Isle of Man Prison Camps

The camps for 'Enemy Aliens' and British Fascists

 
 

Many jews and others considered 'undesirable' by the Nazi government were able to escape to Britain, but at the outbreak of war in September 1939 the British government, worried by the possibility of enemy spies infiltrating, rounded up hundreds of families of German origin and sent them by boat to the Isle of Man where they were separated - men to some camps and women and children to others.

By the end of 1940, 14,000 ‘enemy aliens’ were interned on the Isle of Man . Many of them were University Professors and other professionals (Ellen's father, for example, was an Industrial Chemist) and the camp included such inmates as Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, Lord Weidenfeld, Sir Charles Forte, the famous artist Kurt Schwitters, and the concert pianists Rawicz and Landauer.

Slowly this traditional holiday island was transformed into an internment camp. Boarding houses became barrack blocks and internees took part in local farm work, ran their own newspapers, and even set up internal businesses.

You can get more information from the excellent book "Island of Barbed Wire" by Connery Chappell, published by Robert Hale, London.

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