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1915. "Eitel Friedrich, German ship taken over by U.S." The commerce raider Eitel Friedrich, a former passenger liner converted into an auxiliary cruiser for the German navy early in World War I, put into port at Newport News, Virginia, for repairs in March 1915 after sinking a number of British ships (and one U.S. merchant vessel) and taking on more than 300 British and French prisoners. After almost a month the captain decided to intern, and the vessel was towed to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, where she remained under the German flag until being seized by the U.S. government in April 1917. (Harris & Ewing.) View full size.