North German Lloyd Lines

1931 : Meher Baba's passport photo
1931 : Meher Baba's passport photo

Meher Baba sailed from New York to Cherbough, France on the 5th December 1931 with his 2 men mandali and Meredith Starr.

They arrived on the 11th December 1931.

Meher Baba sailed on this ship again 6 months later.

1932 : Second visit to the USA
1932 : Second visit to the USA

1st Visit to the U.S.A.


Meher Baba on board the S.S. Bremen on arrival in New York harbour in 1932. Colourized by Cherie Plumlee and courtesy of the Glow International magazine - front cover Fall 2018
Meher Baba on board the S.S. Bremen on arrival in New York harbour in 1932. Colourized by Cherie Plumlee and courtesy of the Glow International magazine - front cover Fall 2018
The picture of Meher Baba in his cabin, ship and date unknown.
The picture of Meher Baba in his cabin, ship and date unknown.
SS Bremen docked in New York - late 1930s
SS Bremen docked in New York - late 1930s
The North German Lloyd Lines wharf is the 3rd on the right nearest to viewer.
The North German Lloyd Lines wharf is the 3rd on the right nearest to viewer.



After staying in America for one month, at the stroke of midnight late at night on Saturday, 5 December 1931, Baba sailed on the North German Lloyd liner SS Bremen for France, accompanied by Chanji, Agha Ali and Meredith.  

During the voyage, Baba remained in his cabin, preferring seclusion and avoiding going out lest he be recognized. Very often his fingers would spell out the names of his American lovers on the alphabet board, remembering them and perhaps inwardly sending them his love. 

The Atlantic Ocean was quite rough during the first few days of the crossing and most of the passengers stayed inside as waves crashed across the decks. Since Baba and the mandali's cabins were situated in the center of the ship, the rolling effects were minimal. The five-day voyage was a period of relaxation and rest for him after his strenuous work in America. Baba liked his accommodations and the food pleased him.


On the last day of the trip, 10 December 1931, a few newspaper reporters, photographers and an artist found out about Meher Baba's presence and they requested to be permitted to take his picture. Baba granted their request and as the ship's band played in the background, several photographs were taken, as well as one short reel of film — but all of these photographs and the film have been lost.


The artist present at the photographing, Emile Brunel, 57, later came to Baba's cabin with a friend, an Armenian carpet dealer of Los Angeles named H. P. Philibosian.  Brunel, a prominent New York City portrait artist and celebrity photographer, requested to do a sketch of Baba in his white robe, and surprisingly, Baba permitted it. While posing, Baba spoke with him about spiritual and religious subjects.

While drawing Baba in his sketchbook, Brunel remarked to Chanji, "You know, he looks like Christ. He has nothing 'human' in him. There is something more — something supernatural. It is all. His beautiful features are an artist's dream."

Brunel invited Baba to visit his studio on Fifth Avenue and wished to see him again in Paris, but Baba did not wish to meet any outsiders while in Paris and gently refused.


Lord Meher Volume 4, Page 1500 - 1st edition printed.

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1336


Webmaster : The photos that Emile Brunel took of Meher Baba and the sketch have never been seen. Their whereabouts are unknown.

Boarding the SS Bremen.
Boarding the SS Bremen.

Disembarking at the port of Cherbourg on Friday, 11 December 1931, Baba arrived in Paris that evening and stayed at the Hotel Powers at 52 rue François. Margaret Starr, Margaret Craske, Delia, Kim and twelve-year-old John Cousins had arrived in Paris the previous day and joined Baba.  The next day, Kitty and her niece Zilla arrived in the afternoon.  At night, they went to the Aubert Palace and saw Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights" and another night a Laurel & Hardy film.


Lord Meher Online Edition Page 1337

Cherbourg, France

2nd Visit to the USA - 1932

Meher Baba aboard the SS Bremen arriving at New York City in 1932
Meher Baba aboard the SS Bremen arriving at New York City in 1932

Southampton, England

13th May 1932 : Kenneth Ross playing the bagpipes welcoming Meher Baba on board the S.S. Bremen at Southampton, England prior to his voyage to the USA..  Courtesy of the Ann Ross Collection via Beloved Archives, NJ.
13th May 1932 : Kenneth Ross playing the bagpipes welcoming Meher Baba on board the S.S. Bremen at Southampton, England prior to his voyage to the USA.. Courtesy of the Ann Ross Collection via Beloved Archives, NJ.
13th May, 1932 - Southampton,England. A crowded gathered to see Meher Baba off on his voyage to New York. Charles is in the front - left. Photo courtesy of Anne Ross. Image edited by Anthony Zois
13th May, 1932 - Southampton,England. A crowded gathered to see Meher Baba off on his voyage to New York. Charles is in the front - left. Photo courtesy of Anne Ross. Image edited by Anthony Zois
S.S. Bremen in Southampton, England prior to sailing for New York.
S.S. Bremen in Southampton, England prior to sailing for New York.

New York, USA



On May 13th,1932,  Adi K. Irani was sent back to India as previously arranged. Early the next day, Meher Baba, Quentin Tod, Meredith and Margaret Starr, and the mandali, Adi Jr., Beheram, Chanji, Kaka Baria and Ghani Munsiff boarded the S. S. Bremen bound for New York City. Kitty, Kim, Margaret and Delia journeyed from London to Southampton to see Baba off and bid him bon voyage as tears streamed down their cheeks.

On board, Baba and Adi Jr. shared one cabin; Beheram, Chanji, Kaka and Ghani were in another. During the voyage, Baba preferred to be in seclusion to avoid being recognized. He often remembered the lovers whom he had left behind by spelling out their names on his board and even had tears in his eyes when he thought of an individual. Cables filled with love and longing crisscrossed the Atlantic daily between Baba and those in England, echoing the music of the Beloved's song.

Baba would occasionally take walks on the deck outside for an hour in the morning and evening, and he played ping-pong with one of his companions. Every afternoon, he visited the movie theater on board. Otherwise, Baba remained in his cabin, either discussing future plans with the mandali, listening to Paul Robeson records, or having general or private meetings with Tod, Meredith and Margaret.

Nearing America, Baba dictated a new message and had it printed on the ship's press. At first, none of the mandali could understand why Baba had gone to this trouble while still at sea, but when the steamer was forty miles from New York on May 19th, newspaper reporters requesting an interview swarmed to Baba's cabin. Baba did not see them but gave each a copy of the message through Chanji and Tod. Only then was Baba's purpose disclosed.


Lord Meher Volume 5, Page 1614



From another source :


Baba again sailed on the S.S. Bremen on the 13th May 1932, from England to New York. Arriving on the 19th May.

Baba was to conduct a newspaper and newsreel interview on the deck of the Bremen on the 19th May, 40 miles from New York, but instead gave a pre-printed response.  The photographs of him were taken at 1PM in New York Harbour.

The reporters wanted to photograph Baba, but he did not allow it then. During the disembarkation at New York harbor that same day at 1 P.M., however, photographs of him dictating on the alphabet board were taken. Several people were observing this scene aboard the ship, and surrounded Baba as he slowly made his way down the gangplank and through the crowd.

Norina Matchabelli, Jean and Malcolm Schloss, Graham Phelps Stokes, Anita de Caro, Nadine Tolstoy, Elizabeth and her husband, Kenneth Askew Patterson, and a few other lovers were at the pier to receive Baba. Mr. Patterson drove Baba to Greenwich Village to the home of Graham and Lettice Stokes, and the others followed in taxis. Staying with the Master at the Stokes were Adi Jr., Quentin Tod, Meredith and Margaret Starr. The other mandali, Kaka, Ghani, Chanji and Beheram, stayed at the Albert Hotel.


Lord Meher Volume 5, Page 1618


1932 : Meher Baba on the S.S. Bremen in New York Harbour
1932 : Meher Baba on the S.S. Bremen in New York Harbour

SS Bremen (1929)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bundesarchiv Bild 102-11081, Schnelldamper "Bremen".jpg
The Bremen in 1931
Name: SS Bremen
Owner: Norddeutscher Lloyd
Builder: Deutsche Schiff- und Maschinenbau AG
Launched: 2 August 1928
Maiden voyage: 16 July 1929
Fate: Caught fire, gutted at Bremerhaven dock in 1941; scrapped in 1946.
General characteristics
Tonnage: 51,656 gross tons
Length: 938.6 feet (286.1 m)
Beam: 101.7 feet (31 m)
Installed power: Four steam turbines generating 25,000 horsepower (19,000 kW) each
Propulsion: Quadruple propellers
Speed: 27.5 knots (50.9 km/h)
Capacity: 2,139; 811 first class, 500 second class, 300 tourist class, 617 third class
Crew: 966 total

The SS Bremen of 1929 was one of a pair of ocean liners built for the Norddeutscher Lloyd line (NDL) for the transatlantic passenger service. The Bremen was notable for her low streamlined profile, and modern approach to her design. Her sister ship was the Europa, later renamed Liberté. The German pair sparked the building of the large and very expensive express liners of the 1930s. She was the fourth ship of NDL to carry the name Bremen.






Also known as TS Bremen - for Turbine Ship - the Bremen and her sister were designed to have a cruising speed of 27.5 knots, allowing a crossing time of 5 days. This speed enabled Norddeutsche Lloyd to run regular weekly crossings with two ships, a feat that normally required three. It was claimed that Bremen briefly reached speeds of 32 knots (59 km/h) during her sea trials.


Construction and design


Bremen was built by the new German shipbuilding company Deutsche Schiff- und Maschinenbau AG. She was built from 7000 tons of high-strength steel with 52 kg/mm² (500 N/mm²), allowing a weight saving of some 800 tons on the structure. She was also the first commercial ship to be designed with the Taylor bulbous bow. She was launched 2 August 1928 by President Paul von Hindenburg. SS Bremen and her sister ship SS Europa were considered for their time as the most modern liners in the world. The high speeds and the comfort and luxury level on board made high demands of technical personnel. Each ship required an engineering crew of some 170 men.


The Bremen that was still under construction.

As on her sister ship Europa, Bremen had a catapult on the upper deck between the two funnels with a small seaplane, which facilitated faster mail service. The airplane was launched from the ship several hours before arrival, landing at the seaplane base in Blexen.

The boiler and the machine equipment were designed by Professor Dr. Gustav Bauer. Bremen had four airtight boiler rooms. The combustion air for the oil burners of the boilers was blown into the boiler rooms by eight steam turbine blowers. The resulting positive pressure meant that the boiler rooms were only accessible through airlocks. The steam was generated in 20 oil-fired water tube boilers, eleven double-enders and nine single-enders in four banks fired by a total of 227 oil burners. The operating pressure was 23 atm = 24 bar with a steam temperature at the superheater discharge of 370 °C. The maximum steam generating capacity was 500 tons/h. For harbour operation three boilers with their own blower were available, so that during work periods the main boiler airlocks could remain open. The total heating surface amounted to 17,050 m ², the superheater surface 3,875 m ² and the air preheater surface 8,786 m ². The feed water was preheated to 130 °C and the fuel oil consumption was 33 tons/h or 380 g/HP/h or 800 tons/Day, fed from oil bunkers with a capacity of 7,552 tons.

SS Bremen had four geared steam turbines that could generate approximately 135,000 sHP. Each of them had a high pressure, a medium pressure, low pressure and a reverse turbine. In reverse, 65% of the forward power was available. At cruise speed the turbines made 1800 rpm while the propellers made 180 rpm for a power output of 84,000 sHP. The four propellers were bronze and had a diameter of 5,000 mm, pitch of 5,200 mm and weighed 17 tons each. The 230 V electric power on the ship came from four diesel generators with a total output of 520 kW. On board, there were total of 420 electric motors, approximately 21,000 lamps, electric cookers and 20 elevators.


Blue Riband


Bremen was to have made her maiden transatlantic crossing in the company of her sister Europa, but Europa suffered a serious fire during fitting-out, so Bremen crossed solo, departing Bremerhaven for New York City under the command of Commodore Leopold Ziegenbein on 16 July 1929. She arrived four days, 17 hours, and 42 minutes later, capturing the westbound Blue Riband from the Mauretania with an average speed of 27.83 knots (51.54 km/h). This voyage also marked the first time mail was carried by a ship-launched plane for delivery before the ship's arrival. A Heinkel HE 12, piloted by Jobst von Studnitz, was launched a few hours before arrival in New York with a number of mailbags. On her next voyage Bremen took the eastbound Blue Riband with a time of 4 day 14 hours and 30 minutes and an average speed of 27.91 knots (51.69 km/h). This was the first time a liner had broken two records on her first two voyages.[1][2] The Bremen lost the westbound Blue Riband to her sister Europa in 1930, and the eastbound Blue Riband to SS Normandie in 1935.


Before World War II


Bremen in 1935

As Nazism gained power in Germany, Bremen and her pier in New York were often the site of Anti-Nazi demonstrations. On 26 July 1935 a group of demonstrators boarded Bremen just before she sailed and tore the Nazi party flag from the jackstaff and tossed it into the Hudson River. On 15 September 1935 Hitler declared the Nazi Flag to be the exclusive national flag of Germany in response to this incident, removing the status of the original flag of the Weimar Republic as co-national flag.[1][3][4] The Bremen started her South America cruise on 11 February 1939, and was the first ship of this size to traverse the Panama Canal. On 22 August 1939, she began her last voyage to New York. After ten years of service, she had almost 190 transatlantic voyages completed.


 World War II


On 26 August 1939, in anticipation of the invasion of Poland, the Kriegsmarine high command ordered all German merchant ships to head to German ports immediately. Bremen was on a westbound crossing and 2 days from New York when she received the order. Bremen’s captain decided to continue to New York to disembark her 1770 passengers. She left New York without passengers on 30 August 1939 and on 1 September, coincident with the start of the Second World War, she was ordered to make for the Russian port of Murmansk. Underway, her crew painted the ship grey for camouflage. She made use of bad weather and high speed to avoid Royal Navy cruisers, arriving in Murmansk on 6 September 1939. With the outbreak of the Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union, on 10 December 1939 Bremen made a dash to Bremerhaven, arriving on 13 December. On the way she was sighted and challenged by the S class submarine HMS Salmon. While challenging Bremen, an escorting Dornier Do 18 seaplane forced the Salmon to dive for safety. After diving, the Salmon's commander decided not to torpedo the liner because he believed she was not a legal target.[5] His decision not to fire on Bremen likely delayed the start of unrestricted submarine warfare.[1]

The Bremen was used as a barrack ship; there were plans to use her as a transport in Operation Sealion, the intended invasion of Great Britain. In 1941, the Bremen was set alight by a crew member while at her dock in Bremerhaven and completely gutted. A lengthy investigation discovered that the arson was the result of personal grudge against the ship's owners and not an act of sabotage. She was broken up in 1946.




Stamp of the Bremen

In 2004, a stamp was issued, which shows Bremen before the Manhattan skyline.

In 2003, Radio Bremen produced a one-hour radio feature, Königin der Meere – Die Geschichte des Schnelldampfers „Bremen“ (queen of the seas - The story of the rapid steamer "Bremen") by Detlef Michelers and other former sailors on Bremen.

In the stairwell in the Bremen Overseas Museum, there is a 1:100 scale model of Bremen, while in the shipping exhibit there is a model of her significantly smaller earlier namesake in the same scale.


View of the Bremen


The profile of the Bremen as originally built - the funnels were raised by five meters in 1930.

Further reading

  • Adolf Ahrens: Die Siegesfahrt der „Bremen“. Berlin 1939
  • Nils Aschenbeck: Schnelldampfer Bremen – Die Legende/Express Liner Bremen – The Legend. Delmenhorst 1999 ISBN 3-932292-16-2
  • Nur das Gästebuch bezeugt den alten Glanz. Erinnerungen an Julius Hundt, Chief-Ingenieur der „Bremen“ / Besuch an Bord war ein Erlebnis. In Weser-Kurier. Bremen 1999
  • „Bremen“-Fotos aus privaten Alben. Bildband über den Schnelldampfer. In Weser-Kurier, Bremen 1999
  • Hermann Haarmann / Ingrid Peckskamp-Lürßen: Mit der Kamera um die Welt – Richard Fleischhut (1881–1951). Kettler-Verlag, ISBN 3-937390-67-7


  1. ^ a b c Huchthausen, Peter A. (2005). Shadow Voyage: The Extraordinary Wartime Escape of the Legendary SS Bremen. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0471457582. OCLC 55764562. 
  2. ^ Huchthausen, Peter A.. "The SS Bremen Article". http://www.freewebs.com/tmnarticles/bremen.htm. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  3. ^ Bailey, Bill (1993). "Chapter XIV: Ripping the Swastika off the Bremen". The kid from Hoboken : an autobiography. San Francisco: Circus Lithographic Prepress. OCLC 27835027. http://www.larkspring.com/Kid/Book2/2-14.html. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  4. ^ "Historical flags (Germany)". Flags of the World. 2003-12-27. http://www.fotw.net/flags/de_his.html. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  5. ^ http://web.ukonline.co.uk/chalcraft/sm/salmon.html

External links

Preceded by
Holder of the Blue Riband (Westbound)
1929 – 1930
Succeeded by
Atlantic Eastbound Record
1929 – 1935
Succeeded by
  • history of ships ( in ship: Passenger liners in the 20th century )

    ...beginning with the French Line’s Île de France in 1927 and gaining fiercer competition when the Germans returned to the race with the launching on successive days in 1928 of the Europa and the Bremen. But by the end of 1929 the Great Depression had begun; it made transatlantic passage a luxury that fewer and fewer could afford and rendered immigration to the United States impractical.

  • interior design ( in industrial design: Origins of modern design: Germany and Europe;

    ...with the Bauhaus, other German architects of the time created high-profile designs; for instance, Fritz August Breuhaus de Groot created the interiors of the steamship Bremen (1929) and the airship Hindenburg (1931–35), and in the 1930s Gropius protégé Carl August Bembé designed motorboats for...

    in Fritz A. Breuhaus (German architect) )

    ...of the German company Mitropa’s railroad sleeping cars, but his more important commissions included the main rooms (First Class) and the children’s playroom of the famous luxury ocean liner Bremen (launched 1929) as well as the interior of the historic airship Hindenburg (1931–35), destroyed in an explosion over Lakehurst, N.J., on May 6, 1937. For the former he...