A luxury yacht, constructed for a tyrant who committed suicide to avoid hanging by the Allied War Crimes commission, will become a training vessel for young Americans, thanks to a Portland business executive and a Portland priest.

The Groote Beer (Great Bear), built on order by Hermann Goering, Nazi Germany No. 2 leader, will serve, meantime, as the yacht for the Queen of the Portland Rose Festival.

The yacht arrived in Astoria Wednesday after sailing from Honolulu and will be tied up by Friday at the Portland Yacht Club.

Robert F. Johnson of Portland, president of the construction company that bears his name and who owns the yacht, recently signed over a 20 per cent interest in it to St. Elizabeth’s Mission to the Sick, and ultimately the Mission will become full owner.

Father Alfred A. Williams, pastor of the mission which serves the sick in the five hospitals on Portland's Marquam Hill, decided, in turn, that the

Groote Beer should be turned into a symbol of democracy’s victory over oppression.

The Groote Beer will be used to give young men of all faiths an opportunity to receive training in seamanship and citizenship.

— June 5, 1958



Editor’s note: The St. Elizabeth program did not come together, but the yacht, which was not actually Goering’s but a Nazi businessman’s, was donated in 1978 to a Boy Scouts council in Seattle.