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HINDENBURG
Nazi Propaganda 
Edited by Dr. Don Noyes-More Ph.D.


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     The Hindenburg was the largest Airship to ever be built. It was the marvel of the ages. And in the hands of the German Nazi regime it was used as a powerful propaganda tool that spread it's message around the world. The Hindenburg was not filled with safe Helium but rather extremely volatile Hydrogen. Which was the reason for it exploding at Lakehurst, New Jersey.

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Passenger Cabins on Hindenburg

Passenger Cabin aboard Hindenburg

Passenger Cabin aboard Hindenburg (Airships.net collection)

Hindenburg was originally built with 25 double-berthed cabins at the center of A Deck, accommodating 50 passengers.  After the ship’s inaugural 1936 season, 9 more cabins were added to B Deck, accommodating an additional 20 passengers. The A Deck cabins were small, but were comparable to railroad sleeper compartments of the day.  The cabins measured approximately 78″ x 66″, and the walls and doors were made of a thin layer of lightweight foam covered by fabric.  Cabins were decorated in one of three color schemes — either light blue, grey, or beige — and each A Deck cabin had one lower berth which was fixed in place, and one upper berth which could be folded against the wall during the day.

Passenger Cabin aboard Hindenburg

Passenger Cabin aboard Hindenburg (Airships.net collection)

Each cabin had call buttons to summon a steward or stewardess, a small fold-down desk, a wash basin made of lightweight white plastic with taps for hot and cold running water, and a small closet covered with a curtain in which a limited number of suits or dresses could be hung; other clothes had to be kept in their suitcases, which could be stowed under the lower berth. None of the cabins had toilet facilities; male and female toilets were available on B Deck below, as was a single shower, which provided a weak stream of water “more like that from a seltzer bottle” than a shower, according to Charles Rosendahl. Because the A Deck cabins were located in the center of the ship they had no windows, which was a feature missed by passengers who had traveled on Graf Zeppelin and had enjoyed the view of the passing scenery from their berths.

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CLICK TO ENLARGE ART
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INTERIOR OF THE HINDENBURG

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LAKEHURST, New Jersey 1937

During the winter of 1936-1937, while the ship was laid up in Frankfurt, additional passenger cabins were also added in Bay 11, just aft of ring 173.  The new cabins had windows offering an outside view, and were slightly larger than the cabins on A Deck.  The additional weight of these new cabins was made possible by the unexpected (and unwelcome) need to operate the ship with hydrogen, which has greater lifting power than the helium for which Hindenburg had been designed.

1937 B Deck cabins.  (Drawing courtesy Patrick Russell, "Faces of the Hindenburg" blog.)

B Deck, showing 1937 cabins. (Drawing courtesy Patrick Russell, “Faces of the Hindenburg” blog, based on 1937 DZR brocure.)

The Bar

Hindenburg Bar

Hindenburg Bar (LZ Archiv)

The Hindenburg’s bar was a small ante-room between the smoking room and the air-lock door leading to the corridor on B-Deck.  This is where Hindenburg bartender Max Schulze served up LZ-129 Frosted Cocktails (gin and orange juice) and Maybach 12 cocktails (recipe lost to history), but more importantly, it is where Schulze monitored the air-lock to ensure that no-one left the smoking room with burning cigarattes, cigars, or pipes. Schulze had been a steward and bartender aboard the ocean liners of the Hamburg-Amerika Line and was well liked by Hindenburg passengers, even if he was surprisingly unfamiliar with basic American cocktails such as the Manhattan. The bar and smoking room were also the scene of a raucous party on the Hindenburg’s maiden voyage to America, where passenger Pauline Charteris improvised aKirschwasser cocktailafter the ship ran out of gin for martinis.

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