Item #68360 PRETRIAL INVESTIGATING OFFICER'S REPORT. PRISONER OF WAR PROCESSING STATION, ANGEL ISLAND, CALIF. [caption title]. World War II.

PRETRIAL INVESTIGATING OFFICER'S REPORT. PRISONER OF WAR PROCESSING STATION, ANGEL ISLAND, CALIF. [caption title]

[Angel Island, CA: 8 July 1944]. A small group of papers, 4to & 8vo, relating to the investigation of charges against seven German prisoners of war accused in the death of another prisoner at the Prisoner of War Camp Papago Park in Phoenix, Arizona on March 12, 1944. The papers include 4 sheets, partly printed, completed in typescript and ink; plus two carbon copy pages, rectos only, of typed arguments from the defense and prosecution. The defense argument begins in mid-sentence, and is therefore incomplete.
The first sheet, the Officer's Report, (2) pp. on an A.G.O. Form No. 120, states the nature of the general investigation and is directed to the Commanding Officer of the Prisoner of War Processing Station on Angel Island. It is signed in type by 1st. Lt. Harry A. Baldwin, JAGD, and recommends trial by General Court-Martial. The second sheet, (1) p., records the names of the accused, and the specification and charge of "guilty" for each man. The third and fourth sheets, (2) pp., give the sentences, each man to be "hanged by the neck until dead." In the partial record of the defense's statement for clemency, mention is made of statements "obtained by duress or coercion," with the use of tactics including "the use of a Gas Mask with an onion placed within it, and the use of an overcoat...." Defense pleaded that the prisoners knew their victim, Werner Drechsler, was an informant and believed him to be a traitor supplying information to "a country with which [their] country was at war." They were moved to murder him in much the same way as a group of American POWs might defend themselves against a traitor in their midst. The prosecutor's response in rebuttal asked for sympathy for the victim. Clearly that argument prevailed. Item #68360

In Jane Eppinga's book on this court martial, "Death at Papago Park POW Camp: A Tragic Murder and America's Last Mass Execution, [Arcadia Pub.: 2017], she details the events leading up to Drechsler's hanging by his fellow U-boat crewmen. Drechsler had been collaborating with US Navy authorities since his capture in 1943, spying on his fellow prisoners at a POW Camp near Fort Meade in Maryland. When he was transferred to Papago Park, where he was known, the US military failed to protect him and he was dead within seven hours of arrival. On August 25, 1945, all seven men, Helmut Fischer, Fritz Franke, Guenther Kuelsen, Heinrich Ludwig, Bernhard Reyak, Otto Stengel, and Rolf Wizuy, were hanged at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Price: $450.00

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