Newspaper article International New York Times

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Newspaper article International New York Times

In Our Pages

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Highlights from the International Herald Tribune archives: Sailors go mad in 1915; spy is sentenced to death in 1940.

1915 Mental Strain for Sailors

Twelve sailors employed aboard interned German liners in New York have lately gone mad. Three became so violent, says the "Daily Telegraph's" correspondent, that they have been placed in a padded room in the county jail. Dr. King, the official medical officer, describes their malady as "acute melancholia," produced largely by homesickness and absence from their native land in a time of stress. The men have little to do except keep the ships in repair, and the lack of work is given as one of the reasons for their mental strain. Aar Reiner Koenig, a sailor in the Barbarossa, a North German Lloyd boat, who went mad on Saturday [May 29], suffers from the illusion that he is Kaiser Wilhelm. He went round the men's quarters with an axe, asking everyone to kneel to him and declare loyalty. Finally he was lassoed and taken to the asylum, protesting violently that the war had been forced upon him by barbarians. …

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