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  Dorish Maru


Wartime History
On January 29, 1944, over a hundred missionaries including women and children, including Bishop Wolf SVD, Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters and Divine Word Missionaries and civilians detained in the Hansa Bay area were ordered to march eight miles to coast to board this vessel.

During the afternoon of February 5, 1944 the prisoners were loaded aboard the Dorish Maru moored at Hansa Bay. Also, roughly 100 Japanese soldiers joined them on the deck as passengers. No marking or indication of the civilian prisoners was placed on the vessel. The vessel departed at roughly midnight bound for Kairiru Island off Wewak. Overnight, it was spotted by American planes and anti-aircraft gunners aboard fired at them, but no attack was made against the ship.

At dawn on February 6, 1944 roughly off the coast from the Sepik River, the ship was attacked by a twin engined American aircraft that dropped an aerial bomb that was a near miss, while the ship and soldiers fired at the aircraft. Ten minutes later, another bomber returned and dropped another bomb nearby, and ten minutes later there was a third attack, and claimed to shoot down one of the attacking bombers which crashed into the sea.

At dawn, the ship was off Turubu and around 8am, the ship neared Kairiru Island, and another ship burning ofshore. Overflown by twelve other bombers, the first failed to make an attack, but others bombed and attacked, hitting the ship's anti-aircraft guns and killing crew on the deck during an attack that lasted a half hour.

Aboard, Bishop Wolf plus 27 out of the 48 sisters aboard had been killed in the attack, plus many others wounded. Of the Catholic group of 138, 7 priest, 14 brothers and 28 nuns and seven others were killed, and all but six others were wounded.

The ship was damaged, and limped towards Wewak Harbor at reduced speed. Reaching the shore, the wounded and dead were off loaded, and dead lined up on a hillside. Japanese doctors gave some assistance to the wounded.

Known passengers aboard:
Dr. Braun & Mrs. Braun
Sister Klotzbuecher, killed
Reverand Ander, killed
Mr. Krebs, killed
Mr. & Mrs. Kuehn, wounded
Reverand Mager
Mr Barber
Bertelsmeier, wounded broken leg
Mr. Johnson, wounded in back
Mr. Siemers, wounded
Pater Josef Schebesta, killed
? Leong, civilian, killed
Mr. Kuehn, wounded, dead reaching shore
Pater Josef Schebesta, killed
Father John Tschauder, SVD (surived)

That evening, the surivors reboarded the ship and proceeded instead to Humbolt Bay off Hollandia, arriving February 8, 1944.

SVD Box Hill Formation House was renamed Dorish Maru College in honor of this ship.

Death on the Dorish Maru [PDF] diary of John Tschauder, SVD
Dorish Maru College
Kapiak Tree
The Martyrs of Papua New Guinea page 141 - 142 (does not name ship, Catholic experience)
Pater Josef Schebesta

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Last Updated
October 23, 2019


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