• Germany's news in English
 
'World's oldest' message in a bottle arrives home
Angela Erdmann received her grandfather's message in a bottle (right). Photo: DPA

'World's oldest' message in a bottle arrives home

AFP/The Local · 8 Apr 2014, 09:31

Published: 08 Apr 2014 09:31 GMT+02:00

A fisherman pulled the beer bottle with the scribbled message out of the Baltic off the northern city of Kiel last month.

It contained a postcard dated May 17th, 1913 written by a man named Richard Platz.

The modest Danish postcard had two German stamps on it and a polite message asking the finder to send it on to his address in Berlin.

Holger von Neuhoff of the International Maritime Museum in Hamburg said: "This is certainly the first time such an old message in a bottle was found, particularly with the bottle intact."

Researchers then set to work identifying the author and managed to track down his 62-year-old granddaughter Angela Erdmann, who lives in Berlin.

"It was almost unbelievable," Erdmann told news agency DPA. She was first able to hold the brown bottle last week at the Hamburg museum.

Inside was a message on a postcard requesting the finder to return it to his home address in Berlin. "That was a pretty moving moment," Erdmann said. "Tears rolled down my cheeks."

Von Neuhoff said researchers were able to determine based on the address that it was 20-year-old baker's son Richard Platz who threw the bottle in the Baltic while on a hike with a nature appreciation group in 1913.

A Berlin-based genealogical researcher then located Erdmann, who never knew Platz, her mother's father who died in 1946 at the age of 54.

Von Neuhoff said a handwriting comparison with letters penned by Platz later in life confirmed that he was "without a doubt" the author.

Erdmann told local newspapers that the surprise discovery had inspired her to look through family scrapbooks to learn more about her grandfather, a Social Democrat who liked to read.

Much of the ink on the postcard has been rendered illegible with time and dampness, von Neuhoff said.

The discovery will be on display at the museum until May 1st, after which experts will set to work trying to decipher the rest of the message.

The Guinness World Records had previously identified the oldest message in a bottle as dating from 1914. It spent nearly 98 years at sea before being fished from the water.

SEE ALSO: Fishermen find oldest message in a bottle

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Germany name squad for crunch Scotland match
Liverpool's Emre can has been called up to the Germany squad to face Scotland and Poland. Photo: DPA

Germany name squad for crunch Scotland match

7 minutes ago

Liverpool's uncapped defender Emre Can was on Friday called up to the Germany squad for the world champions' forthcoming key Euro 2016 qualifiers against Poland and Scotland.

How Brits in Germany are facing Brexit fears
How will life for Brits in Germany change if the Brexit happens? Photo: DPA

How Brits in Germany are facing Brexit fears

2 hours ago

Greece is the talk of the town this year. But in 2016, it will be Britain questioning its EU membership. The referendum outcome could be life altering for many Brits living in Germany.

Honest senior rewarded for handing in €12,000
An 87-year-old pensioner found the cash in the bin. Photo: DPA

Honest senior rewarded for handing in €12,000

55 minutes ago

After throwing away €12,000 this week, a landlord in North Rhine-Westfalia thought he'd made one of the most expensive blunders of his life. But the money made it home safely, police said on Friday – and all thanks to an honest pensioner.

Refugee party against far-right CAN go ahead
Anti-refugee demonstrators carry a sign accusing Chancellor Angela Merkel of being a "traitor to the nation" this week in Heidenau. Photo: DPA

Refugee party against far-right CAN go ahead

4 hours ago

Update: A court in Dresden has ruled that refugees and their supporters can go ahead with a party to demonstrate against this week's displays of far-right hatred in Heidenau.

Elite cops' hazing ritual: eat ice cream off thighs
A Cologne SEK unit on deployment in 2013. Photo: DPA

Elite cops' hazing ritual: eat ice cream off thighs

4 hours ago

Officers from Cologne's elite Spezialeinsatzkommando (SEK) police unit should be punished for hazing practices they inflicted on new members, an official in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) said on Thursday.

Knut autopsy could help human disease sufferers
Knut died in front of visitors at Berlin Zoo in 2011. Photo: DPA

Knut autopsy could help human disease sufferers

4 hours ago

Four years after Berlin's celebrity polar bear Knut died, a neuroscientist has discovered the cause of death - an autoimmune disorder which affected his brain.

Army buys in new guns to replace defective G36
A German soldier armed with a G36 rifle during training exercises in Poland. Photo: DPA

Army buys in new guns to replace defective G36

5 hours ago

Some German soldiers will be carrying different weapons within a year as the Defence Ministry scrambles to replace standard rifle which loses accuracy under hot temperatures.

Climate change
Sweltering summer has climatologists sweating
Dried out soil in Bavaria. Photo: DPA

Sweltering summer has climatologists sweating

5 hours ago

Heat over 40 degrees, weeks without rain, sudden storms and flash floods – in the summer of 2015 Germany experienced all these things. Are these extremes set to become the norm?

Champions League
Bayern get lucky in Champs League draw
FC Barcelona' Sports Manager Andoni Zubizarreta draws FC Bayern Munich during the draw ceremony for the UEFA Champions League group stage on Thursday. Photo: DPA

Bayern get lucky in Champs League draw

9 hours ago

Bundesliga titans Bayern Munich were celebrating on Thursday evening after a Champions League draw that made them clear favourites in their group. Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Mönchengladbach weren't so lucky.

Is Germany now a nation of couch potatoes?
Sitting front of the TV - Germany's favourite pastime. Photo: DPA

Is Germany now a nation of couch potatoes?

1 day ago

A new study shows that Germans' best-loved activity is sitting in front of the idiot box - and when they're not doing that they're probably slumped in front of a computer.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

National
Weekend of anti-refugee violence shocks Germany
National
Half of Germans 'have had sex in their car'
Society
Deadly stew spooks home vegetable gardeners
Politics
The man who brought two Germanies together
Features
Where to get your culture fix in Cologne
Education
Fairytale world of Brothers Grimm brought to life
Rhineland
Thieves leave 1,000 open beers untasted
National
Way to some Germans' hearts is through their wallets
National
Germany's biggest challenge: European refugee crisis
Travel
Where to get your adrenaline pumping in Germany
Technology
Could thieves hack into luxury cars?
What to watch out for when snapping your lunch
National
German lefties through history
National
The fight over prostitution heats up
National
Merkel: migrants, not Greece, are the real challenge
Features
How I explained the Queen to the Germans
Education
Why Germany does 'back-to-school' traditions better
National
Germans are ‘not how foreigners think’
National
A mum and daughter reunite 70 years after WWII
Sport
Bra stops bullet in hunting mishap miracle
National
Cows trample German woman to death in Graubünden Alps
Business & Money
Start-up helps new Berliners short cut bureaucracy
National
The 1,000s of Germans massacred after the Second World War
Sport
Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Features
'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,072
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd