Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bern Brent makes a point

Below is a copy of an email sent to me by Mr Bern Brent of Canberra. Mr Brent is a former internee of Tatura Camp and, to the best of my knowledge, a "Dunera Boy". Mr Brent makes some interesting points and, because of their value to the historical context, I have included them here.

Please note that readers are invited to add comments at the bottom of each page. All contributions are welcome, particularly if they contribute to the store of knowledge on this subject.

Hi Laurie,

The two Hay lists are interesting because in the Dunera literature incorporating many Dunera myths, one speaks almost invariably of Jewish people. In so far as among the Germans and Austrians interned in the UK in May-June 1940 and eventually sent to Australia on the Dunera, most were Jewish, that would be correct.

That there were a number of non-Jewish people who received a B and C classification at the beginning of the war (those who received an 'A' were interned at the beginning of the war) is well known. However, nobody knows what was the proportiopn of non-Jewish people among the Dunera 'anti-nazi' internees. The lists
provide a clue for researchers of whom Professor Kwiet is, I think, one.

We know how many people were in each of the two Hay camps. Here we have lists of people who were not Jewish. What I would like you to add to the list was the fact, mentioned on top in each instance, that the two lists are of Christians who are NOT Catholics and NOT C.of E. My point is that we had a good number of Austrians in the camp and of course many southern Germans are Catholic. I have yet to come across an Austrian who is Protestant.

Also, for researchers, my experience in Tatura camp 3 (I was not in Hay) could be mentioned. When the three ministers of the cloth came and asked for lists, not more than two thirds bothered to have their names added to such a list. As a result of which our camp poet wrote 'Sei Fromm' (Be Pious) for all those, Jewish, Protestant and Catholic, people who had not volunteered their names did NOT receive the goodies which arrived in camp from the various congregations (clothes, food, books, etc.).

Among the researchers for whom your website is usful, most would be German speakers. If you think it makes sense, I will pass on to you Oswald Volkmnann's little ditty as mentioned above.

Thank you for making the material available on the internet.

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At May 7, 2009 at 5:24 AM , Blogger Varda said...

Dear Bern,
I am Dr Peter Hoffman, writing from Rehovot, Israel.
Bruno Lipmann, and Eric, wrote from Hay to my late mother Edith, then Spielmann, in Melbourne.
My mother passed away only 16 months ago, and I found the letter in her files.
She knew the boys in Vienna, and they found her Melbourne address. Bruno was apparently a friend. I have no more information.
Naturally I thought that they were Jews, but the Australian Archives gave me a pleasant surprise.
I would certainly like to know more about them, their history in Vienna; and communicate with their families to exchange information. I would be happy to scan the letter for you and make it available for all Dunera researchers.
I request your e-mail. I answer at:
Peter Hoffman


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