Diving club De Zeester from Lauwersoog ends the conflict that it has with the German government about things that they found on the wreck of a German warship.
‘It is a business consideration: either we make the Germans happy with a few things with a scrap value of up to two hundred euros, or we start a legal battle that costs a lot of money and energy. We opt for the first option ‘, says lawyer Jan Maarten Pol of De Zeester.
The surprise was great when Germany had house searches made in May of this year in homes of members of the diving club. “Too crazy for words when they march into your house like that,” Pol said at the time.
The target: stuff from the German cruiser Mainz, which was shot by the British at Helgoland in 1914 during the First World War.
The Groningers were the first in 2004 to locate the wreck. They brought up an old telegraph and a rifle scope. Later they received a gun.
In May, Germany seized the stuff, probably after German scientists had pointed out to the government that De Zeester exhibited the things.
Tons of gold
‘It is very interesting from a legal point of view to find out who owns the items’, says Pol. “The wreck lay on the seabed for almost a hundred years in international waters. But such a procedure costs a lot. If it were a ton of gold, we would probably have entered the fight. But the divers of De Zeester want to keep themselves busy with diving and not with legal issues’, explains Pol.
And therefor the Germans may have everything, also a rusted diving knife with a plastic handle that got stuck between the stuff, and which was also seized. “Maybe the Germans will also exhibit that knife,” says Pol. “A knife from the 90s in the Military Historical Museum in Dresden would be fun.”
Because that museum is the place where the stuff is brought to. An army vehicle will pick up the items at the beginning of September.
Written by Steven Radersma (RTV Noord)