Skip to content

From Refugees to Internees / “Collar the Lot” Video

Former internees discuss British internment.

Former internees discuss British internment.

Video: 5:04 17.7 MB Download

Adobe Flash Player and Javascript are required to view videos. The transcript is below.

Transcript

“Collar the Lot”

In May 1940, fearing a German invasion, Britain began rounding up “enemy aliens,” including Jewish refugees from Nazism.

Edgar Lion
Close-up photo of Edgar Lion being interviewed
I was just about to set off and this black limousine comes up with the secret service men, the police and: “Is a Mr. Lion there?”;“Yes, that’s me.” “Mr. Lion we have to ask you to come with us to the police station. We want to ask you a few questions.”

Hon. Fred Kaufman
Close-up photo of Hon. Fred Kaufman being interviewed
They came to the door, were very apologetic, and said that I would have to come with him. He said: “Pack a little bag because it might be a few days.” And then he did a rather extraordinary thing, and that’s why I avoid the word arrest. He said “I have to go and collect a couple other people in the district so it will give you a half and hour or so to pack a little bag and be ready and then I’ll come back and get you.

Dr Gideon Rosenbluth
Close-up photo of Dr Gideon Rosenbluth being interviewed
I said okay, I’ll go up and pack a suitcase. And he said “Oh no, that won’t be necessary. I’ve just got to take you to the police station for a check-up.” I didn’t believe them. So I went up and packed a suitcase.

Jack Hahn
Close-up photo of Jack Hahn being interviewed
They said, “We have to check your papers, and so on, and you’ll be back tonight.”

Gunter Bardeleben
Close-up photo of Gunter Bardeleben being interviewed
We were told, “It won’t be long, don’t take too much with you,” or something. But at that age, you maybe had other worries.

Dr Gregory Baum
Close-up photo of Dr Gregory Baum being interviewed
I was working in the barn, shoveling manure. The farmer called me and said there were two men wanting to see me, so I leaned the shovel against the wall, stepped out. These two men were policemen in civilian clothes and they said: “We’re sorry, we have to take you to the station. It may not be because you are German. It may not be long, maybe just a couple of days, take a toothbrush along.” And I went with them and I laughed in the car because it was a great adventure. I mean, to leave the barn and shovel manure and now I was driving through the Welsh countryside.

Edgar Lion
Close-up photo of Edgar Lion being interviewed
So I went with them and they drove through the city at 80 miles an hour, you know and the siren blazing. It was quite a ride to go. And we came to the police station and there were about twenty of us, others who seemed like myself, refugees from the Nazis who were caught by the police dragnet in Edinburgh.

Dr Ernest Poser
Close-up photo of Dr Ernest Poser being interviewed
There was a lot of apprehension among these hundreds of people who’d suddenly being taken out of their homes and didn’t know what was going to happen to them. And we could not communicate with our relatives, couldn’t communicate with anyone. And this upset almost everybody, but some, particularly those who had been through a concentration camp experience before, it struck them very hard.

Dr Peter Ziegler
Close-up photo of Dr Peter Ziegler being interviewed
The authorities in England were not prepared for this, and didn’t really know what to do with us or where to put us.

Dr Ernest Poser
Close-up photo of Dr Ernest Poser being interviewed
We were sent to a place of concentration, not to be confused with a concentration camp, which was a racecourse near London, Kempton Park.

Dr Walter Igersheimer
Close-up photo of Dr Walter Igersheimer being interviewed
Hundred and hundreds and thousands of people milling around, not knowing what to do, where to go, where to sleep. Everybody was crunched together on various parts of the racecourse.

Dr Gregory Baum
Close-up photo of Dr Gregory Baum being interviewed
And we were then shipped to a camp near Liverpool; from there we were shipped to the Isle of Man.

Rabbi Erwin Schild
Close-up photo of Rabbi Erwin Schild being interviewed
On the Isle of Man we did have comfortable accommodations because some of the seaside hotels had been converted into interment camps.

Edgar Lion
Close-up photo of Edgar Lion being interviewed
We were on the Isle of Man for probably a number of weeks, until one day they took us to Glasgow. There were two ships and we were told to take one or the other. If you took the first ship, you ended up in Australia, and you were sent back eventually because the Australians did not permit anybody to immigrate. If you took the second ship, which I took, you ended up in Canada. But when we left we did not know where we were going.