Fishing cutter Cito. This model, which is displayed on deck 7 of our museum, is a personal tribute to all the fishermen that risked and lost their lives at sea.
The cutter “CITO” (HF 29) was built at the Junge shipyard in Wewelsfleth, Lower Elbe region, Northern Germany in 1885. „HF“ identifies it as a fishing vessel from the former Elbe Island of Finkenwerder. Today only a few ships still bear this identification, which during the 19th century was common around the harbors of the German North Sea coast.
Fishing was one of the main means of income on Finkenwerder and the islands‘ fishing fleet soon developed to one of the largest in the North Sea. By 1888 it consisted of 186 ewers and cutters.
Fisheries got tougher when steamers appeared competing with the small sailing ships towards the end of the 19th century. The expansion and increase in fishing intensity pushed the Finkenwerder fishermen into dangerous deep-sea fishing trips during the winter months and caused a tremendous loss of life. As many as 89 vessels went missing between 1881 and 1910 and a lot of fishermen died in the stormy seas. Thus, Finkenwerder got the reputation of being „an island of widows and orphans“. The most traumatic year for its inhabitants was 1909 when eight ewers and cutters from Finkenwerder, among them the cutter “CITO”, got lost in one single winter storm. Among the numerous fishermen that died during that storm was also Martin Heinrich Loop onboard cutter “CITO”, grandfather of Peter Loop, who built this beautiful 1:17 scale model.
So, this model, which is displayed on deck 7 of our museum, is not only a reminder of the era of German deep-sea fishing in the North Sea but also a personal tribute to all the fishermen that risked and lost their lives at sea.