NEWS   trans

Defining position and course for the future

The new president of the German Naval Association (DMB), Heinz Maurus, has been in office for five months. It is time to define a position and provide a glance at focal points of future activities.

LL: What remains of the twelve-year term of Karl Heid as president of the association? What impressed you the most?

In the last years the DMB has demonstrated its ability to transform and its will of reformation and concurrent preservation of tradition in an impressive manner.

The restructuring of the Historical Hall of the Naval Memorial as well as the founding of the “German Maritime Academy” with its aim to inform the German people about the significance of free sea routes in terms of the economy and security policy certainly belongs to the milestones. The “Maritime Expert Discussions Laboe,” which have taken place since 2008, are part of regular events.

Another successful story is the reorganisation of the “Scheerhouse” into the hotel Admiral Scheer with the restaurant Heimathafen (home port). In 2012/13, the hotel and restaurant were both fundamentally renovated and a new guesthouse was built.

The collaboration with the German Navy has been intensified in the last few years as well. The joint commemoration ceremony of the German Navy and the DMB at the Naval Memorial Laboe on Friday prior to Remembrance Day, which is held since 1994, has become a firm tradition. Since 2000, the DMB awards the annual price “Best Petty Officer” to the best graduate of an apprenticeship year at the Petty Officer School in Plön.

The international reputation of the DMB has grown, too. On 31 Mai 2016, the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland, a joint Anglo-German commemoration ceremony between the DMB, the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge (German War Graves Commission), and the British Commonwealth War Graves Commission took place to commemorate the fallen of the greatest naval battle of the First World War, which also received extensive coverage by the media, including the Tagesschau.

In September 2016 we celebrated our 125th anniversary with a ceremonial act in the parliament of Schleswig-Holstein and a big family day at the Naval Memorial.

All this occurred under the clever and engaged management of president Karl Heid, to whom I want to say thank you again for his comradeship and hard work for the DMB.

The president of the DMB in front of the guesthouse named after the former president of the DMB Karl Heid.


LL: When and how did you decide to run for the office of the president?

When “Charly” Heid told me for the first time that he was looking for a successor to his post, I thought to myself: “Well then, dear ‘Charly,’ good luck and have fun with this undertaking of yours.” After several visits to the Naval Memorial and the hotel Admiral Scheer, collaborating with the “German Maritime Academy,” participating in the expert discussions in Laboe and the parliamentary breakfast in Berlin, I realised that a challenging, yet exciting and interesting task was waiting. After two years as Vice President, during which I could get a general idea of the people, structure, problems, and objectives of our DMB, I was prepared to run for office as “Charly” Heid’s successor at the Assembly of Representatives in Heilbronn. The unanimous result fills me with pride, but it is also a great responsibility for the future.

LL: What personal connection do you have to the navy and anything maritime?

I have maritime roots and received my fundamental impression through the Federal Navy. My last deployment was Chief of Inspection at the Marineversorgungsschule (Naval Supply School) in List/ Sylt. I completed my final military exercise as lieutenant commander in the 1st flotilla on-board the tender Elbe. Since 1986 I have been active in the Segelsportfördergruppe (Yachting Support Association) of the Naval Supply School e.V and, if time allows it, I am out on the Baltic Sea with our Wiking, an old 6,5er, built in 1957.

As Mayor of the community Sylt-East, delegate in the Schleswig-Holstein parliament, State Secretary and Head of State Chancellery as well as Attorney of the State of Schleswig-Holstein in the confederacy and the European Union I was always connected with seafaring, the navy, and the maritime economy.

LL: What are the urgent tasks and essential aims of the DMB in the next years in your opinion?

Together with all comrades, I want to look after the interests of the DMB today and in the following years. By now, the DMB has developed from a pure traditional organisation of former navy members to a maritime interest group, which deals with the diverse aspects of seafaring in excess of a close collaboration with the German Navy.

I see our task in the following:

  • To update maritime traditions under the changed conditions of the 21st century.
  • Using every effort to preserve the Naval Memorial Laboe as a memorial with an international character and as official memorial of the German Navy “for all lost at sea from all nations” as well as using it as a cenotaph to advocate peace among all nations.
  • To promote comradeship, friendship, solidarity as well as an appealing youth work in the DMB through diverse activities and events.
  • The campaign “DMB 2020” did not only manage to set new thematic priorities, but also to stop the long-standing loss of members since 2014. We must not let this deteriorate, but need to continue to bring in new and inspiring ideas to our causes and ambitions to make the DMB even more attractive.
  • To build and strengthen our contact to the sector of maritime economy.
  • To raise awareness of the significance of the oceans and with those, seafaring itself, also and especially inland and to promote maritime interests. We have the structures to do so.
  • With that we contribute to make the significance of free sea routes and their security, also for the export nation Germany, transparent to all parts of the nation.
  • To participate party political neutrally in discussions on current maritime affairs and to be a contact person for the maritime policy-makers of our society.

LL: What is to be the main focus of your work?

To me it is important that we as the DMB become more apparent on an internal as well as external basis. The goal is to offer a Heimat (home), and to be an interesting respondent as well as an appealing and effective interest group to all those, who feel somewhat connected to seafaring and/ or are interested in maritime themes or involved in them in one form or another. Alongside this are homogenous objectives of nurturing comradeship and companionship. With you all together I want to press ahead with those missions, with the managers of the regional associations, the chairmen of the comradeships and clubs, and every single member of our DMB. I kindly ask for your support!

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