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Concentration /Internment camps during WW1.

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Concentration /Internment camps during WW1.

Postby Francesco Baracca » 09 Oct 2009, 22:02

Holland

On 11th October 1914, 1,500 men of the First Royal Naval Brigade arrived in Groningen. They had been deployed in early October to assist the Belgian army against German troops attacking Antwerp.

During their retreat in Belgium, their escape route was cut off. Commodore Wilfred Henderson was determined for his men not to be taken prisoner of war by the Germans, so he crossed the frontier into Holland with three of his batallions.


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The Isle of Man

The Isle of Man was used as a base for Alien Civilian Internment camps in both WWI (1914-18) and again in WWII (1939-45) ......... for WWI a very large camp (effectively a small, self-contained, township) was established at Knockaloe, Patrick, on the west coast near Peel. This camp was for male internees - women were not interned. There was another smaller camp at Douglas.

In both wars these camps were under British Goverment control - all records relating to them are (or were) held in London It seems that all the personal files relating to WWI internees held by the British Goverment were destroyed, probably by accident, during the 1970's. The original card index was destroyed by enemy action in WWII. However it would appear that the Geneva based Red Cross may, in the future allow some access to its own records compiled from UK weekly returns of internees and POW's.


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Canada.

Most of the POWs of German nationality and German-speaking Austrians were seperated from the other internees and placed into a "first-class" category. This meant that they were generally kept in relatively more comfortable camps, such as the one established in Fort Henry, near Kingston, Ontario However, the majority of those described as "Austrians" (on lists of prisoners these men were often more precisely categorized as "Galicians" of "Greek [Ukrainian] Catholic" religious affiliation or as "Ruthenians", although the word Ukrainian was also used in some official reports) were sent to work sites in Canada's hinterland, to places like Spirit Lake, Quebec; Castle Mountain, Alberta; and Otter Creek, British Columbia There they were obliged not only to construct the internment camps but to work on road-building, land-clearing, wood-cutting, and railway construction projects As the need for soldiers overseas led to a shortage of workers in Canada, many of these "Austrian" internees were released on parole to work for private companies, the federal and provincial governments, amd the railway companies. Their pay was fixed at a rate equivalent to that of a soldier, which was less than what they might have expected to make if they had been able to offer their labour in the marketplace. As General Otter drily noted, this "system proved a great advantage to the organizations short of labour". Thus, the internment operations not only uprooted families but also allowed for exploitation of many of the internees' labour.


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Australia

During the First World War 6,890 Germans were interned, of whom 4,500 were Australian residents before 1914; the rest were sailors from German navy ships or merchant ships who were arrested while in Australian ports when the war broke out, or German citizens living in British territories in South-East Asia and transported to Australia at the request of the British Government. Some internees were temporary visitors trapped here when the war began. About 1,100 of the total were Austro-Hungarians, and of those around 700 were Serbs, Croats and Dalmatians from within the Austro-Hungarian Empire who were working in mines in Western Australia.


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Germany

Ruhleben Camp was an internment camp near Berlin, Germany, which housed civilians of the Allied Nations who were living, working or holidaying in Germany on the outbreak of World War One.


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