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The New York Times, July 17, 1921 thenewyorktimes

4 YEARS FOR SINKING A HOSPITAL SHIP

Boldt and Dittmar Found Guilty of Manslaughter Instead of Murder.

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NO HARD LABOR PRESCRIBED

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Leipsic Court Says Prisoners Fired on Lifeboeats "on the Impulse of the Moment."

Leipsic, July 17 (Associated Press). - Lieutenant Dittmar and Lieutenant Boldt, charged with murder in the first degree for firing on lifeboats after the Canadian hospital ship Llandovery Castle had been torpedoed in the Summer of 1918, were each sentenced today to years` imprisonment.

The sentence did not, however, carry hard labor with it, as demanded by the public prosecutor. The case of Dittmar and Boldt differed from the others which had been heard by the Supreme Court here in connection with the trials growing out of violations of the rules of civilized warfare, inasmuch as the two Lieutenants were brought to trial by the German Public Prosecutor. Great Britain had demanded the trial of only Commander Patzig, of the submarine which torpedoed the Llandovery Castle, who fled the country. The Public Prosecutor, however, after an examination of the evidence ordered that Dittmer and Boldt be placed on trail.

In addition to his prison sentence Lieutenants Dittmar`s dismissal from the Reichswehr defense for was ordered. Lieutenants Boldt, who a short time ago retired from the navy, was ordered de prived of his civil rights.

The men were sentenced for manslaughter, not murder, on the ground that the "officers acted on the impulse of the moment".

An excited crowd filled the courtroom today. Many women an numerous friends of the prisonners were present. The accused officers looked more cheerful than at any time since their trial began, but their appearances changed when the sentences were announced.

Dr. Schmidt, President oh the Supreme Court which is trying German accused of violations of civilized warfare, in reviewing the case against the two Lieutenants, declared the Llandovery Castle, was torpedoed against the law of nations.

"Everything aboard was in perfect order", he said, "and, furthermore, the sinking was against all regulations of the German Admiralty, as the ship was in waters where torpedoing was forbidden.

At least three lifeboats got have clear. There was no reason why all could not haven been picked up. All three must been afloat when the submarine began firing, and two of them must have been hit.

The courts finds these boats were fired on intentionally, with the object of removing witnessens who could testify to the misdced by the submarine commander.

The courts finds that both oh the accused took part in the firing and in the effort to cover up the deed; therefor, both share Commander Patzig`s responsibility. Furthemore, the court finds the officers acted on the impulse of the moment, that the need was not premeditated; consequently they are not guilty of murder. They would have done theire duty if they had refused to obey Commander Patzig`s order to fire on the lifeboats and would have been justified in refusing to comply with the commander`s demand to maintain secrecy.

"The terrible cas casts a shadow the German Navy and the whole submarine.war.

The was some commotion in the courtroom after verdict was announced, but the police locked the doors and prevented demonstrations by the crowds which had gathered outside.

 

The New York Times, Published: July 17, 1921

Autor: Detlef Belau


15. Dezember 2010

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