On Friday, October 1st, 2021, the German Navy gave some new names to its property in Kiel. From now on, the Kiel naval base is no longer called Tirpitzhafen, but rather naval base Kiel-Wik; based on the Wik district in the north of Kiel. The southern outer pier will in future be called the Gorch Fock pier, no longer the Tirpitz pier. The eastern outer mole facing the north bears the new name Oskar Kusch-Mole instead of the previous name Scheermole.
The background to this new name can be found in the traditional decree of the Bundeswehr. This was last fundamentally revised in 2017. It was stipulated that in future only the Bundeswehr’s own, meanwhile 65-year history, will apply to the traditional line. In addition, places and people from the resistance against terror and tyranny are also included. From this reorientation it follows that the previous namesake, Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz (1849 – 1930; founder of the deep sea fleet in the German Empire) and Admiral Reinhard Scheer (1863 – 1928; commander of the deep sea fleet in the 1916 Battle of Skagerrak, no longer part of the traditional line fit the Bundeswehr.
The previous Tirpitzmole is renamed after the Hamburg seafaring and naval poet Johann Wilhelm Kinau (1880 – 1916; killed on board the small cruiser “Wiesbaden” on May 31, 1916 at the age of 35 in the Battle of Skagerrak). Under his pseudonym “Gorch Fock” he was and is the namesake of the sailing training ship “Gorch Fock”, which has its regular berth at the pier of the same name. The most famous work from the creative time of the poet, “Seafaring is not!”, Has retained its importance to the present day.
Oberleutnant zur See Oskar Heinz Kusch (1918 – 1944) was a young submarine commander who had criticized the war and the regime during the Second World War. He was then denounced, arrested, charged, sentenced to death and finally executed at the age of 26 on May 12, 1944 at the naval firing range in Kiel-Holtenau. In the state capital of Kiel there are two memorial plaques commemorating him and next to it a street is named after him. By renaming the previous Scheermole to Oberleutnant zur See Kusch, the German Navy is emphasizing the memory of the young naval officer who fell victim to arbitrariness and tyranny.