Ulrich van der Heyden

Die Affäre Patzig.

Ein Kriegsverbrechen für das Kaiserreich?

German naval officer Helmut Patzig, commander of the submarine U 86, gained worldwide attention in 1918 when he sank the British hospital ship Llandovery Castle and then pursued its surviving civilian sailors and Canadian medical personnel, destroying all but one of the lifeboats into which they rescued themselves – a war crime whose legal prosecution was demanded by the Allies in the Treaty of Versailles.

However, Patzig escaped conviction at the Leipzig trials and was even granted amnesty a few years later. The war crime itself and the failed legal processing and punishment of the perpetrator have been dealt with in German naval and legal history already, even if some facts remained unknown.

More than a hundred years later, the evaluation of previously unknown eyewitness accounts now allows a deeper examination of the events, the person Patzig and his officer career in the Third Reich, embedded in the historical context between the two world wars.


With a foreword by Dieter Hartwig.

Solivagus Praeteritum

1st edition, Softcover, 240 pages, richly illustrated.

Language: German
ISBN: 978-3-947064-06-9
19.90 €

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Red Cross / First World War / Helmut Patzig / Dieter Hartwich / Empire / Imperial Navy / Canada / Llandovery Castle / U 86 / Leipzig Trials / Hospital Ship / Submarine Warfare / Allies / Eyewitness Account / Second World War / Navy / Treaty of Versailles / Naval History / Legal History

Frank Schumann: Maritime Kameraden, in: Ossietzky 02/2022, S. 54-57.

P. Werner Lange: Kontinuität der Untaten, in: Ossietzky 22/2022, S. 787-789.

Reinhard Nachtigal: Rezension, in: Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft 02/2023, S. 176-178.

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Prof. Dr. rer. pol. habil. & Dr. phil. & Dr. (PhD/Rhodes) Ulrich van der Heyden, born 1954 in Ueckermünde, is a historian working mainly about African history and the history of Colonialism, as well as a political scientist with a focus on Africa. He is currently Visiting Research Professor at the University of South Africa, Pretoria, and a research associate at the Theological Faculty of the Humboldt University in Berlin. He received his doctorate in African history there in 1984, then in political science at the Free University of Berlin, and later again at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa. The author of this book has published more than 60 monographs and over 200 scholarly articles and is in academic (un-)retirement.


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