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Albin Köbis

Albin Köbis

German sailor executed in 1917 for anti-war agitation
The basics
Quick Facts
Occupations Soldier Sailor
Countries German Empire
A.K.A. Köbis
Gender male
Birth December 18, 1892 (Berlin)
Death September 5, 1917 (Wahn)
The details

Albin Köbis (18 December 1892 - 5 September 1917) was a German sailor executed in 1917 for Marxist agitation in the Imperial German Navy. He enlisted as a volunteer in 1912 and served on the battleship Prinzregent Luitpold. In the summer of 1917, he became one of the leaders of a movement among sailors in the imperial fleet, whose complaints about food and other conditions soon developed into agitation against the war. He was arrested and condemned to death on 26 August 1917 as a "main ringleader" along with Max Reichpietsch and three other sailors. The sentences on the other three were commuted to penal servitude, but Köbis and Reichpietsch were executed by firing squad on 5 September 1917.

These executions were denounced as "naval judicial murders" by Marxist politicians and newspapers, and helped trigger the Naval Mutinies of 1918, which led to the collapse of the German Empire. This has made Köbis and Reichpietsch heroes of the German socialist movement. After World War II the name of an East Berlin street near the East German Navy headquarters was renamed Köbisstrasse.

A television play about the case, Marinemeuterei 1917, was shown on West German television in 1969, directed by Hermann Kugelstadt and starring Dieter Wilken as Köbis and Karl-Heinz von Hassel as Reichpietsch.

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