Property Losses (Ireland) Committee file for Josef Laninger.
German national Josef Langinger worked as a baker for the Dublin Bread Company Restaurant, Sackville Street Lower [O'Connell Street Lower], Dublin. He was one of over 500 adult male German and Austrian civilians resident in Ireland when war broke out between Britain and Germany in August 1914. He was arrested under the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) and detained at the Alien Internment Camp in Oldcastle, County Meath from November 1914. He was still there in August 1916. Prisoners in the Oldcastle camp were transferred to the Isle of Man in May 1918 before being deported back to their country of origin.
Langinger applied to the Property Losses Committee for compensation of £4 for loss of personal effects when his workplace was completely destroyed by shelling from the Helga gunboat moored at Eden Quay, just feet away from the DBC premises. According to the assessor’s report the claim was declined due to Langinger’s nationality and the fact that he was interned. An equally plausible (though unrecorded) explanation is that the German man’s claim was not seen as genuine given that it covered items of clothing and a razor that were very unlikely to have been retained by his employer almost two years after he last worked in the building.
The Property Losses (Ireland) Committee was formed on May 8, 1916 in an effort to compensate property owners in the city for ‘Damages caused during the Disturbances on the 24th April, 1916 and following days’. The committee's secretary Hugh Love had a compassionate approach to handling applications for compensation but his superiors, Irish Treasury Remembrancer Maurice Headlam, and Assistant Under-Secretary John Taylor, had the final say in dispensing funds. Payment amounts were arbitrary: awards were usually reduced, sometimes by up to half, others were disallowed for a variety of reasons that included consequential loss, complicity or on the basis of inadmissibility.