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This page belongs to greg krenzelok.


This is the ship that Paul and Elizabeth Krenzelok came to America on.

Paul Krenzelok entered Ellis Island on November 2 1909 and was 19 years old. You will find Paul's last name misspelled at Ellis Island as KRENZELEK instead of KRENZELOK. I have tried countless times to have them correct this but because they read the original ship manifest as KRENZELEK they will not change it.

Above picture: Paul Krenzelok (left) and his brother center and person unknown at the right. Believed to be taken in Poland at their leaving home for America . Posted by Ed Krenzelok and part of the picture collection of our Krezelok family in Poland that they let Ed borrow to have scanned. A lot of these pictures have never been seen by the American Krenzelok family and I will be posting them in the future.

Frank Kellner entered Ellis Island on July 6th 1907 under the name Franz Kellner age 25. Make sure you look for page 0398 line 6. Frank came to America ahead of his wife Frances and daughter Elizabeth. He went to Ladysmith Wisconsin where friends were working at the papermill and got a job also there. He later sent for his family to come to America

Kronprinzessin Cecilie in New York Harbor 1910. The same year Elizabeth and her mother arrived

Elizabeth, Frances and Frank Kellner taken around 1906 at Witkowitz, Moravia

Elizabeth ( Berta ) Kellner Krenzelok and her mother Frances ( Franciszka ) Kellner entered Ellis Island on March 15 1910 and was 11 years old ( age 13 is correct ) . This date has now been confirmed with Ellis Island records thanks to Alan Krenzelok, Ed's son . You can find Franciszka ( Frances ) and Berta ( Elizabeth ) Kellner in the Ellis Island record's website. Originally we were not able to locate them due to a miss spelling of their last name which was spelled Okellner. Alan found another person on the ship manifest for the date Frances and Elizabeth sailed and went through the manifest where he located them both.

Special note January 7 2005: I have been able to correct the spelling of Frances and Elizabeth's last name at Ellis Island and you will now find it spelled correctly ( Kellner )

The Anton Chvatal family was on the same voyage to America in November 1909.

Several years ago I received a e-mail from David Bond, he had found this website on the KRONPRINZESSIN CECILIE and was amazed to find that his grandfather Anton Chvatal had came across at the same time on the KRONPRINZESSIN CECILIE as my grandfather Paul Krenzelok. We thought how incredible it was that both of our grandfathers were on the same ship and on the same voyage. This has created a friendship and bond between our two families. We like to dream of what is was like for our grandfathers and families coming across on the KRONPRINZESSIN CECILIE which like the RMS TITANIC was a luxury liner of the first class in its day. Dave and his family has shared with us the wonderful story of his grandfather coming to America and will also be sharing the short diary written by his grandfather of the time spent on the KRONPRINZESSIN CECILIE with his family on the crossing. Anton Chvatal’s diary aboard ship was a pocketsize booklet published by the Bremen Line consisting of 15 pages. The first 6 pages were advertisements about the Bremen Line and the rest of the pages were for the diary. I would like to thank Dave and his family for sharing the diary and booklet with all of us, what a wonderful piece of KRONPRINZESSIN CECILIE amd family history this is!

Click on the below click to go to the Anton Chvatal Family webpage

Anton Chvatal family

Above picture: Anton Chvatal and his wife Frances with their son John and daughter Frances, picture dates sometime between 1915 and 1920 and taken outside their home in Calmar, Iowa

Kronprinzessin Cecilie was built in 1906 by A.G.Vulkan for Norddeutscher Lloyd (North German Lloyd) She was 19,360 gross tons, length was 707 feet long and her beam was 72 feet. She had 4 funnels, three masts and had twin screws with a speed of 22.5 knots. She had accommodations for 617 first class, 326 second class and 798 3rd class passengers. Launched on Jan 12 1906. Her maiden voyage was from Bremen to Southampton, Cherbourg and on to New York. She last voyage as a passenger ship was on July 28 1914 heading for New York. From New York she headed home but was call back to Boston harbor due to the out break of World War 1. She was seized by US authorities and became the transport "Mount Vernon". On Oct. 5 1918 she was torpedoed in the North Atlantic by a German U-boat with 36 deaths managed to reach port. In 1919 she was laid up and in 1920 went to the US Shipping Board. She was scrapped in 1940 at Baltimore harbor where she lay next to her sister ship the Kaiser Wilhelm.(See last picture) Remember Titanic was only a few years away from when our relatives set out and watching any movie on the Titanic will give you a pretty good idea what times were like. The Kronprinzessin was a luxury Liner too just a little shorter in length. Titanic was around 889 feet, Kronprinzessin was around 707 feet in Length.

Above picture: Kronprinzessin Cecilie at her 3rd Street dock at Hoboken New Jersey. When the US took over the Germany liners in WW I the troops still embarked from their old docks. May grandfather Leonard Murphy was in the Veterinary Corp and embarked from Hoboken on November 11 1918 on a ship carrying horses with Veterinary Hospital # 18 going to Sougy France southeast of Paris close to Nevers France.

In 1897, when the four-funneled Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse was launched, the Germans for the first time successfully challenged British supremacy on the North Atlantic. This North German Lloyd liner took the Blue Ribbon for speed away from Cunard liners. In all, five such German four stackers were built up to 1907 the Kronprinzessin Cecile was the last of the four stacked liner built.

In 1889, Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm II visited Britain's White Star line during a Naval review at Spithead. The Emperor was deeply impressed and for the next 25 years transatlantic passenger shipping would never be quite the same. Until then, the British had a monopoly on the trans ocean honors for the biggest, fastest and the grandest passenger ships. The Kaiser was envious and when her returned to Germany word quickly spread that Imperial maritime honor for Germany would be established. After all it was not simply a matter of out doing the British but of clearly showing Europe and the rest of the world that the German Empire was reaching a new zenith of industrial and technological might. Eight years later the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse was commissioned in September 1897 in honor of the Kaiser's grandfather Kaiser Wilhelm I and began the age of the great ocean liners. She quickly grabbed the prized Blue Ribbon for speed from the British. It was a serious blow to the otherwise contented British Victorian pride. The Kaiser was delighted!

The North German Lloyd responded with no fewer than three successively large liners, all of them four stackers. The three new vessels had the deep interest of the Kaiser and so quite appropriately bore royal names. They were the Kronprinz Wilhelm named in honor of the crown prince, Kaiser Wilhelm II and the Kronprinzessin Cecile. The early projection to make the British liners as three stackers had to change; the new ships would have to be four stackers, just like the German ships. In 1907 the new pair of ships were commissioned as the Lusitania and the Mauretania and the largest and fastest went back to Britain.

A deluxe suite on the North German Lloyd liners could cost as much as 2500 dollars. First class contained the most space and included salons of carved wood and magnificent art, suites and staterooms with marble bathrooms and special sitting rooms. Second class was a modified version of first class but with far less opulence and space. The steerage quarters the most profitable to the company were given the smallest amount of space and certainly the least amount of comfort.

Kronprinzessin Cecile one of its many sitting salons around 1909 the same year Paul Krenzelok was on the her but down in steerage. Steerage passengers would not have access to first or second class areas.

The Kronprinzessin Cecile the last of the four stackers to fly the German flag had four great mustard colored Stacks. She was the completion of the company's four liner express service and the best of its kind in the world. She provided a weekly sailing from either New York or Bremerhaven. It was a popular exact service that served thousands of passengers. She was one of the finest most luxurious liners of her day. Her first class accommodations were so luxurious that the suites included small separate private dining rooms for the more reclusive travelers. American millionaires frequently used this ship. The first class restaurant included a fish tank to provide fresh dinnertime selections. Of Course like her earlier German predecessors and other contemporaries. The Kronprinzessen Cecile also carried steerage passengers their facilities were in marked contrast to the upper deck luxuries of first class. The price of first class was as much as 2500 dollars and 25 dollars for steerage for the 5 day 20 hours passage to New York.

Above picture: Refueling coal was a cumbersome, dirty and time consuming process for each voyage. Kaiser Welhelm refueling coal at Bremem docks Germany get ready for another voyage across the Atlantic

The two and two funnels was a unique design concept that always made such German liners clearly recognizable. The scheme had more practical reasons: the pairing eliminated the need for funnel shafts in the first class restaurant and also provided better exhaust for the below deck boiler.

The travelers quickly thought the appearances of four stack liners as seen as both larger and safer. The theory of the day was ?The more stacks, the better the ship? The highly sought revenue producing immigrant trade of those thousands who were seeking one way passages to America used this system in selecting the ship for their ?Voyage of a lifetime? There were occasions when steamer companies mis-represented the ships as having more stacks than they had in reality, causing riots on the sailing day. Some passengers would stead-fastly refuse to sail until rebooked on a liner with at least three but preferably a four stacked or funnel liner.

The builders of the fourth sister were the Vulcan Shipyards in Stettin, Northern Germany. In July 1907, the dashing new Kronprinzessin Cecilie was planned to leave Bremerhaven on her maiden voyage. However, that would not be the case. Before the maiden voyage could take place, the ship sank in Bremerhaven harbor. Not until the next month on the 6th, had the ship been pumped out and repaired, and could finally set out on her maiden voyage.

The ship Kronprinzessin Cecilie was named after the wife of the German Crown Prince (Kronprinz). Cecilie Augusts Marie, The daughter of the Grand Duke Friedrich Franz III. of Mecklenburg Schwerin married the Kronprinzen Friedrich William, the oldest son of the last German emperor Wilhelm II in June 1905. The pair had six children. Empress Auguste Viktoria, pushed on a early marriage of the son as possible. With an examination of further possible connections the pair of emperors had become attentive on the princess Cecilie from the house Mecklenburg Schwerin. On the occasion of carefully arranged meeting it is to have been then love at first sight between the beautiful, blood-young Cecilie and the Kronprinzen. The wedding day on 6 June 1905 became for Berlin a memorable event.

The Kronprinzessin Cecilie was a virtual copy of the Kaiser Wilhelm II, having almost the same figure of tonnage. At last had the Germans an awaited four-ship express run over the Atlantic, and the Kronprinzessin Cecilie along with her sisters became very popular. Each of the ships had a service speed of between 22 and 23 knots, a very high figure when considering that the rate for achieving the Blue Ribbon was just above 23 knots. But the speed was not all that attracted passengers. The interiors of the four Norddeutscher Lloyd-sisters were something special. For example, the Kronprinzessin Cecilie had some of her first class suites fitted with private dining rooms for the reserved passenger. Also, a fish tank was placed in the kitchen, providing first class passengers with the freshest of fish. Added to this the entire ship was fitted with the best of craftsmanship Germany could offer; the salons were full of ornamented wood and gilded mirrors. The four sisters became the favorite ships for many distinguished passengers - especially American millionaires. Not only popular among the rich, the Kronprinzessin Cecilie earned popularity among the many emigrants also. Her four funnels represented safety, which was an important feature among the many European fortune-seekers. In comparison with a $2,500-first class suite ticket, the emigrant could sail on the Kronprinzessin Cecilie for a mere $25 - one hundred times cheaper.

The Kronprinzessin Cecilie's fate never reached German decision. When the war broke out she was in the middle of the Atlantic heading for Germany. By accident, the ship carried over $14 million in gold and silver destined to pay American industrial borrowings from British and French banks. The commanding officer, Captain Pollack, realized what danger of confiscation his ship would encounter if he was to trick his way into the Baltic Sea. In mid-ocean he decided to turn his ship back towards the still neutral United States. In order not to expose the vessel to any risks he asked for volunteers to better his all-buff funnels with a black top.

If a British ship would spot a four-stacker with buff black-topped funnels, he might mistake the Kronprinzessin Cecilie for the British White Star Line's Olympic. Some of the passengers were furious about going back to America, and a couple of American millionaires even offered to buy the ship so she could hoist the American flag and safely enter delicate European waters. Others were pleased with participating in this adventure'. The cunning Pollack reached the American coast without any problems and docked in safe Bar Harbor, Maine. If no Englishman had had the opportunity of being fooled by the Kronprinzessin Cecilie's new colors, the residents of Bar Harbor was astonished to see the Olympic' be anchored outside the tiny port.

Kronprinzessin Cecilie disguised as White Star Line's Olympic at Bar Harbor, Maine, upon her return to the US. The Kronprinzessin Cecilie, a luxury German ocean liner, was halfway across the Atlantic in August 1914 when war broke out in Europe. Rather than risk capture by British or French warships, the Cecile's captain reversed course, seeking a safe port in the United States. Three days later, under cover of darkness, he anchored his boat at the small resort town of Bar Harbor, Maine.The reason for this unorthodox port call soon became apparent. The majestic ship, her master concerned over the possibility of being captured on the high seas by British or French cruisers, had been nearing Liverpool, England, when she received telegraphic orders to come about and return to the neutral United States, making for the nearest port, which, in view of the liners diminishing coal supply The announcement here of the arrival of the North German liner Kronprinzessin Cecilie at Bar Harbor [Maine] at 6 a.m. yesterday solved the mystery in which the ship, with its gold freight of more than $10,000,000, has been involved since her sailing on Tuesday of last week for Bremen. With a cargo of $10,000,000 in gold and $3,400,000 in silver, consigned to [British and] French bankers, with an estimated value of over $5,000,000 in herself, the Kronprinzessin Cecilie has constituted probably the finest sea prize open to capture. [The captain said], 'We have reached an American port in safety and that was more than I had dared to hope. We have been in almost constant danger of capture, and we can consider ourselves extremely lucky to have come out so well.

Men and women needed not only transportation, but money also, and in this particular there is an interesting story to tell. The German steamer KRONPRINZESSIN CECILIE, bound for Bremen, had sailed from New York before the outbreak of the war, carrying about 1,200 passengers and a precious freight of gold, valued at $10,700,000. The value of the vessel herself added $5,000,000 to this sum. What had become of her and her tempting cargo was for a time unknown. There were rumors that she had been captured by a British cruiser, but this had no better foundation than such rumors usually have. Her captain was alert to the situation, being informed by wireless of the sudden change from peace to war. One such message, received from an Irish wireless station, conveyed an order from the Bremen Company for him to return with all haste to an American port.

It was on the evening of Friday, July 31st, that this order came. At once the vessel changed its course. One by one the ship's lights were put out. The decks which could not be made absolutely dark were enclosed with canvas. By midnight the ship was as dark as the sea surrounding. On she went through Saturday and on Sunday ran into a dense fog. Through this she rushed with unchecked speed and in utter silence, not a toot coming from her foghorn. This was all very well as a measure of secrecy, but it opened the way to serious danger through a possible collision, and a committee of passengers was formed to request the captain to reconsider his action. Just as the committee reached his room the first blast of the foghorn was heard, its welcome tone bringing a sense of security where grave apprehension had prevailed.

A group of financiers were on board who offered to buy the ship and sail her under American colors. But to all such proposals Captain Polack turned a deaf ear. He said that his duty was spelled by his orders from Bremen to turn back and save his ship, and these he proposed to obey. A passenger stated:

"There were seven of the crew on watch all the time, two aloft. This enabled the captain to know of passing vessels before they came above the horizon. We were undoubtedly in danger on Sunday afternoon. We intercepted a wireless message in French in which two French cruisers were exchanging data in regard to their positions."

The captain told me that he imagined those to be two vessels who regularly patrolled the fishing grounds in the interest of French fisheries. If the captain of either of those vessels should have come out of the fog and found us, his share of the prize in money might have amounted to $4,000,000. Did privateer ever dream of such booty!

"Early on Saturday our four great funnels were given broad black bands in order to make us look like the Olympic, which was supposed to be twenty-four hours ahead of us. There was a certain grim humor in the fact that the wireless operator on the Olympic kept calling us all Friday night. Of course we did not answer."

On Tuesday, August 4th, the great ship came within sight of land at the little village of Bar Harbor, Mount Desert Island, off the coast of Maine; a port scarce large enough to hold the giant liner that had sought safety in its waters. Wireless messages were at once flashed to all parts of the country and the news that the endangered vessel, with its precious cargo, was safe, was received with general relief. As regards the future movements of the ship Captain Polack said:

"I can see no possibility of taking this ship to New York from here with safety. To avoid foreign vessels we should have to keep within the three-mile limit, and to accomplish this the ship would have to be built like a canoe. We have reached an American port in safety and that was more than I dared to hope. We have been in almost constant danger of capture, and we can consider ourselves extremely lucky to have come out so well"

I know I have been criticized for making too great speed under bad weather conditions, but I have not willfully endangered the lives of the passengers. I would rather have lost the whole ship and cargo than have assumed any such risk. Of course, aside from this consideration, my one aim has been to save my ship and my cargo from capture.

"I have not been acting on my own initiative, but under orders from the North German Lloyd in Bremen, and although I am an officer in the German navy my duty has been to the steamship line."

I was able to find the real picture of the above Postcard of the Kronprinzessen Cecilie at the Bremem dock. Who knows maybe Paul, Elizabeth or her mother Frances is in this picture. Notice how the train came right up to the dock here at Bremem. This picture is of the right period for Paul, Elizabeth or her mother Frances traveling to America and you can bet that it looked very much like this the day they left for America.This picture was taken around 1910

The British knew about the Kronprinzessin Cecilie's load and now wondered where she had gone. The inhabitants of Bar Harbor had telegraphed New York and asked about the Olympic. They were told that she was safely berthed at her ordinary Pier 59, and when the British authorities received the news they realized that the second Olympic' was none other than the Kronprinzessin Cecilie - now out of their reach. A week after her arrival in Bar Harbor, the ship was escorted to Boston where she and the crew were interned. The Kronprinzessin Cecilie remained in the United States since the Germans thought it was a safe place for one of their latest merchant achievements.

Unfortunately for the Germans, they were wrong. In 1917, the Americans entered the war on the British side. All German ships in American harbors were confiscated. This included the enormous 54,000-tonner Vaterland, the Kaiser Wilhelm II, the Kronprinz Wilhelm - and the Kronprinzessin Cecilie. The only of the four sisters not seized by the Americans was the Kaiser Wilhelm .

Kronprinzessin Cecilie at sea

New York Harbor.

Kronprinzessin Cecilie (German Passenger Liner, 1906-1940) Later USS Mount Vernon (ID # 4508)

Kronprinzessin Cecilie, a 19,503 gross ton passenger liner built at Stettin, Germany, was completed in 1906. She operated on the North Atlantic during the next eight years, making regular passages between Europe and the United States. The ship was at sea, en route to Germany, when World War I broke out in early August 1914. Since the risks of interception by British cruisers were very great, she turned back and found safety at Bar Harbor, Maine. Laid up soon afterwards, Kronprinzessin Cecilie was seized by the United States Government when the U.S. entered the conflict and was later renamed Mount Vernon. As such, she served as a U.S. Navy transport from mid-1917 until September 1919, and was subsequently a U.S. Army transport. Laid up in the early 1920s, Mount Vernon was too old to be of use during World War II and was scrapped in 1940.

The U.S. Army Transport Mount Vernon was originally the 19,503 gross ton passenger liner Kronprinzessin Cecilie, built at Stettin, Germany, in 1906. She operated as USS Mount Vernon beginning in 1917 and was transferred to the War Department when the Navy placed her out of commission in September 1919. While in Army service she made one round trip voyage to the Russian Far East and be laid up. Mount Vernon was in reserve, generally in the Chesapeake Bay region, for the next two decades. She was scrapped in 1940, after it was decided that she was too old to be worth reconditioning for World War II employment.

The Kronprinzessin Cecilie was renamed Mount Vernon for military purposes. When the Americans got hold of the ship, several wartime changes were made. The most visible was the addition of extra guns for defense, modification of the bridge and an added crow's nest on the main mast. The entire ship was repainted in dazzle paint camouflage. The pattern had been designed by the American Everett Warner.

The Kronprinzessin Cecilie started to serve the Allies as a troopship, and on one occasion in September 1918, when the steamer was loaded with wounded US- soldiers and returning to the Americas, not half way across the Atlantic, she was torpedoed by U-82 in September 1918, the German U-boat in her aft engine room. The explosion killed 34 men, but due to the vessel's thorough safety equipment she managed to stay afloat and even steam back to Brest, France at 15 knots!

When the war finally ended later that year, the ex-Kronprinzessin Cecilie remained under American authority. She made one voyage to Vladivostok through the Panama Canal in order to evacuate refuges and soldiers.On her return, Mount Vernon was transferred to the United States Shipping Board and laid up in the Patuxent River. The ship was never taken any advantage of, and when World War II was about to become a fact in 1939, the Americans offered the former Kronprinzessin Cecilie to the British as a troop-transport, but they considered her too old. The steamer remained in Chesapeake Bay and lay there rusting until 1940, when she was finally towed away and scrapped at Baltimore.

U.S. Navy Troop Transports at sea, 10 November 1917 These ships, steaming in convoy from New York City to Brest, France, are (from left to right): USS Mount Vernon (ID # 4508), USS Agamemnon (ID # 3004) and USS Von Steuben (ID # 3017). The Agamemmon was the Kronprinzessin Cecilie's sister ship the Kaiser Wilhelm II and the Von Steubon the former Kronprinz Wilhelm all three former Great four Stack Luxury Liners of North German Lloyd of Bremem before World War One. Note the damage to Von Steuben's bow, the result of a collision with Agamemnon on the previous day.

USS Mount Vernon (1917-1919) Steaming towards Brest, France, after she had been torpedoed by German submarine U-82 in the eastern Atlantic on 5 September 1918. An escorting destroyer is laying a smokescreen in the background.

On 5 September 1918 the 29,650-ton transport Mount Vernon was en route back to the United States after delivering troops to the European war zone. While underway in convoy some 200 miles west of France, she spotted a periscope and opened fire. However, unlike many such incidents, this time the periscope was real, belonging to the German submarine U-82, which launched a torpedo. Though she attempted to evade, Mount Vernon was hit amidships. The resulting explosion blew a large hole in her side, putting half her boilers out of action. Thirty-six of her crew were killed and another thirteen injured, but damage control efforts contained her flooding and kept her underway. Mount Vernon steamed back to Brest, France, where she was dry-docked for initial repairs. Later she crossed the Atlantic to Boston, Massachusetts, to undergo further work. The ship was again ready for service in February 1919, three months after the November 1918 Armistice had ended the fighting, but in time to help bring American service personnel home from France.

USS Mount Vernon (1917-1919) At the New York Navy Yard, 8 July 1918, after having been painted in pattern camouflage.

USS Mount Vernon (1917-1919) View in the ship's smoking room, 1918, showing elegant decor left over from her days as the German passenger liner Kronprinzessin Cecilie. These are the first pictures that I have ever found of the interior on the ship. I am trying to find more.

USS Mount Vernon (1917-1919) View in the ship's hospital ward, 1918, showing elegant decor installed when she was the German passenger liner Kronprinzessin Cecilie. This was one of the first Class dining rooms.

In dry-dock at Brest, France, after she was torpedoed by a German submarine on 5 September 1918. USS Prometheus is in the right distance, inside the breakwater.

USS Mount Vernon (1917-1919) Drydocked at Brest, France, after she was torpedoed by German submarine U-82 on 5 September 1918

Hole in the ship's hull made by the German submarine U-82 torpedo that hit her on 5 September 1918. Photographed in drydock at Brest, France.

USS Mount Vernon (1917-1919) Stokers at work in the ship's Number Four Fireroom, circa 1919

U.S. Army Transport Mount Vernon Moored outboard of the Navy hospital ship Comfort, at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 2 January 1920. Robert's son Bob worked at Mare Island and says some of the building are still there that are in the above pictures. The building on the right is the lead shop and the old coal bins are in the middle of this picture.

U.S. Army Transport Mount Vernon Moored outboard of the Navy hospital ship Comfort, at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, in January 1920. I was very happy to find these pictures of the Kronprinzessin Cecile call the Mt Vernon in WW I at Mare Island. Mare Island in not to far from the California Krenzelok's home in Walnut Creek. My brothers and I have fished where this picture was taken and never imagined the Kronprinzessin Cecile ever came to the West Coast. I always think of Grampa and Gramma Krenzelok when I see her.

The Kronprinzessin Cecilie steamer(On the Right) remained in Chesapeake Bay with her sister ships and lay there rusting until 1940, when she was finally towed away and scrapped at Baltimore


Kronprinzessin Cecilie steamer in Chesapeake Bay in about 1940


"This photograph of the ship’s bell is courtesy of the Bar Harbor Historical Society in Bar Harbor Maine. In addition to this photograph they have an oil painting of the ship, a portion of the ship’s railing, the ship’s flag and photographs on display. The bell itself is at the Port of Newark facility of the Seaman's Church Institute but it is not currently on display." - D.H.

To visit their website click on below link.

Bar Harbor Historical Society Museum Website


My father Bill and I would like to share this portrait of the SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie with you and all the others who love this ship. - Stephen Wilch. Source: Wilch Family Collection, all rights reserved.

October 2014

Hello Greg,
Found your page dedicated to the great German Liner SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie. A family heirloom has been given to my 90 year old Father recently. The heirloom is a portrait of the SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie. My Father had seen this portrait when he was a child, and had admired it so. In 1943 he fought in WWII, traveling to England on the Mauretania. He survived D-Day and fighting in France, coming home on the great Liner Europa. My dad and I have written a book about his war time experiences. Then recently, the Kronprinzessin Cecilie portrait was given to him as a gift, since he had traveled on two ocean liners in his youth.

Dad said it hung in a paper factory shipping office here, named- Diamond International Paper Company. My Dad was born in 1924, and used to look at it in awe, when he was about 5 years old. It must have been around 1930 or so, when he first gazed upon it. He included - no one knew exactly who originally brought the painting into the shipping office. My Dad's father and uncle, (my grandpa and great uncle) worked there, and took my dad there on visits. My dad told me many men that worked in the paper factory, would walk to the shipping office, to just gaze in wonder at this portrait. When the office was torn down in the 1960s, my dad's cousin still worked there, and brought the portrait home and kept it in his basement. This past August, his cousin gave the portrait to my dad, after he learned my dad sailed in WWII on the Mauritania and Europa.

I can tell you my father's (Bill) portrait is some sort of print, onto a hard board like materiel. It is still rich in colors. You can tell it is not an oil based painting, there are no raised paint- from brush strokes. This portrait does not have a smooth surface, though it does feel the same texture, all along whatever its paint is made of. I believe it is a copy of some beautiful original.

The overall dimensions are 38 1/2 inches tall, 28 3/4 inches wide. The frame is not plastic, but real wood, and there are some small nicks and scratches along the raises edges from age and movement. I cannot assess how it rate it, as a portrait, or if there were just a few like this made in this style of print it represents. My father believes this portrait is from the WW I era (1919). He had always wondered if some U.S. military officer after that war had ended, taken & brought this portrait here from somewhere in war torn Europe. I would guess there is no way in knowing, as its original owner is unknown.

My father and I would like to share with you, a photo of this portrait. The portrait appears to be not an original oil painting. I am unsure if it has been noted elsewhere. One interesting feature is that it has its original frame. Inlaid is- NORTH GERMAN LLOYD SS CO. Photos attached, with photo of one with, the partially obscured name of painter.

My Father and I look forward to anything your contacts might know in identifying the print. We hope it adds something good to the history of this beautiful liner. We realize how fortunate we are to have been given this heirloom, and we will treat it with great care always.


Bill and Stephen J. Wilch


Dear Bill and Stephen,
This is really incredible! I have never heard or seen anything like this before. It is pre-1919 and my guess would be when the Kronprinzessin Cecilie was in service from 1906 to 1914. I believe it was hanging in one of North German Lloyd's offices or maybe in one of their travel offices and is related to the travel poster and postcard that was produced at the time. It is possible that it was found and brought to the U.S. after WW1. I have been contacted by other people whose relatives returned to the U.S. with Kronprinzessin Cecilie related items. Another possibility is that when the ship was gutted and turned into a troop transport during WW1 it may have been hanging on the ship originally. No one seems to know what happened to the contents of the ship but things do pop up every once in a while. I believe this is an extremely important piece of art and history. Thank you for sharing it with all of us who love this ship. It is definitely a museum piece. Is there any way I can get a picture of it hanging on the wall so people can understand really what it is and not just a poster?

Thank you so much Stephen.


NOTE: If anyone can help identify exactly the origin and use of this wonderful print, please contact me. – Greg Krenzelok at

The portrait hanging on the wall at dad's home. Wilch Family Collection, all rights reserved.

Wilch Family Collection, all rights reserved.

Close-ups of the SS. Kronprinzessin Cecilie . Wilch Family Collection, all rights reserved.

The partially obscured name of painter. Wilch Family Collection, all rights reserved.

Update: We now believe the portrait is by renowned artist, marine/naval painter, illustrator, designer and creator Hans Bohrdt (1857 - 1945).

One interesting feature is that it has its original frame. The frame is not plastic, but real wood, and there are some small nicks and scratches along the raises edges from age and movement. Inlaid is- NORTH GERMAN LLOYD SS CO. Wilch Family Collection, all rights reserved.


Stan Miller Family Collection, all rights reserved.

Hello Greg
My father, who is since deceased, brought back from WWII many souvenirs among them was a decoupage of the SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie. It is a print of this vessel on an oblong pine board about 11"L x 5 3/4"W and very nicely painted into an ocean scene. I was quite surprised to have searched on the internet and found it. I thought you might be interested since your family came over from Poland on that vessel.

Best regards,
Stan Miller


The Painting of Crown Princess Cecilie at the Palace of Cecilienhof museum, Germany and in the First Class Drawing Room on the SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie.

Dear Mr. Krenzelok,
I found the photo above (right) on your website in the Internet and it really - I am not exaggerating - meant a sensation for the staff of the museum palace of Cecilienhof in Potsdam, Germany, because they have a version of the portrait of Crown Princess Cecilie in the back and always tell their visitors, that the original was painted for the "S.S. Kronprinzessin Cecilie", which is expected to be lost. But the staff of the museum palace never knew, how this original version was presented in its original setting and they now want to show that to their visitors by this photo.

Will it be possible, that you scan the photo for us from the original 76 page hardbound book filled with pictures of the inside of the Kronprinzessin Cecilie, owned by you and that you send the scan to me by e-mail. The quality will then be most perfect. It would meant a lot to us. I hope you are prepared to help us.

Both versions of the painting were painted by Caspar Ritter (1861-1923), the one in Cecilienhof was painted in 1908. The Architect of the ship interior was Johann Georg Poppe (1837-1915).

Yours sincerely

Kees van der Sluijs

SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie steamer c1908.

SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie steamer c1908.

SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie steamer, date unknown

SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie steamer c1910.

SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie steamer c1911.

SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie steamer c1911.

SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie steamer c1911.

SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie steamer c1911.

Pier no. 1 North German Lloyd, c1911.

Hoboken N.J., North German Lloyd Docks.

Hoboken N.J., North German Lloyd Docks c.1907.


Length: 707 feet (216 m)

Beam: 72 feet (22 m)

Tonnage: 19,360 gross tons

Engines: Steam quadruple expansion machinery powering two propellers.

Service speed: 22.5 knots

Passengers: 1,970 people

The giant ship, 1907 in service posed and with 19.360 BRT presumptuously, was equipped with four four-fold expansion steam engines, whose efficiency could not be increased and only by the steam turbine was exceeded later. These steam engines gave 45,000 HP to achievement and lent to the ship a speed of 23 knots (1 kn = 1.852 km/h). But 180 heaters had nevertheless to dig for 500 t coal (!) in 24 hours into the unersaettlichen boilers. For a journey from Bremerhaven to New York in five days and 20 hours one loaded hoppers 5600 t coal, the charge of 500 railway trucks. To the comparison: a mine in Oelsnitz promoted around 1900 approx. 1000 t of rough coals on the day, it supplied with thus one week long to coals, in order to bring the steam ship over the ocean.

U-82 torpedoed the Mount Vernon (Kronprinzessin Cecilie) in September 1918


Mittel U - German U-Boat

Shipyard Germaniawerft, Kiel (Werk 252)

Ordered 23 Jun, 1915 Laid down 31 Aug, 1915

Launched 1 Jul, 1916 Commissioned 16 Sep, 1916

Commanders 16 Sep, 1916 - 29 Apr, 1918 Hans Adam 30 Apr, 1918 - 11 Nov, 1918 Heinrich Middendorf

Career 11 patrols 21 Nov, 1916 - 11 Nov, 1918 IV Flotilla

Successes 35 ships sunk for a total of 108.630 tons (warships excluded).

Fate 16 Jan, 1919 - Surrendered. Broken up at Blyth in 1919-20.


This is the ship that Frank (Franz) Kellner came over on. Enter New York on July 6 1907. He went through Ellis Island. He left from the port of Bremen Germany

Built for North German Lloyd, German flag, in 1900 and named the Main. Bremerhaven-New York service. Laid up at Antwerp 1914-18 owing to World War I. Scrapped in 1925

Built by Blohm & Voss Shipbuilders, Hamburg, Germany, 1900. 10,067 gross tons; 520 (bp) feet long; 58 feet wide. Steam quadruple expansion engines, twin screw. Service speed 14.5 knots. 3,451 passengers (369 first class, 217 second class, 2,865 third class).

Built for North German Lloyd, German flag, in 1900 and named Main. Bremerhaven-New York service. Laid up at Antwerp 1914-18 owing to World War I. Scrapped in 1925


Beer Glasses from the Kronprinzessin Cecilie

In the fall of 1909 at the same time as the Reims Meet in France, Orville Wright, accompanied by Katharine, board the steamer Kronprinzessin Cecilie to Germany to negotiate and instruct two pilots for the German Wright company, Flugmaschine Wright Gesellschaft

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