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Eddie Slovik Court-Martial: 1944

"if I Leave Now, Will It Be Desertion?"

Eddie Slovik reported to his company commander, Captain Ralph 0. Grotte, in a farmhouse on the afternoon of October 8. He was "too scared, too nervous," he said, to serve with a rifle company. Could he serve in a rear area? If not, he said, he would run away. The captain shook his head and assigned him to Platoon 4. Slovik reported to his platoon leader, then went back to the captain. "If I leave now, will it be desertion?" he asked. Captain Grotte said it would. Slovik disappeared.

The next morning, a cook at the Military Government Detachment, 112th Infantry, found Eddie Slovik before him, presenting a slip of green paper with handwriting and saying he had made a confession. The cook turned Slovik over to his lieutenant, who had a military policeman take him back to the 109th, where Lieutenant Colonel Ross C. Henbest read Slovik's confession:

I Pvt. Eddie D. Slovik #36896415 confess to the Desertion of the United States Army.… I came to Albuff as a Replacement. They were shelling the town and we were told to dig in for the night. The following morning … I was so scared nerves and trembling that at the time the other Replacements moved out I couldn't move. I stayed in my foxhole till it was quiet.… I then walked in town.… I turned myself over to the Canadian Provost Corp. After six weeks I was turned over to American M.P. They turned me lose. I told my commanding officer my story. I said that if I had to go out there again I'd run away. He said their was nothing he could do for me so I ran away again AND I'LL RUN AWAY AGAIN IF I HAVE TO GO OUT THERE.

The colonel advised Slovik to take back the confession and destroy it. When Slovik refused, the colonel had him write a disclaimer on the back noting that it "can be held against me and that I made it of my own free will and that I do not have to make it."

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1941 to 1953Eddie Slovik Court-Martial: 1944 - A "damn Good Guy", "if I Leave Now, Will It Be Desertion?", "i've Made Up My Mind"