the Goodyear-Zeppelin Corporation.  Dr. Beckers founded the Beckers Aniline and Chemical Works (a dye company) in Brooklyn, New York in 1912, and his firm was later merged into the National Aniline & Chemical Company, of which Dr. Beckers was also a director.

golden-party-badgeJoseph Berchtold
Age: 39
Occupation: Journalist
Nationality: German
Home: Munich, Germany

Joseph Berchtold was the second Reichsfuhrer of the SS (from 1926-1927), the post that was later held by Heinrich Himmler from 1929-1945.  Berchtold was a very senior Alte Kampfer, and most likely wore his Golden Party Badge (right) during the flight.  Berchtold joined the Nazi Party in 1920 (Party number 750), and participated in the Hitler’s “Beerhall Putsch” of 1923.  Hitler eventually made him head of the SS, but he lost the position to political infighting and became a journalist.  In 1928 he founded the magazine “Der SA-Mann,” and when he flew on Hindenburg’s maiden voyage to America he was writer, editor, and Chief of Service for the Nazi Party newspaper Völkischer Beobachter.

Berchtold sitting behind Hitler during an election campaign flight (on Hitler's birthday, April 20, 1932)

Joseph Berchtold with Hitler in the early days

Rudolf Bluthner-Haessler

Rudolf Bluthner-Haessler
Age: 32
Occupation: Director
Nationality: German
Home: Leipzig, Germany

Dr. Rudolf Bluthner-Haessler was head of the Julius Bluthner Piano Company, which created the lightweight duralumin piano carried on Hindenburg during the 1936 season.

Kurt von Boeckmann
Age: 50
Nationality: German
Home: Berlin, Germany

Kurt von Boeckmann was a German broadcasting official; he was Director of the Bavarian Radio and Director of German shortwave radio transmissions (Intendant des Deutschen Kurzwellensenders).


Immigration Service passenger manifest. (click to enlarge)

Martha Elizabeth Brooke
Age: 64
Nationality: British
Home: London, England

Miss Brooke made a roundtrip on Hindenburg, returning with the ship to Germany on May 11. AP reporter Louis Lochner’s diary of the flight mentions that Miss Brooke was working as a journalist for the London Tattler.

carl-bruerCarl Bruer
Age: 66
Occupation: Manufacturer
Nationality: German
Home: Goslar, Germany

Carl Bruer was a manufacturer of fountain pens and owned the Greif-Werke pen factory in Golsar, Germany (which was eventually purchased by Pelikan).  Bruer was also a frequent traveler who wrote several books describing his zeppelin voyages including Erste Fahrt des Luftschiffes Hindenburg nach Nordamerika (about Hindenburg’s first voyage to America), Mit dem Luftschiff Graf Zeppelin nach Sud Amerika, Mit dem Luftschiff Graf Zeppelin nach Kairo, and Mit dem Luftschiff Graf Zeppelin nach Island.”  One of his books was published in English as “With the Zeppelin to South America: Diary of the Round Trip 1931.”

saint-logoLeslie Charteris
Age: 28
Occupation: Author
Nationality: England
Home: Weybridge, England

Leslie Charteris was a Chinese-English author best know as the creator of the character Simon Templar, known as The Saint.

Mrs Pauline Charteris
Age: 24
Nationality: England
Home: Weybridge, England

When Hindenburg’s bar ran out of gin toward the end of the flight, Pauline Charteris improvised a kirschwasser cocktail as a substitute for dry matinis at a late-night party in the smoking room, and introduced her fellow passengers to a song she had learned in Nassau: “œMamma don’t want no gin, because it makes her sin.”

Harold Dick's license as a balloon pilot

Harold Gustav Dick
Age: 29
Nationality: United States
Home: Akron, Ohio

Harold Dick was sent to Friedrichshafen in May, 1934, as the Goodyear-Zeppelin company representative in Germany.  Dick worked closely with all the leading figures in zeppelin aviation, and was an observer on numerous zeppelin flights.  Harold Dick’s notes and publications are an invaluable source of information about zeppelin aviation.

Gerard Dowdell
Age: 30
Occupation: Medical
Nationality: British
Home: Southampton, England

Dr. Dowdell won a free trip on Hindenburg in a contest held by a London newspaper.

veedol1Alfred Ernst
Age: 52
Nationality: German
Home: Hamburg, Germany

Alfred Ernst was an executive with the Tidewater Oil Company, which supplied the Veedol lubricating oil used aboard Hindenburg.

Karl Fickes
Age: 34
Nationality: United States
Home: 509 Crosoy Street, Akron Ohio

Karl Fickes was head of Goodyear’s blimp operations.

Franz Gayk
Age: 30
Occupation: Journalist
Nationality: German
Home: Berlin, Germany

Franz Gayk was a journalist and a photographer in the studio of Heinrich Hoffmann, Hitler’s official photographer and a close friend and art advisor to the Fuhrer; Hoffmann helped Hitler steal artwork from Jewish families and museums in occupied countries, and Hoffmann’s assistant Eva Braun became Hitler’s mistress.  Gayk himself took some of the last photographs of Adolf Hitler toward the very end of the war.  As a journalist, Gayk was on Hindenburg for the roundtrip, and returned to Germany with the ship on May 11.

Film of Passengers Disembarking after the Maiden Voyage

George Gee
Age: 48
Nationality: England
Home: London, England

Lady Grace Drummond-Hay
Age: 40
Occupation: Jouralist
Nationality: England
Home: England

Lady Grace Drummond-Hay (biography) was a reporter for the Hearst organization who was very closely associated with zeppelin travel.  She often traveled with her companion, fellow journalist Karl von Wiegand, as on this flight.

Hans Hinrichs
Age: 46
Nationality: United States
Home: 117 Liberty Street, New York, USA

Hans Hinrichs was a grain dealer, and he published a detailed description of the voyage in the June, 1936 issue of American Brewer magazine.  Hinrichs wrote hundreds postcards to friends during the flight using a rubber stamp printed: “Greetings from mid-ocean and mid-air.”


Norman Holden's ticket for the Hindenburg

Norman Holden’s ticket

Norman Edward Holden
Age: 56
Nationality: British
Home: London, England

Major Norman Holden was a British stockbroker and financier, and had received a pilot’s license in 1930.   He boarded Hindenburg with a letter of introduction to Ernst Lehmann from Captain A. G. Lamplugh, head of the British Aviation Insurance Company.

Max Jordan broadcasting from Hindenburg

Max Jordan broadcasting from Hindenburg

Max Jordan
Age: 41
Occupation: Director
Nationality: German
Home: New York, USA

Dr. Max Jordan was a pioneering radio broadcaster for the National Broadcasting Company.  He directed a live radio broadcast from Hindenburg as it approached the American coast, including a piano recital by passenger Franz Wagner.  The German-born Jordan covered European news for NBC and was especially noted for his coverage of the Munich Crisis of 1938.


Friedrich Krebs

Friedrich Krebs
Age: 42
Occupation: Mayor
Nationality: German
Home: Frankfurt, Germany

Friedrich Krebs was the Nazi mayor of Frankfurt.  A fervent anti-Semite, Krebs ousted the previous mayor, Ludwig Landmann, who was Jewish, in March, 1933, and within two weeks Krebs fired all Jewish city employees, even before the “Law for a Restoration of a Professional Civil Service” removed Jews from government service.  Krebs was especially interested in removing any Jewish influence from Frankfurt’s artistic and cultural life, and turning the city into the center of Nazi style; he established the Frankfurter Modeamt to help make Frankfurt a center for women’s fashion in the Third Reich.

Margaret Leeds
Age: 48
Nationality: United States
Home: Palm Beach, Florida

Walter Scott Leeds
Age: 51
Nationality: United States
Home: Palm Beach, Florida

Mr. Leeds was a previous zeppelin passenger, having flown on Graf Zeppelin from South America to Germany the previous year.

Louis P. Lochner
Age: 49
Nationality: United States

Louis Paul Lochner was a journalist and Berlin bureau chief for the Associated Press. He was later awarded the 1939 Pulitzer Prize for Correspondence for his reporting from Nazi Germany. Lochner published a very detailed diary of his roundtrip on Hindenburg to America and back to Germany, describing his experiences as a passenger, his tour of the inside of the ship, and his conversations with Hugo Eckener, Ernst Lehmann, and many of his fellow passengers.


Louis Lochner (smiling, far left) in Hindenburg's lounge during its first flight to North America

Arthur Manthey
Age: 29 (?)
Nationality: German
Home: Berlin, Germany

Dr. Arthur Manthey (Dipl.-Ing.), born in Emden, was an official associated with the 1936 Berlin Olympics and the National Socialist “Kraft durch Freude” organization; he was in transit to Rio de Janeiro on a promotional tour in connection with the Olympic Games (see, Die faschistische Epoche des IOC, Historical Social Research, Vol. 32, No. 1: download pdf.).  [The author is deeply grateful to LTA Society member Art Paulson who provided detailed information about Manthey based on immigration service manifests.]

James McVittie
Age: 60
Nationality: United States
Home: Hamilton Club, Chicago, Illinois

James McVittie was a previous zeppelin passenger who flew on Graf Zeppelin to Brazil in September, 1933.

Fritz Mertz
Age: 29
Occupation: Businessman
Nationality: German

Webb Miller

Webb Miller

Webb Miller
Age: 45
Nationality: United States
Home: 220 East 42nd Street, New York, USA.

Journalist Webb Miller, who had been the only correspondent to cover Mahatma Ghandi’s “salt march” protest in 1930, was UP’s general news manager for Europe and had just covered the Italian invasion of Ethiopia when he flew home to America on Hindenburg.  Exhausted and depressed by what he had seen, in November, 1936 he published his memoirs, entitled “I Found No Peace.”   His book devoted several pages to his experiences on Hindenburg’s first flight to America.

Erla Parker
Age: 64
Nationality:  United States
Home: 2005 Wooster Road, New York [according to Immigration manifest]

Mrs Parker’s obituary in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, 9/11/57 (courtesy of reader Tom Slattery): Mrs. Erla Schlather Parker, a member of one of Cleveland’s early families, died yesterday in her apartment in Wade Park Manor. She was the widow of Dr. Charles B., who died in 1917. He was one of the city’s leading physicians in the earlier years of the century and one of the founder’s of St. Luke’s Hospital. Mrs. Parker, 87, was the former Erla Schlather, daughter of the late Leonard Schlather a member of one of Cleveland’s foremost German families.  For many years, Mrs. Parker had been a world traveler.  She was a passenger on the first transatlantic flight of the Graf Zeppelin.  She had made flights also on the ill-fated Hindenburg.  Mrs. Parker was a member of the Union Club. She had aided many of Cleveland’s civic, cultural and educational groups.  She is survived by a niece, Mrs. Helen Hobson of New York, and a foster-daughter, Mrs. Stanley L. Orr Sr., widow of the former judge. For many years Mrs. Orr had resided with Mrs. Parker.

Lt. Cdr. Scott Peck in Hindenburg's control car after arriving at Lakehurst on May 9, 1936. (Ernst Lehmann at right).

Lt. Cdr. Scott Peck (with Ernst Lehmann, right) in Hindenburg’s control car arriving at Lakehurst on May 9, 1936.

Scott Peck
Age: 40
Nationality: United States
Home: Lakehurst, NJ

Lt. Cdr. Scott E. Peck (generally known as “Scotty”) was an American naval officer and aviator.  He had been a machinist on the Navy’s first airship, DN-1, and served aboard USS Los Angeles.  Lt. Cdr. Peck had also been an observer on Hindenburg’s trial flights and the ship’s first roundtrip to South America, and he spent much of the crossing in the control car observing flight operations.

Erika Plange
Age: 29
Nationality: German
Home: Dusseldorf, Germany

Georg Plange
Age: 34
Occupation: Businessman
Nationality: German
Home: Dusseldorf, Germany

Georg Plange had a well-known flour milling and baking company which is still in operation.

Andreas Fischer von Poturzyn (far left) with Junkers 52 airliner

Andreas Fischer von Poturzyn (far left) with Junkers 52 airliner

Andreas Fischer von Poturzyn
Age: 32
Occupation: Press Chief
Nationality: German
Home: Dessau, Germany

Andreas Fischer von Poturzyn was press chief for the Junkers aircraft company and a well-known aviation journalist. He is often credited with coining the name “Lufthansa” for the German national airline.

Karl Ritter
Age: 52
Occupation: Diplomat
Nationality: German
Home: Berlin, Germany

Karl Ritter was a senior diplomat in the German Foreign Office at the time of Hindenburg’s first flight to America. A member of the Nazi Party, Ritter was later involved in negotiating the 1938 Munich Agreement, and he served as liaison between the Foreign Office and the High Command of the Wehrmacht (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht; OKW) during World War II.  Ritter was convicted at the Nuremberg war crimes trials in the Wilhelmstrasse Trial, or Ministries Trial (officially United States v. Ernst von Weizaecker, et al.).

Paul Schulte
Age: 40
Occupation: Missionary
Nationality: German
Home: Aachen, Germany

Father Schulte was a missionary known as the “flying priest.” A German military pilot during World War I, he was ordained a Catholic priest after the war and used airplanes on his missionary work in Africa, where transportation by ground was a serious challenge. He founded MIVA, an organization to provide transportation vehicles for missionary work, and he was aboard Hindenburg on his way to North America to perform missionary work among Eskimos in Canada.  Prior to the flight Father Schulte had obtained Papal permission to perform the world’s first aerial mass, which he conducted aboard Hindenburg on Sunday, May 6, 1936.


Father Paul Schulte leading the world's first aerial mass. ("First Flighter" Clara Adams at right.)


Erny Schwab
Age: 52
Nationality: German
Home: Dusseldorf, Germany

Detloff Graf Schwerin
Age: 41
Occupation: Journalist
Nationality: German
Home: Essen, Germany

Count von Schwerin was a journalist for the Essener Nationalzeitung, a National Socialist newspaper owned by Air Marshal Hermann Goering. Count von Schwerin made a roundtrip on Hindenburg, returning with the ship to Germany on May 11.

Frederick Murray Simon
Age: 54
Occupation: Commander
Nationality: British
Home: Margate, England

Murray Simon, who had been a ship’s officer for the White Star Line, was the navigator on Walter Wellman’s pioneering dirigible “America” when it attempted to cross the Atlantic ocean in October, 1910. America traveled for two days before being brought down by engine failure, and the ship’s crew was rescued by a passing steamer.


Walter Wellman's airship "America," seen from the ship which rescued its crew.

Ernest G. Stranz
Age: 49:
Nationality: United States
Home: 400 Rush Street, Chicago, Illinois




Madame Titayna
Occupation: Journalist
Nationality: French
Home: Paris, France

Titayna was the pen name used by Élisabeth Sauvy-Tisseyre, a journalist for the French newspaper Paris Soir who covered international affairs.  At the time of Hindenburg’s flight, she had recently published a flattering interview with Adolf Hitler on January, 26, 1936, in which Hitler described his desire for peace and Titayna assured her readers that Hitler was speaking “openly and honestly to the people of France.”  Mme. Titayn had clearly been captivated by Hitler:  “No one can escape his enchantment,” she reported.  “I was astonished and surprised by the bright blue of his eyes…  I noticed that he looks quite different than in his photographs, and I much prefer the real-life Hitler; his face radiates intelligence and energy and emits a special glow when he speaks.  At that moment I understood his magical appeal to the people and the power he wields over them.”  Titayna continued to write favorably of the Germans during the Occupation; accused of collaboration after the war, she moved to the United States.


Wilhelm Traupel

Wilhelm Traupel
Age: 45
Occupation: Landeshauptmann
Nationality: German
Home: Kassel, Germany

Wilhelm Traupel was the Nazi governor (Landeshauptmann) of the district of Nassau and a Sturmfuhrer in the SS at the time of the Hindenburg’s maiden flight.  (He was promoted to SS-Oberfuhrer, or Brigadier General, in 1939.) Traupel was an advocate of the concept of “Lebensunwertes Leben” (lives not worth living) and supported euthanasia of the mentally ill.  As early as 1936, around the time of his flight on Hindenburg, Traupel was arguing for the extermination of patients in mental institutions who were “ballastexistenzen” (those who live “only ballast existences“), and the the Hadamar Clinic, in Hesse-Nassau, was a principal site of the T-4 euthansia program.

Charles Turner
Age: 65
Occupation: Author
Nationality: British
Home: London, England

Arthur Voigt
Age: 60
Occupation: Salesman
Nationality: German
Home: Danzig, Germany

Lady Suzanne Wilkins singing aboard Hindenburg, accompanied by Franz Wagner on the ship's duralumin piano

Franz Wagner
Age: 45
Occupation: Pianist
Home: Dresden, Germany

Franz Wagner was a noted concert pianist and gave a recital on Hindenburg’s duralumin piano during the maiden voyage.

Rosie Gräfin Waldeck
Age: 37
Occupation: Writer
Nationality: Hungarian
Home: New York, USA

Countess von Waldeck was a novelist living in New York.  She was born Rosa Goldschmidt to a German-Jewish banking family in Mannheim, Germany.  Her first husband was Ernst Gräfenberg, a noted obstetrician-gynecologist who developed the intrauterine device (IUD) and published scholarly papers on female sexual physiology (and for whom the “G-spot” was later named).  She later married German publisher Franz Ullstein and was implicated in a 1930 Berlin trial and scandal involving allegations of spying for France.   She finally married the Hungarian Count von Waldeck, and eventually moved to the United States.

veedol2jpbKarl Waltner
Age: 39
Occupation: Businessman
Nationality: Austrian
Home: Graz, Austria

Waltner was with the Tide Water Oil company, which made the Veedol lubricating oil used by Hindenburg’s engines.

Hellmuth Wetzel
Age: 23
Occupation: Journalist
Nationality: German
Home: Berlin, Germany

Wetzel made a roundtrip on Hindenburg, returning with the ship to Germany on May 11.

Karl von Wiegand and Lady Grace Drummond Hay aboard Dornier DO-X flying boat

Karl Von Wiegand
Age: 61
Nationality: United States
Home: 235 East 45th Street, New York, USA

Karl von Wiegand was a journalist for the Hearst organization and the companion of fellow Hearst reporter Lady Grace Drummond-Hay, with whom he traveled around the world, including Graf Zeppelin’s first flight to North America and Round-the-World flight of 1929. Wiegand was born in Germany in 1874 but emigrated with his family to the United States in 1878, and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1888.


Sir Hubert and Lady Suzanne Wilkins

Sir Hubert Wilkins
Age: 47
Occupation: Explorer
Nationality: British
Home: London, England

Sir George Hubert Wilkins was a prominent Australian polar explorer and pilot, and had been aboard Graf Zeppelin’s 1929 Round-the-World flight.

Lady Suzanne Wilkins
Age: 35
Nationality: British
Home: London, England

(click to enlarge)

Was it really the “Maiden Voyage”?

Hindenburg’s flight to North American on May 6-9, 1936 was not the ship’s first passenger flight, or even its first international voyage.

Hindenburg made a number of flights after its initial test flight on March 3, 1936 (including a 74-hour propaganda flight around Germany), and Hindenburg’s first international journey was a roundtrip to South America on March 31-April 10, 1936.  But because Hindenburg had been designed specifically for service between Europe and the United States (which was the most prestigious passenger route in the world at the time), Hindenburg’s first flight to Lakehurst, New Jersey in May, 1936, is sometimes referred to as the ship’s “maiden voyage.”  The flight certainly had the traditional hallmarks of a maiden voyage, including a passenger list studded with notable personalities, and the excitement, glamor, and media attention — including a live radio broadcast from midair — that was typical of a great ship’s first journey on its intended route.  And by other measures as well, such as the quantity of mail carried (much of it in the form of souvenir philatelic mail), the first flight to Lakehurst certainly captured much more popular attention; the first flight to South America carried 61 kg of mail, while the “maiden voyage” flight to North America carried 1,059 kg of mail.

(click to enlarge)

Immigration Service passenger manifest. (click to enlarge)

76 Comments on "Hindenburg’s Maiden Voyage Passenger List"

  1. Does anyone have access to the passenger list for the scheduled return trip to Germany from Lakehurst? I’m curious who would have been on the Hindendburg had hit not exploded. Thank you.

  2. Louisa Lavelle | March 24, 2016 at 1:36 pm | Reply

    My grandparents sent to me in Merchantvlle NJ a postcard with a picture of their town – Fuerstenfeldbruck. The card is dated 1.V (for 5- May) 1936 and the stamp pictures the Hindenburg (cost 50pf) and was apparently sent on that first US flight 6-9 May 1936.
    In May 1937, my parents and I drove to Lakehurst after the Hindenburg crashed.
    Recently reading about the survivors, I realized that on the May 16, 1937 trip on the Europa with my mother (to visit relatives), that at least some of the surviving crew members of the crash were also returning on the same ship – I was 8 years old at the time.
    Louisa Hofstetter Lavelle

  3. Christopher Stark | May 3, 2015 at 3:49 pm | Reply

    I came across this site as a result of conducting research on an old photograph of an airship I inherited from my grandfather, who was of German descent, and an avid amateur photographer. I’ve had the photo for many years, but never looked at it closely until today. Under a magnifying glass, the name Hindenburg is clearly visible toward the nose. The date stamped onto the back of the photo is May 20, 1936. Our family is from Staten Island.

    Is it possible my grandfather took this photo on the “maiden flight”?

    Best regards

  4. Will Wainewright | September 7, 2014 at 5:51 am | Reply

    Dan, many thanks for uploading the return passenger list. Rothay Reynolds, an ancestor who worked as a journalist in 1930s Berlin, is on the the list. However, he is not named on the outbound trip. Did a lot of passengers only go one-way (and rely for instance on shipping for the other?) or have I missed something? Thanks

  5. Raymond Reynolds | June 17, 2014 at 10:37 am | Reply

    I also lived in Southampton and saw the Hindenburg fly over.Very impressive sight I was told that I spoke of nothing else for days afterwards

  6. Just finished reading the Hindenburg and it mentions a partial passenger list. In the list mentions a Miss Margaret Mathers who is a dirwct descendent of Cotto Mathers who precided over the Salem Witch Trials….is there any information on her other than whats in the book?…By tge way very glad the Hindenburg blew up and killed all the Nazis

  7. The passengers Fritz Mertz & Erny Schwab, are son and mother.
    Fritz Mertz was my Grandfather, because my mother was his daughter, but from an affair with my grandmother (Marie Luise Gieren) ( he was married with some other woman), and Erny Schwab was his mother, so my Grand-Grand mother. I am looking for more Infos about this dark family chapter, because my Mom wasn’t adopted by him and she must have 2 half brothers from that.
    I think Fritz Mertz had an company in Düsseldorf, Germany. Maybe someone has more Infos about that ? Please write me…
    Greetings from Vienna, Austria


    • There also could some links to his children to Singapur and Munich, son and daughter….? , and Fritz Mertz had a carrier / removal company in Düsseldorf between 1925 and 1950 or so… ?

  8. My Great Grandfather (Karl H Von Wiegand) was one the first flight and a few more also. I have picture postcards that he send to my mother (his grand daughter). He worked for the Hearst Newspaper. I do have many things of his and did get a copy of his obit from the Hearst Estate. I would like to know where I can find out more about him and his travels and his job. I to work in the media now. Dan (airships.net) do you have any photos of footage of my great grand father?

    • I’m sure by now you’ve probably seen this footage which shows your great grandfather, but just in case:

    • hi amy . enjoyed reading about your great-granfather. do you have anything else you can share. i am an avid airship researcher. thanks for a reply.


    • Hi Amy. I came across your entry today in researching Karl von Wiegand. I’ve been collecting material on his career for sometime now. I’d love to chat with you and share what I’ve found and learn what you know about your great grandfather’s immediate family.

  9. Brian Blighe | August 6, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Reply

    Why is it that I can find no reference to the Hindenburg flying over Shirley,Southampton? I saw it!!I am now 81 but my memory of it is very clear.At the time I was 4 years old .If I live to 100 I will still remember it!

  10. Paul Flaherty | May 7, 2013 at 9:48 am | Reply

    I saw a note on Facebook that yesterday (5-6-13) was the 76-year anniversary of the demise of the Hindenburg in NJ. Unrelated, yesterday also happens to be my one son’s 33rd birthday and the 1-year anniversary of my retirement. Anyway, I just started to research if the Hindenburg actually toured the USA prior to that fateful day in 1937. The reason for this is that I recall my father saying that he once saw the Hindenburg fly over the City of Chicago where he worked. My father was born in 1905 and therefore would have been a young man at the time. I am trying to confirm the possibility that this indeed could have been the Hindenburg. If not, it had to be another Zeppelin. Does anyone know?

    • LZ-129 Hindenburg never went to Chicago, but LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin certainly did. (Or it could have been a U.S. Navy airship.)

    • colonel elliott white springs of fort mill,s.c. flew from frankfurt, germany to lakehurst,n.j. in july of 1936 aboard the hindenburg. his wife and 2 kids did a repeat flight in september of 1936. the family was vacationing in europe , summer of 1936. the colonel’s wife , frances was the 1,000 passenger to board the hindenburg in 1936. she received a prestigious silver platter from germany indicating so. i have seen it and took a picture of it. the platter and other historical memorabilia are present in the colonel’s mansion presently. the colonel was a flying ace, ww1. he was # 5 on the kill list.

  11. margaret brown | April 22, 2013 at 7:44 am | Reply

    Norman Holden was my grandmothers cousin not to sure what the connection is to me he was Major Norman Holden

  12. June Harding | March 26, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Reply

    How could this be? The Hindenburg blew up in Lakehurst and never made the return flight to Frankfurt.

    • The ship flew back to Germany without incident and made 50 more successful flights before catching fire the next year (1937) on it’s 63rd flight.

  13. June Harding | March 25, 2013 at 7:12 pm | Reply

    I came across the writings of Alfred Ernst about the flight of the Hindenburg to North America. It was received by my father who worked for Tidewater Oil Company in the Whitehall Building, 17 Battery Place, NYC. It obviously was sent before the landing.

  14. I have more information re Father Paul Schulte. As the return flight was passing near Skipton, Fr Schulte dropped a package containing a spray of carnations, a silver cross and a letter asking the finder to place the flowers and cross on the grave of his brother, Johann. Johann had been a prisoner of war in Skipton who died of flu while in captivity. The package was found and the request carried out. Dull details can be found in the Craven Herald newspaper of May 29 1936

  15. kenneth hook | May 28, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Reply

    in 1936/37 whilst in the garden of my grandparents cottage in Bramhall cheshire i witnessed a very large airship pass low overhead I was 2/3 years of age at the time could this have been Hindenburg or one of equal size

  16. I am nearly 83 saw the Hindenburg stationary over my grandparents yard. Apperenly spying a short distance from Argentia, the American base in Newfoundland 1936. It had flown over Mount Pleasant and became stationary over our Yard. This was Jersey Side, Placentia, Newfoundland. She then after a while proceeded in the direction of Argentia a short distance away. It was so low I could see the pilot. It was 1936 the base was built for use in about 1940.

    • The Argentia Naval base was not started construction until 1940. However my mother (born 1914) remembers the airships many trips over St. John’s Newfoundland. She also remembers Lindbergh flying through the Narrows of St. John’s Harbour on his transatlantic flight.

  17. I have a letter that flew on the LZ 129, postmarked 5-5-36 from Dresden Germany (Altst.24). Face of letter has a pair of postage stamps of the LZ129. Addressed to my grandfather in PA. The return address says Mit Luftschiff LZ129 nach New York. The letter is also stamped with a red-ink emblem: Deutsche Luftpost- Europa-Nordamerika. The back of letter has postmark from New York dated May 9 1936.

    Cool website. Great info.

  18. School project time. My daughter was wondering if we know what time the Hindenburg left Frankfurt on 6 May 1936. We hope to hear from you, but we’ll keep searching in the meantime. Great site! We enjoyed browsing it very much.
    Thank you.

    • LZ-129 exited the Friedrichshafen shed at 21:15 Central European Time (Middle European Time) on 6 May 1936; was released from the mast at 21:20; and was aloft at 21:30. I hope this helps!

    • June Harding | March 25, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Reply

      From the report by Alfred Ernst, the passengers left the hotel at 8 and drove to the Lowenthal airodrome. I don’t know the distance or the time it took. Music was played in the immense hangar. The passengers then embarked shortly afterwards and the steps drawn in. No time written for actual departure.

  19. Peter D. Todd | April 26, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Reply

    I have letters from my grandfather to my fathe signed by Hugo Eckner and Erst Lehmann from the 5/11/36 flight to Germany from Lakehurst. other signatures include . Captain Reiber who was Chairman of the Texas Oil Company(Texaco) and two others that I don’t know anything about : Ben E. Smith and Lieutenant Commander Jon Thornton USN who does not show up on the passenger list. Reiber was forced to resign from Texaco in 1940 because he was accused of being a Nazi Sympathizer by the Roosevelt Administration. My gut tells me that LT. Thornton was a Naval observer or a obvious intel gatherer but I have no clue on Mr Smith.

    • John Thornton was my great-grandfather. He was, as far as I know and have read, a naval observer on the flight. I know that he was working with the navy on airship projects and was in Germany to gather information about the programs. (And funny enough met his second wife on the trip to Germany).

  20. Jannette Peck Austin | December 19, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Reply

    Thank you so much for putting this together on-line. My grandfather Rear- Admirable Scott Peck U.S.N. Where did you get the photo of my grandfather? I would love to obtain a copy. He gave away most of the family memorabilia to the Aerospace museums and well I want to pass down the history to my children. Growing up he filled our imagination with images of the Graf Zepplins and derigibles and the many, many flights he made, even mistakes! Like an airshipman who fell asleep at the wheel and landed the nose in the Pacific! Granddad told him to put it in reverse. (think that was the Los Angeles) Well that worked and no one found out until he told his grandkids in later years. What stories we heard! Well great coming across this website.

    • Wow! I am so flattered and excited to hear from Scotty Peck’s granddaughter!

      The photo of your grandfather and Captain Lehmann in the control car is a frame-capture from newsreel footage, but I may have other photographs of him in my files. I also relied heavily on your grandfather’s reports in researching the Hindenburg’s flight procedures and instruments and I can mail you a copy if you like.

      Thank you for taking the time to say hello!


    • Hi Jannette,
      I’ve just purchased a ground training logbook from ebay, and it belonged to a LCDR Scott E Peck jr. 389904 1310 USN
      now the dates in it range from 1949 – 65, i’m guessing it’s not the same guy but was it his son maybe?
      If so I can scan and send you a copy if you like.


      • Hi Steve,
        Yes, that was my Dad’s, a Top Gun aviator. I have lot’s of the same at home but had to let it go to the auctioner who sells on e-bay. As I was overwhelmed… there was too much stuff. Enjoy! Thank you for your kind consideration!

  21. Douglas Mavor Armour | November 25, 2010 at 2:05 am | Reply

    Hello there. A family folklore suggests that a relative, last name Mavor, flew on one of the original Zeppelin flights in Germany. Can you suggest a way of finding passenger lists for such flights?


  22. Bruce A. Bleakley | September 7, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Reply

    What a great site! I particularly was particularly interested in your May 20, 2009 response to “Betsy” since it validated something I’ve been tracking down–the progress of Dr. Bolivar Falconer of Dallas as he wound his way around the planet on his quest to become the first commercial air traveler to go around the globe. I’m writing a book on the history of aviation in Dallas, Texas and I wondered if you had a copy of that passenger manifest, and, if so, if I could use an image of it in my book. This is a limited-edition, done by Arcadia Publishing, who specializes in local histories–the print run will probably be about 1500 copies. I’m afraid I don’t have any budget to speak of due to the limited printing, but I would of course credit you and your website. Would this be possible?


    Bruce A. Bleakley

  23. Dear Dan,

    Fantastic research! Leslie Charteris was my half-uncle (his original surname was Yin, and he was born in Singapore in 1907). I had no idea there was a photo of him on the Hindenburg! (BTW, just to confirm, he’s the one in the bow tie and gripping the chair armrest with his right hand?)
    He did allude to the flight in the introduction to one of his short stories, “The Death Penalty”, which was set mainly in the Scilly Isles (off the western tip of Cornwall, England). I’m using the Dorset Press 1990 edition of “The first Saint omnibus” (ISBN 0880295279) as reference. The copyright dates for the original Saint stories run from 1930-1939.
    He said he had pleasant memories of a holiday in the Scilly Isles, but it was not his main reason for choosing the story to be included in the omnibus: “It was because … it brought back one other glimpse that I had of the Scilly Isles. [New para] It was on a westbound trip, that time. They swam out of a grey and hazy dawn …” The rest of the para continues with his description of the Scilly Isles, and his last para reads:
    “I shall never see the Scilly Isles in exactly that way again. For that was on the first flight to New York of the late Zeppelin ‘Hindenburg'”.

    Best regards
    Yvonne Yin

  24. Terry Hart-Jones | May 12, 2010 at 4:46 am | Reply

    Does anyone know if ‘Hindenburg’ crossed the British Isles on it’s Trans-Atlantic flights, and, if so, where? I ask because I have a clear snapshot (aged about two and a half) of my grandmother taking me outside to see an airship fly over which she said was the ‘Hindenburg’. This would be 1936, and we would be living most probably in Dumfries, Scotland, or in Yorkshire.

  25. Hi, dan: I’m 83 years old, and attended Lincoln Grammar School in 1936 and ’37. The school, in West Haven, Ct, was alerted to the coming passage overhead of the Hindenburg, and we were all marched out and stood in grade formation to await the event. I will never forget it–this magnificent craft passed directly overhead–qiite low, its insignia etched on its empennage and the name ‘Hindenburg’ on its side. I don’t know whether it was in ’36 or ’37 (I suspect the latter), but it was a beautiful day weatherwise (almost surely in May).

    • Charles J. Brooks | June 11, 2010 at 2:10 am | Reply

      Hi Tony,
      In the URL address below you will find a picture of the Hindenburg that flew over my home town of Danbury, CT. The info below the picture says it was 1935 but the ship did not come to America until May 1936.
      Charles J. Brooks

    • william hinman | April 26, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Reply

      dear mr. florio, do you remember the time of day you saw the hindenburg fly over your school? I was living in massena,n.y., which is next to the st. lawrence river, when I saw the hindeburg fly over head. it was early a.m.,warm, and I’ll never forget how low it was ,and how large it was. I can still see the two large swastikas on the tail fins. the hindenburg could travel up to 85 miles ph, so it is possible to fly from massena,ny to conn. in a few hours. would like a reply. thaks bill hinman, 315.245.4226.

  26. is there anyone out there who is knowledgeable about the uss los angeles? the track record for this airship looks very solid. hope to hear from someone and many thanks.

  27. Charles J. Brooks | March 20, 2010 at 2:58 am | Reply

    Do you know which flight might have flown over Danbury, CT, my home town? I will be 81 years old in May 2010 so I would have been 7 or 8 years old when I saw it. As the crow flies, I was about 2 miles away, but to this day I remember well its great size and the constant loud hum of its motors. I was awestruck as I saw it slowly moving westward.
    Great website!

  28. Mary Louise Kearns | January 12, 2010 at 11:52 am | Reply

    Do you know where I could get a Zeppelin Luftpost rubber stamp? My brother keeps mentioning that he wishes he had bought one when he saw it in Germany. Thanks, MLK

  29. Robert E. Mattingly | December 17, 2009 at 11:08 pm | Reply

    Extremely well done and obviously a labor of love. Your research and writing are marks of truly first class scholarship. Bravo.

  30. John Richard Murray-Bligh | December 8, 2009 at 11:53 am | Reply

    One of the most interesting websites I have ever seen. I have often dreamt of going to see Friedrichshaven and look at the latest developments in lighter than air “flight”.

    Thank you very much.

  31. John Richard Murray-Bligh | December 8, 2009 at 11:49 am | Reply

    Did Graf Zepellin fly over Liverpool in 1936?

    I was at school and only heard about it from my youngest brother who was in bed with Plumbosis Oscillans. I also heard a old teacher mention it in th ’70s when the Goodyear airship flew over Merseyside.

  32. Re:
    Arthur Voigt
    Age: 60
    Occupation: Salesman
    Nationality: German
    Home: Danzig, Germany

    Danzig didn’t belong to Germany until Germans attacked Poland in 1939.
    It was known as Free City of Danzig (or Freistadt Danzig in German, or Wolne Miasto Gdansk in Polish).

  33. Nov. 11 2009 I am 86 years old. I saw the Hindenburg around noon on May 7 1937. I was 14, it flew quite low above me in Newark, New Jersey. I will never forget the markings on both tails as long as I live. It was on its way to the naval air station at Lakehurst, N. J. to dock at the mast used by the navy for docking its air ships but Unfortunatly while docking it caught fire and burned. A terrible disaster.

    • hi, my name is bill hinman, I was eight , when I saw the hindenburg fly over Massena, new york(1937). like you, I’ll never forget the swastika’s on the tails. I would appreciate an email, we could compare notes. bill hinman 315.245.4226

  34. giuseppe fichera | August 17, 2009 at 12:10 pm | Reply

    Dear Dan,
    I have been looking for news about Hindenburg from many years. I find your work………FANTASTIC and I hope you can help me.
    As people can read on Wikipedia:
    “One year to the day before it crashed, the Hindenburg departed Germany on May 6 on its first of 10 North American flights flown in 1936 and arrived in Lakehurst, New Jersey, three days later. Passengers observed that the ship was so stable (a pen or pencil reportedly could be stood on a table without falling) that some missed the takeoff and believed the ship was still on the ground.”
    John Toland also he speaks about: “fountain pen stood on a table without falling”
    in his book “Ships in the sky”
    Do you know where they found this news? I hope you can give me the right backing.
    I’m impatient to read you. Many many thanks

  35. I have a passenger list (original copy) from July 14th, 1936. I’m selling it in addition to other trip paperwork. I can email you the list should you wish. Keep up the great work on this website! Roy

    • hi roy. is your original copy of the passenger list for sale and if so, what is the price? do you know of other sources who sale good airship memorabilia? thanks for a reply.


  36. 6/30/06

    I too am intereted in information re Franz Gayk.


    Hans Schaufus
    Longview, WA

  37. Thanks for your suggestion, but after you posted your comment I was able to identify this passenger as Ralph Barnes of the New York Herald Tribune, by cross-referencing his date and place of birth, along with references in contemporary accounts that there was a reported for the Herald Tribune aboard the flight. But I appreciate your participation in the website and look forward to your further comments!

  38. Tael Neilan | May 22, 2009 at 2:57 pm | Reply

    The first name you had trouble reading: I’m thinking it looks like “James” the A looks a little screwed up, I screw up my A’s all the time like that when I’m writing my name…the next letter looks to me like an M.

  39. Oh, just looked at the passenger list, cool.

    Now, I’ll have to find out if he wrote anything about the voyage….

    Thanks again for the great website!!!!


  40. True enough, and I must admit that I jumped right to the passenger info here and missed your “caveat emptor” about the “maiden voyage” issue.

    However, let’s not forget that, while it may not have had the American press all aflutter, the Hindenburg had made a full-fledged transatlantic flight (with about 40 passengers or so) to South America about a month before the first Lakehurst flight. So it was already fulfilling its purpose as a regular transatlantic passenger airship before the first North American flight.

    Haven’t quite gotten the SEO thing figured out with my own web page yet as far as increasing traffic goes, but I can definitely appreciate the concern over making sure that people can find this info as easily as possible.

    (And again, as I mentioned before, this was a ticky-tacky little point of correction on my part to begin with. The page overall is already packed with a ton of great information that hasn’t been compiled elsewhere, and I know it’s going to continue to develop considerably as you come across new sources of information.)

    But you’re right, the first big “event” flight in terms of the hype and the attention from the American press (the European press, of course, had already gotten plenty of mileage out of the Hindenburg by then, especially with the big three-day propaganda flight in late March) was in fact the first trip to Lakehurst.

  41. NOW yer talkin’!

    This is a fantastic idea, and I’m really glad you’re doing it here. As is the case with the passengers and crew from the final flight, nobody has ever gone through and figured out who each of the passengers from the first North American flight was, beyond a name on a passenger list. A great start here!

    One suggestion, however. This first North American flight was not, in fact, the Hindenburg’s maiden voyage. She’d flown 11 flights prior to this, all with passengers (even on her first trial flight on March 4th, 1936, though the “passengers” there were primarily government and DZR officials) and had already made a round-trip passenger flight to South America a month prior to her first trip to Lakehurst.

    I’d suggest calling this page something along the lines of “Hindenburg First North American Voyage Passenger List” for accuracy’s sake.

    That’s such a small nitpick, though. Overall, this is just excellent. Thanks for putting the work in and doing this. I look forward to seeing how it grows.

    • Thanks, Patrick!

      Yes, it made me cringe a little to call this the “maiden voyage,” which is why at the very top of the page, the first issue I address is “Was this the maiden voyage?” But there is little sense in offering new material to the public if people can’t find it, and many people searching Google and other search engines look for information about Hindenburg’s “maiden voyage.” By using that phrase, along with “first flight to North America,” it helps people find the page; and then when they get here, the first thing they see on the page is that this flight was not strictly, exactly, entirely, the, um, maiden voyage. 🙂

      But in terms of what makes a “maiden voyage” — the hype, the glittering passenger list, the attention from the press, and the first trip on a vessel’s permanently-intended route — this certainly does qualify. All vessels have sea trials or flight tests (for example, the Titanic had sea trials and then a voyage from Belfast to Southampton before embarking on her maiden voyage to New York), but when a ship first makes the trip that it was created to make, there is a certain special excitement about the journey.

      • Question?? Where is the LIST of names that took the flight back(“maiden voyage”) May 11 from Lakehurst NJ to Frankfurt? I want to see that list with the other American’s traveling for the first time TO Germany. I am trying to find information about my Grandfather, Allister Gordon Watt. He sent my Grandmother a telegram when he arrived safely in NJ and I have it. Any one know how I can find more information??

        • @ Betsy:

          You happened to catch me on a day when I had some free time to transcribe the passenger list for you. 🙂

          The passengers on Hindenburg’s May 11, 1936 crossing from Lakehurst to Frankfurt were:

          Col. Charles B. Bartlett
          Mr. Reese C. Bates
          Lt. John J. Bergen
          Dr. Rudolph Bluethner
          Mr. Johnston A. Bowman
          Mr. Rolf Brandt
          Miss Martha Elizabeth Brooke
          Mr. Carl Bruer
          Mr. W.B. Burchall
          Mr. George J. Busch
          Mr. Carl Cloos
          Dr. Bolivar L. Falconer
          Mr. Franz Gayk
          Mr. Joseph Gogan
          Mr. William Gogan
          Capt. Frederick Guest
          Mr. Cuthbert House
          Mrs. Harriet D.Hague
          Mrs. Mary Lewis Hague
          Mr. Norman Holden
          Dr. Henry Howe
          Mr. A.E. Jesserurum
          Dr. M.A. Jordan
          Dr. Fritz Krebs
          Mr. Roger D. Lapham
          Miss Helena M. Leisey
          Dr. Theodore Lewald
          Mr. Kurt von Lindener
          Mr. Emil Locher
          Dr. Lochner
          Mr. Lorette
          Mr. Paul Mack-Hale
          Mr. Fischer von Purtozyn
          Mr. Walter Puterbaugh
          Mr. Rathke
          Mr. Rothay Reynolds
          Capt. T. Rieber
          Dr. Karl Ritter
          Dr. Wm. M. Scholl
          Count von Schwerin
          Mr. Ben SMith
          Mrs. Holister Sturges
          Mr. Charles W. Thayer
          Mr. A.H. Thorp
          Mrs. Titayna
          Mr. Wilhelm Traupel
          Major Turner
          Countess von Waldeck
          Mr. A.G. Watt
          Mr. Helmuth Wetzel
          Miss M.D. Wynn

          (The passenger lists from Germany to America were printed in German; the lists from America to Germany were printed in English.)

          So it seems your grandfather was on the flight. I hope this helps!

          In return, if you have any personal history, reminiscences, notes, photos, or anything relating to your grandfather’s voyage on Hindenburg, perhaps you would let me share it with the readers?

          I am glad I was able to help.

          • Question, based upon the passenger list to the US I see Joseph Berchtold aboard ship as a Journalist with the intention of returning to Germany with the ship on the 11th. But his name is not on this return list. Was this an oversight somehow on your part or do you know why he was not on that voyage back?

            • You are correct; the Immigration Service passenger manifest indicates that Berchtold was “Returning via Hindenburg,” but his name does not appear on the printed passenger list for Hindenburg’s return to Germany on May 11, 1936, nor on the passenger list for the next flight to Germany on May 20, 1936. Unfortunately I do not have any additional information.

        • Hope my email got through.
          Thrilled to see the documentation of my Grandfather’s name on the list. I do have the original telegram he sent back to my Grandmother in Shaker Hts. OH from Frankfurt.
          Let me know what I can do.

          Thanks so much for such great help. Such fun.

          • Any photos of your grandfather on Hindenburg, or pictures he took on the ship, or letters or diary entries in which he might have described his journey would be great to share!

            • i would love to buy some original pictures of the hindenburg, exterior and interior. do you know of a good source? thanks.


        • Also, there was a documentary I saw on the television when I was young. It showed my grandfather sitting at a desk, writing, while on his flight from Lakehurst to Frankfurt. It is the only talking and moving memory I have of him as he died long before I was born in 1954.
          Maybe we can locate that coverage of the ‘maiden voyage’ BACK to Germany??

          • I could look through some of the film I have, but of course, I don’t know what your grandfather looks like, so how would I recognize him?!

            • I know this is a little late, but the article was great and I did not have the chance to meet my grandfather either. What if you were to let Betsy watch some of the film you have? Do you have a way to upload it? It might be hard if its classic film as opposed to a digital copy, but Im sure we’d all enjoy it!

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