Hermann savored his breakfast meal and the conversation at the table each morning with his wife and his beloved twelve-year-old grandson, Rudolf. As he ate, he took special care to explain to Rudolf what was happening at the yard, what project he was supervising these past months, and all the complications of making sure the new U-boat was seaworthy.
Today, the sixth of May 1936, was a special day for Hermann. He was tremendously excited as he explained to Luise and Rudolf that U-26, the boat he had been working on for nine months, was to be commissioned.
“Ah,” Luise said, as she served her husband more steaming coffee. “Now I understand why you are wearing your suit.”
“Opa,” Rudolf asked as he jammed his mouth full of food, “What does ‘commissioned’ mean?”
“It means the U-boat is being formally accepted by the German Navy,” Hermann said. “It is an important ceremony and our country’s flag will be raised for the first time on my beautiful boat, Enkel,” a German term of endearment that Hermann used often when he spoke to Rudolf.
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