Josef Jakobs’ Petition

This post contains the text of Josef Jakobs’ unsuccessful appeal against his death sentence.



The humble petition by Josef Jakobs, a prisoner under sentence of death.

To His Majesty the King.

May it please Your Majesty,

A most unhappy man makes this appeal for mercy at the bands of Your Majesty. On the 5th of August, 1941, Your Majesty’s courts-martial condemned me to death, convinced that I came to Your Majesty’ country with intent to her harm by transmitting information to the Nazis.

Your Majesty, in the face of death, I once again give the assurance which I have already given under oath before the courts-martial, I swear by dearest and most precious thing I possess, by the life of my three children that this never was and never could be the case, that it is just the opposite that I came to Your Majesty’ s country with the sole purpose of fighting on England’ s side against the Nazis. I came to Your Majesty’s country with the sole purpose of joining in the fight for personal freedom, for religious freedom for my children, for freeing the German people from the frightful enslavement of the Nazi tyranny and not to die for the Nazi tyrants.

Your Majesty can obtain a clearer idea from the speech of my defending officer, Captain White, of the unfortunate circumstances of my landing, a landing which at the time, however, I considered fortunate. I have nothing to alter in his descriptions for they are entirely in accordance with the facts.

Should Your Majesty, however, believe that I am not worthy of Your Majesty’s mercy, I beg Your Majesty to postpone the execution until the termination of the war, in order thereby to make it possible for me, at a fresh trial, to prove to the full my innocence by obtaining the attendance of witnesses now living in Germany and the production of documents. In the very nature of my case such evidence, which in fact exists, is by reason of the not available to me. It is a difficulty which must face every enemy of the Nazis who leaves Germany and comes to this country. But surely England will not, for lack of such evidence, condemn to death a friend and one who will gladly help her.

Your Majesty, as the very facts of my arrival in this country will show Your Majesty, I am no coward I am not afraid of death. I would accept the verdict of the courts-martial without this appeal for mercy, if I felt myself even in the least guilty of the charge brought against me. But the opposite is the truth and for that reason I beg Your Majesty mercifully to refuse to confirm the sentence passed on me. A wife and three young children join with me in this appeal

I do not want to close this appeal for mercy without assuring Your Majesty once again that Your Majesty would show mercy not to an enemy but to a friend, a true friend of England.

Your Majesty’s most humble servant,

(sgd) Josef Jakobs.