Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
Papers relating to the Board of Enquiry into the life of Internees while on Torrens Isl., ca. 1915-1919 / Frank W. Bungardy
MLMSS 261/Box 2/Item 10
Board of Enquiry into the life of Internees while on Torrens Isl. S.A.
During June 1916 the Court of enquiry order held hier to enquire into the inhuman treatement Internees had recieved, while on Torrens Isl. This enquirey toke place at the request of the Germ. Ambassador at Washington U.S.A. through the medium of the American Consul hier, at the request issued by his Governement. This Enquirey only proved a farce is a expence of money. At the commencement of this sayd enquirey the Authoritys choosed a Stewart of a Germ. Mail Steamer, as the Internees representative, wich hardly spoke & understood english. Against this, the rest of the Internees protested, but as this Internee had been called previously to S.A. without informing him the reason & while their, some soldier guards evidence had been taken, all our request proved futile. I give the correspondence with passed between the Internees & the Court. It is the request of the S.A. Internees to have the following five Gentleman, to represent us in our complaints (names given). This Comittee of 5 shall demand all rights, as granted to a plaintiff in any Court of Australia, also the Military to grant us a interview with our Barister or the Consul of U.S.A. where necessary, as far as the rules for Civil Internees permitt. By the giving of evidence our Comittee Member shall be always present, besides the Internee, choosen by the Military, as to enable us, to call the best evidence we hance, to verify our complaints. Further we demand, that all more serious complaints, wich the Comittee decides upon, shall be thouroughly investigated, as promised us by the Court of enquirey. We resolves unanimously, that, if these, our requests shall not be granted, to cease
evidence, before any Court until the termination of war, & us to take evidence & names of victims, to have name in readiness, when this war concludes: - At this time the Internees also send the following: It is the desire of all Internees, wich have been internees in S.A. to have all complaints investigated up to our arrival at Liverpool. N.S.W. on August 1915 and not only a few, as granted us by the Military Authoritys. The Complaints we demand to be investigated are the following. No 1. The treatement of Internees in general. II Cooking Utensils being inadequate, no axes or Kitchens providet. lll shortage of provissiones. Food being unwholesome & bad. lV. Why Internees have been compelled to pay postage & freight on letters, parcels, luggage, bedding extra, contrary to the International law of the Hague Convention. V. The neglect of the authoritys to inform Internees of the arival of luggage, & through with neglience, some have been lost. Vl Kitchens & material. Vll The handcuffing of a yung Internee (M?ller) to a telegraph pole, also into the inhuman treatement of 2 lunatics named Bergmann & Reshtenwald, while under arrest. Vlll Treatement of Internees in general while under arrest. lX The shooting of Internee Ratch. X Treatement of Internees in regards of conviniances. The sentencing of Internees to Jail, without a fair trial, as per magna charta. "British justice & fair play warrants, also in wich state the internees wher compelled to travel to the jail. Xll bayoneting on the way to & from latrines. Xlll The unsanitary housing accommodation. XlV The treatening
Internees to shoot first opportunity. XV The shooting into Bursharch tent. No ll XVl A Lunatic forced with the bayonet to work, although the Authoritys, wher awhare, that this Internees mind was unhinged. The stealing of provissiones by Soldiers. XVlll Luggage robbed & luggage not delivered. XlX No straw by the authoritys to Internees, while confined on Torrens Isl . XX Internees being arrested without cause & kept under arrest without trial. XXl Letters containing complaints made by Internees of Torrens Isl & addressed to the U.S.A. Consul Mr Britain confiscated by the Military Authorityís & not delivered. XXll Complaints by Internees to the Comandant or authoritys made impossible. XXlll Treatement of Internees while under medical treatement in the Military hospital tent. XXlV And what is our main & most prominent complaint, & wich we look upon as a disgrace on & to our persones & an insult to our, or any civilised nation is the flogging of two of our fellow internees, wich we insist to be investigated: We as the Comittee choosen by the Internees, who have been interned in S.A. demand that all complaints, layd before the Court this morning, to be fully investigated & evidence taken in full to verify same & not only a few wich we consider not so important, as some wich are stated on this sayd list. If our request should fail, we respectfully aske to cable to the foreign ambassador of the U.S.A. & inform same of the fact, also aske for further instructions. As we in a body refuse to give further evidence until notified
by the ambassador of the U.S.A. we also wich to receive cablegrams
send & recieved by us to this above named official. Aplications by Mr Penny, the Lawyer for the Internees, choosen & selected by the Military authoritys. Since the conclusion of the enquiry through the curtesy of Major Griffits I was allowed to interview the S.A. Internees in the Theatre. I questioned many of them & selected certain witnesses, whom I deemed neccessery to produce before this enquirey. I learn that, at a meeting among themselves, five other wher selected & choosen of attending the enquirey, as well as the Internee selected by the Authority & I was to make this aplication to you this morning, I do so as it is made to me. Personally, I have only recognised Emde as entitled to be present, but I am in the hands of the Court in this matter. Reply by the Court: Emde has conducted this enquiry on behalf of the Germ. internees from its commencement. The Court recognises the necessity of having someone to represent such a large body of complainants & Emde was the person selected & recognised, as their representative. He has conducted the case up to the time Counsel apeared with skill & now the court has the advantage of Counsel to assist them, coupled with instructions, that he is receiving from Emde, who has had Knowledge of this enquirey from the comencement, the Court is of opinion, that no purposse will be served in permitting any other represantive at this stage, At this stage we recieved verbal communication from the Court to be permitted, them to take evidence, while our request would be
further seen into, so the Comittee permitted Internees to give evidence but, only, Under Protest. The Comittee send the following. We beg to state, that wittnesses coming before the Court will give their evidence in toto " but everyone, & all of us protest that we are not heard, regards the flogging incident of Internees, while tied, handcuffed to a tree, while in a nude state, & we beg of you, that this protest is specially earmarked & noted in the despositiones. We further beg of you, to put yourself into comunication with the authoritys, wich represent our interest, to get instructions, to see, that an enquiry is held relating to the flogging incident, while all our fellow Internees are present. We wiche also to aske you, that all the evidence at present admissible from each & everyone of our fellow Internees be heard & taken down in the deposition. We trust that you give due consideration to these our requests. In answer to this the Comittee wher called before the court & addressed by the President in the following: I have recieved a letter send by you Men, & it apears, that you are making some requests to be represented on this enquiry: The Comittee spokesman: On behalf of the signatures, to the letters, recieved by the Court, we wiche to state we have not choosen Emde, as our representantative at all. Emde may be willing enough & capable anough, but we wiche that he should have at least one of this Comittee allways with him present. (Hereupon the President enquired Why; The answer Becourse the Men demand to know everything that is going on hier. The President Every word, what goes on in this Court
has been taken down in writing & hawe you not had an oportunity of seeing that Spokesman. We have seen nothing, nor has it been read to us. Their wher some resolutiones passed & we cannot act otherwise, than as sett out in that letter. One of the Comittee (The Writer) their is one thing our spokes Men does not know. Shortly after Mr Emde returned from the enquiry held in S.A. with regards of Guards evidence, I demandet of Emde to know, what was going on. At first he declined to give me any information, but at last I recieved the typewritten copy from him. I informed several Internees, what I had read. But with regards the enquirey hier, no one is informed of any thing but Emde. The President. The position in regards of this enquirey is these. Nearly 18 months ago, a letter was written in German, on behalf of all the Internees on Torrens Isl, S.A. & addressed to the Consul General for the U.S.A. That letter remained in the district Headquaters S.A. for several months, & it was on the enquirey the U.S.A. Consul, that this letter was produced. On the production of this letter, the Central Military Headquaters, Melbourne, The Commonwealth Military Headquaters for the whole of Australia constituted this Court, to enquire, to enquire into complaints, disclosed in that letter. When the Court sat hier, to take evidence, the person, who wrote that letter, was the person selected, who should represent the persones, who made these complaints, & therefore Emde was choosen as the Represantative of all the Internees of Torrens Isl. Becourse you as sensible Men will understand it is quite impossible for this Court, to have 20-50 or 200
people sitting in Court all chatter at us, therefore the idea was to have or men, who made the complaints, on behalf of the Internees. Representing them & calling the Wittnesses, in support of those statements. This Emde has done & he has every chance, every consideration. He dit this up to the time, when he felt he ought to have assistance. Than he wrote to the Consul & asked that a Barrier might be apointed. That request was cabled to America, to the ambassador their & he has now appointed Mr Penny, not to represent Emde but the whole Internees in that camp There can be no advantage whatever gained by anybody coming in now. The enquire has almost finished. Or instructions are, to enquire into the complaints made in the letter, that Emde wrote. We have done that carefully & the time will come when we will hand in our report. Emde has represented you, & represented you well up to the time when Mr Penny came in & Mr Penny is hier to do justice to you, as the representative of the American ambassador the court is unable at these stage, to break into the enquirey, by complying with the wiches of these letter. To enquire into things that are already being enquired into. Cooking Utensils inadequate, no axes, no bedding providet, that is the first I have heard, but I am not going to stop these enquirey at this stage. The contents of your letter is not of sufficient importance, to demand the breaking in these enquirey at the present stage. We are instructed by Headquaters not to enquire into the question of flogging, becourse it has been investigated & the officers concerned dealt with.
It appears to me, that all the grave matters, that you have mentioned have been dealt with. The enquirey is now nearly complete & to have a freshe prosecution coming in at these stage, is a thing that is not intendet by those who hold this enquirey & for my part I am not going to permit it. I shall take steps to have your letters forwardet to the United State Consul & I shall proceed with this enquirey as it has been gone on, to the United States Consul can take such steps as he wiches, either to hold another enquirey after this one is concludet, & such steps as he thinks fitt to comply or otherwise with your wiches. But for my part t& my Colleagues are with me on the subject, we propose to continue this enquirey. Of course if evidence is called & you decline to give it, we must simply take a note of it on the enquiry to decide the case on the evidence, that is submitted to us. I do not propose, to allow any further representation before these enquiry in adition to what we have had from its commencement. It has been fair & just. If the Wittnesses refuse to give evidence before this tribunal, than the responsibility will be theirs & not the Courts. You will have every oportunity of telling the United States Consul, if you wiche, what you have to say about these letters. But as far as these Court is concerned, we are perfectly satisfied, that we have done all, that is fair & just in these enquirey & it rests with the U.S.A. Consul to say wether some other enquiry shall be held at some other later date in your interest. The President to Penny As representing the American Consul, we aske you to bring the letters now in the
possession of the Court, under the notice of the American Consul & to inform him of the courtís decision in respect of Mr Penny: I desire to say hier, Sir, that on behalf of the American consul, every consideration has been affordet me in the interest of my clients by the Court at all times. Emde desires to say, he is thouroughly satisfied in every way. The Comittee wher herewith dismissed to return to Camp. The South Aust. Internees held a meeting at wich the following letter wher decidet upon, to be forwardet to the Court. In a body we protest the unjust treatement meted out to us in this enquiry for following reasones. No I The hurrying up nature of this court of enquirey & the refusal to accept the full statements made by Internees in their evidence. No. II to be able to produce all evidence, wich we procure, contradictory to our former Camp Comandants evidence. No III The refusal of the Court to have this enquiry closed under protest, as lodged by Internees & to recieve a copy of this, as promised to us by our former representive, previous to any pris giving evidence. No 4 The authoritys selecting our Representive & the refusal to be represented at the sitting of this sayd Court, by at least one of us Internees, as selected by them. A list of complaints, wich we consider have not been fully investigated by this court are the following. The flogging of two Internees, while in a naked condition & handcuffed, hands above their hand unto the branch of a tree. II Stealing of clothing & property & luggage by soldiers (servants of the King from Internees. III forced to work for soldiers, without recieving payment for same.
Damaging private tents & clothing, by soldier guards with the aid of the bayonet without receiving compensation. V the bayoneting of a lunatic Internee, while being forced to work. Vl The ill treatement of a lunatic by soldiers after trying to escape. Vll The ill treatement by the authoritys in charge, in keeping same, heavily woundet in a cell for the period of three weeks without medical attendance, also handcuffed for one week in a Cell, handcuffed day & night. The insanitary condition of our housing, Cooking, Utensills ectra. lX The treatement meted out to sick Internees & the quality of medicine issued . X The compulsory postage on all our correspondence, to & fro in the Colonies, also the paying forcibly on all freightís cartage on parcels, luggage extra dressed to us from a Internee, no matter how small. Contradictory to the international law of the Hague Convention. Xl Treatement in General. Xll The inability to call further evidence, contradictory to the evidence given by Mr Hawkes the former Comandant of Torrens Isl. These wittnesses are all essential, but by the refusal of this court, to proceed with the enquiry, leaves us no doubt, that we never will have a fair hearing or a just trial into our complaints. To the consul for the United states Comittee handet a letter to the president of the Court of enquiry for transmission, but wich never has been answered. The letter wher withheld from transmission to the adresse by the order of this Court when finished, the Comittee recieved information in the following sirs, your letters with the two previously recieved will be forwardet to the american Consul
signed W.S. Stewart President Ė 28 June 1916. As we never recieved reply, no doubt this letters wher withheld, like the one previously admitted, send from Torrens Isl. This sayd letter toke 6 months & that only after a personal Interview by a Internee with this Consul to reach him, a journey of 16 hours by train. As stated previously & than only upon demand by the American Consul. However as all the inmates have come to the conclusion, that the American Consul Mr Brittain is Racebiased, the Comittee never troubled to interview him again. The letter mentioned handet to the Court read as follows. We beg to notify, that any correspondence by Mr Emde, has not been authorised by all the Men interned here, who wher formerly interned on Torrens Isl. We beg to inform you that we are representive choosen & selected by the Internees formerly detained on Torrens Isl, a ballot list of the Names of the Internees, is at your disposal. The contents of the other letters I am unable to state, as the copy has been going astray, but the contents wher. Complaints about the hurrying up nature of the enquirey, also the refusal by the Court to take down in full the evidences given by Internees but only selecting the evidences relating to minor complaints I leave it to the Reader, to select if the Authoritys wher justified, in selecting Emde as our official Representive by giving the following truthfull information Emde wher employed as a Steward on board of a German Steamer laying in Port Adelaide, at the time War got declared. So the Crew got interned. When the Internees life, while on Torrens Isl
became almost unbearable, the Internees decided in a body to forward a letter to the U.S.A. Consul, our than Representative in the Commonwealth, informing him of our unjust hardships in complaints in general. Emde wrote this letter in German & signed by over 60 Internees. Mr Emde wher only capable to converse in the English language very brokenly. Therefore the Internees doubted if this Mr Emde of understanding, if addresse in polite englishe as the proceedings of a Court demands. Also Mr Emde, him being a seafaring Men dit not know the first thing of any laws, wich govern this Country. This wher our main reason for us protesting against him, as our representive, to the Barister, selected by the Authoritys. This Mr Emde, to being the only Internee permitted to be in attendance during the proceeding of this Court. As the character of this Internee left also much to be desired, the Internee also looked upon him with mistrust. Mr Emde had informed the Internees up to the protest, that the Court wher only a Trial Court "a fare runner of the real Court to gather evidence, wher the reasones, why the Internees dit not protested earlier. But when the Internees wher informed by the suposed Barrister, supose to be wich suppose to be looking after our Interesse, that this would be the only court granted us, to investigate our complaints, we toke steps imidiately, as formerly stated. Internees also viewed this enquiry with distrust becourse 1 The sevice of the attorney, choosen by someone without the consent of the Internees, to look after their interesse during the Enquiry". He looked to the Internees more like a
Captain of the Military than a Barister at Law, though when seen by Internees to be clothed in Civilian attire. I might be wrong, but it is my intention, to find out if this Gentlemen wher a genuine Barister, or a imitation, becourse for the services rendered during the enquirey in the Internees interest he seemed to be a Duffer or else hated the German Internees out of the bottom of his heart. The Court consisted of a Major & two Captains in Military Uniform. The former Camp Comandant, against wich actions in regards of our treatement we had complained being also always present in private Clothing. The whole Court "arrived hier in the same Motor Car from Liverpool", & departed in the same Car always. The Internees say, that no doubt they also reside in the same Hotel, as hawing their residence in S.A., they have come hier, at the Government expense. How can a Trial be just, when the Deffendant, The Plaintiffs doubtfull Athorney, & the judges of this sayd Court, ride about in this same Car. As far as the interest of the U.S.A. Consul are genuine in our favour, leave also much desired as this Gentleman is known in this Camp to be a Men, who hated every German, as Internees have found out during their official Interview with this respective Gentleman. The following letter wher handet to the Court of Enquiry for dispatch to the U.S.A. Consul. The former Internees of Torrens S.A. none interned in Holdsworthy N.S.W. have resolved unanimously not to give further evidence in this Court of Enquiry for the following reasones.
Several complaints made by us, have been refused to be enquired into by this sayd Court, also it seems to us in a body, that this enquirey is of a hurrying nature, as several very important Wittnesses do not get called to give evidence so as to procure a just & fair hearing & trial. It is also our wiche to be represented at the Court Sitting by at least two of our Comrades, on account our present Represantive has not been choosen or selected. We wiche you to cable this contents to the foreign Ambassador of S.A. I give hier the number of Internees of wich the Court could select, as many as required. Regards ill treatment while in special compounds 33. We can give evidence in regards of the shooting of Ratch 27. Who can give evidence in regards of the bayoneting of Lunatic Rechtenwald 5. Who has been put in jail without trial 6. Who has been forced into Barbwire fences by Soldiers with bayonets fixced 11. Who has been chased into saltwater to do forcible work, after sundown during wintry season 35. Who has been stabbed with the bayonet 21. Who has been forced to carry Wood for soldiers without receiving payment 11. Who can give evidence over ill treatment in regards handcuffing to telegraph pole & divesting unfortunate Internees of their Clothing while in this plight during cold wintry night 16. Who has been insulted or treatened by a officer-in-charge of Torrens Isl Camp 41. Who has tryed to
complain to authoritys in charge of the Torrens Isl Camp but without avail 24. Who has complained to Capt Hawkes, but wher ordered under objectionable language, to return back to the compound 21. Who had Clothing damaged while hanging on the line for drying purpose by soldierguards with the aid of their bayonet 13. Whos property has been stolen by soldier guards 10. Who has been forced to work for Soldiers without recieving payment for same 63. After a day, we wher informed, all our requests wher under consideration, that the Comittee in the meantime should, permitt a few Internees, wich would be called, to give evidence. The following is the correct evidence as given by Internees before this Court of enquirey, as per copy handet over by this sayd
Court to W. Emde. This evidence wher given, Under Protest. Through the interpretation of E.G. Livingstone Muir duly sworn. Fridric h W. Lohn labourer of S.A. being duly sworn is examined by Mr Penny (Pris Barrister) I was an Internee on Torrens Isl, while Capt Hawkes was their. I know a Internee named Ratch. Twas in the tent with him, at the time of the shooting. On the sketch plan produced to me shed No 19 represents Ratch, Dunning tent. R in a circle represents Ratch sleeping tent. The dotted line represents the Barbwire fence oposide Ratch tent. It is 6-7 feet between his tent & the wire fence. The inmates names at the time of the shooting wher Ratch, Neumann, Gellrish & myself. I saw Capt Hawkes coming around
that day. I saw him take a cigarette out of a poush & light it. Captain Hawkes was than just oposide the eating tent. He was about 15 feet from the Barbwire fence. I heard Neumann call out to Capt Hawkes. Give me a Cigarette. The Men remained in the tent, nobody went out. I heard nothing else being sayd. Capt Hawkes looked at us & went on, he went a Eating tents further, when he turned drew his Revolver. Nothing was sayd from the time he walked on up to the time he drew his Revolver. He fired shots at our tent. I could see it. Four shots wher fired of altogether, their wher a few seconds between the first & second shot. The next shots wher fired off quikly. The first 3 shots wher fired in the direction of our tent. I have seen the mark of a billet on the tentpole, but I have seen the mark of a billet on the tentpole, but let embeddet I cannot say wich shot made that mark. I swear the first 3 shots wher fired at our tent. I only could look in front of our tent what was behind I could not see. I heard nothing else. I dit not hear anybody say to Capt Hawkes Monkey. We remained & short time in the tent after Ratch was shot. Than we 3 went out. Their was than nobody outside our Messtent. I saw nothing of Men with clenshed fists & billets of wood. I dit not see any axces or hamers & dit not know of any with the exception of a few Internees private axes in the Kitchen. Previous to Ratch being shot, I did not hear anybody say
The Beggar want shoot "I saw the Guard taking prisoners under arrest around the Compound that morning. At the time Ratch was shot, the guard wher taking Internees under arrest for a walk opposite the latrines. I cannot say, in yards, how far this guard was from Ratch tent. I dit not see Internees following Capt Hawkes around. If there had been 20 Internees near our tent, I would have seen them. I know a Men names Berliner. He was in the 3 tent from ours. I dit not see anything happen, between Capt Hawkes & Berliner that morning. Go to Court: I saw Capt Hawkes fire all the 4 shots. We wher sitting in our tent hawing breakfast at the time. The tent was open facing the fence. That was the only opening. The material of the tent was Hessian & thin, I could see through it. Crossexamined by Capt Hawkes: The tent was made out of old Branbags. I dit not see any Pris between the tents & the Barbwire. The Internees under escort wher around by the latrines, at the time you shot Ratch. I cannot mark the exact spot. I dit not see any soldiers near you at the time of the shooting. The bayonet was used on Berliner both before & after he passed through the gate of the Compound. I donít know why the bayonet was used on Berliner. Reexamined by Mr Penny The material on the sides of our tent was this (old Bag produced in Court) on the back it wher double & on the top of the tent thick. I could not see through the Back of our tent. It was
impossible for a man to get in between the eating tent of ours & the next tent. Go to Court I saw the Men under escort around by the latrines, before I went in to get my breakfast. That was a couple of minutes before Capt Hawkes fired the shots. Wittnes H Ellerich being called to give evidence states that he & his asiciats refuse to give any farther evidence, until they have communicated with the Consul of U.S.A. Some declaration wher made by a Officer of the German steamer Sharzfelt interned at Port Adelaide at commencement of hostilities. Uhlrich Meyer being duly sworn states to Mr Penny. T was in Torrens Isl Camp from Middle of October 1914 to the 17 August 1915 . Under instructions recieved by the court, I have inspected the Internees who wher on Torrens Isl , with regards of bayonet wounds. I found on Metzel 1 scar on left side of butt hook about Ĺ inch long & 1 scar on right sidw of butthook ĺ inch long. Pleugel hascar 1 inch long on left sidw of butthook & another scar on his thesticalls.
Dittner has 1 scar Ĺ inch long on left side of butthook. Dittner can produce his underpants, on wich the marks of blood are still visible. Lang has a scar 1 inch long on right leg. I scar I inch long on left side of butthook. Pflonno has I scar on left side of butthooks. Magener has a small scar on the right leg. Farmann has a circular scar on the right side of butthook. Bergmann has 1 scar on the left
leg ĺ of an inch long & a scar on right arm Ĺ inch long. Grunewald has 2 scars on left side of butthooks. Peugel & Lange came to me about 5 minutes after the wounds had been inflicted & asked me for cotton. The wounds wher bleeding very freely, so much so that Peugel pulled off one of his boots & poured the blood out. He almost feinted. The scare I have mentioned are old scares. They are not the result of bayonet wounds inflicted in the Liverpool Camp. I know, that of my own Knowledge, in adition to these I have mentioned a great number of Men claim, to have been bayoneted too. Twas in the Theatre on Friday afternoon when roughly 20 Men claimed, they had been bayoneted at Torrens Isl. At Torrens Isl, when Capt Hawkes was their. I remember an incedent about a Man named Merke who was living outside the compound. He was known to be mentally insane. He is now in a Lunatic Asylum. I saw him first at the point of the bayonet, being told to go down to the beach & gather Mallee roots. He went quitly. He dit not turn around or say anything. He nevertheless recieved several stabs. I saw that myself. I remember when Grunewald was stabed. I saw him getting chased by a soldier towards the small Compound. When he came to the gate, he recieved a trust with the bayonet. I dit not complain about that becourse their was no oportunity from the date of the shed incident & the date of the arrival of Mr Hughes. When Capt Hawkes was absent from the Isl.
Lieutenant Parkes used to receive complaints. I remember the expression over keen being used. It was when the meat supply arrived in a stinky condition & I complained about it, to Capt Hawkes. I went to the Office & told him that as far as I know, Soldiers used to cut the fat out also the kidneys out of our meat ration to send the dripping away to Adelaide, to be sold. I brought over with me A Shulz, he saw the dripping actually being send away to Adelaide. Captain Hawkes than sayd that I was getting overkeen lately & he wanted to give me a fair warning, becourse the next shot that would be fired, would propabble fired at me. I asked Capt Hawkes several times, what he meant & at last he sayd that it was suspected, that I generally helped deserters across the River & returned myself to Camp. Their was no foundation for that. With regards Gillrich refusing to give evidence when I was called. I saw a gathering of about 30 Men discussing something. The Men think it better to drop this Case, as they are of the opinion, that this investigation is not made properly & that several complaints are left out. So the Men desire to proffer to give evidence before a German Court after the end of the War. I remember you being in the Germ. Theater on Friday, in my opinion you made it quite clear that the fullest investigation was being made as to their complaints. As representing such a large portion of Internees of Torrens . I am not satisfied. I advise you, to put your
position clearly before them. the Court I hawe not heard until Friday last of any dissatisfaction with the way Emde has conducted their enquirey, but these have been on account, the Internees being under the impression that this enquirey was only of a preliminary nature. I noticed dissatisfaction amongst the Internees, & when a Internee named Korth, asked our legal represantive Mr Penny, while in the Theater, if he was acting for the German Internees or for the Military. I saw the bayonet wounds on Peugel & Lange shortly after they wher inflicted & I saw both Matzelt & Grunewald actionaly being bayoneted. My opinion is that the most serious trouble arose after the shed incedent & more so after the flogging incedent. Crossexamined by Capt Hawkes. Tis my opinion their was no reason to use the bayonet. Uhlrich & Meyer have seen Lieute. Kellicott 11 Comandant in charge of the Torrens Isl Camp being drunk & he tried to throw a Internee Bowmann by name into the water. He throw some of the Internees luggage overboard, also a box containing buisquites for soldiers. Sergeant Hodgers slept in our tent mostly every afternoon. On one occasion he told me that soldiers would give him a hiding, so he hid himself for hours in our tent. I was standing on the beach & close to the boat & saw Lieutenant Kellicoat being drunk I dit see Capt Hawkes fire at Ratch. I dit
not hear any boo-hooing, nor any noise previous to the shots being fired. I know Sergeant McIntosh. He wher leading several Internees, wich had been arested the day previously for a walk I often heard the guards to us bad & offencive language towards the Internees. We recieved very little Vegetables. Goods we ordered from Adelaide seldom arived & money never returned for same. I know pour Bergmann. He was not quite sane. He was ordered to unload the Woodboat while the Soldiers guard gave the order, he was hit several times by them. He also wher bayoneted while being handcuffed, while in the little special Compound.
To the Court I saw everything I have stated with my own eyes and nothing wich has been told to me by other people. Cheer up Socity Ladys while on a Visit to the Isl to cheer the Soldiers up, seen in Internees in Latrines & Water Closets on several ocassiones on account their being no covering around of any sort, to hide us from the outside gaze. I certainly think it most disgracefull. I think Wattkins statement for the Deffence false. I have not seen any Internees with axces or billets of wood at the time of the shooting. Cross examined by Captain Hawkes
Capt Hawkes Mr Penny. I know the vegetables & parcels wich we had send to us wher delivered at the Ferry style, but do not know if they have been lost overboard during transit.
to the Island. I have made several complaints, but always recieved the answer There is nothing hier for you. "With the exception of the omission of the flogging I am satisfied. Signed under Protest. Hands Kopp being duly sworn states: I remember a Lunatic Named Rechtenwald being in the Cell for the period of 5 weeks. I toke him 3 meals per day. I always saw him handcuffed, with his hands behind his back. The handcuffs wher taken off to enable him to have his meals, but put on again as soon as he finished. The first time I saw him, his head was badly bruised. He had also black eyes & congealed blood on top of his head. I saw him daily while on the Isl until taken with another Internee named Beyer to a Lunatic Asylum X examined by Mr Penny Rechtenwald was, Non compus mentis. He recieved the ill treatement after being caught trying to escape near the Quarantine Station, it seems to me, the butt end of Rifles must have been used. Signed under protest Karl Maurus being duly sworn states. I have seen Lieutenant Kellicoat, while being drunk on duty. I seem him throw bags of the lighter into the water, on to the jetty, or else on top of us. In fact be acted as a mad man & throw stuff anywhere when we shifted from Camp to Camp Xexamined by Capt Hawkes I was selected by you to act as a Pioneer while on the Isl. I allways know, how
many shovels, picks or axes wher in Camp. Their wher no shovels or picks in our Camp, on the morning Ratch got shot. Their might have been 1-2 governement axces without handles their signed under Protest August Schulz being duly sworn states. I have seen soldiers cutting the fatt out of our meat rationes. Also I have seen the dripping being send by the soldiers up to Port Adelaide for sale. I dit not starve, but it made it inconviment for us, becourse we had not fatt to fry anything with. Signed under protest. Otto Tharmann being duly sworn states. I have been bayonetted on two ocassion. One night I went to the lavatory. Internee Maurois was a couple of yards ahead of me. The guard escorting us told me "Goe on u hurry up" wich I dit. While at the lavatory I wher told again by this guard to hurry up". So he chased me up. While I was adjusting my trousers I wher told, I could pull them up, while walking back to Camp. I also wher ordered to walk quicker. I answered. I cannot, as I am not feeling well. I recieved then two stabs with the bayonet. While walking bak to Camp, the soldier, than behind me keept the bayonet allways about two inshes from my back, untill we reached the Camp gates. I lost a lot of blood, the result of the stabs, I had recieved. I had a
stich stitch put in by the me
medical military doctor. I complainet of the ill treatement I had recieved to Lieut. Marshall, the officer always taking complaints at the Camp gate. Any attempt to complain further would have proved a failure as our former experience had thought us.
To the Court When I got bayoneted, I dit not refuse to hurry with a view to irritating the guard, I could not walk quirker, as I wher sick & felt not too well. I wher suffering at the time with swollen testicals.
X excamined by Capt Hawkes My attitude towards the guard was not at all cheeky. Signed under protest. Heinrith Herkelmann being duly sworn states I have heard the guard calling us very frequently "The Gerrman Bastards" answering to Captain Hawkes. I am unable to
state give the Names of the soldiers. When y I complained to you about it, you sayd "you are nothing else", get out of this. The guards frequently sayd. Get a mowe on you bloody German bastards, or else you bloody Cows. I tell the Court, I came to you and you sayd you are nothing else, "to the Court I am shure Capt Hawkes dit not say "Is the complaint nothing more than that". Capt Hawkes dit not use "Bloody Bastard on that ocassion. Signed under protest.
Hans Korth being duly sworn states, when I wher put into the Cell for singing out "Guards turn out". I seen the Lunatic Reschtenwald standing against the wall, than he sayd nothing. I could not see his face. After a while he asked me to lift his
hath Hat out of his eyes, so that he could see, he told me, on account of being handcuffed he could not do it himself; I followed his request as asked. I was horrified when I seen his face. His eyes wher all black bruise & surroundet by conjealed blood. I asked him wher he had got that & what for. He made no reply. He was of unsound mind. I know that he had tried to escape from the Camp that evening. Go to Court The only explanation I can give of his condition, that the injuries inflicted must have been with some sort of a tool, like the buttend of a rifle. To be frank. I am not satisfied, that my Countrymen have been enabled to produce the evidence they require to before this court. Some of the Internees returned to this Camp & complained saying that evidences touching more serious complaints, wher referred by this Court. Also that you should have sayd "You would next take further enquiries regardng the time we wher on Torrens Isl under Comand of Capt Hawkes. I know
we have the Rights to state fully all our accounts in all regards when liberated. Signed under protest. This closed the enquirey although their wher about 30 Internees awaiting to give evidence. The Internees wher all much surprised when informed that the enquirey had come to an end, also that we would hear at a later day the result & the finding of this Court.
The Writer wiches to state that a few other evidences touching upon minor details wher taken. All the evidence the Internees had to prove, unsanitary condition of the Camp, inadequate Cooking Utensils firewood, compulsory labor, no bedding inadequate & unwholesome food. Ill treatement of sick Internees, in fact anything wich could have been sheathed home, as a Neglect of the Deffence Department wher refused, but only evidence against personal action of Capt Hawkes, the former Camp Comandant was permitted. No doubt, he must carry all blame of the Deffence Departements neglect in regards of looking after their Internees, as the International Law demand in regards of Pris of War & so clear themselves at the expence of a position of one of their former servants. Though we wher promised in 1916 that the result to the finding of this
Court of enquirey would be informed us, no June 1919 no Internee inside of the Liverpool Compound, has been notified of the result, finding or verdict. I personally, as stated previously, I look upon those enquirey as a mockery & a wastage of Public money, also the loss of Officers valuable time. Internees wher permitted to give evidence of ill-treatement recieved by Captain Hawkes, however as soon as a Internee gave evidence of ill treatement recieved at the hand of the Military Deffence Departement while on the Isl. He wher cut short by the President of the Court Major Steward of the Military District. The Writer himself have been
treated treatened with arrest by this sayd president, if I dit not cease immediately to insist, that everything I looked upon as ill treatment recieved by the Military Authoritys to be taken down in my evidence & enclosed in the manifest. I pointed out to the Court that our life had been hard while under Capt Hawkes Comand, but the Military Authoritys in charge of Internees for the whole of the Colonies, made Internees life almost unbearable & so addet to & assisted in our hardships, with the Rules food & clothing they had made in regards of the
treatement of Pris of War, though we all wher Civil Internees only interned in South Australia. I pointed out, the bad acomodation, the unwholesome food ectra, charges wich could never be sheathed him as the neglect of the commanding officer, but only the Military Deffence Departement responsible for our detention, in failing to send from time to time, a trustworthy servant to the Isl to hear genuine complaints & report same to Headquaters for investigation & perusal. But instead as stated they had us transperted worse than outcasts, to a Quarantine Isl, while pest-laden patient wher ocupying the hospitals their, & left us, Civil Internees & not Pris of war, mostly former residents of Australia & several with Wife & family at the mercy of young, inexperience, crewel soldier guards, but a stiller crewel Comandant. With all the bad acomodation, food & treatement given to us, wher it a wounder, that on account of this hard & harsh treatement, we left several Internees behind, inmates of a Lounatic Asylum Men, middle aged & who had been interned mentally sound & healthy in body. All of us as stated previously wher Civil Internees, wich had in most instances done nothing detrimental
to the Law of the land, but happen to be borne of Enemy Parents & to be in a Enemy land at the outbreak of the War. Their wher Internees by the hunderts hier like myself, who had assisted to a certain extent in the Welfare of Australia during the past years, as only 1 Individual can assist at one time from year to year. Than when fate has decidet, that these Mens Country of Birth is fighting against the Country of his adoption, we get deprived for no other reason but Birthright, of our liberty, if innocent or not all alike, behind Barbwire, & a treatement as narrated. A Mens birth & Nationality warrants the arrest under the War Precaution act. Sentiments never get inquired into, previously to the arrest. So through this unwarranted & unjust action, is a severe hardship brought into force into this unfortunate formerly happy family, & that at the hand of our unjust but overkeen Govenement. Is it a surprise, I am like 1000 more in this Compound, I have lost all faith in the present Australian Governement, Civilication Humanity & Religion. As will be found at the end of this Book, I predict that this Country will loose, present enemy subjects, formerly employed in this Country by the tousends. Worker & Capitalist they wher, only too glad to receive as emigrants
previously to 1914, Yes in several instances even assisted in their passage expences to settle in this Country under all sorts of false promises. Under this false promises many a Settler wher encouraged to aply for his Naturalication, & gave his Naturalication Oath under wich these unfortunate wher promised all Britishe Rights Justice & fair play, but alas this wher only a scrap of paper, as proved by the thousands during the year 1914-1919. About 6000 former residents of Australia, hawe found out through bitter experience, how far a Austral Governement can be trusted, yes even if a oath is binding the two parties, As long as it suites the Governement and he thinks it of his interesse, he abides by his Interesse, a Oath given by the Australian Governement, will also than be only a Scarp of Paper.
Duboitz Ri duly sworn states
The photo marked A is a photograph of Maetzelts body, taken after the Men had been stabed with the bayonet. Matzelt came to me, at the same time, as the two Men, who had been lashed with the Cat o Ninetails. The photos was taken ľ to Ĺ an hour after the incident had happened. The spreading dark marks over the body are staines of Blood. The two marks wich looks like holes in the perforation of the skin are bayonets trusts. Their wher more bayonets stabes than those. It would be able possible by means of a photographie to exaggerate such marks as these shown: but no attempt of this description has been made by me. The men came to me: the photo was taken just as the wound appeared upon the body without alteration. I also produce a smal photograph brought to me by Sergeant Riegner to develop, wich represents the small detention Camp. This photo is a fair representation of what the prisoners of that number looked like, when they wher in the compound.
I hawe been called a Bastard, "by members of the guard whose names I donít know, I had permission to work later than the others, and I was going to bed, and while doing so was talking to my mates in the tent. When the guard called out "Keep quite you German bastard. On me saying, I would report this, I wher answered I will put a bullet into, you bastard" and prepared his Rifle. Lt Kellicoat, while drunk ordered me to pick a plank up with the words Pick that up, you bloody German Bastard. We had no Recreation ground.
Cross Excamined by Capt Hawkes.
I toke the photos of my own free Will, was not compelled by any fellow prisoners. They dit not treaten me to break up my camera and pull down any tent,, if I refused to take the photographs. A while later they threatened, to break up my camera and boycott me, if I continued to take photographs of soldiers who had treated us so badly.
V Wittness Wilhelm. G. H. Reinhard being duly sworn
While on torrens Island, I had permission to walk about. One hour in the morning and one hour during the afternoon I was outside of the compound. On this incident we passed the sentry, who appeared to be dozing. I wawed my permit at him. He did not take any notice. I walked away then heard a shot fired. The guard was turned out. They came after me and toke me back again into the compound. On our way back a soldier, we used to call dirty Bill remarked while speaking about the line of the shots remarked. If ever I get a chance of shooting one of your officers I will take care, I donít miss you. Sometimes at nights their used be talking in the tents the Sentry called out, Keep quite you German Bastard". Their was supposed to be a recreation ground their, but we wher not allowed to use it, a sit wher used for latrines purposes.
Cross excamined by Capt Hawkes. Sometimes I used to leave the compound by the gate, circled to visit rabbit traps, that I had sett about
500 yards from the Observation Tower. Whe wher told to show the pass to the Sentry on the Crows nest after their had been an escapee on the Island. I think it was on the day, I wher fired on. When doctor Setzke wher fired on, I did not see the direction of the shot or wich the Rifle had been pointing We wher permitted to talk after 9 p.m., but not allowed by the sentry wich it appeared they had not recieved orders of our permitt. Nine oíclock had hardly finished blowing, when the sentry would commence in abusive terms, for us to put lights out. "By the president. On the occasion of me being fired on, I passed the Crows Nest, direct from the compound gate and waves my permit to the sentry.
V1 Wittness Wilhelm Maetzelt being duly sworn states.
I was in our Kitchen, in front of our tent but I wanted to put on my overcoat. As I was going out of the Kitchen the guard approached. They sayd, something to me, wich I dit not understand. He was a Corporal. 3-4 Soldiers stood near by. He Sayd, Goe on." He
had hardly spoken those words, than I recieved three trusts in the Rump with the bayonet. Thereafter they brought me, by the quirkest route to the Lock up. In the cell their was one of the Men who had been flogged. This Man was taken out first. Later on, I was brought out and taken to the office and brought before the Camp commandant. On me being asked of I had been the Man, I replied no, I had been in the Kitchen. He called some Soldiers and spoke to them but could not understand, what about. I was than taken back to the camp. Than I went to the photographer and got photographed. Then went to Mr Von Zullow how was our Quartermaster, and asked him, to act as interpreter for me, as I had been woundet without cause. One me coming to the office to lodge my complaints, I wher informed, that it wher too late. I than went to the hospital. The doctor was not present. One of the orderlys sowed and tied up the wound. Then returned to camp. Later on I went over again and desame Orderly drew out the
stitches. The doctor never saw it. I never either on that day, or on any other occassion, used offensive Names to any member of the guard. I had been in my Kitchens for an hour previous to the coming of the guard.
Wilhelm Reinhard recalled: Twas in my tent on the morning and heard a shot fired. I came out of the tent and saw the Comandant with an automatic pistol in hand. I saw him fire two shots. He fired into the directions of the compound. I dit not wanted to be mixed up in any thing, I retreated to my tent. While doing so the guard came around the outskirts of the Compound. Levelling their rifles at us we wher ordered to get into our tents "anyone disobeying would be shot.
VII Wittness Edgar F Setzke, Medical Practitioner being duly sworn states: About middle of June last year while a prisoner of War interned on Torrens Island Me being an Officer in the German Armee I had permission to walk about on the Island as I pleased.
I wher in recipt of a pass, wich usually showed at the gate. One morning in company of another Germ. Officer named Kahlbaum we left the compound and showed our passes at the gate. Being about Ĺ a mile away from the camp, and owing the trees and sandhills intervening wher unable to be seen from there. We heard than a shot fired. As this wher of daily occurence neither of us toke any notice. Later Mr Kahlbaum and me separated. Than I heard another shot fired close by. Immidiatly after I heard a third shot, and owing the bullet wisling very close pass me, I turned. I saw the Military guard about 300 yds distant, with one Man, on his Knees taking aim at me with his Rifle. I walked towards the guard. The Man in a kneeling position got up and all returned in the direction of the Camp, without waiting for me. Later I wher joyned again by Kahlbaum. On our arrival Mr Kahlbaum lodged a complain on our behalf to an Officer getting the reply. He would see to it. I never had recieved instructions that I was not.
to hawe this liberty, neither to show any pass to any one, but at the gate. About 10-15 prisoners have come to me with wounds on their body, wich they alleged had been made with the bayonet. Mostly they wher of a serious nature, but some of less serious. The treatment of the guard was brutal and of an insulting Nature. I have often heard the Guard calling prisoners "German Bastards and "F- g bloody Bugger and other ephiteos like that. While in my tent one day, I heard in close vicinity a shot fired. On my stepping outside I observed the Camp Commandant near the Compound fence with a Revolver pointing in the direction, of our Camp. I saw him fire 3-4 more shots. I heard a cry"I am woundet" man lymped out of a tent. Saddler was his name. The pistol used by the Commandant wher pointed in the direction of this particular tent when I saw him fire the shots. Many of our tents wher old and leaking, and even in a slight shower they would become uninhabitable. On one occassion I have been called by the Germ Quartermaster to inspect the Meat issued to us,
it was absolutely stinking and unfitt for human consumption. I never heard any resulting remarks being used by a prisoner of War, towards the guard. I donít beleave they ever dit, becourse they wher daily in deadly terror of their lifes.
Cross excamined by Capt Hawkes I have known some of the guard indulging in revolver practice. I donít think this would account for the shooting mentioned in my evidence. Saddler was near enough to me, for me to hear the remark, I am woundet".
V111 Wittness Julius Ar. P Ratch known as Saddler, being duly sworn states: On morning about 7.30am while at breakfast, the commandant came along the fence. One of us called out "Gimme us a cigarette, owing the time the commandant was lighting a cigarette for himself. Going a little further, he gripped his Revolver, and fired in our direction. When the shots wher fired, the rest at the table cleared out. I only remained sitting. He fired 4 shots in my direction. I saw him aim at me. The II shot struck the sand at my feet. I donít know wher the third
shot went to, the fourth shot, went into my Knee. I called out, "I am woundet". On me making for my tent, but unable to reach it, I first sat down, then made for the gate. Two Soldiers came up, and carried to the hospital in their arms. I went from the prisoners hospital on Torrens Island to the general hospital at Adelaide. From the Camp hospital at Keswick, I wher send to the General Hospital desame Night. I stayed in their for about four weeks. I still feel the effects of the shot. I have continually pain at Night-time, especially during wet weather. I told the authority at the headquarter hospital, how I had recieved my wound. Apart from the complaints made by W. Emde, I have not made a complaint.
Cross excamined by Capt Hawkes. At the time of the shooting I dit not hear any remark from the Meal tent, other than the one I have mentioned, asking for a cigarette. I never heard being called out from the rear of our tent, the bugger want shot us.
IX Wittness Eduard Newman being duly sworn states "I remember the day Ratch was shot. I wher in the same tent, as he. I saw the commandant pass near the fence. He had passed about 20 stepps, and while lighting a cigarette I called out to him" Can I have a cigarette" I dit not hear anyone calling out or insulting remark to him, nor dit I do so myself. If any one behind our tent had called out to the commandant "The bugger want shoot us" I must hawe heard it. "When I had called for a cigarette, he turned and fired. One shot struck the Pole in the middle of our tent. I heard four shots being fired in all.
Cross examined by Capt Hawkes I know the Man [indecipherable] "Berliner" I did not hear, Berliner call out" you Bastard.
X Wittness F.W. Bungardy being duly sworn states: One afternoon about two dozend prisoners wher arrested, this was shortly after the shed incident. The guard wher looking for trouble. They searched the tents for timber. Any timber found in our possession we had to throw over the fence. We wher forced to part company with timber wich had been in our
posession for 3 months. The men who wher the possessor of same, wher put in to the lockup. "The guard continued to arrest Men under the slightest pretext. I myself was arrested for putting an Overcoat on. 38 Prisoners wher placed in a little Cell on the Island, wich we used to call the sardine tin. I donít know its exceat dimensiones but I think about 8 feet by 6 feet. It was build of galvanised Iron. Whe wher singing in the Cell. I stood near the doer, and could see the commandant approach holding a revolver behind him. I warned my fellow prisoner, to keep quit wich they than dit. The Captain remained within 6 paces and waited. Their wher holes in the Iron, and while we wher looking through, the soldiers used to poke Barb Wire in, and scratch our faces. When the small compound was completed, we wher ordered, to come out of the cell. We wher ordered to take off my
our overcoats and wher place in the small compound. Ones in their young Miller picket up a cigarette from some, wher. We gathered around him, while he light it, so as the guard should not see the light, the guard however dit see it. He covered Miller with his rifle and ordered him, to step
[Transcribed by Margaret Broadfoot and Rex Minter for the State Library of New South Wales]