GHDI logo

Soldiers Describe Combat V: Peter Hammerer (1916)

page 2 of 3    print version    return to list previous document      next document

[on a different piece of paper, same place and time:] Dear wife Rosina, I am telling you again, let me know when you don’t have a mark any more. If you should be really bad off I will come to you immediately no matter what happens. They should stop or let me go – either let me out or stop. They’ll keep fighting for years because they are getting something out of it. Many of them have become rich through the war and there are still a lot that want to become rich and those are the ones we have to be there for and I am sick and tired of it. Let them go into the trenches themselves and not send us poor people in for them. One hears that at every front and everyone says the war is there only for the big capitalists so that their stuff doesn’t go kaput and that these and no one else are the guilty ones for the war going on so long. Because they are profiting from it. They receive a cost of living allowance out here and at home the poor women with their children only receive a few marks. Why’s that? If there was a God then he would have taken care of this long ago, but there isn’t one, that’s obvious. I have seen enough and heard enough and stuck it out long enough and neither do I want a third winter – I want to be discharged."

Source: BHStA/IV, Militärgericht 6. Landwehr-Division, H 5, eingelegter Umschlag vor Blatt 19 [Military Court of the Sixth Reserve Division, H5, enclosed in an envelope before p. 19],

Document 4: Expert Medical Report by Senior Physician [Oberarzt] and Battalion Physician Dr. Kaindl of the First Battalion of the Twelfth Reserve Infantry Regiment concerning Soldier Peter Hammerer, April 21, 1916, to the First Battalion of the L.I.R. 12:

The examination of infantryman Peter Hammerer 1. Komp. Ldw. Inf. Rgts. No. 12 produced no evidence of either bodily ailments or phenomena indicating degenerative processes; nor did it show any deviations that would allow me to conclude that there was either a weakened nervous system or neurological deficiencies of any form.

Hammerer’s physique is well-proportioned; his nutritional status and development is good; the sensory organs are without any noticeable defects. His knee reflexes showed themselves to be much faster than normal when tested, so that one can assume there are concealed irregularities in his nervous system. He is quite obviously easily excitable, with an accompanying reddening of the face. These are phenomena that would permit me to conclude that his nervous system has some blood congestion toward the head or toward the central nervous system.

Hammerer denies suffering from alcoholism or sexually transmitted disease. Furthermore he explained that he already turns “violent” [rapiadisch] after only a few beers.

He claims he does not sleep well, often falling asleep only in the morning. He also says he suffers from nightmares very frequently. Often he suffers from vertigo, which is probably the result of the congestion mentioned above.

Clearer indications for judging the mental condition of the soldier Hammerer can be derived from the family history of the accused.

The father of the accused – also a basket maker – is still alive and is said to be an alcoholic who has repeatedly gotten into trouble with the law on account of fights.

His grandfather on his mother’s side supposedly committed suicide; his grandmother was supposedly insane in her later years.

first page < previous   |   next > last page