Over 5,000 British civilians were interned near Berlin between 1914 and 1918. Drawing on personal documents from Leeds University’s Liddle Collection, Dr Claudia Sternberg introduces some of the internees and their families and considers life in the camp, European mobility before the war and conditions at the time of repatriation.
In 1914, men in Britain and the Empire were mobilised to fight on the front. The populations at home braced themselves for war. But what happened to British husbands, wives and children who lived in Germany when war was declared? What became of tourists, seamen, professionals, academics and students who found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time?
Drawing on diverse personal and official documents from Leeds University’s Liddle Collection, this talk introduces Ruhleben Camp near Spandau where over 5,000 British and colonial civilians were interned between 1914 and 1918. It presents biographical sketches for some of the internees and their families and considers social and cultural activities in the camp, Anglo-German relations, European mobility before the war and conditions at the time of repatriation.
Image: Ruhleben Horse-Box (detail), drawing by Robert Walker (Ruhleben 1917), produced by A. Page & Co., London. From the file of E.R. Vincent, LIDDLE/WW1/RUH/56. Reproduced with permission of Special Collections, Leeds University Library