October 10, 1928 9:25 PM
The first transatlantic flight accomplished by a zeppelin begins in 15 hours. I’m privileged to be one of the twenty-four passengers to participate in this exciting venture. It’s been two months since my brother quite surprised me for my birthday with tickets for this flight. They must have cost a fortune! The ship, christened Graf Zeppelin, is the largest zeppelin built.
To think, I’ll be making history tomorrow!
October 11, 1928 10:14 AM
I have boarded the Graf Zeppelin!
I share a small cabin with a woman named Sabine. She’s very petite and seems a little air-sick. I do so hope she doesn’t puke on my bed, that would be unfortunate to put it politely. The common area is spacious compared to my cabin and I think I shall be spending some time there watching the sky. It’s set with sofas and chairs and I’m told it will be converted to a dining room later this evening. There is a strong smell of gas which is quite heady but I’ll manage it. Oh, the view is so breathtaking! I can’t do justice in describing it, so I won’t.
October 12, 1928 3:16 PM
Dinner was pleasant last evening. The sun set later than usual due to us being so high above the earth. It was very beautiful watching the light streak across the tips of the clouds. I sat with my brother since Miss Sabine was sadly detained in our cabin. I managed to meet a few other passengers: a retired United States general, a countess, a young gentleman named Leo, and a newly-wed couple. Mr.Leo was very courteous and struck up a lively conversation with my brother and I. Eventually the captain brought out the phonograph and we all waltzed as the sun finally set (I danced with Mr.Leo and he was quite good at it).
Today, breakfast was served promptly at eight o’clock but most of the passengers did not wake until after nine. I was one of the few to eat breakfast early. Miss Sabine seemed better this morning and joined me in the common room to converse. Later our group multiplied as the countess, Mr. Leo, and my brother sat with us. They were a loud bunch and we never encountered a dull moment.
October 13, 1928 11:23 AM
The ocean is below us. The land has disappeared from view and the waves are choppy and white-tipped. A strong wind is now buffeting the balloon. It has set me a tad bit on edge, especially as the captain has issued that all of the passengers stay in their cabins. Miss Sabine and I have been occupying ourselves with cards and stories of home.
October 13, 1928 5:15 PM
We are caught in a squall. Violent winds blow the zeppelin about making my stomach churn. Dinner was postponed and Miss Sabine and I have exercised our small talk to the max. All there is left to do is lay in bed and pray that we stay airborne. I can just imagine the angry waves below me waiting hungrily for its next victims.
October 13, 1928 11: 53 PM
The tail of the balloon has been damaged in the storm. A distress call has been made via radio and crew members are frantically trying to repair it as I write. It is morbidly humorous since I always imagined myself dying in my ripe old age. Now, at twenty-three years I’m confronted with my own mortality.
October 14, 1928 7:14 AM
The crew patched up our balloon and we are still airborne. The radio is no longer working and the captain has confessed that we still have thirty hours before we reach land again. The celebration of just three nights ago has been forgotten. I think I can speak for all the passengers in saying that we are ready to leave the air. The storm cell can still be seen in the distance, lightning flashes illuminate the water every few minutes or so. I thank God that we made it safely out of that dark mass.
Conversation has been more subdued this morning. The captain opened a Bordeaux and poured it for the passengers. I sipped a glass and watched the clock hands tick around slowly.
October 14, 1928 1:26 PM
Lunch consisted of cold meat and bread. It was a meager meal but I wasn’t very hungry to begin with. My brother and Mr.Leo are talking politics as I write. I don’t understand how they can ignore the fact that we almost died last night. They are men I suppose. The clock just seems to tick even slower than before. I want this trip to end. It has lost its earlier vibrance.
October 14, 1928 6:41 PM
Spirits are high. We have less than eighteen hours until we reach New Jersey. I’ve never been to the United States, I wonder if it will look much different than Germany...
October 15, 1928 11:32 AM
The leftover clouds from yesterday’s squall have dissipated and the sun is cheerfully peeking through the windows. Miss Sabine and I have become very well acquainted since our near-death experience. She has distant family members in Philadelphia that she is visiting and she’s just a few years my senior. Apparently she’s hoping to be engaged by this spring to her sweetheart. I told her of my life in Munich and silly stories from my childhood. We were so engrossed in our conversation that we forgot for a beautiful second of yesterday's anxieties.
October 15, 1928 5:15 PM
I can see the United State’s shoreline in the distance! The captain says that we should be landing in less than two hours. Our balloon is afloat but the repaired tear is straining. The radio is still unresponsive even after repeated attempts to fix it. My brother and I are now sitting in the common area discussing this trip. He didn’t know that this would be such an exciting trip!
October 15, 1928 9:45 PM
I kissed the ground and I wasn’t the only one to do so. I think I like the earth from down here better. Crews have left the repairs to the ship until tomorrow. This delays our time of getting back home but better to enjoy the sights in New Jersey. My brother and I have rented two rooms at a hotel and tomorrow will explore what the city has to offer.
Now I can proudly say I was one of the first people to cross the Atlantic in a zeppelin!