Military Wiki

The 13 May 1945 German deserter execution occurred five days after the capitulation of Adolf Hitler's Wehrmacht, when a German court martial delivered a death sentence on each of two deserters of the German Navy, Bruno Dorfer and Rainer Beck. The trial occurred in an abandoned Ford Motor Company assembly plant outside Amsterdam, which was a Canadian-run prisoner-of-war camp.[1]

A German firing squad provided with captured German rifles and a three-ton truck from the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada and escorted by Canadian Captain Robert K. Swinton carried out the sentence.[1]

In popular culture

  • The incident provided much of the material for the final episode of Secret Army, a BBC drama series about the Belgian resistance in World War II.
  • The Italian-Yugoslavian film The Fifth Day of Peace (Italian title: Dio è con noi;1969) dramatised the story of the two German sailors[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Chris Madsen, 'Victims of Circumstance: The Execution of German Deserters by Surrendered German Troops Under Canadian Control in Amsterdam, May 1945' article on website, viewed 2012-11-25
  2. The Fifth Day of Peace at the Internet Movie Database