10 Unsolved Mysteries of World War II You Won't Find in a History Book

German U boat U530 after its surrender to Argentine authorities, Mar del Plata 1945. Wikipedia

What Happened to U 530?

When the Germans surrendered to the Allies in May 1945, Grand Admiral Karl Donitz, then serving as the head of the Navy as well as the Head of State and Reich President, ordered the U Boat fleet to surrender immediately to Allied ships or other authority. U 530 was then at sea. The boat had received a new commanding officer in January, a Lieutenant named Otto Wermuth. For the next two months the whereabouts of the U 530 were unknown to the Allies.

On July 10, 1945 U 530 arrived at Mar de Plata in Argentina, and its commander surrendered his command to the Argentine Navy. Normally a voyage from European waters to the Argentine port would have taken less than two weeks, let alone two months. The delay in travel to Argentina, as well as why the port of Mar del Plata was selected as the point of surrender, were not explained.

Nor was the fact that the U boat was not carrying its deck gun, which had been jettisoned at sea, explained to the Argentine authorities. None of the crew of the German submarine was carrying any identification, highly unusual for a regime in which proper documentation had been demanded of all citizens at all times. Strangest of all, the submarine carried no ship’s log, and there was no record of its activities or travels for the preceding two months. What documents remained aboard the U boat were heavily censored.

Argentine authorities interrogated the German commander and other officers outside of the presence of American officials from the US Embassy, “…because the interrogating officer felt that if they were present the Germans would talk less…” according to the report of the United States Naval Attache to the Embassy.

After the arrival of the U 530 and the detention of the boat’s crew by the Argentine authorities, an Argentine reporter wrote of a Buenos Aires police report which described an unidentified submarine disembarking a man dressed as a high ranking officer and a civilian, at a remote spot on the Argentine coastline. This report was one of many which fueled rumors of Adolf Hitler’s escape to Argentina. Regardless, the question of where U 530 was and what the U Boat had been doing for two months has never been adequately explained.