Topp was born in Hannover, the son of an engineer, and joined the Reichsmarine in 1934, serving on the light cruiser Karlsruhe in 1937, before transferring to the U-Bootwaffe (submarine fleet) in October 1937. In May 1933, Topp joined the Nazi Party and in 1934 also joined the Allgemeine-SS.
Erich Topp (2 July 1914 – 26 December 2005) was the third most successful of German U-Boot commanders of World War II. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords of Nazi Germany. He sank 35 ships for a total of 197,460 gross register tons (GRT). After the war he served with the Federal German Navy, reaching the rank of Konteradmiral (rear admiral). He later served in NATO.
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