Why was the story of the Wilhelm Gustloff forgotten after the end of WWII? Why does it resurface over 40 years after the event?
Outside of those who lost loved ones or relatives in the sinking, it was just a footnote amidst the millions who died in Europe during World War II and even the distinction as likely the largest loss of life ever in a ship sinking wasn't enough to make the story stand out amidst all the other stories of the time. So it quickly made its way to the more obscure sections of the various histories of the war and wasn't a name that most people had ever heard.
But nearly 40 years later, amidst an upswell of interest in finding the so-called "Amber Room" that had been removed from the Catherine Palace in Russia and moved to Konigsberg Castle in Prussia for display, the claims by some who had been on board the ship that they had seen it loaded onto the ship generated a major revival of interest in the ship. Though no evidence has ever been found that there was truth to the rumors, the ship has now been declared off limits since it serves as the final resting place for so many and the likelihood of the Amber Room being found there is so small.
The ship has now become the subject of several movies and documentaries, particularly as it served as one more symbol of the fall of the Nazi empire.