Arrival of the German Fleet in Lisbon

Entry of the Cruiser Köln in Lisbon
(Private photograph of António Fragoeiro )

"Our ships are coming, our ships are coming," said resident civilians in Lisbon's German community, as crowds of Portuguese and other international citizens made their way to Óbidos' Conde Rocha Port to marvel at Germany's latest naval technology.

Commanded by "Theodor Burchardi", the cruiser Köln, together with the battleship "Graf Spee" and eight other ships, would enter the waters of the port of Lisbon on the morning of May 6, 1939, for a visit that would leave an imposing impression of Germany's growing naval power. On the agenda for the visit were balls and receptions for high-ranking political and military dignitaries, tours of the Portuguese capital and the laying of a wreath at the Monument to the Portuguese Dead in the Great War, that presented by Admiral Boehm.

In the original period photograph (António Fragoeiro collection) available on this page, different and curious details can be seen, such as civilians, Hitler Youth members "armed" with flags and armbands that perfectly identify them on the harbor side and the metal support structure placed on the deck of the "Koln", where the summer "sail" was to be set.


António Fragoeiro


Fontes/ Sources:

  • Arquivos: National Archives UK, Kew (GB); Arquivo Histórico da Marinha (PT); Arquivo Histórico do MNE (PT); 
  • Sites:; 
  • Livros: Shipping Company Losses of the second World War, Ian M. Malcolm; Lista dos Navios da Marinha Portuguesa, datas 1939 a 1945;