26 JULY 1940, Page 13


[In view of the paper shortage it is essential that letters on these pages should be brief. We are anxious not to reduce the number of letters, but unless they are shorter they must be fewer. Writers are urged to study the art of compression.—Ed., "The Spectator."]


sis,—To intern thousands of refugees without discrimination is both stupid and inhuman. The only crime these unfortunate people have committed is that of being driven from their homes by the enemy whom, in the name of freedom, we are now fighting. The idea that they are secretly longing to assist their arch-enemy is preposterous. Sonic cases stand out as involving exceptional hardships. Here are a few, just by way of example: (t) R. F., aged 51, Class C. Viennese Jewish musician. Came to England after the Anschluss on the invitation of a former secretary of a member of the Cabinet. Suffers from weak heart and had a stroke last winter, after which he was for some time unable to speak, and from which he has not fully recovered. Arrested in spite of medical certificate that he is unfit, and interned on June 28th. A fortnight later his family had no news of his whereabouts.

(2) W. W., Austrian, Class C. Suffers from diabetes and will die if insulin injection and special diet cease even for a short time. Arrested without warning. Had no opportunity of obtaining insulin to take with him.

(3) G. F., aged 31, Class C. Austrian writer, non-Aryan Christian. Came to England after the Anschluss at the invitation of a British subject, in whose house he has lived ever since. Suffers from nervous heart, blood-pressure, effects of hernia and migraine. General health and nervous condition bad. Letters to War Office asking to know his whereabouts in order that medical supplies might be sent not answered. (4) J. S., aged 56, Austrian Jewess, widow. Carne to England July, 1938, at the invitation of her niece's husband, a British subject by birth. After Easter this year, with the permission of the Home Office, she visited English relatives in Jersey. On June 21st, with the per- mission of the Jersey authorities, she came to Southampton with the other evacuees. Arrested in Southampton. Kept there two days in prison. Now in Holloway prison. No answer made to application for release over a fortnight ago. Prison diet disagrees with her. Relatives not allowed to send her food. In bad state of mental depression, and has had to be seen by prison doctor on account of this.

This sort of thing is commonplace in Nazi Germany. But it is not good enough for Britain. All people of good will and intelligence who still believe in democracy and human rights should write to their M.P.s. Copies of this statement can be obtained from this address free

of charge.—Yours truly, V. OGILVIE. 162 Westbourne Grove, London, W. ix.