Saturday, February 24, 2007

German writer of ‘Das Boot’ dies at 89

February 24, 2007

Lothar-Guenther Buchheim

BERLIN - The German war correspondent whose U-boat memoir was adapated into the movie “Das Boot” has died at the age of 89.

Lothar-Guenther Buchheim was acclaimed for his works of fiction and nonfiction, including several about his World War II patrol aboard U-96 in the Atlantic Ocean in 1941. He crafted that experience into the novel “Das Boot,” or “The Boat,” published in 1973.

In 1981, the book was turned into the international hit film starring Juergen Prochnow that detailed the stress of the undersea war.

Buchheim served in the German navy as a reporter in World War II, taking part in U-boat operations for propaganda purposes. He later wrote a short story, “Die Eichenlaubfahrt,” or “The Oak Leaves Patrol,” as well as “Das Boot.” He also wrote a three-volume nonfiction work, “U-Boat Krieg,” or “U-Boat War.” His other works included “The Fortress” and “The Parting,” but it was “Das Boot” that seared itself into the German consciousness and gained worldwide fame.

The U-96 was commissioned in September 1940 and went on 11 patrols without suffering any casualties before it was sunk in March 1945 during a U.S. bombing raid on Wilhelmshaven. More than three-quarters of Germany’s 39,000 U-boat sailors were lost in action against the Allies.



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