Civilian prisoners of South Asia in Germany during World War II in German archives


TABLE OF CONTENTSCamp­scape |  ↳ Sta­lag X B Sand­bos­tel – Ilag and Milag  |  ↳ Mar­lag and Milag Nord in Wes­terim­ke  |  ↳ Bre­men and Ham­burg har­bour  |  Sources |  ↳ Poli­ti­sches Archiv des Aus­wär­ti­gen Amts  |  ↳ Impe­ri­al War Muse­um, Lon­don  |  ↳ Bre­men and Ham­burg Sta­te Archi­ve  |   Con­clu­si­on  |   End­no­tes  |   Biblio­gra­phy

South Asi­an civi­li­an pri­soners in Ger­man cap­ti­vi­ty during World War II have recei­ved very litt­le scho­l­ar­ly atten­ti­on. Whe­re­as the­re has been exten­si­ve rese­arch on the South Asi­an sol­di­ers who have joi­ned Sub­has Chan­dra Bose’s Azad Hind Fauj and preli­mi­na­ry rese­arch on ordi­na­ry cap­ti­ves who had eit­her cho­sen not to join the Indian Legi­on, as it was cal­led in Ger­ma­ny, or were con­si­de­red unfit for it, South Asi­an civi­li­an pri­soners do not play a role in eit­her of the­se his­to­rio­gra­phies. Yet, the­se cap­ti­ves, main­ly Indian sea­men working for the Bri­tish Mer­chant or Roy­al Navy or European ship­ping com­pa­nies, inha­bi­ted, for instan­ce, the bar­racks of the camps in Sand­bos­tel and Wes­terim­ke in nort­hern Lower Sax­o­ny and the make-shift arran­ge­ments in Ham­burg and Bre­men.

In this essay, I will first out­line the his­to­ric con­text of South Asi­an civi­li­an cap­ti­vi­ty in Nort­hern Ger­ma­ny by iden­ti­fy­ing, loca­ting and recon­struc­ting the for­ma­ti­on of the dif­fe­rent camps and intern­ment faci­li­ties. Second, I draw atten­ti­on to the sources, map­ping the archi­val land­s­cape and poin­ting out the rele­van­ce of each hol­ding wit­hin the over­ar­ching frame­work of the MIDA pro­ject and its Digi­tal Archi­val Refle­xi­con. Alt­hough I am digi­tal­ly reor­de­ring the sources along the per­ti­nence princip­le, the pro­ven­an­ce of the hol­dings is not lost as I start each sec­tion with situa­ting the respec­tive hol­ding in the struc­tu­re of its phy­si­cal repo­sito­ry.

Throughout the paper, I reflect and com­ment on pos­si­ble van­ta­ge points for his­to­ric scho­l­ar­ship in this under rese­ar­ched field of stu­dy as they are emer­ging out of this ten­ta­ti­ve sur­vey on the mate­ri­al.

Campscape

Stalag X B Sandbostel – Ilag and Milag

Initi­al­ly, the civi­li­an pri­soners were inter­ned in the Kriegs­ge­fan­ge­nen-Mann­schafts-Stamm­la­ger X B Sand­bos­tel, coined Sta­lag X B in mili­ta­ry jar­gon. The camp, fal­ling under the admi­nis­tra­ti­on of Wehr­kreis (war area) X, encom­pas­sing Schles­wig-Hol­stein, Ham­burg, Bre­men and nort­hern Lower Sax­o­ny, was erec­ted in 1939 clo­se to the vil­la­ge Sand­bos­tel, len­ding its name to the faci­li­ty (Ehres­mann 2015). It was in ope­ra­ti­on throughout the war until its libe­ra­ti­on by the Bri­tish army on April 29, 1945, having hosted at least 313 000 civil and mili­ta­ry pri­soners, thousands of whom died from disea­ses and phy­si­cal exhaus­ti­on. Soviet pri­soners in par­ti­cu­lar suf­fe­red from the dis­astrous con­di­ti­ons and mistre­at­ment under inten­tio­nal dis­re­gard of the Gene­va Con­ven­ti­on. Sta­lag X B was divi­ded into Ilag (Inter­nie­rungs­la­ger) and Milag (Mari­ne-Inter­nie­rungs­la­ger). Whe­re­as both hosted offi­cers and ranks of the Mer­chant as well as the Roy­al Navy, colo­ni­al sea­men were only to be inter­ned in Ilag. The­re were around 660 colo­ni­al sea­men cate­go­ri­zed as Chi­ne­se, Indian, Arab and Mala­yan in Octo­ber 1941.[1] Most of them were cap­tu­red at sea when the Ger­man forces sei­zed their ships. During an inspec­tion of the camp in July 1941 by the Inter­na­tio­nal Red Cross, espe­ci­al­ly the hygie­nic faci­li­ties in both camps were con­si­de­red abso­lute­ly insuf­fi­ci­ent and the pri­soners were obser­ved to be lacking warm uni­forms and under­we­ar.[2] With the harsh Ger­man win­ter approa­ching, the Ger­man mili­ta­ry tried to nego­tia­te an agree­ment with Ita­ly to send the civi­li­ans to one of their intern­ment camps. Howe­ver, the Ita­li­an aut­ho­ri­ties with­drew their initi­al offi­cer, clai­ming to have exhausted their capa­ci­ties. Ins­tead, the who­le Ilag and Mar­lag branch of Sand­bos­tel was relo­ca­ted to a new camp 25 km towards the south, now being refer­red to as Mar­lag and Milag Nord.

Marlag and Milag Nord in Westerimke

In the cour­se of the relo­ca­ti­on, around 380 Indian las­cars, along with the other so-cal­led colou­red sea­men, were trans­fer­red to Wes­terim­ke clo­se to Bre­men in Octo­ber 1941. The new faci­li­ty con­sisted of two camps espe­ci­al­ly crea­ted to accom­mo­da­te cap­ti­ves of the Bri­tish Mer­chant Navy, cal­led Mar­lag and Milag (Mari­ne-Inter­nie­rungs­la­ger). The­re, the Indians were accom­mo­da­ted in the Milag branch of the camp, their num­bers now figu­ring at 533.[3] As this camp, too, was ill equip­ped and South Asi­ans con­si­de­red unfit to last the Ger­man win­ter, their depor­ta­ti­on to Ita­ly was again deba­ted in Decem­ber 1941. In Febru­a­ry of 1942, howe­ver, 486 Indian civi­li­ans were still listed on the camp docu­ments.[4]

In 1943, ano­t­her small camp was built in their vicini­ty to accom­mo­da­te the bulk of Indian, Ade­ne­se, Chi­ne­se and Bur­me­se sea­men. Some 630 sea­men moved out of Milag to what came to be cal­led the Inder Lager (Tho­mas 1995, p. 105). Simi­lar to the so-cal­led Half­moon Camp in Zos­sen-Wüns­dorf during World War I, the South Asi­ans were sepa­ra­ted from their Bri­tish offi­cers and expo­sed to pro-Ger­man pro­pa­gan­da in an attempt to find allies among the colo­ni­al sub­jec­ts (Tho­mas 1995, p. 273). Not only did this endea­vour pro­ve unsuc­cess­ful as only a few sea­men were recrui­ted to the Indian Legi­on, but the com­man­ders of the camp met with various inci­dents of pas­si­ve resis­tan­ce from the inma­tes, both in Sand­bos­tel and Wes­terim­ke (Tho­mas 1995, 272f; Lane 1990, 284). The damp cli­ma­te of Nort­hern Ger­ma­ny, lack of fuel, food and suf­fi­ci­ent clot­hing, as well as the dis­re­gard of the die­ta­ry customs of the pre­do­mi­nant­ly Mus­lim inha­bi­tants of the Inder Lager made ever­y­day life an unplea­sant expe­ri­ence. Red Cross Par­cels with rati­ons bare­ly reached the camp and the high­ly cen­so­red and dis­rup­ted cor­re­spon­dence bet­ween the pri­soners and the out­si­de world fur­ther added to the atmo­s­phe­re of resent­ment and iso­la­ti­on among the cap­ti­ves. While extra rati­ons were indis­pensable, the Indian Red Cross in Sim­la sent books, musi­cal instru­ments and games. A thea­t­re was con­struc­ted and several plays were per­for­med with full musi­cal accom­p­ani­ment and reli­gious rou­ti­nes were main­tai­ned as far as the con­di­ti­ons allo­wed it (Tho­mas 1995, 275).

Bremen and Hamburg harbour

In addi­ti­on to the South Asi­an sea­men inter­ned in Sand­bos­tel and Wes­terim­ke, the­re were ano­t­her appro­xi­mate­ly 360 Indian las­cars held cap­ti­ve in Ham­burg and Bre­men. All of them employees of the Han­sa Line, a Ger­man ship­ping com­pa­ny pre­do­mi­nant­ly cal­ling at South Asi­an ports, they were detai­ned in Sep­tem­ber 1939, when England’s decla­ra­ti­on of war to Ger­ma­ny led to a com­ple­te lock down of all eco­no­mic rela­ti­ons with India. At that time, seven ful­ly man­ned ships were ancho­red in Bre­men and two at the Ham­burg port. As their ships were denied voya­ge, the South Asi­an sea­men found them­sel­ves out of employ­ment and groun­ded in Ger­ma­ny. They were accom­mo­da­ted eit­her in make-shift arran­ge­ments in and around Bre­men city, whe­re they were main­tai­ned and guar­ded by the Han­sa Line, or stay­ed on two small bar­ges ancho­red in Ham­burg port.[5] As far as Bre­men is con­cer­ned, the Han­sa Line ensu­red that they were pro­vi­ded with food pre­pa­red in agree­ment with their reli­gious beliefs and were even allo­wed to ven­ture out into the city in groups of ten.[6] Their sup­port for the las­cars hints to the ambi­guous situa­ti­on cer­tain parts of the ship­ping indus­try found its­elf in during the war. Hea­vi­ly rely­ing on their inter­na­tio­nal work­force, they were less sup­por­ti­ve of the natio­na­list cau­se as, for examp­le, the hea­vy indus­try. Some sea­men then found new employ­ment on Dutch steamers. Nevertheless, at least two died in local hos­pi­tals.[7] Upon request of their for­mer employ­er, they were given warm clo­thes from the fun­dus of the local poli­ce. In Ham­burg, the situa­ti­on was con­si­der­a­b­ly less ami­ca­ble as the bar­ges did not pro­vi­de suf­fi­ci­ent shel­ter from the win­ter cli­ma­te for the initi­al 94 las­cars. By Octo­ber 1939, alrea­dy half of the crew was suf­fe­ring from pneu­ma­tic disea­ses.[8] On Febru­a­ry 14, 1940, the remai­ning 65 las­cars in Ham­burg were joi­ned with the 215 still stay­ing in Bre­men from whe­re they were trans­por­ted to the Nether­lands. They were set free on the con­di­ti­on that they would not join ene­my ser­vice.[9]

Sources

The rele­vant hol­dings regar­ding South Asi­an civi­li­an pri­soners in Ger­ma­ny during World War II are spread across three dif­fe­rent Ger­man sta­te archi­ves and one Bri­tish collec­tion. As this is a preli­mi­na­ry over­view, I do not rule out the pos­si­bi­li­ty that the­re will be more mate­ri­al in other archi­ves, for examp­le in the archi­ves of the Inter­na­tio­nal Tra­cing Ser­vice in Bad Arol­sen.[10]

Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amts

Quan­ti­ta­tively, the most signi­fi­cant mate­ri­al is stored in the Poli­ti­sches Archiv des Aus­wär­ti­gen Amts (the Poli­ti­cal Archi­ve of the Federal For­eign Office) [PAAA]. It is struc­tu­red accord­ing to the pro­ven­an­ce princip­le, reflec­ting the admi­nis­tra­ti­ve struc­tu­re of the Ger­man For­eign Office at a given point in time. One branch caters only to the bureau­cra­tic out­put of the admi­nis­tra­ti­on of the Third Reich. Wit­hin this branch, the mate­ri­al on the South Asi­an cap­ti­ves is found in five files in the hol­ding Rechts­an­ge­le­gen­hei­ten (legal mat­ters) under the sub-sec­tion Kriegs­recht (mar­ti­al law) / Völ­ker­recht (inter­na­tio­nal law). The mate­ri­al is par­ti­cu­lar­ly rele­vant becau­se it con­firms that Indian civi­li­ans were first inter­ned in Sand­bos­tel befo­re they were trans­fer­red to Wes­terim­ke, which has elu­ded his­to­ri­cal scho­l­ar­ly atten­ti­on so far. Perhaps most strikin­gly, the files con­tain den­se mate­ri­al on eight Indian mer­chants from Sind, per­man­ent­ly resi­ding in Gibral­tar, who had been cap­tu­red in 1940 in the Indian Oce­an on the S. S. Kem­men­di­ne on their way to India after having been evacua­ted from Gibral­tar. They were inter­ned as civil pri­soners first in Sta­lag X B and later in Mar­lag and Milag Nord. Eager to be released to Tan­gier, Spa­nish Moroc­co, whe­re they had long term busi­ness rela­ti­ons, their cor­re­spon­dence with the Indian Mer­chant Asso­cia­ti­on in Tan­gier, various con­su­la­tes and embas­sies, the Swiss lega­ti­on and, of cour­se, the Ger­man aut­ho­ri­ties, make for a fasci­na­ting case stu­dy for the micro-histo­ry of camp poli­tics. As they dis­cuss the finan­ci­al, geo­gra­phic and legal aspec­ts of their pen­ding repa­tria­ti­on, insights into inter­na­tio­nal war-time diplo­ma­cy from a bot­tom-up per­spec­tive can be gai­ned. Despi­te their relent­less efforts, the Bri­tish-Indians were still in Ger­man cap­ti­vi­ty in March 1945.

Fur­ther, the hol­ding con­tains intern­ment lists of cap­ti­ves of both Sta­lag X B and Mar­lag and Milag Nord, as well as camp inspec­tion reports of the Inter­na­tio­nal Red Cross in Gene­va and the Swiss lega­ti­on. Espe­ci­al­ly the lat­ter are valu­able sources as they pro­vi­de rare insights into the ever­y­day life of the camps and the con­di­ti­ons of intern­ment of South Asi­an civi­li­an pri­soners view­ed through the lens of inter­na­tio­nal huma­ni­ta­ri­an orga­ni­za­ti­ons.

Imperial War Museum, London

The hol­ding in the PAAA is inter­lin­ked with a hol­ding in the Impe­ri­al War Muse­um, Lon­don. Alt­hough the pri­va­te papers of Cap­tain H. W. Jones have been stu­di­ed by scho­l­ars like Tony Lane (Lane 1990) and Gabe Tho­mas (Tho­mas 1995) and do not stric­t­ly fall under the cate­go­ry of modern India in Ger­man archi­ves, I am lis­ting them here becau­se they are cru­ci­al for a com­pre­hen­si­ve under­stan­ding of the civi­li­an camp­scape of Word War II. Cap­tain H. W. Jones, Chief Offi­cer of the Har­ri­ons Line’s S. S. Dales­man, man­ned with an Indian crew, was excep­tio­nal in a num­ber of ways. Not only had he lear­ned Hin­du­sta­ni, the lin­gua-fran­ca of Nort­hern India to com­mu­ni­ca­te with his staff, but also vol­un­te­e­red to lea­ve the officer’s camp to join the Indians as their Con­fi­dence Offi­cer. At the Inder Lager, he app­lied his ener­gies to make life as tole­ra­ble as pos­si­ble for the South Asi­ans, who suf­fe­red more than the Europeans from the impo­si­ti­ons of cap­ti­vi­ty. He inter­ven­ed on their behalf for the pro­per con­si­de­ra­ti­on of their die­ta­ry requi­re­ments in line with their reli­gious beliefs, made sure they were sup­plied with essen­ti­als, clot­hing and blan­kets, hel­ped with the cor­re­spon­dence in and out of the camp in the face of the Ger­man cen­sor, took respon­si­bi­li­ty of the camp wages and ensu­red a mini­mum of leisu­re activi­ties to be avail­ab­le for the inma­tes (Tho­mas 1995, 274–6). His pri­va­te papers, stored in two card­board boxes, con­tain his copious notes about life in the Inder Lager. He kept nomi­nal lists of the Indian but also other Asi­an, Carib­be­an and Afri­can cap­ti­ves, a volu­min­ous collec­tion of cor­re­spon­den­ces and peti­ti­ons on behalf of the South Asi­ans to their rela­ti­ves at home as well as the local aut­ho­ri­ties[11], balan­ce she­ets, bills and rece­ipts for rati­ons, cine­ma tickets, sale of effec­ts of the decea­sed and camp wages,[12] a camp dia­ry of 1942, pho­to­graphs, gro­ce­ry lists and dai­ly menus, and notes he had taken during the visit of the Swiss Lega­ti­on who inspec­ted Mar­lag in April 1944.[13] After the war, he brought ever­ything back to Eng­land whe­re it even­tual­ly came to rest in the cus­to­dy of the Impe­ri­al War Muse­um after his death.

Bremen and Hamburg State Archive

Alt­hough the mate­ri­al in the hol­dings of the Bre­men Sta­te Archi­ve and the Ham­burg Sta­te Archi­ve is less volu­min­ous than the one in PAAA, their hol­dings are nevertheless important as they open a win­dow into the poli­tics of intern­ment out­si­de the realm of the tra­di­tio­nal pri­son camps. The 360 las­cars from Bom­bay and Cal­cut­ta of the Han­sa Line were accom­mo­da­ted in small bar­ges in the port or housing shel­ters in the port neigh­bour­hood wit­hin clo­se pro­xi­mi­ty of the local urban popu­la­ti­on.

In the Bre­men Sta­te Archi­ve, the file on the cap­tu­red South Asi­an sea­men is stored along­si­de docu­ments on for­eign work­force, soci­al secu­ri­ty, labour issu­es, the Jewish ques­ti­on, air raid shel­ter and pri­soners of war as part of the hol­ding Sena­tor für Inne­res, All­ge­mei­ne Regis­tra­tur in Bre­men bet­ween 1919 – 1956.[14] The file its­elf, label­led Aus­län­der­po­li­zei­li­che Behand­lung indi­scher Staats­an­ge­hö­ri­ger 1939 – 1940 (tre­at­ment of Indian natio­nals by the for­eig­ners poli­ce), con­tains the cor­re­spon­dence bet­ween the Natio­nal Socia­list poli­ce forces in Ber­lin and Bre­men, the mayor of Bre­men and his sena­tor of the inte­rior as well as its Ham­burg equi­va­lent, the Haupt­ver­ei­ni­gung der deut­schen Getrei­de- und Fut­ter­mit­tel­wirt­schaft (the Ger­man grain and feed­s­tuff main asso­cia­ti­on) and rep­re­sen­ta­ti­ves of the Han­sa Line about the tre­at­ment of the cap­tu­red Indian las­cars. As the camp for civil pri­soners in Sand­bos­tel was not yet in ope­ra­ti­on, the pla­ce­ment of the South Asi­an sea­men was a com­pli­ca­ted and pres­sing issue for the aut­ho­ri­ties. In a request to the Bre­men poli­ce, the Han­sa Line empha­ti­cal­ly urges the for­mer to keep the las­cars in Bre­men and in the cus­to­dy of the ship­ping line, as only from here they could ensu­re their pro­per tre­at­ment inclu­ding the pre­pa­ra­ti­on of meals along their reli­gious beliefs and regio­nal back­ground and their safe­guar­ding against cold wea­ther.[15] Issu­es revol­ved around the import and clearan­ce of rice and tea by the customs and around fin­ding an accep­ta­ble and afford­a­ble loca­ti­on for their accom­mo­da­ti­on. A gro­ce­ry list divi­ding the crew bet­ween peop­le from Cal­cut­ta and Bom­bay sheds light into the respec­tive die­ta­ry requi­re­ments from the per­spec­tive of their employ­ers. A com­pre­hen­si­ve enu­me­ra­ti­on of all las­cars inter­ned, sta­ting their names, pro­fes­si­ons, age and place of recruit­ment, allows insights into the soci­al com­po­si­ti­on of the mari­ti­me work­force. Even­tual­ly, it was agreed to deport the Indians to Eng­land. The Ham­burg and Bre­men las­cars were poo­led and sent by train to be han­ded over to the Bri­tish vice con­sul on Febru­a­ry 14 of 1940 in Rot­ter­dam.[16] As oppo­sed to the mer­chant cap­tu­red on the S. S. Kem­men­di­ne, the Bre­men and Ham­burg las­cars had a (finan­ci­al­ly) strong lob­by nego­tia­ting on their behalf. As a result, they were released from Ger­ma­ny after a rela­tively short peri­od of six mon­ths in cap­ti­vi­ty, whe­re­as the mer­chants from Gibral­tar stay­ed in camp throughout the ent­i­re war despi­te their relent­less efforts.

The Han­sa Line las­cars also appe­ar in the Ham­burg Sta­te Archi­ve, howe­ver not in the hol­ding of a government minis­try but of a medi­cal insti­tu­ti­on, the Hafen­arzt (har­bour phy­si­ci­an). The uni­que insti­tu­ti­on was crea­ted in 1893 in reac­tion to the seve­re cho­le­ra epi­de­mic that struck Ham­burg in 1892 with the objec­tive of a per­ma­nent sani­ta­ry con­trol of the ships, crews and pas­sen­gers ent­e­ring Ham­burg port from over­se­as. Besi­des the hygie­nic super­vi­si­on of ves­sels and water, figh­t­ing (tro­pi­cal) disea­ses in the har­bour also fell under the scope of func­tions of the Hafen­arzt. The­re­fo­re, in 1939, the medi­cal tre­at­ment of the Ham­burg las­cars, lod­ged in nar­row bar­ges owned by the Han­sa Line ancho­red in the port fell under this institution’s field of respon­si­bi­li­ty. The doc­tor in char­ge in 1939, Dr. Kucken­burg, saw ill las­cars during his office hours and trans­fer­red them to hos­pi­tals in Ham­burg if their con­di­ti­on requi­red it. Moreo­ver, the bar­ges were inspec­ted at least once by public health aut­ho­ri­ties and were label­led abso­lute­ly inap­pro­pria­te for housing the South Asi­an sea­men.[17] Expec­ting the immi­nent trans­fer of the las­cars to Bre­men, the rep­re­sen­ta­ti­ve of the Han­sa Line, Cap­tain Oet­ker, was not as dedi­ca­ted to the lascar’s well­being as his coun­ter­parts in Bre­men, who had rejec­ted the idea of accom­mo­da­ting the las­cars on ships on huma­ni­ta­ri­an grounds.

Whe­re­as the Bre­men files reveal the posi­ti­on of capi­tal in cor­re­spon­dence with the sta­te and poli­ce aut­ho­ri­ties, the Ham­burg files look at the same group of peop­le from the per­spec­tive of hygie­ne. Dri­ven by the fear of an epi­de­mic in the port area, the Ham­burg health aut­ho­ri­ties and not the employ­ers pres­sed for bet­ter living con­di­ti­ons for the cap­ti­ves. In Bre­men, the employer’s respon­si­bi­li­ty to care for a loy­al work­force was the dri­ving force behind the nego­tia­ti­on on the las­cars’ behalf. In com­bi­na­ti­on with the mate­ri­al in the PAAA and the pri­va­te papers of Cap­tain H.W. Jones, a sys­te­ma­tic ana­ly­sis of the living con­di­ti­ons of South Asi­an sea­men befo­re the back­ground of dif­fe­rent pro­tec­ting bodies, be it their employ­ers, their supe­ri­ors, inspec­tors of the health aut­ho­ri­ties or the Swiss Lega­ti­on or the absence the­re­of is pos­si­ble.

Conclusion

One of the main objec­tives of the MIDA Archi­val Refle­xi­con is to draw atten­ti­on to smal­ler archi­ves and pri­va­te collec­tions housed in Ger­man archi­ves, which may offer new insights into the ent­ang­led his­to­ries as well as their accom­pany­ing ent­ang­led archi­ves out­si­de the realm of the colo­ni­al Bri­tish archi­ves. The nume­ri­cal­ly rather limi­ted hol­dings on South Asi­an civil pri­soners in Ger­man cap­ti­vi­ty spread out over mul­ti­ple archi­ves may seem insi­gni­fi­cant when stu­di­ed as iso­la­ted ent­i­ties. Howe­ver, when ana­ly­sed with regard to their inter­re­la­ted natu­re, their rele­van­ce for his­to­rio­gra­phy beco­mes visi­ble. As the hol­dings com­ple­ment and cor­rob­ora­te each other, only the rest­ruc­tu­ring of the archi­val order along the­ma­tic lines reveals pos­si­ble rese­arch ave­nues. With archi­ves as diver­se as the PAAA, the Ham­burg and Bre­men Sta­te Archi­ve and the Impe­ri­al War Muse­um in Lon­don, and hol­dings ran­ging from pri­va­te papers to the docu­ments of the har­bour phy­si­ci­an, the­re unfolds an inter­sec­ted puz­zle of sources yet to be sys­te­ma­ti­cal­ly enga­ged with.

New rese­arch per­spec­tives, as I have out­lined in this essay, inclu­de the huma­ni­ta­ri­an and soci­al con­di­ti­ons of the camps as well as the every-day life of South Asi­an pri­soners. Moreo­ver, the influ­ence of inter­na­tio­nal diplo­ma­cy and lob­by­ing on the­se con­di­ti­ons as well as on the inter­nees’ chan­ces of libe­ra­ti­on and repa­tria­ti­on can be scru­ti­ni­zed through the­se sources. Whe­ther it was for per­so­nal sym­pa­thy and gene­ral huma­ni­ta­ri­an con­si­de­ra­ti­ons, in the inte­rest of capi­tal or for the fear of a health cri­sis, out­si­de inter­ven­ti­on on the pri­soners’ behalf signi­fi­cant­ly impro­ved their over­all situa­ti­on. Howe­ver, no mat­ter how strong the lob­by, their expe­ri­ence in camp was gene­ral­ly unplea­sant, if not trau­ma­ti­zing, and some­ti­mes even dead­ly, as the mate­ri­al has also shown.

Ano­t­her pos­si­ble tra­jec­to­ry for his­to­rio­gra­phy is a com­pa­ra­ti­ve stu­dy of the camps for South Asi­an civil pri­soners during World War I, on which the­re alrea­dy exists a fair­ly signi­fi­cant body of pri­ma­ry and secon­da­ry sources, and their coun­ter­parts in World War II. Pos­si­ble van­ta­ge points are the imple­men­ta­ti­on of Ger­man pro­pa­gan­da among the South Asi­ans, the con­di­ti­ons of their inter­ment, modes of resis­tan­ce to the camp regime as well as their own per­spec­tive on the war.

The­se sug­ges­ti­ons are by no means exhaus­ti­ve and can easi­ly be expan­ded to other fields of rese­arch.

Endnotes

[1] PAAA_R40967, p. 51.
[2] PAAA_R40967, p. 40.
[3] PAAA_R40967, p. 59.
[4] PAAA_R40967, p. 81
[5] StaHH, 352–7 I Hafen­arzt I, Nr. 42 , Abschrift aus dem Bericht des Gesundhtsb. Maak vom 23. Sept.
[6] StaB, 13/1‑P.1.f.Nr. 35 (2981) Aus­län­der­po­li­zei­li­che Behand­lung indi­scher Staats­an­ge­hö­ri­ger 1939–1940, p. 16.
[7] StaB, 13/1‑P.1.f.Nr. 35, p. 36.
[8] StaHH, 352–7 I Hafen­arzt I, Nr. 42, Hand­schrift­li­che Notiz.
[9] StaB, 13/1‑P.1.f.Nr. 35, p. 33.
[10]

See also the ent­ry by Vanda­na Joshi which deals with the sources on Indian civi­li­ans and sol­di­ers housed in ITS archi­ve in Bad Arol­sen.

[11]

14/10/1/1; 14/10/1/2, Pri­va­te Papers of Cap­tain H. W. Jones.

[12]

14/10/1/2; Pri­va­te Papers of Cap­tain H. W. Jones.

[13]

14/10/2, Pri­va­te Papers of Cap­tain H. W. Jones.

[14]

StaB, 4,13/1 – Sena­tor für Inne­res, All­ge­mei­ne Regis­tra­tur (1940–1956).

[15]

StaB, 13/1‑P.1.f.Nr. 35, p. 8–9.

[16]

StaB, 13/1‑P.1.f.Nr. 35, p. 33–34.

[17]

StaHH, 352–7 I Hafen­arzt I, Nr. 42, Abschrift aus dem Bericht des Gesundhtsb. Maak vom 23. Sept. 1939.

Bibliography

Unpublished Sources (holdings)

Staats­ar­chiv Ham­burg, 352–7 I Hafen­arzt I

Staats­ar­chiv Bre­men, 4,13/1 – Sena­tor für Inne­res, All­ge­mei­ne Regis­tra­tur (1940–1956)

Impe­ri­al War Muse­um, Lon­don, Pri­va­te Papers of Cap­tain H. W. Jones

Poli­ti­sches Archiv des Aus­wär­ti­gen Amts, Bestand Rechts­an­ge­le­gen­hei­ten, Kriegs­recht / Völ­ker­recht

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Ehres­mann, Andre­as, Das Sta­lag X B Sand­bos­tel. Geschich­te und Nach­ge­schich­te eines Kriegs­ge­fan­ge­nen­la­gers. München/Hamburg: Döl­ling und Galitz Ver­lag, 2015.

Hill, Cap­tain A., Some expe­ri­en­ces of SS Man­da­sor and her Crew during World War. Edin­burgh, 1947.

Lane, Tony, The Mer­chant Seamen’s War, Liver­pool: The Blue­coat Press, 1990.

Lie­bau, Hei­ke, “A voice record­ing, a por­trait pho­to and three drawings: tra­cing the life of a colo­ni­al sol­dier”.  In ZMO Working Papers (20/2018), pp. 1–14.

Gabe, Tho­mas, Milag: cap­ti­ves of the Kriegs­ma­ri­ne. Mer­chant Navy pri­soners of war. Pon­tar­da­we, Swan­sea: Milag Pri­so­ner of War Asso­cia­ti­on, 1995.

Roy, Fran­zis­ka, “Indian Sea­men in World War I Pri­son Camps in Ger­ma­ny”. In Südasien-Chronik – South Asia Chro­ni­cle (5/2015) pp. 63–91.

Roy, Fran­zis­ka, Hei­ke Lie­bau and Ravi Ahu­ja (eds.), When the war began we heard of several kings. South Asi­an pri­soners in World War I Ger­ma­ny.  New Delhi: Soci­al Sci­ence Press, 2011.

Sven­ja von Jan, CEMIS, Uni­ver­si­tät Göt­tin­gen