German Jewish Refugees as Enemy Aliens in the UK during World War II: Some Resources

A number of readers have asked questions about the internment of German Jews by England during World War II. It does seem so cruel to take people who had just escaped from Germany for being Jewish and imprison them for being German, but war does bring out the worst in human nature. In our own American history, there are many examples, including the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II for no reason other than their Japanese roots.

To answer some of the questions and to provide links to more information, I am providing a link back to a post I published almost four years ago when I first learned about the English internment of German Jews. I hope this post and the links it includes will answer some of those questions.  It only addresses the internment on the Isle of Man, only one of the many places where England sent “enemy aliens.”

In addition, for more information in general about the internment of enemy aliens, here are some other links:

Enemy Aliens scholarly article

This article was sent to me by another reader. It is a contemporary news report from The London Times of May 17, 1940.

There are many other articles and websites devoted to this topic, which is too large for me to do justice to on the blog. I hope this will help those who are interested find some of the answers to their questions.


12 thoughts on “German Jewish Refugees as Enemy Aliens in the UK during World War II: Some Resources

  1. Hi Amy, thank’s for re-blogging about the Isle of Man refugees being interned from eastern Europe
    in WW2. It was done as a precaution to prevent enemy Agents infiltrating amongst the incomers,
    i.e. avoiding The Trojan Horse effect. It needs to be remembered that this was a time when Britain was all alone facing the enemies in Europe. There was a great fear of Agents being active in the UK to undermine the war effort. As I read, the numbers in The Isle of Man were always relatively small, and the internees were released as soon as they proved to be of no threat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Shirley. Much of what you said is what I learned from reading the articles at the links. And as I wrote, the US made similar decisions—also wrong-headed—with regard to Japanese Americans.


  2. Good idea to post this. We had our own internment camps for the Japanese. We didn’t “need” them for Jewish refugees because we didn’t accept many and even sent people back knowing they would die.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Similar internment camps existed here in Canada during WW2 for the people of Japanese ancestry, who lived at the West Coast of BC. These were not recent immigrants, but Canadian citizens, hard-working and successful people. Their properties were confiscated and auctioned off. And they and their families were being deported into the Interior of BC. A sad sad story!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have read about this as well…it was a general fear of anyone with any connections to Germany/Austria. So misguided, in retrospect…as Peter pointed out above, Canada did the same to the Japanese. I know from reading Oral Histories from this area that residents of this region all protested the taking of the Japanese families from here on the Sunshine Coast. I wonder if it was the same in England – those who actually knew the people being imprisoned feeling it was unnecessary. My guess would be that at least some did sympathize and think it was wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And, as I’ve written, the US did the same to the Japanese. Just shameful. And I’m sure you’re right that not everyone agreed with that.


  5. Pingback: Friday's Family History Finds | Empty Branches on the Family Tree

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