‘My dear parents, I have been sentenced to death...’ A World War I tragedy

tags: World War I

My Dear Parents,

I have been sentenced to death today, September 11 1917. Only myself and another comrade; the others have been let off with 15 years’ imprisonment. You will have heard why this has happened to me. I am a sacrifice of the longing for peace, others are going to follow. I cannot stop it now, it is six o’clock in the morning, I am being taken to Cologne at 6.30, and on Wednesday September 12 at nine o’clock in the morning I am going to be sacrificed to military justice. I would have liked to press your hands once more to say goodbye, but I will do it silently. Console Paula and my little Fritz. I don’t like dying so young,  but I will die with a curse on the German militarist state. These are my last words. I hope that some day you and mother will be able to read them.

Always Your Son, 

Albin Köbis

The day after he wrote this letter, Köbis, a 25-year-old stoker aboard the German Imperial Navy’s battleship SMS Prinzregent Luitpold, and a fellow rebel, Max Reichpietsch, were marched before a 20-man firing-squad of sailors at the Wahr military firing range in Cologne. They were tied to posts, blindfolded and executed, in a brutal climax to a dispute that had been ignited by swedes: the large, yellow-fleshed, bland-tasting root vegetables normally used as pig fodder.

Both had been found guilty of “treasonable incitement to rebellion”. But it was the swedes that began it...

Read entire article at The Independent

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