The British government established internment camps throughout the British Empire to confine "enemy aliens"; for example, Tatura Internment Camp in Australia. Alexander Distler, a Jewish refugee from Austria, found himself dispatched to several camps for "enemy aliens" in Canada. There were camps in Mauritius, India, and the Isle of Man. Some refugees were allowed to enter the United States: Camp Oswego, New York; Bismark, North Dakota; and several in Texas. The British also established detention camps in Cyprus, Atilt, and Eritrea to prevent refugees from the Holocaust from entering Mandatory Palestine.
--Michael D. Bulmash, K1966
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Front: White envelope with censor sticker.Back: Address written in black ink.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: A 1940 censored cover without stamp to Mrs. Lea Frucht in London, sent by Dr. Frucht to A.J.C. Huyton, an early interment camp for German Jewish refugees.
Correspondence from Franziska Distler in Vienna to Alexander Distler, Interned in Camp I, Ottawa, Canada
a: Envelope addressed to “Aleksander Distler No. 234,” “Internment Camp “I” written in center, “internment underlined twice, “I” circled in blue. b: Small letter dated “22. 12. 940” in upper right corner, stamped with “CENSORED CANADA IN.T.O.P. 27” in red in upper left corner. [Related items 2019.2.310 - 2019.2.323]
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:Mrs. Franziska Distler, Aleksander’s mother, living in Vienna, at this time part of the “Greater Germany” subsequent to the Anschluss of March 12, 1938 which is indicated in her return address. Her letter to Aleksander, internee number 234 at Camp “I” is postmarked in Vienna with a double-ring cancellation and censored in Austria and Canada with sealing tape and red hand stamp.
Front includes torn label with “EXAMINER 7054” in black ink in center and a second torn label with “OPENED…” at top, marked near top with “SENDER’S NAME:- Onchan Camp, Douglas, I.o.M. K.W. MAURER.”
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Onchan Camp, Isle of Man, opened in June 1940 to house “enemy aliens,” Jews who were able to escape Nazi Germany or Austria, but were a concern to a British government fearful of enemy spies in its midst on the eve of war with Germany. Onchan camp held mainly German and Austrian internees until 1942 when Italians were admitted. Like Hutchinson, or P Camp, also on the Isle of Man- Onchan, despite overcrowding, had a multitude of cultural events including a “university” offering lectures in a variety of disciplines taught by the internees.
Atlit Detention Camp "Illegal" Jewish Immigrant Enquiry Letter from Manela Lustiger to Nitsch Family in Prague, Czechoslovakia
Numbered 61 in top right corner, titled “DEMANDEUR – ANFRAGESTELLER – ENQUIRER” at top of page in black print, back titled “RESPONSE ANTWORT REPLY”
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: The Lustigers, refugees from Nazi- occupied Europe, have been detained a Atlit camp, south of Haifa, Palestine, by British authorities. Atlit was established to prevent Jewish immigrants from entering Palestine in accordance with the 1939 White Paper. Mrs. Lustiger writes that Mr. Lustiger “would like to hear from you. He is doing fine and in good health. Please write through the Red Cross in Geneva. Verso Reply to Mr. Lustiger: “We are healthy and doing fine. Father does not work anymore; he is too old. Letters are received in two months’ time. Nitsch-Zamanek”
“EXAMINER 4484” in black ink in center and a second torn label with “OPENED…” at top, marked near top with “SENDER’S NAME:- ADOLPHE MALINOW HOUSE II P CAMP I.O.M”
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Many Jewish refugees fleeing Austria and Germany were classified as enemy aliens and were interned on the Isle of Man. P Camp, originally named Hutchinson Camp, was composed of 33 houses and was located in Douglas. It is often referred to as “the artist’s camp” because of its abundance of artistic and creative talent and many internees who were in possession of advance degrees in medicine and science. Indeed, many could also speak English.
Adolph Malinow came from Germany and lived with his wife in Whitehaven. However, due to the rampant dear of enemy sabotage, Mr. Malinow was interned in P Camp Hutchinson.
Letter written in German to Mrs. Malinow, was censored in Liverpool.
Tatura Jewish Internment Camp Letter Sheet from David Krieger, No.2 Camp, Tatura, Victoria, Australia
Front of envelope addressed to “Mr. S.J. KRIEGER,” stamped “3 PASSED BY CENSOR 389” and “SERVICES BY PRISONER OF WAR” in blue ink, top stamped “8 JUL 1942,” letter on back.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:Tatura was one of the two internment camps in Australia established for confining German-speaking refugees, due to concern that there may be enemy aliens amongst the refugee population. Tatura consisted of four camps and, as was true in other internment camps that housed Jewish refugees, schools and other cultural activities were established.
This letter sheet is hand stamped “Services of Prisoner of War” along with Australian censor tape.
In the letter sent to a nephew in Haifa, Palestine, Mr. Krieger reports that he is happy to hear from his Aunt Chaje who has safely arrived in the “Land of Freedom.” He also corrects that record that he is not a “prisoner of war” but a “civilian internee” caught up in the “general uprounding’ of aliens in May 1940 and unwillingly evacuated to Australia.” He hopes to “transmigrate to U.S.A.” but explains the impediments to his dream. He wishes a Happy Jewish New Years to family.
Postcard to "Ingenieur" Alexander Distler in Jewish Refugee Camp 41 Ile-Aux Noix, Quebec from Carl Radlmesser in Toronto
Postcard with color image of city street, labelled “FRONT STREET, POST OFFICE, UNION DEPOT AND ROYAL HOTEL, TORONTO, CAN.” Back has two green postage stamps in upper right corner. [Related items 2019.2.310 - 2019.2.323]
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Alexander Distler, had been sent to an internment camp in Canada. At some point after 1940 the name of Camp “I” was changed to Camp 41, on Ile-aux-Noix, an island in Quebec. Distler is referred to in this 1943 postcard as an Engineer. As well his name has been anglicized. Distler may have known Radlmesser from Austria.
"POST-CARD" written at top of postcard in black print, writing in blue on left side, "HEADQUARTERS THE PALESTINE POLICE FORCE" stamped in purple near top, "7.6.44." written on back in top right corner.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Latrun, located in the Ayalon Valley between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, was the site of detention center initially established by the British in Palestine to imprison German and Italian prisoners of war. From 1942 Jewish residents of Palestine- the Yishuv- were detained in Latrun for resistance to British Mandatory policy in pre-state Israel, including members of Jewish defense organizations such as the Irgun.
Written in German, displays British Palestine censorship marks.
Envelope addressed to "Mrs. Dora Huttman, "JERUSALEM" underlined in bold, stamp of crown and "passed" in blue ink.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:Latrun, located in the Ayalon Valley between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, was the site of detention center initially established by the British in Palestine to imprison German and Italian prisoners of war. From 1942 Jewish residents of Palestine- the Yishuv- were detained in Latrun for resistance to British Mandatory policy in pre-state Israel, including members of Jewish defense organizations such as the Irgun.
Written in German, displays British Palestine censorship marks.
Envelope with one red postage stamp and one orange postage stamp along right side, “ISRAEL” written and underlined in blue ink at top. Back includes “CYPRUS” written and underlined in blue ink.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Internment camp at Karaolos mail from period of mass emigration by European Jews following World War II. Famagusta postmark reverse, Karaolos postmark front.
Tan paper with Hebrew title. Includes the emblem of Israel with Star of David and olive branch on upper lefthand corner, and beneath it a large printed 50 in a decorative border. Also includes printed black Hebrew text and an illustration of two angels sitting by a tent with luggage in a black box.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Single sheet newspaper printed in Hebrew from 3.2.1949 titled "Shurot." Cyprus was an internment camp for Jewish refugees from the Holocaust who were captured and detained by British forces having been accused of attempting to gain entry to Palestine/Israel illegally. Cyprus internment camp was closed in February 1949. Thus this appears to be the final issue of this newspaper. The cartoon depicting two sad angelic figures perhaps represents the stateless Holocaust refugees from Europe, with bags packed, yet uncertain as to when they might enter the promised land.
Blue Mauritius postage stamp in upper right corner, “Written in English” in black print in upper left corner, underlined with dashes, “PASSED BY CENSOR MAURITIUS” in triangle shaped stamp in purple ink. Back labelled “OPENED BY CENSOR” in large red print, and includes “Exp.: Adolf Meir Feldmenn” in black print near top.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Britain’s refusal to permit desperate Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe to emigrate to Palestine meant establishing internment camps within the Empire. In December 1940 they opened up an internment camp in a dismal Napoleonic era prison on the island of Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean off the coast of South Africa. Ultimately 1,500 refugees, “illegal immigrants” were denied entry to Palestine, were deported here.
Cover shows a purple triangular Mauritius censor as well as a Union of South Africa censor. All camp mail went through Postbox 1000, which was also the return address. It is believed that Mr. Feldmann eventually was allowed to become a citizen of Israel.