British Internment - Isle of Man

The men’s ‘camps’ comprised groups of requisitioned hotels/boarding houses, rendered secure by barbed wire and guarded. Internees in each hotel/boarding house determined their own leaders plus rotas for e.g. cooking and cleaning, and certain areas were designated for work/recreation. Women and children were similarly billeted, but with their respective landladies. Women had to help with the chores, and established a temporary camp school.

For more detailed information see: Manx National Library and Archives accessed July 2020)

And they took us in a place in Derby, where we stayed overnight, and then they took us to Liverpool, Liverpool Lime Street. When we emerged, angry crowds lined the street, because there were the terrible Germans coming out of the Station. And we were marched to the Docks, where they’d opened an old sailor’s home, that hadn’t been used for five years, and they kept us there overnight. And it was terrible because there was some flooding, and we had filthy dirty mattresses, and there was no food, but oh I forget, as we marched, as we were marched to this place, the local Liverpudlians were throwing stones at us, because they were ignorant, they didn’t know, they thought we were Nazis. Anyhow we got to this place, and I must say, there was a policeman there, a very kind policeman, and he went home, I’ll never forget that, and brought me a piece of apple pie that his wife had baked, he felt so sorry for me. And the next day we were put on a boat to the Isle of Man.

The police came on the 13th of May- 12th of May rather, 12th of May, 1940... and... they said, “We have to take you in for the duration of the war.” I said, “Why?” “Well, because you are a - a foreign immigrant. You are actually a member of, of, of our... opponents, the Germans and the Austrians.” I said, “Yes, but I’m a Jew so that therefore that doesn’t exist. I’m here because I’m a Jew, and because of the fact that I’m not one of them.” That wasn’t good enough. That just wasn’t good enough. He took me in. I said, “My mother and father are in Bournemouth, and I would like to phone them- what’s happening to me.” “Well you can’t.” They did not let me talk to my parents. My parents only found out what happened to me afterwards when I wasn’t communicating with them they obviously went to the hostel and found out. That all of us were interned. And that’s what they called it, ‘an internment’.