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Two Russian deserters are driven back into the trenches by a soldier (First World War, 1917)

Desertion or desertion refers to the absence of soldiers from military commitments in war - or peace - named after escaping from the regimental flag under which all soldiers had to gather for battle. The deserted soldier is generally referred to as a deserter ( French: déserteur , derived from the Latin deserere , "abandoned").

Legal Regulations

Many states impose prison terms for deserters. Some - especially in wartime - provide for the death penalty .

Situation in Germany


In the German Empire , desertion was regulated as a special case of unauthorized removal in the third section of the Military Criminal Code of the German Empire of June 20, 1872. As in today's military law, desertion was an unauthorized removal with the intention of permanently evading military service; the attempt was also punishable. Military courts were appointed to convict deserters .

The threat of punishment was extremely fine-grained: the range of punishment was generally from one to five years in prison , not less than ten years in the event of repetition, and the death penalty for defending against the enemy . If several soldiers had deserted in complicity, the prison sentence was increased by one to five years.

The secondary punishment was the transfer to the second class of the soldier's class . If a deserter surrendered within six weeks of deserting, the imprisonment or prison sentence forfeited could be reduced by half if he had not committed desertion in the field (i.e. during the war). If there was no relapse, the transfer to the second class of the soldier's class could be dispensed with. However, a demotion had to be recognized against non-commissioned officers .

If the act was committed in the field, then instead of the prison penitentiary of the same duration, the ringleader and the instigator were sentenced to death. Desertion from a post before the enemy or from a besieged fortress was punishable by death. The deserter who went over to the enemy ( defector ) was also punished .

Failure to report a planned desertion of which someone had credible knowledge was punished with imprisonment of up to six months, in the field of one to three years.

Weimar Republic

In the Weimar Republic desertion was regulated in Sections 64 to 80 of the Military Criminal Code (MStGB) in the version dated June 16, 1926 (RGBl. I, p. 275). Sections 64 and 65 define “unauthorized removal”, Section 69 desertion. With the Weimar Republic, jurisdiction in military criminal matters was transferred to the ordinary courts.

time of the nationalsocialism

Warning to soldiers against desertion in Gdansk in February 1945. At the end of March 1945 Danzig was conquered in the Battle of East Pomerania .

In the era of National Socialism , the prosecution has been strengthened. On January 1, 1934, the military criminal courts were reinstated. In 1935 and 1940 the provisions on these two facts were tightened considerably.

  • The unauthorized removal was basically an everyday military offense. The tightening of the law turned an offense into a crime that could be imprisoned for up to ten years. The offense was fulfilled if a member of the Wehrmacht had intentionally or negligently left the troops for more than seven (more than three in the field) days or did not return to the troops after being separated from them.
  • For desertion, the range of penalties imposed by the Empire (see above) was reinstated, which provided for the death penalty for particularly militarily unfavorable cases, but by no means generally. The Special War Criminal Law Ordinance (KSSVO), which was issued before the start of the war, stipulated in an undifferentiated manner: "In the case of desertion, the death penalty or life-long or early penal prison can be recognized." (Section 6) Prison sentences were no longer possible at all; the death penalty seemed preferred; In view of the lack of judicial independence, the Hitler quote “The soldier can die, the deserter must die” can be assumed to have a decisive effect (which in itself did not correspond to the legal situation even after the KSSVO was issued ). The inducement of others to desert was punished more severely than desertion, namely as one of the still comparatively precisely subsumable cases of (quite extensively formulated) disintegration of military strength (Section 5 (1) No. 1, 2 KSSVO ); here there was no alternative to the death penalty except in less serious cases. The field war courts were responsible .

The Nazi military justice precipitated about 30,000 death sentences, according to projections; of these, around 23,000 were also executed. A total of around 350,000 to 400,000 soldiers deserted ( Wehrmacht courts , see there at lit.). With around 18.2 million soldiers in all areas, that makes a desertion rate of around 2%.

Although the death penalty was often imposed for desertion, prison sentences were also imposed, in particular prison sentences. From 1942, when prison sentences were increasingly being served in front-line punishment units, a transfer from there to a concentration camp could take place after a review period. In the late phase of the war there was the possibility of a pardon, which was tied as a condition to the deployment in a military probation unit , whereby assignments with a low chance of survival often had to be carried out there.

In northern Germany and northern Europe, after the surrender of the German troops, Wehrmacht soldiers were in part under British command to maintain order. On May 10, 1945, the court martial of the 6th Mountain Division in Norway sentenced five soldiers to death by shooting because they had shot their battery chief and a lieutenant while trying to desert to Sweden . The judgments were confirmed by the nearest British brigade command in Tromsø , and the delinquents were executed by members of the divisional intelligence department.

German Democratic Republic

With the Conscription Act of January 24, 1962, general conscription was introduced in the GDR . The criminal code was supplemented by the Military Penal Act (MStG) of January 24, 1962 to include desertion (Section 4 MStG). From 1963, the military courts were responsible for military criminal matters. The maximum sentence was eight years in prison . With the law of January 12, 1968, § 4 MStG was replaced by § 254 StGB (GDR). The maximum sentence was now six years. In addition, Section 256 of the Criminal Code (GDR) included the criminal offense of "evasion of military service and conscientious objection". This was imprisoned for five years.

Memorial for the deserter of the GDR riot police, Conrad Schumann

After the fall of the Berlin Wall , a distinction was made between convictions based on Section 254 and Section 256 with regard to rehabilitation. While eviction from military service and conscientious objection were included in the catalog of rules of Section 1 (1) StrRehaG , this did not apply to desertion. The Bundestag assumed that desertion was “largely not a political offense”, while “conscientious objection to military service [...] for political purposes was suppressed and made a criminal offense”. In the opinion of the rehabilitation courts, sanctions for desertion can therefore not be rehabilitated in all cases, but only if other factors are added. This is the case, for example, if the act was based on political motives.

From the beginning of its existence, the GDR recorded a high number of complete desertions, in particular by the police and soldiers deployed on the inner-German border and on the Berlin Wall . In individual cases, with a view to favoring or preventing escape, firearms carried along were used, and there were deaths and injuries.

Federal Republic of Germany

In Germany, desertion is punishable under Section 16 of the Military Penal Act (WStG). The protection of the criminal offense is the force of the troops. According to this, a prison sentence of up to five years is imprisonment for anyone who voluntarily leaves or stays away from his or her troops or service in order to evade the obligation to military service permanently or for the duration of an armed mission, or to end the military service. Even the attempt to desert is punishable. If the deserted soldier actively repents by surrendering within a month and is ready to do military service, the maximum sentence is reduced to three years imprisonment.

The desertion is a special offense ; it can only be committed by soldiers . For the forms of incitement and aiding and abetting participation , the characteristic of being a soldier that justifies the punishment does not have to be present. If a civil person incites a military person to desert or if he aids him / her, the punishment that is imposed for the inciting is to be mitigated according to § 28 Abs. 1 StGB according to § 49 Abs. 1 StGB.

Corresponding regulations applied to those subject to civil service for evacuation ( Section 53 ZDG ).

In Germany, failure to report a planned desertion by someone else at a time when execution can still be averted is not punishable. Disciplinary measures remain unaffected.

A distinction must be made between desertion and unauthorized removal (unauthorized absence) . The unauthorized removal is subject to  up to three years imprisonment according to § 15 WStG. Unauthorized removal includes intentional or negligent absence of more than three calendar days or leaving one's troops or office without the intention of withdrawing from military service permanently or for the duration of an armed operation or to terminate military service.

In the Federal Republic of Germany, the ordinary judiciary is responsible for sentencing deserters. The federal government can set up military criminal courts. You can only exercise criminal jurisdiction in a case of defense and over military personnel who are posted abroad or embarked on board of warships. The legislature has not yet made use of this option. Official figures on the frequency of desertion in Germany are not available except for the years 2009–2012 (34, 25, 25, 12). Estimates assume around 50 desertions per year.

Situation in Austria

The Austrian Military Criminal Law (MilStG) proves desertion - the term “ desertion ” is not used here - in Section 9 MilStG (desertion) with imprisonment from six months to five years. The penalties are milder for offenders who desert for the first time outside of a military mission (national defense, constitutional protection, disaster relief, foreign deployment) and who surrender voluntarily within six weeks. For them, § 8 MilStG (unauthorized absence) applies with a prison sentence of up to six months (or a fine of up to 360 daily rates) for an absence of less than eight days or a prison sentence of up to one year for an absence of more than eight days.

Situation in Switzerland

In Switzerland, conscientious objection to military service and desertion are punishable by imprisonment of up to 18 months in accordance with Article 81 of the Military Penal Act .

In addition to total refusal, so-called “partial refusal to serve” is also a criminal offense; this includes in particular the refusal of the off-duty shooting obligation .

Situation in Ireland

4,983 Irish soldiers deserted their - neutral - army during World War II to join forces with British troops against Hitler's Germany. Many were there when the Normandy landings (June 6, 1944), others when the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp was liberated. In Ireland these men - most of them deceased - are not considered heroes until today (2012). After their return, the surviving returnees were dishonorably discharged from the army without a hearing, relieved of all military pension claims and banned from any state employment for seven years. Some even had to answer to a court martial. In 2011, a retired taxi driver from Dublin started a campaign to rehabilitate these men. Ireland's chief legal counsel, Máire Whelan, was to decide in an expert report in 2012 whether the effort “against tyranny and totalitarianism” would outweigh this special form of desertion.

Situation in Great Britain

British military ( Great Britain currently has a purely professional army ) continue to face life imprisonment in the event of arrest for desertion . The national lower house , which is relevant for the legislation , rejected a majority of the motion of a large group of Labor MPs to limit the punishment provided for by law to two years. These parliamentarians accuse the government of using this draconian threat of imprisonment to force soldiers to deploy to Iraq against their will.

In Great Britain the total number of “illegally absent” soldiers was 100 in 2001, 150 in 2002, 205 in 2003 and 530 in 2005. The significant increase is likely to be related to Great Britain's participation in the Iraq war .

Situation in the United States

The military criminal law of the United States, the Uniform Code of Military Justice within the framework of the United States Code , makes desertion a punishable offense in its article 85 ("Desertion", also Absence Without Official Leave (AWOL)). The sentence ranges from a penalty at the discretion of the court martial ( "... as a court-martial may direct." ) To the death penalty, which may only be imposed in cases of desertion during military operations.

During the Second World War , over 21,000 members of the US armed forces were convicted of desertion. The death penalty was imposed in 49 cases for desertion in the event of war , but only Eddie Slovik was actually executed .

After the Korean War, a total of six US soldiers stationed in the Demilitarized Zone deserted to North Korea between 1962 and 1982 , among them Charles Robert Jenkins in 1965 , who moved to Japan in 2004, and James Joseph Dresnok in 1962 , who lived in North Korea until his death in 2016. The other four soldiers also died in North Korea.

In 1971 alone, 33,000 soldiers deserted at the height of the Vietnam War and with general conscription - 3.4 percent of the US armed forces.

Over 8,000 US soldiers deserted in 2005 during the deployment in Iraq. That was statistically 0.24 percent of the volunteer soldiers.

Soviet Army

Deserted members of the Soviet troops in the GDR were often severely punished.

Situation in Italy

In Italian military criminal law, the criminal offenses “unauthorized absence” and “desertion” are defined. The former is deemed to have been met in the event of a one-day absence, the latter in the event of an absence of five days. A sentence of up to two years in prison is provided. In the event of war, stricter regulations apply to both the criminal offense and the level of punishment. The 1948 Constitution abolished the death penalty in principle from, but allowed it in the field of war criminal to a constitutional amendment in 2007. In war criminal even the death penalty was abolished in 1994, its application de facto basically suspended since 1948th Until 1994, the death penalty was legally provided for desertion during war, since then the maximum sentence generally possible in Italy, i.e. life imprisonment (possibly with early release), has applied in this case.

Desertion from the armed forces at the time of National Socialism

Rehabilitation of disobedient WWII soldiers was difficult in Germany. In the meantime, the verdicts of Nazi judges against deserters have been overturned. The cause of the vehement parliamentary dispute at the time was a ruling by the Federal Social Court of September 11, 1991, which awarded the widow of a conscript who was shot in 1945 compensation under the Federal Welfare Act . In a further ruling, this time by the Federal Court of Justice from 1991, it was determined that the Wehrmacht justice system was a "terrorist justice system" and that the Wehrmacht judges had to be held accountable for perverting the law in the context of capital crimes. In the judgment, the Bundestag was asked to overturn the judgments of the armed forces justice.

It was not until 1998 that the German Bundestag passed a law on the rehabilitation of deserters and symbolic compensation for the survivors and their relatives. In contrast to other groups of victims, however, the law on the repeal of National Socialist judgments in criminal justice initially provided for an individual examination. It was not until 2002 that the law was changed in such a way that the judgments of the military courts against deserters of the Wehrmacht were now also overturned. The member of the Bundestag Norbert Geis (CSU) described the “general repeal of the judgments against deserters in the Second World War” after the first reading of the law on February 28, 2002 as a “shame”. On September 8, 2008, the German Bundestag unanimously decided to overturn all judgments of the Nazi military justice system and to rehabilitate the convicted. Until then, rehabilitation for treason were still open.

In the meantime, the first teaching materials are also available, supported by the Culture Department of the City of Hanover, which prepare the subjects of desertion and the decomposition of military strength for teaching purposes.

Rehabilitation turned out to be just as difficult in Austria: the first such application was dealt with in 1999 in the Austrian National Council . In 2005, under the coalition government of the ÖVP and FPÖ, a first repeal law followed (Federal Law Gazette I No. 86/2005), which had several content-related and legal gaps. The "Repeal and Rehabilitation Act" followed in 2009 (Federal Law Gazette I No. 110/2009), which repealed all judgments across the board without examining individual cases. “The Republic of Austria” explicitly expressed “its respect” (Section 4) to all deserters, war traitors and other persons persecuted by the Nazi military justice system.

Monuments to deserters

Monument to the unknown deserter in Bremen
Memorial plaque for the stolen deserter memorial in Braunschweig
Memorial to Wehrmacht deserters in Vägershult, Sweden, erected in 1945
Deserters memorial or memorial for those persecuted by the Nazi military justice at Ballhausplatz, Vienna (2014)
Memorial for the unknown Wehrmacht deserter (erected in 1995) on the Petersberg in Erfurt

The first initiatives to erect desert monuments arose in 1981 in Kassel and 1983 in Bremen .

  • On October 18, 1986, in the Gustav Heinemann community center in Bremen-Vegesack, the group “Reservists refuse” erected the monument to “The unknown deserter”.
  • In November 1987 the group "Reservists denied" of the DFG-VK unveiled the monument "The deserters of all wars" in front of the Feldherrnhalle in Munich . The memorial was then shown in the city museum and in the foyer of the Kammerspiele at events, but could not find a place in Munich. It was brought to Mannheim and there it is now in front of the "Neckarstadt bookstore". The artist Stefan von Reiswitz , who was involved in the memorial, died in Munich in May 2019 [1] .
  • Also in November 1987 the “Darmstädter Friedenshetzer” unveiled a steel sculpture. After several locations, the sculpture is now hanging in Lauteschlägerstrasse.
  • In 1988 the memorial for the unknown deserter was erected on Trammplatz in Hanover and in 2015 it was removed from the city of Hanover as part of renovation work. A municipal memorial was then erected in the Fossefeld district cemetery .
  • In 1989, on the initiative of the mayor of Steinheim an der Murr Alfred Ulrich, a memorial stone was erected for the soldier Erwin Kreetz , who was executed on April 17, 1945 . The father of four left his unit shortly before the liberation by American troops after he learned that his wife had been killed in a bomb attack on Berlin. He was executed in a quarry near Steinheim an der Murr three days before the liberation.
    Erwin Kreetz memorial plaque
  • The memorial for the unknown deserter by the Turkish sculptor Mehmet Aksoy , which was planned for the then federal capital Bonn in 1989 , but now erected on the Unity Square in Potsdam , was also controversial for a long time .
  • Only in the beginning did a plaque for deserters, attached in September 1990 on the administrative building of the city of Göttingen , cause conflicts. It carries the sentence of the writer Alfred Andersch "not out of fear of death, but out of the will to live".
  • On September 1, 1994, a deserter memorial was erected in Braunschweig . After being damaged twice within a short period of time, it was stolen on New Year's Eve 1995. Since then there has been a memorial plaque in its place.
  • Since 1998 there has also been a deserter monument in Bernau near Berlin , which commemorates the pacifist attitude of many deserters.
  • In Marburg , a corresponding monument has been integrated into the cityscape for many years. Although the barracks, which were redundant after the end of the Cold War , were closed long enough, the previously lively controversy about them has died down.
  • In 1995, after heated public debates, a memorial for the unknown armed forces deserter was erected on the Petersberg in Erfurt . It comes from the Erfurt artist Thomas Nicolai and consists of eight iron steles, one of which is supposed to symbolize the deserter who has stepped out of line. In the middle there is a plaque with a quote from the work dreams of Günter Eich : "Be sand, not oil in the machinery of the world." The commanders' house of the Petersberg Citadel had been home to the Wehrmacht's “War Court 409 ID.” Since 1940, which sentenced around 50 deserters to death; some convicts were shot on the fortress grounds.
  • In Hamburg , there has been a deserter monument created by Volker Lang on Stephansplatz since November 2015 after years of dispute . Ludwig Baumann was present at the inauguration, as was Mayor Olaf Scholz .
  • In Ulm , the memorial, created in 1989, stood on private land for many years because the local council refused to put it publicly. Since November 19, 2005, the sculpture created by Hannah Stütz-Mentzel has stood near the historic execution site in Ulm.
  • In September 2009, the monument to armed forces deserters and opponents of the war was inaugurated in Cologne . Designed by the Swiss designer Ruedi Baur , it has the shape of a pergola.
  • In Vägershult in the Swedish province of Småland (Uppvidinge municipality), where the majority of the Wehrmacht deserters who fled to Sweden were interned, there is a memorial designed by a deserter as early as 1945; however, it has been damaged four times.
  • In Tübingen , in October 2008, a square in the French Quarter , the site of the former Hindenburg barracks , was renamed the Place of the Unknown Deserter and given a plaque.
  • In April 2011 in Vienna it was decided to erect a memorial for deserters of the Nazi armed forces and in June 2013 the competition jury decided on the stepped, walkable, lying “X” with the inscriptions “all” and “alone” for Ballhausplatz - and not the Heldenplatz - agreed; it should be set up in 2013. It was opened to the public on October 24, 2014 as a “ memorial to those persecuted by Nazi military justice ”.

The deserter theme in film, literature, music and theater

The writer Gerhard Zwerenz was a well-known contemporary witness who himself worked through his desertion in a literary way and always discussed it openly .

The world's most famous arrangement is probably the Chanson Le déserteur by Boris Vian . In it, a young man writes to Monsieur le président , the head of state, that for reasons of conscience he will no longer take part in the war. Translated into English, German and numerous other languages, it was also about the world as Donovan's Das Kelbl , namely in countless singing rounds and books. Serge Reggiani had a great success in the French charts.

Countless literary adaptations revolve around the situation of deserters, whose right to exist is threatened. The first and most heatedly discussed in Germany after the Second World War is the autobiographical story from 1952, Die Kirschen der Freiheit by Alfred Andersch .

The subject of desertion suggested Stefan Dähnert for his play Herbstball .

The novel On the Road to Cold Mountain and the film adaptation of the same name are about a Confederate deserter in the American Civil War .

For the film, Catch-22 - The Bad Trick by Mike Nichols should be mentioned, based on a literature by Joseph Heller ( Catch-22 ), as well as the German film Court Martial from 1959, which deals with military justice in the Third Reich.

In 2013 the documentary Out of Society was made , a film portrait about Emil Richter, a deserter during World War II, and about André Shepherd , who deserted from the US Army in 2007.


See also


  • Herward Beschorner (Ed.): Centralino - ring the bell 3 times. A deserter tells. Röderberg, Cologne 1989, ISBN 3-87682-855-4 ( Röderberg series ).
  • Ulrich Bröckling , Michael Sikora (Ed.): Armies and their deserters. Neglected chapters of modern military history . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1998, ISBN 3-525-01365-5 .
  • Jens Ebert, Thomas Jander (Ed.): Finally being human again. Field post letters and prisoner mail from deserter Hans Stock 1943/1944. Trafo, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-89626-760-3 ( writing in war - writing from war 3). Excerpts on one day
  • Hans Frese (ed.): Brake pads on the nation's victory car. A deserter's memories of military prisons, penitentiaries and moor camps in 1941–1945. Edition Temmen, Bremen 1989, ISBN 3-926958-25-1 ( Documentation and Information Center Emslandlager <Papenburg>: publication series of the DIZ "Emslandlager" 1).
  • Maria Fritsche: Withdrawals. Austrian deserters and self-mutilators in the German Wehrmacht. Böhlau, Vienna a. a. 2004, ISBN 3-205-77181-8 .
  • History workshop Marburg e. V. (Ed.): "I had to do something myself". Deserters - perpetrators and persecuted persons in World War II. Schüren, Marburg 2000, ISBN 3-89472-257-6 (collection of articles).
  • Christoph Jahr: Ordinary soldiers. Desertion and deserters in the German and British armies 1914–1918 (= critical studies on historical science . Volume 123). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1998, ISBN 3-525-35786-9 (also: Humboldt-Univ., Dissertation, Berlin 1996).
  • Peter Köpf : Where is Lieutenant Adkins? The fate of deserted NATO soldiers in the GDR . Ch. Links, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-86153-709-0 .
  • Jan Korte , Dominic Heilig (Ed.): War Treason: Politics of the Past in Germany; Analyzes, comments and documents of a debate . Dietz, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-320-02261-7 .
  • Thomas Kraft: desertion and war neurosis. Counter-images to the ideology of the struggle in German-language literature after the Second World War. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 1994, ISBN 3-88479-910-X ( Epistemata. Series Literary Studies 119), (At the same time: Munich, Univ., Diss., 1993).
  • Hannes Metzler: Desertion in the House. The rehabilitation of the deserters of the Wehrmacht. A comparison of Germany and Austria taking Luxembourg into account . Diploma thesis, Vienna 2006.
  • Hannes Metzler: Dishonored forever? The rehabilitation of the deserters of the Wehrmacht. A comparison of Germany and Austria taking Luxembourg into account. Mandelbaum-Verlag, Vienna 2007, ISBN 978-3-85476-218-8 .
  • Günter Saathoff, Michael Eberlein, Roland Müller (eds.): Escaped from death. Interviews with contemporary witnesses with survivors of the Nazi military justice system . The fate of conscientious objectors and deserters under National Socialism and their unworthy treatment in post-war Germany. Heinrich Böll Foundation, Cologne 1993, ISBN 3-927760-19-6 .
  • Wolfram Wette : Wehrmacht deserters rehabilitated - an exemplary change of opinion in Germany (1980–2002). In: Journal of History. No. 52, 2004, pp. 505-527, ISSN  0044-2828 .
  • Martin Stief: Desertions in divided Berlin. Combating desertions from the ranks of the riot police in the year the wall was built . Berlin 2011, urn : nbn: de: 0292-97839421307388

Desertion and Wehrmacht Justice

  • Kristina Brümmer-Pauly: Desertion in the Law of National Socialism (= contemporary legal history. Dept. 1: General series. 19). BWV Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-8305-1208-2 (also: Frankfurt am Main, Univ., Diss., 2005/06).
  • Ralf Buchterkirchen: "... and if you put me against the wall". Desertion, destruction of military strength and "war betrayal" by soldiers in and from Hanover 1933 - 1945. Neustadt am Rübenberge 2011: AK Region and History. ISBN 978-3-930726-16-5
  • Ralf Buchterkirchen: "You don't need to be ashamed of my execution ...". Disobedient soldiers in Hanover 1933-1945. Neustadt am Rübenberge 2020: AK region and history. ISBN 978-3-930726-34-9
  • Nina Horaczek : Later triumph. In: Falter. (Austria) No. 22/2007, p. 20.
  • Magnus Koch: desertions. Wehrmacht deserters in World War II - life paths and decisions (= war in history . Volume 42). Schöningh, Paderborn u. a. 2008, ISBN 3-506-76457-8 (also: Erfurt, Univ., Diss., 2006).
  • Manfred Messerschmidt , Fritz Wüllner: The Wehrmacht Justice in the Service of National Socialism. Destroying a legend. Nomos-Verlags-Gesellschaft, Baden-Baden 1987, ISBN 3-7890-1466-4 .
  • Manfred Messerschmidt: What was law back then ... Nazi military and criminal justice in the war of extermination. Published by Wolfram Wette. Klartext Verlag, Essen 1996, ISBN 3-88474-487-9 .
  • Manfred Messerschmidt: The Wehrmacht Justice 1933-1945. Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn u. a. 2005, ISBN 3-506-71349-3 .
  • Fritz Wüllner: The Nazi military justice and the misery of historiography. A basic research report . Nomos Verlags-Gesellschaft, Baden-Baden 1991, ISBN 3-7890-1833-3 .
  • Hermine Wüllner (Ed.): "... only death can be the just atonement." Death sentences from German Wehrmacht courts. A documentation. Nomos Verlags-Gesellschaft, Baden-Baden 1997, ISBN 3-7890-5104-7 .
  • Norbert Haase, Gerhard Paul (Hrsg.) Et al .: The other soldiers. Destruction of military strength, refusal to obey and desertion in World War II. Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1995, ISBN 3-596-12769-6 .
  • Fietje Ausländer (Ed.): Traitors or role models? Deserters and disobedient soldiers under National Socialism. Edition Temmen, Bremen 1990, ISBN 3-926958-26-X .
  • Ingo Pfeiffer: deserting the sea - the people's navy in the sights of the MfS. Kai Homilius Verlag , Werder 2009, ISBN 978-3-89706-913-8 .
  • Volker Ullrich: Finding the courage to run away. German deserters in World War II. In: Volker Ullrich: Five shots on Bismarck. Historical reports. , Pp. 179-191 and 229-231, Beck, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-406-49400-5 .

Web links

Wiktionary: deserter  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: deserting  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Desertion  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: desertion  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : desertion  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Military Criminal Code of the German Empire of June 20, 1872
  2. Thomas Walter: Fast Justice - Good Justice? In: Walter Manoschek: Victims of Nazi military justice . Vienna 2003, p. 28.
  3. Thomas Walter: Fast Justice - Good Justice? In: Walter Manoschek: Victims of Nazi military justice . Vienna 2003, pp. 31–32.
  4. Thomas Walter: Fast Justice - Good Justice? In: Walter Manoschek: Victims of Nazi military justice . Vienna 2003, p. 31.
  5. Ralf Buchterkirchen: "... and if you put me against the wall". Desertion, destruction of military strength and "war betrayal" by soldiers in and from Hanover 1933 - 1945. Neustadt am Rübenberge 2011: AK Region and History. P. 75. ISBN 978-3-930726-16-5
  6. Ralf Buchterkirchen: "... and if you put me against the wall". Desertion, destruction of military strength and "war betrayal" by soldiers in and from Hanover 1933 - 1945. Neustadt am Rübenberge 2011: AK Region and History. ISBN 978-3-930726-16-5
  7. Thomas Geldmacher: “Goodbye!” Desertion, unauthorized removal and the problem of keeping the facts apart . In: Walter Manoschek: Victims of Nazi military justice . Vienna 2003, pp. 135-136
  8. ^ Peter Lutz Kalmbach: Wehrmacht justice . Berlin 2012, p. 161 ff.
  9. Karl Ruef: Mountain Hunters between Crete and Murmansk . Leopold Stocker Verlag, Graz, ISBN 3-7020-0134-4 , p. 447.
  10. Journal of the GDR I p. 2
  11. GBl. DDR I p. 25
  12. ^ Decree of the Council of State of the GDR on the position and tasks of the courts for military criminal matters [Military Courts Code] of April 4, 1963, Journal of the GDR I p. 71; also military court regulations of the National Defense Council of September 27, 1974, GDR I p. 481, amended on June 28, 1979, GDR I p. 155
  13. ^ Journal of the GDR I p. 97
  14. ^ Journal of the GDR I p. 1, 45
  15. BTDrucks 12/1608, Annex 2, p. 33
  16. ^ Klaus Dau in: Munich Commentary on the Criminal Code , Volume 8, Nebenstrafrecht III, 2nd edition 2013, WStG § 16 Rn. 23; Instigator up to 3 and 9 months; Assistant up to 2 years and 11 months.
  17. IFG inquiry March 24, 2014
  18. Bundestag printed paper 14/5857 (PDF; 246 kB) of April 3, 2001
  19. Heroic Deserters . In: Der Spiegel . No. 2 , 2012, p. 77 ( online ).
  20. Art. 147ff of the Military Criminal Code for Peacetime (English)
  21. Italian constitution with references to constitutional amendments (Art. 27) on (German)
  22. Italian War Criminal Code on (Italian)
  23. Ralf Buchterkirchen: "... and if you put me against the wall". Desertion, destruction of military strength and "war betrayal" by soldiers in and from Hanover 1933 - 1945. Neustadt am Rübenberge 2011: AK Region and History. ISBN 978-3-930726-16-5
  24. Ralf Buchterkirchen: "... and if you put me against the wall". Desertion, destruction of military strength and "war betrayal" by soldiers in and from Hanover 1933 - 1945. Neustadt am Rübenberge 2011: AK Region and History. P. 54f. ISBN 978-3-930726-16-5
  25. Ralf Buchterkirchen: "... and if you put me against the wall". Desertion, destruction of military strength and "war betrayal" by soldiers in and from Hanover 1933 - 1945. Neustadt am Rübenberge 2011: AK Region and History. P. 54f. ISBN 978-3-930726-16-5
  26. Ralf Buchterkirchen: "... and if you put me against the wall". Desertion, destruction of military strength and "war betrayal" by soldiers in and from Hanover 1933 - 1945. Neustadt am Rübenberge 2011: AK Region and History. ISBN 978-3-930726-16-5
  27. Law to amend the law to repeal unjust judgments in the criminal justice system ( BGBl. 2002 I p. 2714 ) (PDF; 16 kB)
  28. ^ Norbert Geis: Press release from March 1, 2002
  29. Printed matter 16/13654 of the German Bundestag
  30. Ralf Buchterkirchen: "... and if you put me against the wall". Desertion, destruction of military strength and "war betrayal" by soldiers in and from Hanover 1933 - 1945. Neustadt am Rübenberge 2011: AK Region and History. P. 56 ISBN 978-3-930726-16-5
  31. Ralf Buchterkirchen: "You don't need to be ashamed of my execution ...". Disobedient soldiers in Hanover 1933-1945. Neustadt am Rübenberge 2020: AK region and history. ISBN 978-3-930726-34-9
  32. See motion for a resolution Rehabilitation of the deserters of the Wehrmacht (1070 / A (E)), under URL:
  33. Repeal and Rehabilitation Act (134 / BNR), (PDF)
  34. Monuments to Deserters. Extra-parliamentary debates, initiatives, new research, monuments at the Georg Elser Initiative Bremen
  35. Monument to the Unknown Deserter. In: November 12, 1987, Retrieved February 7, 2016 .
  36. Ralf Buchterkirchen: "You don't need to be ashamed of my execution ...". Disobedient soldiers in Hanover 1933-1945. Neustadt am Rübenberge 2020: AK region and history. Pp. 59-63 ISBN 978-3-930726-34-9
  37. ^ Deserter monument in Potsdam / Bonn
  38. See Göttingen Online Chronicle
  39. The cherries of freedom. In: Göttingen. Fountains - monuments - works of art. City of Göttingen, accessed on November 7, 2018 .
  40. ^ Deserters' monument in Bernau
  41. ^ Deserter monument in Erfurt ( Memento from May 24, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  42. Volker Stahl: 'Hamburg has rethought'. The Hanseatic city now has a deserter memorial - it honors the victims of Nazi military justice. In: Neues Deutschland from November 26, 2015, p. 14
  43. The monument to deserters is coming . ( Memento from February 28, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Hamburger Wochenblatt; Retrieved December 29, 2012.
  44. Deserters Monument in Ulm ( Memento from March 13, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  45. Andreas Rossmann : The horizon is open. The first monument to deserters in Germany to be erected in public spaces is in Cologne. ; Retrieved September 7, 2009
  46. Jesper Johansson: Kamp om symboler . i & m, June 2005
  47. The "unknown deserter" now has a place . Swabian daily paper . October 14, 2008. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  48. of April 20, 2011
  49. ↑ The deserter's monument becomes a blue stair sculpture , of June 28, 2013
  50. Deserters Monument on Ballhausplatz , of June 28, 2013
  51. trailer
  52. Review
  53. Karl Salm: desertion as a political worldview? A historical-political study on the Richard Freiherr von Weizsäcker case. 2nd Edition. Hohenrain Verlag, Tübingen 1990, ISBN 3-89180-022-3 .