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House Flags of East German Shipping Companies 1949-1989

Last modified: 2017-11-11 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: german democratic republic | house flag |
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Unfortunately, the only source for these flags seems to be my memory, but since I have worked all together 22 years for five of these companies, I consider it a fairly reliable source. Since there are only a few, they are not sorted alphabetically but rather by significance.
The blue-red-blue design was the basic color for almost every civilian marine enterprise in the German Democratic Republic. I do not know who designed it or what the meaning of the colors is. I suppose blue stands for water and red for the working class.
Volker Moerbitz Keith, 7 Feb 2001

To my knowledge, none of these companies exists anymore. Deutfracht (my first employer) merged with Deutsche Seereederei in 1974, my employer for 21 years. This was split in 1998, the container ships forming DSR Senator which does not use the old DSR flag and the rest was sold to Ferdinand Laeisz GmbH. I am afraid I do not remember their flag.
Deutsche Reichsbahn is now part of Bundesbahn [German Federal Railways] although I do not know if they manage the ferries.
Ingenieurhochschule für Seefahrt, my alma mater, is now part of the Technical University Wismar.
The fishing fleet was dissolved, ships were sold to private owners. Same thing happened to Deutsche Binnenreederei.
As for the political organizations that owned ships, the organizations do not exist anymore and the ships now belong either to private owners or to the cities of Rostock and Greifswald.
The only flag that may still be in use could be the flag of Weisse Flotte. The company has been dissolved, the ships are privatised or belong to cities, but some may still use this once popular East German symbol. We would have to ask somebody in [what was] East Germany. In my old home town Potsdam, the ships formerly belonging to Weisse Flotte are now in private hands and use a flag based on the old one, see this website.
Volker Moerbitz Keith, 30 Oct 2001

Comment is made of the merger of Deutfacht and Deutsche Seereederei as VEB Deutfracht/Seereederei which became Deutsche Seereederei Rostock GmbH in 7/1990 at the beginning of the privatization process which eventuated in June 1993 with the sale to the consortium of Hamburg shipowners of Horst Rahe and Nikolaus Schues, and to DSR Senator Linie. This latter was a merger in 1994 between the liner trade of DSR-Lines and Senator Linie (formed in 1987) being jointly owned by Deutsche Seereederei Rostock GmbH and Bremer Vulkan and appears to have operated with chartered tonnage. By 1997 there were financial problems which saw the South Korean company Hanjin Shipping Co. Ltd. acquire an 80% holding with the previous owners retaining an interest. On July 1st 2000 the name was changed to Senator Line and their flag under both names is white with a stylised "S" of 3 lines, 2 dark blue and 1 red [see de~s268a.gif attached] which can be seen on the Josef Nüsse site. Brown 1995 shows a slightly different version with the central line being a lighter blue.
Neale Rosanoski, 3 May 2004

The East Germany house flags in FOTW have little to do with reality. The emblem of the VEB Deutfracht - Internationale Befrachtung Reederei und Spedition Berlin and the flag of the DSR are quite far from the correct designs. I suggest these links for further information: - Deutfracht-Seereederei website - DSR-Seeleute websiteSG Ostsee website.
Roland Bentin, 26 Jun 2002

Other Organizations

Junge Pioniere (Young Pioneers) and Gesellschaft für Sport und Technik (Society for Sport and Technology) operated a couple of training ships on coastal waters and on the Baltic Sea. Both operators used the flags of their organizations as house flags.
Altogether, there were about 20 East German organizations or companies operating ships, but most of them really only having one ship/boat or two within national waters and not bothering to develop house flags. The only ones required to show some kind of flag were those mentioned above, sailing in international waters.
Volker Moerbitz Keith, 9 Feb 2001

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