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Jewish refugees interned during the War

LOCKED UP AND GUARDED ‘LEST [THEY] ESCAPED TO HELP THEIR MORTAL ENEMIES’[1]  

 

 JEWISH INTERNEES IN NEW ZEALAND DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR

 Ann Beaglehole

An account of Jewish refugees interned on Somes Island during the Second World War with Germans, and other enemy aliens with Nazi sympathies. It describes the security concerns about aliens in general, the classification of refugees and the experience of Jewish refugees is the internment camp.

At least eight of the men who were interned in New Zealand during World War II were Jewish, part-Jewish or had a Jewish background. They had come to New Zealand before the war as refugees from Germany and Austria, fleeing Nazism.[2]  For three or four years of the war they and other anti-fascist refugees were imprisoned with German nationals who included among them some fervent Nazis.[3] At camps set up on Somes Island in Wellington Harbour and for a shorter time at Pahiatua in the central North Island, they were locked up and guarded ‘lest [they] escaped to help their mortal enemies’.[4] 

 In this chapter, I first look at aspects of the control of German and Austrian enemy aliens in New Zealand during the World War II and then at the reasons for the internment of some Jewish refugees.  I go on to focus on the life of Jewish internees on Somes Island.[5]  What did it mean to be interned with one’s worst enemy? 

 From refugee to enemy alien

Around 1,100 refugees from Central and Eastern Europe settled in New Zealand in the years between the rise of Hitler and the start of World War II.  About 900, most Jewish or with some Jewish association, came from Germany and Austria.  New Zealanders had reacted to the newcomers in a variety of ways: with friendliness and admiration as well as with suspicion, hostility and a manifest dislike of cultural differences.  Instances of professional jealousy between New Zealanders and the refugees were also prevalent.  Claims were repeatedly made in the newspapers, for example, that New Zealand had suffered an influx of alien businessman, medical practitioners and dentists.[6]   

 Tensions aroused by the settlement of the refugees increased when war began.  With New Zealand's door almost closed to more refugees from Europe, the focus of concern shifted from the rights and wrongs of refugee immigration policy to the status of refugee settlers already in the country.  In peacetime there had been no requirement for aliens already resident in New Zealand, or for new arrivals, to register with Police. From the mid 1930s onwards, however, some Nazi organizations were under police surveillance.[7]  The existence of these organizations, and the nature of their activities,[8] as well as the settlement in New Zealand of refugees from Germany and Nazi occupied countries, led to proposals for the control of aliens.[9] 

 In 1937, an Aliens Committee, with representatives from the Army, Police, Internal Affairs, Customs, Census and Statistics departments was established.  At first, the Committee considered that it would be satisfactory, if war began, to reintroduce the method of alien control established in New Zealand during World War I. (It was concluded that these measures were not realistic[10]  In 1938 the police started to keep a register of aliens based on information supplied by the Customs and Statistics departments. The police at this stage only investigated an alien if specifically requested to do so.

 By 1939, there were increasing calls on the Government to set up an administrative system to sort out potential fifth columnists from the rest of the resident aliens in New Zealand, with refugees from Nazi Germany and occupied regions among those regarded as potential fifth columnists.  These requests came from supporters and opponents of the refugees alike.  The editor of the Dominion newspaper wished that the loyalties of refugees and other aliens be investigated because ‘there is a strong possibility that [they] may not be what they claim to be’.[11]  As for those supporting refugees’ interests, on the 10th June 1940 a deputation from one of these groups—the Wellington Emergency Relief Committee—expressed the concern of their members to the Prime Minister and the Attorney General about the growth of ‘war hysteria’ and stated that the ‘refugees no less than the public would welcome the establishment of tribunals to investigate their loyalties’.[12]  Another publication, Truth, which was consistently hostile to refugees, the Society of Friends which supported refugee interests, as well as the various refugee committees, all supported the setting up of tribunals.[13]  By June 1940 the Aliens Committee came to the same conclusion, that in the prevailing atmosphere of suspicion and hostility in which all aliens were seen as a potential threat, ‘the setting up of tribunals to examine enemy aliens, refugees, and should the need arise, other classes of aliens’ would be in everyone's interest.[14]

 The Editor of the Dominion greeted with ‘relief’ the ‘long awaited precautionary step’, in the form of an announcement by the Government in July 1940 that ‘a tribunal would shortly be set up to examine the bona fides of aliens in this country’.[15]  Refugees were also relieved by the news as they were hoping for the opportunity to clear themselves of suspicion. They were mistrusted partly because of the belief of some New Zealanders that refugees may not be ‘what they claim to be’ and partly because some members of the public did not differentiate between Germans in New Zealand who had fled from Hitler and other Germans who were or could be Nazi sympathisers.

 The Aliens Emergency Regulations under which the Government could deport, intern, and set up authorities and tribunals to investigate and classify aliens came into being in October 1940 and the administrative machinery accompanying the regulations was set to work in the following months.  Aliens Authorities in each police district were established to examine every alien in New Zealand.  An Aliens Appeal Tribunal headed by a Supreme Court Judge, which was available to hear appeals from the rulings of the Aliens Authority, was also set up.[16]  Aliens from enemy countries of which there were 2,100[17] were examined first and this task was completed by March 1941.  By the end of 1941 all remaining aliens had been dealt with.[18]  All those examined were classified, the classifications ranging from recommended for immediate internment, through varying degrees of restriction, to complete exemption from alien status.[19]  In 1940, eighty (Class A) aliens were interned and 400 (Class B)[20] aliens were marked for internment in case of invasion.  Most refugees from Nazism were classified Class B, C or D, which meant that they escaped internment but remained subject to certain regulations.  These included restrictions on the possession of articles such as arms, maps, radios with short wave reception, cameras and x-ray equipment. Certain occupations and places of residence were forbidden for enemy aliens. The necessity to register with the police was imposed and permits had to be obtained if an alien in a restricted category was moving more than twenty-four miles from his or her usual residence or expected to be absent from there for more than twenty-four hours.[21]

 In a note to Aliens Authorities written by the Minister of Justice as a guide to the interpretation of the Aliens Emergency Regulations 1940, a speech by the British Home Secretary in the House of Commons concerning the aliens living in Britain was quoted:

 A large proportion of the Germans and Austrians at present in this country are refugees, and there will, I am sure, be a general desire to avoid treating as enemies those who are friendly to the country which has offered them asylum.  At the same time care must be taken to sift out any persons, who, though claiming to be refugees, may not in fact be friendly to this country.[22]

 In spite of this acknowledgement of the special position of refugees, Britain's policy towards them in the early months of the war was one of hastily adopted measures in response to panic about fifth columnists.  During the course of this panic, many thousands of enemy aliens were arrested.  However, by autumn 1940, and before the danger of a German invasion had receded, the British Government admitted ‘that regrettable things have happened’, authorised the release of most of those previously interned, and lifted the restrictions imposed on refugees.[23]

 The New Zealand Government observed but did not emulate the treatment of aliens in Britain and the reversal of policy of the British Government.  In New Zealand the policies of extreme panic in the early months of the war did not occur, but refugees from enemy territory were classified as enemy aliens and the restrictions imposed on them, in contrast to British practice, remained in place for most of the duration of the war.

 The classification of refugees from Nazism

 Refugees’ hopes that an administrative system would be established which distinguished between refugees from Nazism and other aliens, and one which would clear them from suspicion regarding their loyalty to New Zealand, were not realized.  The system which was set up, based predominantly on national origin, classified both refugees and Nazi sympathizers as enemy aliens.  As well as being unjust to refugees, there were many problems and anomalies in this system.  The refugees from Czechoslovakia, for example, defied the categorisation according to nationality and eventually most were registered as stateless, escaping the enemy alien label.[24]

 Apart from national origin, the Aliens Authorities, in recommending each classification, were expected to take into account the relevant loyalties and sympathies of the individual alien.

 The first question, as to each refugee must of course be, is he genuinely what he says he is? Even, however, if the refugee is undoubtedly and genuinely what he says he is, that does not close the matter.  We still have to consider what is his character…these persons have no natural roots in this country.  Some of them are evasive, not truthful, cunning and of low character generally, and if their attempts to get settled down in this country have been unsuccessful…then you have just the sort of person who, for economic reasons or to make himself right if he thought the war was going badly against us, might do things to assist the enemy.[25]

 Although this kind of threat either from refugees or from Nazi secret service agents was not believed to be ‘very real’, the thinking was that ‘it might happen and could not, therefore, be disregarded’.[26]  Certainly the threat was considered sufficient to warrant disregarding the personal interests of the individual alien for the paramount considerations of the country's war effort, the security of the state and ‘the preservation of the interest of [New Zealand's] own people, especially servicemen.[27]

 Refugees and their supporters, unhappy with the classification system that was introduced, suggested alternatives to the authorities, who regarded such protestations as a ‘great deal of unnecessary bother over the words “enemy alien” ’.  Attempts were made accordingly to explain to the refugees ‘that enemy was only enemy in a technical sense, that it did not mean “hostile” or that the loyalty of the alien was in question, but simply indicated that the person concerned was an alien of enemy or former enemy nationality’.[28]

 The various suggestions proposed to the authorities were for some kind of a special classification for refugees.  One possibility was for refugees to be issued with certificates classing them as ‘refugees from Nazi oppression’.[29]  Another was for a certificate indicating that the refugee had appeared before an Aliens Authority or Tribunal and had been officially declared a genuine refugee.[30]  The reasons why these requests were refused appear somewhat confused.  One justification offered for not issuing certificates stating that an alien was a ‘refugee from Nazi oppression’ was that ‘the fact that a person's actions did not warrant internment did not imply that he was entitled to a positive certificate of friendliness’.  It was also suggested that the fact that a man had not been interned should be sufficient indication of what the Tribunal's attitude was.  The proposal for a certificate declaring the genuiness of the refugee was refused on the grounds that such a certificate was ‘too lacking in substance to be of any great assistance to the refugee’.[31]  Security considerations probably had a bearing on the matter and could be used as a justification for not publicising information about who was suspect and who was not.  Certificates could not be issued to some refugees without revealing to others that they were under suspicion.[32]  Another reason for the refusal to have a special classification for refugees may have been the reluctance of the Government to treat Jewish refugees differently from other aliens.[33]

 For whatever reason, ‘in the difficult and tense anti-alien atmosphere of 1940, it had proved impossible to find a suitable redefinition of the refugees’.[34]  But the situation was not remedied later on. In Australia, a reclassification of refugees began in 1942 to obtain a category of ‘refugee alien’ and by 1944 ‘an adequate and just Statute’ governing the treatment of refugees was enacted.[35]  In New Zealand by 1942, those in authority appeared to be convinced of the genuineness of most of the refugees. The Under-Secretary of Justice to the Secretary of the Organisation for National Security wrote:[36]

 Every Jewish refugee still at large has been well authenticated: any authentic refugee has, if anything, a greater dislike of Germany and her Axis partners than we have.  A refugee might give information under duress: so for that matter might any of our own people.

 These sentiments were shared by many officials, but rarely voiced in public. J.H. Collins of the Aliens Tribunal was an exception, saying in an address to the Wellington Woman's Branch of the Labour Party that the refugees are ‘enemy aliens in the legal sense of those words, but in sentiment, in action, and in feeling, they are far removed from being enemy aliens’.[37] In general there was a refusal to state publicly that refugees were in a different category from other aliens.  Consequently, those of the public who would have benefited from official reassurance about the status of foreigners in the community continued to believe the worst, that refugees could be German spies.[38]

 From enemy alien to internee

 The situation of the Jewish and anti-fascist refugees who were interned by the New Zealand Government demonstrated most clearly the refusal of the authorities to distinguish sufficiently between refugees from Nazism and other enemy aliens.  By mid 1940, there was considerable public demand for imprisonment to be the fate of all aliens.[39]  Internment, however, was supposed to occur only on the recommendation of the Aliens Authority, with final decision resting on the Minister,[40] after a great deal of information had been gathered about the aliens, ‘after they had been able to state their own cases and only when it was reasonably certain that they might prove a danger to the country's security if they were left at liberty’.[41]

 The number of those interned varied from year to year.  The greatest number at any time was 185 in December 1942.[42]  The authorities regarded internees as comprising three groups: firstly Germans who were avowed Nazis, secondly Italians and ‘Internationals’, and thirdly all those others not belonging in the first two groups, including the Japanese.[43] 

 The ‘Internationals’ were of German origin, but regarded themselves as ‘Internationals’, as a shorthand for opposition to the Third Reich. Of these Internationals four identified as Jewish by religion.[44] Government files recorded six Jewish Internationals, including also two refugees from Nazi persecution with a Jewish background but with unspecified religion.[45] Fellow internees, however, applied even wider categories of Jewishness.[46]

  John Charles Klingenstein[47], one of the non-Jewish ‘Internationals’ at the camp, interned in 1941 despite the fact that, like his father, he was New Zealand born, compiled a list of eight internees he regarded as Jewish or of Jewish background. Klingenstein seems to have considered not only self-identification, and family names in his considerations, but also attached strong ideas about Jewish behaviour and character. In the light of Nazi pseudo-racial imposition and persecution of Jewishness and degrees thereof his definition of who was a Jew should be read with caution. His identification of a group of eight Jewish internees is used in this chapter not in order to give credence to racial ideas of Jewishness, but to examine the actions of National Socialist internees towards those assumed to be Jewish.[48] 

 Somes Island Internment Camp

 For most of the war, internees were imprisoned on Somes Island, known as Matiu Island by Maori, in Wellington Harbour.  The army was responsible for the running of the internment camp.  Visits were permitted by representatives of such organizations as the Y.M.C.A., the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, the Society of Friends, and the Swiss consuls.[49]  These contacts ensured that the physical needs of the internees were well catered for. The Swiss consuls in addition acted as diplomatic representatives of Germany during World War II, and thus catered only for those internees the Reich acknowledged as German.[50] Jewish organizations are not mentioned in the official history of aliens administration as visiting the internees regularly, although some contact must have been maintained because on several occasions one of the internees applied for parole to leave camp to attend the Wellington Synagogue.[51]

 The Dominion newspaper reported that ‘war internees are being kept on Somes Island under conditions that are in keeping with the best British principles.  Though deprived of their liberty, they are free to engage in hobbies, recreation and co-operative educational activity.’[52]  Internees were allowed to send ten letters and four packets each month free of postage.  Writing materials were supplied free.[53]  Some of the internees were able to earn pocket money by making small objects for sale.

 In 1943, with the Japanese advancing in the Pacific, internees on Somes Island were transferred to Pahiatua Internment Camp for greater security.  The following year, when Pahiatua Camp was needed to house refugee children from Poland, the internees were moved back to Somes Island.[54]

 Reasons for interning Jewish refugees

 What were the reasons for interning refugees who had come to New Zealand seeking a haven from Nazism? While some were rounded up and imprisoned as potential security threats in spite of their refugee status, others seem to have been regarded as undesirable aliens, which included judgments on issues such as character weaknesses, drug and alcohol addictions, and mental and physical health.

 The official history of aliens’ administration notes that: ‘If any aliens were wrongfully interned, it was because it was felt that no risks could be taken’.[55]  If security was the concern, the interned Jewish refugees must have been regarded as fairly serious risks for three remained in internment till the end of 1944 and a fourth was not released till October 1945 when the internment camp was finally closed.  A group advocating on behalf of refugees, the Wellington Refugee Committee, with the assistance of a lawyer, A.E. Hurley, applied unsuccessfully to the Aliens Appeal Tribunal for the release of several of the internees.  The men themselves wrote numerous letters requesting their freedom.  The letters all tell the same story: of coming to New Zealand to escape Nazi persecution; of offers made and refused to help fight the Nazis with the New Zealand armed forces; and of incomprehension about the reasons for their internment.

 In a work of fiction, Live Bodies, New Zealand novelist Maurice Gee highlights the naivety of official thinking behind the internment of some Jewish refugees, and the Kafkaesque situation internees faced.  In the novel, a Jewish refugee Josef Mandl, who has repeatedly offered his services to fight against the Nazis, is baffled by his enemy alien classification.  Brought before the Aliens Tribunal, he is asked:  

 ‘It is possible, is it not, that your parents are alive and held prisoner in a camp? You must surely see that the Nazis could use them to bring pressure on you.’

‘Pressure?’

‘Would you remain loyal to this country, Mr. Mandl, if threats of harm were made against your parents?’ [56]

 Shortly afterwards, Mandl, whose parents are killed in a concentration camp, is interned on Somes Island.  Working from archival sources, Gee perceptively narrates that escaping German persecution was interpreted not as an indicator of opposition to National Socialism, but as a potential leaver for being blackmailed into supporting the Third Reich.

 Official reports of the interned Jewish refugees suggest that they may have been regarded as unstable characters who were not ‘good settlers’ and who were therefore viewed as susceptible to enemy pressure for economic gain.  There are references to one of the internee’s ‘grumbling complex’ and to abusive letters he had written.[57]  Another internee is reported to have talked ‘a lot of blather to make him appear important to his audience’.[58] 

 In the minds of officials, security issues and issues of character overlapped. In some cases, however, internment provided an easier option to taking someone before the court for criminal activity with its cumbersome testing of police evidence. An unpublished account by a senior government official R. A. Lochore about the settlement of refugees from Nazism in New Zealand is revealing of such official thinking.  Lochore rejects the possibility that the refugees were interned because they were regarded as security risks. 

 The half-dozen refugees in internment represent the failures, or the apparent ones.  It is understood that their detention has nothing to do with security, but is a step preparatory to their deportation as undesirable aliens.[59]

  The Jewish internees

 Who were the Jewish internees? Why were they singled out from the majority of refugees and interned? Were they regarded as security risks or primarily as ‘undesirable aliens’? Information available about them is fragmentary.[60]

 Dr H. W. (Werner) Asch had been a medical practitioner in Germany.[61]  He arrived in New Zealand in June 1939.  Unable to work in his profession (doctors with alien qualifications were not permitted to practice without first re-qualifying at a New Zealand medical school), he was employed as nurse aid at Napier Hospital at the time of his internment in June 1940.  Asch offered to serve as a doctor with the Armed Forces and was declined.  During his internment he suffered a nervous breakdown, was hospitalized at Porirua Hospital and then returned to internment camp where he continued to suffer from fragile mental health.[62]  He attributed his nervous breakdown to the campaign against Jewish doctors in the newspapers, to being a Jewish refugee among Nazis and to his treatment by the Nazi internees.[63] 

 Asch wrote numerous letters to the authorities during his internment.  On several occasions he sought parole to attend services for Yom Kippur in the Wellington Synagogue but this was not granted until after the end of the war in Europe.  He also appealed repeatedly against his internment.  One of his appeals was to Prime Minister Peter Fraser to whom he wrote: ‘In spite of my internment, I still remain pro-British and trust the justice of this country of my adoption [which] gave me a refuge from Nazi persecution.’[64]  In the same letter, he referred to his ill treatment by the Nazis at the camp.  Asch was released from internment in October 1945.

 Hans Finke was probably the internee on whom Maurice Gee based the character Josef Mandl in Live Bodies, though the fictional Mandl is Austrian while Finke was German.  Finke had been in New Zealand two and a half years at the time of his internment, living at that time in Martinborough, working as a cheese maker.[65]  He was one of the three men who escaped from Somes Island by swimming ashore to Petone, a suburb about twenty minutes drive from central Wellington.  The escape attempt took place on 27 November 1941, with the men recaptured on 3 December 1941.  As Finke explained it, their aim was to bring their cases before the authorities, to escape from the Nazis at the camp and to get away to fight for the Allies.[66] 

 According to a security intelligence report, Finke was born on 24 January 1911. [67]  He left Germany in 1938 when ‘conditions became intolerable in that country.’  He traveled to Australia and from there on to New Zealand on a tourist’s passport, carrying letters of introduction to several people in Sydney and to Dr John Beaglehole of Victoria University in Wellington.  Shortly after his arrival in New Zealand in 1938, Finke joined the Territorial Forces.  He was discharged from the Army in February 1939 because of his alien birth.  He was interned in September 1940.

 When arrested he had maps, radio instruction books, a radio receiving set and a packet of Morse cards in his possession.  According to the report of the Aliens Tribunal, Finke, whose parents were both Jewish, was interned for the following reasons:

 (a) Unfavourable impression made upon fellow workers and police officers regarding his sincerity and proclaimed hatred of the Nazis.

(b) Degree of education and intelligence considered dangerous, and particularly his efforts to draw a veil over apparent technical knowledge.

(c) Morse key outfit in his possession.

(d) Contradictory statements regarding family, their alleged persecution by the Nazis and whether they were or were not still in Germany.  The exact circumstances of Finke’s departure from Germany.

(e) No evidence in the intercepted correspondence or even that perused which had arrived before the outbreak of war that his family were being persecuted.   Mother appeared to be looking forward to her son’s return.[68]

 Finke appealed repeatedly against his internment.  In a letter to the Governor-General of New Zealand outlining his situation, he wrote:

 There are quite a number of Germans who are Nazi-Party members and of whose Nazi Party activities before the war the Government has full knowledge.  These are still at large…I cannot therefore understand why I, a staunch anti-Nazi, willing to do my share for this country, should be confined to this island.  In the name of British justice, how can this be? When I declare myself willing to take up arms against the persecutors of my race can I with reason be asked to adduce further evidence of my true feelings?[69]

 But release from internment was still almost two years away in November 1944.  The official conclusion about Finke was that:

 no reliance can be placed on his word.  His protestations of loyalty to New Zealand and his hatred of the Nazis have been too vociferous and frequent, and his whole demeanour indicates that he will take any action calculated to ingratiate himself with authorities.[70]

 Hans Harold Gorodiski, a dentist from Germany, was born in 1895.[71]  The son of ‘a physician and a dental surgeon’, his dentistry qualifications were from Berlin University.  During World War I Gorodiski had worked as male nurse in English hospitals while prisoner of war.  He had been a practicing dentist from 1923-1937.  He left Germany in 1937 ‘because of the persecution of Jews by Hitler’ and was interned on Somes Island in February 1941.

 On several occasions, Gorodiski offered his services to the authorities as ‘dental surgeon’, as ‘dental mechanic’, as nurse, or to help in any way with the war effort.  His offers were all politely declined.[72]  Gorodiski was married and living with his family in Hastings when he was interned.  He was interned for security reasons.  His requests for parole on grounds of ‘nervous strain brought about by long separation’ from his wife and to see his elderly mother who was unwell were all declined.[73]  As were his appeals against his internment, with the assistance of lawyer A. E. (Eton) Hurley.  Gorodiski was released from internment in November 1944.

 Ludwig Hirschfeld’s file[74] contains the information that he was born in Austria on 14 March 1897 and had lived in New Zealand for seven and a half years when he was interned in February 1945. He was released on parole for a week in August 1945 to get married and released from internment in October 1945.  Information on Ludwig’s twin brother, Stefan, is identical, with the exception that Stefan was not released on parole to get married.[75] The Hirschfeld brothers had tried to leave New Zealand by stowing away on the S.S. Runnymede Park in Wellington in October 1944.  They were held at Balboa, Panama Canal Zone pending arrangements for their return to New Zealand in December 1944.  In January 1945 they were in Witako Prison, Heretaunga, serving a sentence of twenty-eight days.  They were interviewed on 30 January 1945 by the Aliens Authority and reclassified as ‘Class A’, a change from their previous ‘B’ classification (internment in event of invasion).  The authority’s recommendation was for immeditate internment.  When interviewed the brothers said they had lived for four and a half years in Palestine but did not want to return there.[76]  The brothers had initially come under suspicion because they had tried to obscure their Jewish origins, though the authorities thought they were related to other Jewish refugees from Austria in Wellington with the same family name; they had tried to pass as being from Czechoslovakia, not Austria; they had changed jobs on a number of occasions and been dismissed from several jobs; they had offered to serve in the armed forces and been declined; and they were said to be suffering from a persecution complex in their insistence that Police surveillance had caused their employment problems.  ‘…the twins are a rather shifty and undesirable type of Jew’, wrote the Chairman of the Aliens Appeal Tribunal to the Minister of Justice on 23 September 1942.  ‘…We doubt very much whether they would fit into New Zealand life satisfactorily.’[77]     

 D. D. N. (David) Hollander,[78] of German nationality, was born on 8 October 1904 in London.  He was interned on 16 November 1940, having arrived in  New Zealand some nine years earlier.  Before his internment he was a clerical worker, married to a New Zealand woman, had one child and was living in Lower Hutt, near Wellington. His applications for release on parole were repeatedly declined.  His offer to contribute blood to a blood bank as he was ‘debarred from making any active contributions towards the war effort due to his internment’ was also declined.[79]  Hollander’s medical report states that he suffered from ‘mental worry’ and ‘nervous tension’.  It refers to a ‘nervous breakdown’ he had in 1934 due to ‘business worries’ and that insomnia followed.[80]  Hollander was released from internment in November 1944.

 Hans Nathan left his native Germany in 1938 due to the ‘terror of Nazism’.[81]  He was twenty-six, living in Auckland and working as a machinist when arrested in 1940.  A clue to the reasons for his internment comes from a comment in a letter by a member of the Society of Friends: ‘On one occasion, when drunk at a party, he [Nathan] claimed to have a Nazi uniform and revolver in his possession.’[82]  Nathan appealed several times against his internment.  He was released in October 1944.

 It is possible to glimpse the different backgrounds and circumstances of the Jewish refugee internees in the fragments of biographical information just outlined.  Given their diversity, it is hardly surprising that Jewish refugees did not form a cohesive unit in the camp. 

 The lack of a united front by the Jewish refugee internees was interpreted as a character weakness, a Jewish trait by fellow internee John Charles Klingenstein.  ‘The Jews are a strong clique —but only against others —as they can never agree for five minutes among themselves,’ he wrote in the diary he kept of his internment.[83]. In another entry in his diary he noted the antipathy he had observed between three of the Jewish internees —the Hirschfeld brothers —Stefan and Ludwig — and Dr Asch.[84]

 Three of the Jewish internees acted together over one issue, however.  In 1942, Werner Asch, Harold Gorodiski and Hans Nathan sought to arrange for the rabbi in Wellington —Rabbi Katz —to act as their representative. 

 We would like to inform you that we, H. H. Gorodiski, H. W. Asch and H. Nathan, as Jewish Refugees never have acknowledged the Swiss Consul Dr. Schmidt (It is Schmidt in the document – ie it is wrongly spelt in the document – the consul’s correct name is Schmid)  as our representative but beg to draw your attention to the fact that we always looked upon Chief Rabbi Dr Katz, Wellington, as our official representative.[85]

 Gorodiski, Asch and Nathan were protesting the situation whereby Rabbi Katz was permitted to visit the Jewish internees and minister ‘to their spiritual comfort’ but his standing was only as minister of religion for he was not able to make representation on the internees’ behalf.  This meant he was not able to discuss anything of an official nature with them.[86]  Their request that Rabbi Katz represent them officially was declined by the authorities.[87]

 Imprisoned with their worst enemy

 The main hardship of internment for Jewish refugees was not material discomfort, or even the loss of liberty. Suffering the rejection of their adopted country and being arrested by those regarded as friends were hurtful experiences.  Being deprived of the ability to contribute to the war effort was also hard.  But the most painful aspect of internment was probably the bitter experience of being confined with Nazis and Nazi sympathizers who ‘were arrogant and confident of a German victory’. Permitted to wear Nazi paraphernalia, ‘to exhibit photos of the Fuhrer [sic] in their quarters, and to celebrate both national and Nazi festivals, they took pleasure in parading their beliefs and caused a good deal of trouble with Jewish and anti-Nazis internees in their attempt to convert them to their way of thinking’.[88]

 The small numbers of Jewish refugee internees influenced the New Zealand authorities in their decision not to adequately segregate the Nazis and the fascists from the ‘Internationals’  until the last year of the war.  The cost of such a measure, about £150 per internee according to estimates, also made the move undesirable.[89]  But there were other considerations as well.

 In the official view, maltreatment of anti-Nazi minorities in camp was minor and the accepted policy was the downright British attitude that a German internee was a German and therefore ought to stick to his country …’[90]

 Furthermore, open displays of Nazi sympathy in the form of wearing Nazi badges and displaying photos of Hitler were permitted because the accepted policy was that 'it was an underhand action to try to break down a man's pro-Nazi loyalty'.[91]  Presumably Jewish refugees and Nazis were both regarded as just German internees who ought ‘to stick to their country’, an example of the prevailing ignorance and insensitivity.

 At Somes Island Internment Camp, Jewish refugee internees were quartered at first in the Italian barracks.  According to fellow internee Klingenstein, this put them in an ‘unenviable position’.    

 The Italians also had a row with the Jews and want them out of it, but the C.O. says they must stop with them.  The Jews are in a rather unenviable position here as nobody wants them, but it is their own fault to a big extent because they are such a crawling, oily mob.  I can see plenty of trouble arising out of the question of the Jews before long.[92]

 Klingenstein further noted: ‘The Italians having once more gone crook to the CO about having the Jews with them.’[93] 

 On several occassions Jewish internees tried to put their case to the authorities and persuade them that, as fervent anti-Nazis and refugees from Nazism, they should be treated as a different category from other internees. Though they were not housed in the same quarters as the Germans, Somes Island was small enough for it to feel as though Jewish internees were too closely confined with Nazis.[94]  At Pahiatua Camp, where the Somes Island internees were moved for several months during 1943-44, Jewish refugee internees, and other ‘Internationals’ were confined with ‘Germans loyal to the Third Reich’ until ‘some internal divisions were created as an interim solution.’  Eventually, after protest from the Swiss Consul Dr Schmid, ‘a compromise’ was found and the ‘Internationals’ were removed from the ‘loyal’ Germans and housed in the Japanese quarters.[95]

 In the last year of the war, back on Somes Island, the 'Internationals', including the Jewish refugees among them, were given separate sleeping and eating accommodation and allotted special hours for using the ‘German’ bathrooms.  When the Japanese and Italians left the camp, arrangements were promised to separate completely the ‘Internationals’ from the rest of the Germans.[96]  But the welcome changes were too late.  For the major part of their internment, refugees from Nazi persecution had for too long been confined with their worst enemies.

 Violence and intimidation

 Persecution of Jewish refugees seems to have been a feature of life at internment camp, certainly in the early years of the war.  Violence and intimidation eased as time passed and it became clear that Germany was likely to lose the war.  The official view that 'maltreatment of anti-Nazi minorities in camp was minor' is contradicted by the letters of the refugee internees themselves, which tell a different story: ‘I beg to inform you that I have been interned for almost four years together with Nazis whose attitudes is very inimical towards me’, wrote Hans Nathan to Prime Minister Peter Fraser.[97]  ‘I … live as refugee and anti-Nazi amongst Nazis and Fascists’, wrote Harold Gorodiski to the Camp-commandant,’ going on to describe the mental suffering that this was causing.[98]  The authorities dismissed these and other complaints of persecution, accepting only the existence of ‘a certain amount of ill-feeling between the Internationals and the other Germans attributable to the lack of effort by either party to get along amicably with the other’.[99]

 The official view is countered by several entries in the Klingenstein diary. His credibility as a witness in relation to the treatment of Jews in the camp is probably enhanced by his (on the whole) unsympathetic attitude to Jews. Klingenstein describes himself as ‘a supporter of National Socialism in its early days’.[100]  His references to Jews in his diary during 1941-1943, before the likelihood of German victory receded, are frequently denigrating.[101]  He sees the offers made by several of the Jewish internees to serve in the New Zealand armed forces as simply ‘greasing’ to the authorities.[102] Therefore, when he describes several incidents of intimidation, violence and near-violence against Jews in the camp, there is no reason not to believe him.  On 3 July 1941, for example, he noted the news that the Germans had crossed the Dvina River and the Red Army was ‘falling back fast’.  In the same entry, he wrote:

 There was trouble at tea time today. The Jews (Gorodiski, Asch, Finke, Hollander and Nathan) live in the Italian Barracks but have their meals with us, but the Nazis went crook hence the row.  Gorodiski went raving mad about “Judenhetze” and that started it…[103]

 On 26 December 1941, coinciding with the news that Hong Kong had surrendered to the Japanese, Klingenstein recorded that an internee named Sarge, after a row with Nathan [another of the Jewish internees]

 …. went to his cubicle where he took a razor blade and gashed himself across the chest with it saying: “Russian blood has been spilt so now Jewish blood will.”  Nobody took much notice of him but I could tell something was coming and at dinner time he kept his word by upending a plate of boiling hot stew over Nathan’s head and pushing him through a window.  He was horribly burned around the ears.[104]  

 In Maurice Gee’s fictional portrayal of the internment of Jewish refugee Mandl, there are instances of petty harassment.  Gee narrates that serious assault was commonplace.[105] Yet its portrayal of Nazi behaviour on Somes Island, which has led to the first public exchange of letters about internment and National Socialism in New Zealand, has been strongly contested by another internee – Gregory Reithmaier.  Reithmaier, who, like Klingenstein, wrote a memoir of his internment, informed Gee that his book was ‘…a litany of lies.’ 

 The Truth is that no person in either the Italian, Japanese or the International community (the latter having 4 or 5 Jewish people living within their walls, and none by age or character like “Mr Mandl”, as far as I can judge) were ever threatened physically or verbally assaulted by the German internees.

 We, in the German barracks, whether naturalized NZers or not, understood that those who had to flee Germany would not exactly hug us, but we were all as civil as possible and did nothing whatever to make their life more stressful while interned with us on this small Island.[106]

 Riethmaier was born in Germany in 1913.[107]  He was one of the first men to be interned and was the last one to be released.  His memoir records that he had a peaceful life as internee, occupied with making trinkets from paua shells,[108] and that he studied at Victoria University where he passed four subjects.[109]  In his view, if there was any trouble on the island it came from the ‘international trouble makers’ who had ‘homosexual tendencies.’[110]  He told Gee that he was:

 …. really upset to read fifty years later, a book (which I realize is a novel) filled with so much hate and misinformation and bad language about our internment camp …. Readers are likely to assume that the events described are factual, even if the names are not.  It gives an entirely false impression of the camp.[111]

 Riethmaier particularly objected to Gee’s portrayal of the camp leader– Hoch—in the novel.

 The way you portrayed our men is absolutely scandalous – for example, our camp leader, a fine cultured , sensible and sensitive married man with the very best qualities … this fine example of a man is described as “Hoch will squash the Jews” and so on.[112] 

 Riethmaier lodged a statement at Archives New Zealand, putting forward his view that Gee’s book was based on:

 …. mischievous statements, deposited in the National Archives … by certain members of the Soviet oriented, self appointed INTERNATIONAL Internee, who thought they had a better chance of being released from internment by using the political argument that they should not have been interned with the ‘Nazi Germans’ and their bully boys who harassed them.  This is completely untrue.[113]   

 Conclusion

 Riethmaier’s defence of ‘loyal’ Germans notwithstanding, being imprisoned with avowed Nazis was clearly the hardest aspect of internment for Jewish refugees.  Because of the ignorance of the authorities and because the cost of separating refugees from Nazi internees was considered too high, Jewish refugee internees remained closely confined with their worst enemy until almost the end of the war 

 Were some Jewish refugees potential fifth columnists? Did interning them contribute to national security? It seems unlikely.  The evidence suggests that New Zealand’s Jewish internees were the more psychologically fragile of the refugees who had arrived a few years earlier, seeking a haven from Nazi persecution in a country as far away from Europe as possible.  Aspects of their behaviour considered suspicious by the authorities were perhaps associated with the lingering after-effects of earlier persecution.  Some refugees simply behaved unwisely, perhaps due their youth or personal problems.  The authorities themselves admitted that mistakes might have been made but it was considered better to err on the side of safety.

 

From

 

'National Socialism in Oceania', edited by Emily Turner Graham and Christine Winter, in the series Germanica Pacifica,
edited by James Bade

Peter Lange Verlag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



[1] Perutz, M. F., ‘That was the War: Enemy Alien’, New Yorker, 12 August 1985, p.  35.  Perutz was writing about his own internment by the British Government in the early months of the World War II.

[2] Beaglehole, A., A Small Price to Pay: Refugees from Hitler in New Zealand, 1936-1946, Allen and Unwin, Wellington, 1988, p. 146.

[3] People of German, Austrian, Italian and Japanese descent or nationality were interned.  More than twenty of the internees were naturalized British subjects who had, in effect, been stripped of their citizenship rights.  David Green, ‘Citizenship’, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 21 September 2007, URL: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/New Zealanders/NewZealandPeoples/Citizenship/en

[4] Perutz, M. F., ‘That was the War: Enemy Alien’, New Yorker, 12 August 1985, p.  35.

[5] Some of the material in this article on Jewish internees first appeared in my MA thesis in History ‘A Small Price to Pay: Refugees from Hitler in New Zealand, 1936-1946’, Victoria University of Wellington, 1986, pp. 85-89.

[6] Beaglehole, A., A Small Price to Pay, pp. 73-86.

[7] Archives New Zealand (ANZ): War History Narrative, Civilian Narratives, WA II, Series 21, 63d, 'Aliens Administration, 1939-1945', pp. 1-5.

[8] Ibid, pp. 4-5. There were pro-Nazi German clubs in Wellington and elsewhere in New Zealand; H.O. Roth to the writer, 3 March 1986. (Letter in possession of the writer) Roth’s papers are now in the Alexander Turnbull library in Wellington.

[9] ANZ: ‘Aliens Administration, 1939-1945’, p. 6.

[10] Ibid, pp. 2-3.

[11] Dominion, Editorial, 4 July 1940. 

[12] ANZ: Aliens Administration, 1939-1945’, op. cit., p. 18.

[13] ANZ: EA 89/2/3 part 1, minutes of the 17th meeting of the Aliens Committee, 10 June 1940.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Dominion, Editorial, 4 July 1940.

[16] ANZ: Aliens and Naturalization, notes, pp. 16-17, contain a summary of the Aliens Emergency Regulations 1940.  The complete list of regulations may be found in Statutory Regulations 1940, pp. 944-958.

[17] ANZ: EA 89/2/21, part 1, ‘Report of the War Cabinet on the Control of Aliens in Business and the Professions’, 10 July 1942. This report presented the following figures of aliens resident in New Zealand: 2,100 European enemy aliens; 1,600 Non-enemy European aliens; 4,300 Chinese and Syrians. Of the European enemy aliens about 700 were Italians.  F.L.W. Wood, The New Zealand People at War: Political and External Affairs, War History Branch, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington 1958, p. 157.

[18] ANZ: Aliens Administration, 1939-1945’, op. cit., p. 33.

[19] ANZ: AD1, 336/1/1, Vol. 1, ‘Control of Enemy Aliens’, Under-Secretary of Justice to Army Secretary, 20 May 1942.  The classification went as follows:

Class A - recommended for immediate internment.

Class B - recommended for internment in the event of a threat of invasion.

Class C and Class D - recommended not to be interned at any stage but remain subject to certain restrictions.

Class E - recommended exempt from alien status.

[20] ANZ: EA 89/2/21, part 1, ‘Report of the War Cabinet on the Control of Aliens in Business and the Professions’, 10 July 1942.

[21] Details concerning the restrictions on enemy aliens may be found in a report in the Evening Post, 10 April 1947; ANZ: AD MO 16/15, ‘Control of Aliens during World War II’, Vols. I and 2.

[22] ANZ: AD1, 336/1/1, Control of Enemy Aliens, Office of the Minister of Justice, 5 November 1940, Aliens Emergency Regulations 1940, Notes for the guidance of Aliens Authorities and directions of the Minister of Justice under Regulation 26, p. 5.

[23] Peter and Leni Gillman, Collar the Lot: How Britain Interned and Expelled its Wartime Refugees,  Quartet Books, London 1980, pp. 231-290. See also M.P. Perutz, 'That Was the War: Enemy Alien', New Yorker, 12 August 1985, pp. 35 - 54.

[24] ANZ: Aliens Administration, 1939-1945’, p. 30.

[25] ANZ: AD, 3361111, Aliens Emergency Regulation 1940, p. 13.

[26] Ibid.

[27] ANZ: Aliens and Naturalization, Notes, p. 2.

[28] ANZ: Aliens Adminstration, 1939-1945’, pp. 30-33.

[29] Ibid, p. 31.  This was done in Britain.

[30] ANZ: Aliens Administration, 1939-1945’, p. 32.

[31] ANZ: ‘Aliens Administration, 1939-1945’,  p. 32.

[32] R. A. Lochore, From Europe to New Zealand, An Account of our Continental European Settlers, A. H. & A. W. Reed, in conjunction with the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Wellington 1951, p. 84.

[33] Dominion, 3 November 1945.

[34] ANZ: Aliens Administration, 1939-1945’, p. 32.

[35] Paul R. Bartrop, ‘“Military Considerations Take Precedence Over All Others”: Refugees, Enemy Aliens and Australian Security, 1939-42’, p. 18, unpublished paper, delivered at the Australian War Memorial 5th Annual Military History Conference, Canberra, 12-15 February 1985. (copy in possession of the writer).

[36] ANZ: EA 89/2/11, part l, Under-Secretary of Justice, B.L. Dallard to Secretary, Organisation for National Security, 15 April 1942. The Organisation for National Security was set up in 1941 to assist other departments involved with enemy aliens and to be generally responsible to the Prime Minister for civil and military security, see F. L. W. Wood, The New Zealand People at War: Political and External Affairs, Wellington, 1958, p. 161.

[37] Dominion, 10 October 1941, p. 5. 

[38] Lochore, From Europe to New Zealand, p. 84.

[39] ANZ: Aliens Administration, 1939-1945’, p. 59.

[40] ANZ:Aliens Administration, 1939-1945’, p. 50.

[41] ANZ: Aliens Administration, 1939-1945’, p. 58.

[42] ANZ:Aliens Administration, 1939-1945’, p. 50.  The following figures which included internees evacuated from Samoa, Cook Islands, Tonga and Fiji:

1939 December   23           1940 December 86              1941 December 169           1942 December 185

1943 December 133           1944 December 61              1945 September 47

Unlike Australia, New Zealand refused Britain's request to accept internees from the United Kingdom. Negotiations regarding New Zealand's possible acceptance and eventual refusal of internees from Britain are discussed by Peter and Leni Gillman, Collar the Lot, Quartet Books, London 1980, pp. 250-251.

[43] Dominion, 1 July 1941, page 10.

[44] See ANZ: AD 336/2/94; AD 336/2/57; AD 336/2/103; AD 336/2/81.

[45] ANZ: AD1, 336/2/57, H.J. Thomson, Adjutant-General to the Under­-Secretary of Justice, 1 February 1944.

[46] For a detailed discussion of conflicting and changing models of Jewishness during the period of the Third Reich, including religious, political and racial, see Bryan Mark Rigg,  Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racial Laws and Men of Jewish Descent in the German Military, Lawrence, Kan.,  University Press of Kansas, 2002.

[47] I am grateful to Kate Jones, John Charles Klingenstein’s niece, for letting me use and reproduce material from her uncle’s diary of his days as an internee.  The diary is held at the Alexander Turnbull Library.

[48] In Klingenstein’s diary, the following are listed: Dr Werner H. Asch, Hans Finke, Harold Gorodiski, David Hollander, Hans Nathan, Ludwig Hirschfeld, Stefan Hirschfeld and Kurt Fleischman, Alexander Turnbull Library (ATL), MS-Papers-5787-1, Klingenstein, John Charles, ‘Diary and reminiscences of his internment on Somes Island’, pp. 21-25. See also ANZ: AD 336/2/83; AD, 336/2/233; AD 336/2/234; AD 336/2/231. 

[49] ANZ: Aliens Administration, 1939-1945, p. 54. The Society of Friends, in particular, worked closely with the internees and liaised with the Government on their behalf.  The Quakers' work with internees is discussed by Margaret West and Ruth Fawell in The Story of New Zealand Quakerism 1842-1972, New Zealand Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, Auckland 1973, p. 82 and by Audrey Brodie, The Society of Friends (Quakers) in Wellington, Society of Friends, Wellington 1979.

[50] Germany required internees to sign a declaration of loyalty to the Third Reich and Hitler. Christine Winter, ‘The Long Arm of the Third Reich: internment of New Guinea Germans in Tatura’, The Journal of Pacific History, vol. xxxviii, 2003, p. 89. 

[51] ANZ: AD1, 336/2/57, interned alien case files

[52] Dominion, 30 June, 1941, p. 6.

[53] Dominion, 1 July 1941, p. 10.

[54] ANZ: Aliens and Naturalization, Notes, p. 17.

[55] ANZ: Aliens Administration, 1939-1945’, p. 58.

[56] Maurice Gee, Live Bodies, Penguin Books, Auckland 1998, p. 97.  The novel draws closely on manuscripts in the Alexander Turnbull Library and other archival material.

[57] ANZ: AD1, 336/2/57, interned alien H. W. Asch.

[58] ANZ: AD1, 336/2/94, R. Gregove to Richard Harris, members, Society of Friends, 16 April 1941, interned alien H. A. Nathan.

[59] ANZ: EA, 1, Box  670,  89/2/23, part l, 1946-1946, Enemy Prisoners of War, Aliens and Internees – Aliens, Account of Continental Europeans resident in New Zealand by R.A. Lochore, unpublished manuscript, p. 189.

[60] (Nonetheless, it is possible to build a fragmentary picture of several of the Jewish internees based on the small amount of biographical data that exists, supplemented by official correspondence and memoirs and diaries of two of the internees who were not Jewish.

[61] ANZ: AD1, 336/2/57, interned alien Dr  H. W. Asch.

[62] After his return from the hospital, according to an entry in Klingenstein’s diary, (p. 98), Asch tried to commit suicide. The other internees who knew about it ‘hushed it up’.

[63] ANZ: AD1, 336/2/57, Medical Report, 4 August 1942.

[64] ANZ: AD1, 336/2/57, Asch to Prime Minister, Peter Fraser, undated.

[65] ANZ: AD1, 336/2/81, interned alien H. Finke.

[66] ANZ: AD1, 336/2/81, Deputy Director, Security Intelligence to Adjutant-General, Army Headquarters, 14 September, 1944.

[67] Ibid.

[68] ANZ: AD1, 336/2/81, Deputy Director, Security Intelligence to Adjutant-General, Army Headquarters, 14 September, 1944.

[69] ANZ: AD1, 336/2/81, Hans Finke to Sir Cyril Newall, Governor General of New Zealand, 7 December 1942.

[70] ANZ: AD1, 336/2/81, Deputy Director, Security Intelligence to Adjutant-General, Army Headquarters, 14 September, 1944.

[71] ANZ: AD1, 336/2/103, H. H. Gorodiski to CC, Pahiatua, 27 May, 1943.

[72] He was informed that his offers to serve the Dominion were ‘appreciated’. Should circumstances alter in which his ‘services’ could be ‘utilised’, his request would be given ‘full consideration’.  ANZ: AD1, 336/2/103, Brigadier, Adjutant General to H. H. Gorodiski, 27 June 1944.

[73] ANZ: AD1, 336/2/103, Gorodiski to Camp Commandant, Pahiatua, 4 November, 1943.

[74] ANZ: AD1, 336/2/233, interned alien L. Hirschfeld.

[75] ANZ: AD1, 336/2/234, interned alien S. Hirschfeld.

[76] ANZ: ABGU, 7191, Box 13, 982, Aliens Authority Case file, L. Hirschfeld, 1941-1942; ANZ: ABGU, 7191, Box 14, 1110, Aliens Authority Case file S. Hirschfeld, 1943, Aliens Authority to Minister in charge of aliens, 30 January 1945, Wellington.

[77] ANZ: ABGU, 7191, Box 13, 982, Aliens Authority Case file, L. Hirschfeld, 1941-1942; ANZ: ABGU, 7191, Box 14, 1110, Aliens Authority Case file S. Hirschfeld, 1943, Chairman Aliens Appeal Tribunal to Minister of Justice, 23 September 1942.

[78] ANZ: AD1, 336/2/83, interned alien D. D. N. Hollander.

[79] ANZ: AD1, 336/2/83, Hollander to Commandant, Pahiatua, 4 September 1943; District Commandant to Army Headquarters, 9 September 1943.

[80] ANZ: AD1, 336/2/83, Lieutenant, N.Z.M.C., Report on D. Hollander, 4 August 1942.

[81] ANZ: AD1 336/2/94, Hans Nathan to Prime Minister Peter Fraser, 16 April 1941.

[82] ANZ: AD1 336/2/94, R. Gregove to Richard Harris, Society of Friends, 16 April 1941.

[83] ATL: MS-Papers-5787-1, Klingernstein, ‘Diary and Reminiscences of his Internment’, p. 57. 

[84] ‘For some reason none of the three will divulge, the two Hirschfelds hate Asch’, p. 201.

[85] ANZ: AD1, 336/1/30, Gorodiski, Asch, Nathan to Army Head Quarters, 23 February 1942.  Dr W. Schmid was the Swiss consul in New Zealand in charge of German interests. Switzerland was the representative power for Germany in enemy countries during World War II. In Australia, too, Jewish internees refused representation by Swiss consuls. See Winter, 2003.

[86] ANZ: AD1, 336/1/30, Brigadier, Central Military District to Army Headquarters, 25 February 1942.

[87] ANZ: AD1, 336/1/30, Prime Minister’s Office to Army Headquarters, 27 March 1942.

[88] ANZ: Aliens Administrastion, 1939-1945’, p. 54.

[89] ANZ: AD1, 336/1/1, Adjutant-General to the Under-Secretary, Department of Justice, 3 February 1943. A parallel story is the internment of a small number of Jewish overseas internees in the Nazi dominated campt Tautura 1 in Australia. See: Konrad Kwiet, 'Be Patient and Reasonable', Australian Journal of Politics and History, 'On Being a German-Jewish Refugee in Australia', Vol. 31, No. l, (1985) pp. 66-7.

[90] Wood, Political and External Affairs, p. 160.

[91] Wood, Political and External Affairs, p. 160.

[92] ATL: MS- Papers-5787, Klingenstein, John Charles, ‘Diary and reminiscences of his internment on Somes Island’, p. 60. 

[93] Klingenstein,  p. 78.

[94] Gee, Live Bodies, page 107.

[95] Christine Winter, ‘The Long Arm of the Third Reich’, the Journal of Pacific History, Vol. 38, No. 1, 2003, p. 89.

[96] ANZ: AD1, 336/2/57, H.J. Thomson, Adjutant-General to Under-Secretary of Justice, 1 February 1944.

[97] ANZ: AD1 336/2/94, Hans Nathan to Prime Minister Peter Fraser, 16 April 1941.

[98] ANZ: AD1 336/2/103, Gorodiski to Camp Commandant, Pahiatua, 4 November, 1943.

[99] ANZ: AD1, 336/2/57, H.J. Thomson, Adjutant-General to Under-Secretary of Justice, 1 February 1944.

[100] ATL: MS-Group-111, Klingenstein, p. 3.

[101]  He describes Jews at different times as ‘cowardly’, as ‘dodging’ all work, and as generally untrustworthy ATL: MS-Papers-5787, Klingenstein, pp. 85, 57 and 107.

[102] ATL: MS-Papers-5787, Klingenstein, pp. 21; 91.

[103] ATL: MS-Papers-5787, Klingenstein, p. 49.

[104] ATL: MS-Papers-5787, Klingenstein, p 98.

[105] See for example, Gee, p. 125; 111.

[106] ATL: MS Papers 8174, Gregory Riethmaier to Maurice Gee, 5 July 1998, p. 1.

[107] ATL, MSX-7157, Riethmaier, Gregory, ‘A German Immigrant Remembers’. Gregory Riethmaier’s memoirs contain an account of his childhood and youth in Germany, his voyage to New Zealand in 1937-38 on board the ‘Seeteufel’ commanded by Count Felix Luckner when he worked as wireless operator and his internment on Somes Island.  Chapter V111 is about his internment.

[108] ATL: MSX-7157, Riethmaier, p. 8.

[109] ATL: MSX-7157, Riethmaier,  p. 10.

[110] ATL: MSX-7157, Riethmaier, p. 9.  The publication New Zealand Truth reported on this in an article entitled ‘Island of shame’, in which the internment camp is portrayed as a ‘hotbed of homosexuality’, with considerable sums of money changing hands.

[111] ATL: MS Papers 8174, Riethmaier to Maurice Gee, 5 July 1998, page 2.

[112] ATL: MS Papers 8174, Riethmaier to Maurice Gee, 5 July 1998, page 2.

[113] ATL: MS Papers 8174, Riethmaier, Statement, 8 August 1998.

 

 

 
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