In July of 1945–almost three months after Admiral Donitz had ordered all operating Nazi U-boats to surrender–Oberleutnant Otto Wermuth surfaced Uboat U-530 at Mar del Plata, Argentina. The sub had been trimmed of weight by removing the deck gun and stripping the torpedo bays. The log book had been dumped overboard, and not one member of the crew had ID papers. According to public records the captain “offered” no explanation as to where the sub had been during the two months after the war had ended.
As the mysterious affair gained traction in the world’s press, an Argentinian reporter stated that he had seen a provincial police report on a U-boat surfacing off the Argentine coast several days before the surrender. The police report claimed that “high ranking” Germans had been off-loaded. It was claimed they may have included Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun. This story assumed more weight when rumours about the sub’s torpedo bay surfaced. It was claimed that bay had been stripped before the sub surrendered. There were the remains of fine foods, wines and cigars aboard.
The Captain and crew were quickly transferred to the US. The Argentine Naval Ministry issued a statement: There had been no U-boat off the coast earlier. U-530 carried no high ranking Nazis, no-one had been landed prior to the surrender.
This did little to dampen the rumours. In November of 1947 U-530 was sunk off the US coast by the US Submarine Toro or SS-422 in deep enough waters to assure the sub would not be accessed in future years. The interrogation report of Wermuth and the crew remained secret. A summary of the report was later made public and can be found at (http://www.uboatarchive.net/U-530.htm). It is more remarkable for what it does not say. The report states that Wermuth was active off the American coast in the last months of the war, using torpedos to attack US shipping. When it was clear the war was coming to a close, the captain and crew elected to go to Argentina to surrender. Many of the crew expected to settle there. No mention is made of why it took so long to get to Argentina, no mention of a stripped torpedo bay (rear or forward), no mention of Wermuth being allowed to “offer” no explanation for the discrepancies in his story. The report appears to be a crudely sanitized version of the actual interrogations.
What was the real story behind U-530? While the truth may one day surface (so to speak) the known facts lend themselves to the stuff of fiction. The mention of the sub is brief in “The Watch” but an extensive chapter follows in the sequel.