Name: Tony Diedtman, real name George Antone Dittman              

Age/DoB: Dec. 9, 1875             

County of Conviction: Lewis & Clark

Judicial District: 1st

Case No.: 1460

Date of Conviction: July 31, 1918

Sentence: 10-20 years




Allegations: "This damn Country is not worth a damn and as soon as Germany gets over here me for the old Country. Then they can all go to hell. I always wonder why the Germans in this Country don't wake up and use their brains. It is getting worse all the time, but the time will come pretty damn quick. How can this damn country expect the Germans to buy any Liberty Bonds if they take their property away? 1st trial ended in hung jury. 2nd jury "recommended him to the mercy of the court."


Case Details: Defended by retired Supreme Court Justice Henry C. Smith.

Soleprosecution witness was convicted felon who had worked as spy for Anaconda Copper Mining Co. First trial ended in hung jury. Ample evidence of jury tampering by Helena Independent editor Will Campbell. 2nd jury convicted but "recommended him to the mercy of the court." But Judge Lee Word sentenced him to the maximum term. S. Ct. reversed on 5/8/20 58 Mont. 13 190 Pac. 117 (1920), holding that Judge Word had been biased in favor of the prosecution, improperly allowing character evidence and restricting cross-examination of the state's witness. See "Darkest Before Dawn," Chap. 13.


Personal Information: Born in Bavaria. Served in German army from 1895 to 1897 as a private and came to US in 1903. A baker by trade. Came directly to Helena to visit his uncle, George Dittman, who working on the section gang at Austin north of McDonald Pass and was later a musician in the Helena band. Twice returned to Germany to see his parents, last time in 1908. Had brothers in Germany. Citizen of US since 1911. Cousin Hubert died in 1959. Before he was arrested for sedition he worked as a swamper at the Central Beer Hall on South Main St. Also identified as bartender. Date and place of death unknown.


The Montana Sedition Project

Revised 4/9/06