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Oskar Schomburg was a Nazi Kriegsmarine officer and sailor. He commanded the Wurrfler, a U-boat, in 1936. Schomburg was in command of the Wurrfler when she was used by German Colonel Herman Dietrich, French archaeologist René Emile Belloq and Gestapo agent Arnold Ernst Toht to intercept the pirate smuggling freighter Bantu Wind, captained by Simon Katanga, and apprehend the Ark of the Covenant and the American captive Marion Ravenwood, as well as, unknowingly, the intruding American archaeologist Indiana Jones.

Biography Edit

The Ark of the Covenant Edit

Oskar Schomburg[1] was a Nazi Kriegsmarine Captain, officer and sailor, most notably in command of the German U-boat Wurrfler in 1936.[2] That year, Schomburg allowed Nazi Colonel Herman Dietrich, French archaeologist René Emile Belloq, Gestapo agent Major Arnold Ernst Toht and a large amount of German soldiers and officers to use the Wurrfler to pursue American archaeologist Indiana Jones and bar owner Marion Ravenwood after the two found the Ark of the Covenant within the Well of the Souls with the help of Sallah Mohammed Faisel el-Kahir in the midst of a Nazi digsite at Tanis outside Cairo, Egypt.[2]

Jones and Ravenwood planned to use the pirate smuggling freighter known as the Bantu Wind, captained by Simon Katanga, to transport the Ark from Egypt to England. However, the Wurrfler quickly intercepted the pirates, and Schomburg remained inside his submarine as Dietrich and his men completed their task alone. Soon, the Nazi party returned to the U-boat with the Ark and a captive Ravenwood, with Jones apparently having been murdered by Captain Katanga. Oskar left the task of sailing across the Aegean Sea to his officers, not realizing that Jones had attached himself to the U-boat's periscope using his bullwhip and was travelling with them.[2]

When the U-boat arrived at the secret Nazi island base of Geheimhaven, Schomburg stood in the vessel's conning tower with one of his men as Belloq, Dietrich, Toht and the other Nazis disembarked, preparing to accompany the Ark for its opening ceremony at the Tabernacle. Schomburg and his crew did not attend the opening of the Ark.[2]

Behind the scenes Edit

The uncredited role of the submarine captain, named in Lawrence Kasdan's script as "The Wurrfler Captain", was provided by the late Michael Sheard, who had originally auditioned, unsuccessfully, for the role of Major Toht.

The captain has additional scenes in the film's script but, according to Sheard, the scenes were never shot and his character only appears on-screen standing in the conning tower of the submarine.[3] This happened due to a change in weather which resulted in the film's crew moving onto Tunisia while Sheard traveled to Scotland to fulfill a commitment that he already had with another production.[4]

Given Sheard's brief appearance in Raiders, director Steven Spielberg promised to find a part for him in the future. Sheard later went on to portray Adolf Hitler in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.[5]

The Raiders of the Lost Ark Sourcebook later identified the Wurrfler captain as Oskar Schomburg, though the historical Schomburg commanded U-26 in 1938 and 1939. U-26 was captained by Werner Hartmann in 1936.

Appearances Edit

Notes and references Edit

External links Edit