Born June 9, 1881 in Dresden
, died March 13, 1966 in Malmö
, Felix Graf Luckner was a German war hero
in World War I, as well as a womanizer and successful author and speaker.
Most of what people know of him stems from his numerous autobiographical books, which are not exactly objective reports.
As a teenager, Felix ran away from home in 1897, wanting to see Buffalo Bill and ended up as a sailor on the Niobe, a russian ship. In WW I, the by then naval officer Luckner commanded the three-master Seeadler, a heavily armed cruiser disguised as a harmless trader. Luckner sneaked through the blockade and started to attack and sink allied ships, worth $25 millions in the money of that time.
Always a gentleman, he took great care not to kill anybody involved.
In September 1997, the Seeadler stranded on Mopelia, a small island belonging to the Society Islands in the South Pacific, rather close to New Zealand. The crew used the ship's life boat to escape from Mopelia, just to be caught and detained into a camp in New Zealand.
Luckner stole the camp commander's motor yacht to escape with his crew, capered a larger vessel, the Moa and was caught again. After WW I, Luckner was sent back to Halle,Germany. From 1925 to 1939, he spent his time buying and sailing ships across the world, giving good-will talks, mostly in the US.
Returning to Halle in 1939, he found that he was not allowed to give talks or sell his books in the Reich.
In April 1945, he contacts the soldiers of the 104th US Division, convincing the attacking soldiers not to call an air strike, which would have destroyed the city of Halle.
After his death in Malmö, his Grave can be found on Ohlsdorf cemetry in Hamburg, in Interment Location AB 13, 89-90.
Luckner was strong enough to rip phone books in half - and to bend coins, both with his bare hands.