The British newspaper, "The Daily Telegraph" (2 May 1945), under a headline "Hitler's Death Announced : New Fuehrer Once Certified Insane", says Karl Doenitz was captured by the British in October 1918 and "Doenitz was afterwards certified insane and transferred to Manchester Lunatic Asylum from his prisoner-of-war camp. In 1919 he was repatriated as insane."

Is it true?

The few references I have found on the web are embedded in longer articles that do not inspire confidence in their veracity and do not give a source.


2 Answers 2


Most of the books written on Karl Doenitz seem to agree that he feigned insanity, in fact a couple of times:

...fortress in Malta and finished up in England, first in a camp near Sheffield and then in the Manchester Lunatic Asylum, according to the British Intelligence file.l His name was Karl Donitz. Donitz returned to a defeated Germany in July, 1919

Doenitz's own comments concerning his imprisonment after WWII (a different incident):

"Two companions and I," Donitz confessed to a prison psychiatrist, "decided it might aid our efforts to escape if we were adjudged insane.


Doenitz was sent to a British prison camp, where he feigned insanity—“playing childish games with biscuit tins and little china dogs that could be bought in the canteen"

  • Good answer. It is funny, I went to read the memories of Doenitz to check out what he said. In only three lines he says that he was taken prisioner by the british and on 1919 he was released.
    – Santiago
    Feb 23, 2017 at 11:57

I have been looking at the British prisoner-of-war lists. Doenitz entered a camp at Malta on 5 October 1918, arrived at a camp in Southampton on 22 November, was admitted to Brocton War Hospital on 14 April suffering from malaria. According to his autobiography he was released in July that year. It is hard to argue against the Britsh lists as they are primary sources and written long before Doenitz became famous.

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