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House Flags of East German Shipping Companies 1949-1989

Last modified: 2005-11-12 by santiago dotor
Keywords: east germany | german democratic republic | house flag | society for sport and technology | gesellschaft für sport und technik | young pioneers | junge pioniere |
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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 February 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 October 2001

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:

Roland Bentin, translated by Santiago Dotor, 26 June 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 February 2001