July 13, 2001

Hitler’s Yacht

Nearly this entire show is devoted to the story of the boat known as "Hitler's Yacht." It's a modern-day fable about what happens when the free market, the media, the World War II buffs, the Neo-Nazis, and the Jews all collide over a huge Nazi tourist trap. The boat arrived in America after World War II, and though there's no evidence that Hitler ever set foot on the decks, the name was attached to the vessel in the 1950s, and it stuck. Reporter Alix Spiegel describes the story of the vessel as "the biography of a collective fantasy."


Host Ira Glass joins a group of tourists to walk through the captured German submarine that's on permanent display at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. He notes that the Museum chooses to underplay the murderous Nazi origins of the boat. He then makes some broad generalizations that lead, inevitably, to the introduction to our story on Hitler's Yacht. (3 minutes)

Act One

Reporter Alix Spiegel tells the story of the Ostwind, the boat that came to be known as "Hitler's Yacht." (25 minutes)