[From St Stephen's House, 1920]

CHAPTER VI.

KNOCKALOE AND RUHLEBEN.

KNOCKALOE CAMP.

JUST as the name of the race-course of Ruhleben became painfully familiar to most English folk during the war, so the name of a little farmhouse near Peel in the Isle of Man was to be heard on the lips of many thousands in Germany, as well as in sad homes in most of the towns of England. For round this moorland farm of Knockaloe*, enclosing the little stone house on every side, there grew rapidly a vast temporary wooden town. Its population was recruited from all parts of the mainland of Great Britain, and when full, its 23,000 inhabitants increased the total population of the island by one half. No woman or child was to be seen in this town ; it contained no cottage or mansion, but a haze of smoke by day and a blaze of electric light at night time showed from afar where lay the ranks of black huts in which its folk were to eat and sleep together for three or four weary years. Outside, the fences of barbed wire and the pacing sentries, were an everlasting reminder that the world was at war and that the inhabitants of Knockaloe Camp must keep out of the world until the war was ended.

The camp was pitched on the eastern slopes of a range of hills, which on their western side run steeply down to the Irish Sea. The summit of the hill cut off the camp from sight of the sea, though from a few of the enclosures one could catch a glimpse of Peel Harbour, almost two miles to the north. On the landward side there was a wide prospect away to Greeba Hill beyond St. John’s. Fortunately it became possible for a small number of the prisoners to get out of camp as members of working parties, repairing roads, banking streams, or working on the land, and kindly tales were told of sympathetic farm wives and of children’s smiles. But for most of the men such friendly and personal intercourse remained a dream, and to them the outside world was represented by the crowded chars-a-bancs that drove across from Douglas to " see the Germans " behind their bars, as one might go to the Zoo.

The camp was well described by a visitor as being like a glorified chicken run. Not only were the huts suggestive of enlarged hen-houses, but the aimless wandering of the men round and round the compounds, in dust or in mud, according to the weather, brought to mind the scratchings of cooped chickens in their already well-scratched-over soil.

The organisation of the camp was by means of four sub-camps, each ruled by a sub-commandant. Each of these camps was divided into five to seven "compounds" containing nearly a thousand men each when full. Each compound was wired off from its neighbours, and only a few men with special duties could pass from one compound to another. The inhabitants of each compound were subdivided again into companies, each under its own leader. Constant head-counts were made to ensure against escapes. On the upper slopes of the hill attached to Camp III., were the hospital huts, including special wards for venereal, tubercular, and for mental cases. On the other side of the camp, across the main road, lay a little piece of ground which came to be known as " Camp V." To this enclosure, unguarded and un-wired, a prisoner would be brought from time to time, escaped from the anxious cares of internment, and from all the troubles of his life. " Camp V." was the burying ground of the little church at Knockaloe. Steadily it filled, and keeps its men - although its busy sister-camps across the way have long been emptied and broken up-a war memorial over which no proud monument will be reared.

Cabinet Workers' Shop in Camp IV, Knockaloe, Isle of Man
Cabinet Workers' Shop in Camp IV, Knockaloe, Isle of Man

CAMP I.

Camp I. was the first built and the least satisfactory of the four camps. On the whole, the health of the camps was good, owing no doubt largely to the amount of open-air life involved. But when influenza came, or other trouble, it was always Camp I., that provided the most cases. It was the most crowded, as the huts here contained bunks in tiers, and the exercising ground was small. The first connection of the Friends' Emergency Committee with Knockaloe was through the visits of our general camp traveller to the place in its early days. His reports made doleful reading. Men were arriving before the camp was complete. Sanitation was bad, huts were leaky and unwarmed. All was wet, muddy and miserable, for the miles of sleeper-track that were subsequently laid had not begun to appear. The usual representations were made to the authorities, who were, as usual, struggling against the usual difficulties of obtaining supplies and the usual delays due to the usual necessity for getting new arrangements sanctioned by (usually) three or four departments.

St. Stephen’s House always felt drawn to do as much as possible for Knockaloe men. It was by far the largest of the camps for civilians ; it contained most of the poor men ; it was far away, so that the men there could not receive visits from their wives or children. In addition to this there was the unfortunate fact that, in spite of many attempts, the Y.M.C.A. was not able to set up its helpful centres in the Isle of Man. The intrenchments that guarded the interned alien there were many and formidable. If you wished to render some personal service to a man in Knockaloe, you might have to run the guantlet of the Home Office, the War Office, and the Isle of Man Government, the General Camp Commandant, the Sub-Commandant (not to mention the assistant Commandant), the sergeant, the sentry, the camp leader, and the hut captain, with the adjutant, the quarter-master or the doctor liable to put a word in also. And so the poor prisoner had few visitors. Besides the F.E.C. representative the only men who were permitted to work in Knockaloe camp, were a Church of England clergyman, and the Roman Catholic Dean of the Island.

Friends' Emergency Hut Outside Internment Camp, Knockaloe, Isle-Of-Man, Showing some of the Committee's Staff, and Miss Soneson and Herr Voss and Herr Krohn (Weaving Pupils) seated
Friends' Emergency Hut Outside Internment Camp, Knockaloe, Isle-of-Man, Showing some of the Committee's Staff, and Miss Soneson and Herr Voss and Herr Krohn (Weaving Pupils) seated

ENTER THE " INDUSTRIAL ADVISER."

Our second full-time worker in the camps was James T. Baily. He was an expert teacher of handicrafts who volunteered to accompany the general camp visitor in the summer vacation of 1915, in order to help some of the interned to handwork occupations. The opening for service in this way he found to be so extensive and compelling that he offered his full time and energy to the Committee. The County Council which he served was willing to lend us his services until the close of the war.

At first lectures and instruction were given in one or two camps, but the War Office made a regulation forbidding any educational help of this sort. Our efforts were to be limited to assisting the men to organise their own education and industry. So the handicraft instructor became, and remained, the " Industrial Adviser "—a convenient title which, before the tale of Knockaloe was ended, came to cover a multitude of functions!

The encouragement given by our two visitors to the Isle of Man prisoners to develop camp workshops led to an increasing stream of requests for material and equipment. Fortunately the difficulty of finding space for such work within the camp was not so serious in Knockaloe as in many other camps. The Government built in each compound a large hut, intended to serve as a dining hall. The prisoners were allowed, however, at their own request, to continue to feed in their own huts, in order that these halls might be used for common social purposes. Most of them were divided, the larger part being used for meetings, concerts, classes and plays, while a smaller part was usually set apart for a workshop. Light forms of handiwork were also carried on in other quarters and corners of the camp.

One day, towards the end of 1915, a letter reached the office from the Isle of Man saying that no more wood or other material must be sent to the camps. This order was due to the accumulation of material and its arrival at the wrong compounds, with consequent confusion and annoyance to all concerned. This difficulty we regarded, according to custom, as a challenge to go forward to something better. The Industrial Adviser was sent to Knockaloe with powers to deal with the authorities there. He decided that it was necessary, if the work was to go on, to arrange for our own store, and a superintendent on the spot. Soon there appeared, just outside the main entrance to the camp, and among the official storehouses, a hut bearing the label " Friends’ Emergency Committee." Hither each morning came a guard bringing representatives of the Industrial Committees in the four camps, with handtrucks to take back any goods that had arrived for them, and to bring to the hut completed articles for packing. Later on the hut was enlarged so that it might serve as a store for the goods made in camp for Dr. Markel’s agency, for which our representatives acted as intermediaries. Our staff in the Island increased ultimately to five men, and as four of these brought their families to Peel, there was formed a happy little " Emergency" colony there.

This growth did not take place without further difficulties. On one occasion the Industrial Adviser was told that his permit was withdrawn and that all our work must cease, because a few baskets made in camp had appeared in a local mart. There followed some anxious weeks of negotiation before we started again under a new permissive charter. The last stage was reached when our " Industrial Adviser " became also the official "Industrial Superintendent," for the Isle of Man Government, of all the work performed by the interned men. It would have been impossible for one of our workers to take such an official position at an earlier stage, but as James Baily had already won the complete confidence of the prisoners, he was able to retain it and give them fuller assistance in the new position. He not only secured thus more freedom and scope in his special work, but we were also able to obtain a general permit for a second worker in the camp for the more personal forms of service. Full use was made of this permit by Edward Lewis until some time after the armistice.

THE GOODS AND THE MARKETS.

Let us now redeem the promise to tell how we managed to dispose of the huge quantity of articles made in the camp work-shops. The task at times seemed almost impossible, yet there were the thousands of men who must be kept occupied if possible and who were dependent on our help. The difficulty was a double one. Many of the articles sent us at first were unsaleable any-where. They were beginners’ attempts, of poor design, and often falling to pieces before they arrived. This difficulty was largely surmounted by a system of double inspection before the goods left the camp—first by the industrial committee, and then by our own visitor. Even then it was often difficult to refuse some article on which a poor man might have spent days of close labour, in the hope of getting a few shillings to send out to his wife, only to be told at the end that his work was not up to the necessary technical standard.

The second difficulty was that all the ordinary trade markets were closed to us. The condition on which any products were sent out of camp was (save for exceptions to be noted later) that they should not be publicly advertised for sale, nor disposed of to any shop or firm. The sales, therefore, had to be entirely " sympathetic " and personally arranged. Our general Camp Visitor took round with him cases of articles which he exhibited and sold at his meetings among friends, and we kept a good stock in a showroom at our London offices, where visitors of all sorts were induced to come and buy.

Some of the smaller articles were sold readily enough. There were, for example, the dainty little animals of all kinds made from cuttlefish moulds filled with the melted " silver-paper," which children were set to work to collect all over the country. There was the menagerie of wooden animals with jointed limbs, the wriggly snakes with shining eyes, and the neat little inlaid match cases: But boxes and bones we dreaded to see ! Boxes of every size, shape, cokur and design arrived endlessly from all the camps, and innumerable shinbones of beef found a resting-pjace on our shelves, transformed into elaborately carved vases, or cut into sections and fashioned into napkin-rings. At the other end of the scale there were the most interesting and intricate carvings and mechanical models, and private orders were beautifully executed, even to the extent of suites of furniture. But our sales in England, even with the help of periodic private exhibitions in London and elsewhere, could not cope with a quarter of the supply.

FOREIGN EXHIBITIONS.

Fortunately we discovered openings abroad. A Prisoners of War Relief Committee in New York, formed chiefly to try to aid prisoners in Siberia, undertook to dispose of camp-made goods for the benefit of the makers. We made full use of this opportunity and sent across consignments by boat after boat, until the natural overstocking ensued. A large quantity of the goods, many of them damaged in transit, lay for long with this Committee. They were finally repaired and sold in various towns by the captain of an interned German ship, who was engaged for the purpose.

A second foreign market was due to the energetic efforts of the late Crown Princess of Sweden to help prisoners of war in all lands. She organised in Stockholm an exhibition and sale of articles made in the prison camps of Russia, Germany and England. To this we sent thirty-three cases of goods, valued at well over a thousand pounds, and they were sold within an hour or two. A second similar exhibition was held later at Gothenburg.

Small consignments were sent to Norway and Denmark, and the last large one was disposed of in the Prussian House of Lords. This happened almost accidentally. We had sent the goods to Dr. Hartmann, the president of the Zurich Committee for helping interned civilians in all countries. He had arranged to sell these in Zurich, but they were so long upon the road that his market was gone by the time they arrived. Not realising that we had no permit to send the goods to Germany, he forwarded them to Dr. Rotten, who arranged the exhibition and sale in Berlin. After this, application was made for similar camp-products to be sent to this country from Ruhleben. This was granted, but again the goods were held up, and the Ruhleben Exhibition in London was not held until after the prisoners were home again.

 

TRADE SALES.

It became the policy of the British Government, after production of goods began to suffer from the effects of conscription, to try to make use of the man-power of the interned aliens for national ends. In this they were not very successful, partly because of the unwillingness of a large number of the men to be so used, and partly because of the opposition of the traders in any particular industry in which "competition of Germans " was suggested.

This attitude of the Government gave the Emergency Committee a chance of turning the energies of some of the workers in the camp shops to more useful employment than the making of miscellaneous fancy articles, and men were often more willing to do this under the Friends’ Emergency Committee auspices than for the Government, because they knew that our primary object was their own benefit and that they would receive fair treatment under any arrangements we made. These arrangements were difficult and elaborate. Every proposal to make goods for trade sale, whether it was one article or a thousand, had to be submitted in full detail to the Home Office for approval before work could be begun. Among some of the occupations thus provided were the making of dolls’ wigs, construction of some of the Montessori Educational material, and the assembling and painting of small model ships and railway trains. The most considerable amount of work, however, was that provided for the watchmakers, of whom there were a large number in camp, and the basket-makers. There were only three skilled basket-makers to be found, but these were used as instructors for others and finally a hundred men were kept busy in turning out baskets of every size and shape. The Industrial Adviser was very anxious, in this enterprise, to leave behind a permanent new industry in the Island, and this was to a large extent accomplished. Parties of men were taken out to the marshy parts of the Island to cut willows, and prepare the ground for future growths, and a local employer was helped to fit up a disused mill, near Peel, as a basket-making shop, to which our stock and goodwill were finally transferred.

PRISONERS AS RELIEF WORKERS.

A still more satisfactory form of employment, which was developed in different ways, was the making of articles by those suffering in internment for other victims of the war who were in worse plight than themselves. Large numbers of boots and shoes, and some hosiery, were made at Knockaloe for distribution at " St. Stephen’s House " among the women and children. Bed-tables, and leg-rests, and other articles were made for the camp hospitals, and a member of the Emergency Committee presented material out of which the men constructed a revolving shelter for the use of tubercular patients. For Dr. Markel’s organisation, suits of clothes, and boots were made and sorted for the use of men when they should finally leave camp. For his work in the military hospital camps, crutches and walking sticks with rubber tips were produced, and he also purchased a very large stock of tooth-brushes made with the help of ingenious little machines devised by an engineer who was in charge of the industrial work in one of the four camps.

But beyond all this work it was a constant aim of our Committee to try and set on foot some form of production for the benefit of devastated areas of Europe. Numberless difficulties postponed the fulfillment of this wish, but we were finally able to secure a workshop and material and set men to work in making furniture for the new homes of dispossessed French peasants. A generous friend of prisoners provided the necessary capital ; a Birmingham Friend lent some wood-working machinery ; and our industrial adviser prepared special designs of folding articles for convenience of transport . Although this work was only begun during the final year of the camp’s history, we are glad to think that as a result there are now in use, in the temporary homes built in France by the Friends’ War Victims’ Relief Committee, some dozens of large dressers and smaller buffet-cupboards, and about a hundred and fifty strong kitchen tables, made and sent out with the goodwill of our German and Austrian friends who had their temporary homes in Knockaloe camp.

OTHER OCCUPATIONS.

The Camp Exhibitions that were held from time to time brought together some wonderful examples of clever and patient work, and the occupations of the workshops covered a much wider range than we have been able to indicate. There were studios for the artists, and corners for jewellers, workers in metal, leather, raffia, and other materials. In one compound would be a book-binders’ shop ; in another a lithographic or steel engraving press; and in another a room full of knitting machines, chiefly busy in making socks for the prisoners themselves, either of new wool, or from the unravelled material of the old undarnables. There exists to-day in Hamburg a firm of ex-Knockaloe men, which does a big business in making new stockings out of old and bears as trade mark the three legs of the Isle of Man — stockinged proper!

Large quantities of ornamented tablecloths and other woven stuffs were made on handlooms built and worked at Knockaloe. It was not possible to introduce an instructor for this or other work into the camp, but permission was obtained for a Swedish lady to teach two prisoners in our own hut, and these men were then able to instruct other would-be weavers inside the wire. One of the looms that was made was used for instructional purposes in a successful textile school in Camp I., and may now be seen in a technical museum in Germany.

We may mention here another concession made with regard to instruction to prisoners. At the camp at Feltham, Middlesex, there were concentrated a number of so-called " friendly aliens," consisting of Poles, Alsatians, Danes and others, both civil and military prisoners. At this camp a supporter of the Committee with technical knowledge was allowed to instruct some of the men in the making and use of carpet looms and a number of pile rugs of striking colour and design were produced here.

THE TOUCH OF SYMPATHY.

Although all the varieties of assistance to prisoners that we have been describing were warmly welcomed, it was other forms of service, not so easy to describe, which made the deepest impression. There was first the very fact of the appearance of Englishmen, representing many others, coming into the camp in pure friendship. It was a pledge that the spirit of hatred and the fever of war did not possess the whole land. It was the link, so much needed, with the common feelings of humanity and sympathy that were still ruling in simple hearts all over the world. To these visitors the interned men could come and speak freely in their bitterness, loneliness or despair, and be assured of understanding and the chance of help. The visitors’ aim was, by one means or another, to try to help " cheerfulness to break through." This meant, wherever possible, a direct appeal to the essential man-hood and the religious depths of the troubled friend. Another task was that of bringing some measure of comfort and strength to the sick or dying men. The full results of such personal work will never be known. One effect was to awake in many prisoners an interest in the Society of Friends, for they knew that many of the representatives of St. Stephen’s House belonged to that body. Quaker literature was asked for and supplied to the camp libraries. In particular a lecture on the meaning of Quakerism, which was delivered to the prisoners at Lofthouse Park, by William Whiting, our visitor there, was printed in English and in German and was widely distributed in many of the camps, as well as, subsequently, in Germany. A group of men began to meet together in a deserted corner of one of the buildings at Knockaloe " after the manner of Friends." They made collections from their scanty means for the work of the Emergency Committee and requests were received for men to be admitted to membership of the Society.

Several Adult Schools were formed at Knockaloe, of which the most interesting was that one whose members were drawn from the " penal compound." In this compound were collected all the supposed dangerous and doubtful characters, chiefly aliens who had come to camp direct from prison. Among them were naturally a number of striking and original characters, and probably no Adult School has had more lively and unorthodox discussions than this one

Special attention was also given to the needs of an unfortunate collection of lads, mostly taken from ships, who after being moved from one camp to another, were finally collected in one compound at Knockaloe. They had suffered many moral dangers before being thus collected together, and had lacked discipline and occupation. Some of the senior men in the camp devoted them-selves, heart and soul, to helping these comrades, and the F.E.C. representatives were able to support them in various ways in this work.

A further service fell to the lot of our visitors when they were called upon to settle personal difficulties between men and sections in the camp. These were bound to arise, as men " got on each others’ nerves " owing to their enforced intimacy of living, and as the irritation and irresponsibility of particular men developed under the attacks of the barbed wire disease. Leaders had sometimes to be changed, or committees reconstituted, and an outside friend or arbiter could be of real help in such matters.

THE CAMP OFFICERS.

In the course of their work the " Emergency " men naturally came into close relationship with the officers responsible for the running of the camps, a relationship which in some cases developed into the intimacy of friendship. Knowing well the needs and desires of the prisoners, and also the official outlook and difficulties, it was often possible for our visitors to make suggestions to both sides as to how desired improvements might be carried out, and so things were done which, if put forward as blunt requests or demands, would have met with certain refusal. The general remarks made in the last chapter about the spirit in which most of the officers carried out their thankless duties may be illustrated here by quoting the message of the Commandant, Colonel Panzera, to the aliens in camp at Christmas, 1916. This officer, who was respected and almost beloved by those who were in his charge, died suddenly in camp a little later.

" I am sorry that the size of the camp prevents my seeing you all, which I should do if it were small, and thus possible. It would be a mockery to wish you a ‘ Happy Christmas,’ I am afraid, but I wish you as happy a one as is possible under the circumstances. I most earnestly wish you a happier New Year. May the New Year bring peace and restore you to all dear to you. I hope that prosperity and happiness may come to you in the future, and may in time obliterate the memory of the present period of sadness.

" I should like to take the opportunity of saving how much I appreciate the general good behaviour of the camps during the present year. There have been little lapses, as there must always be in a mixed community of 23,000 people, but on the whole the conduct has been extremely good, which has been a great help to those placed over you. Once more I wish you as good a Christmas as possible, and a better New Year."

THE LAST DAYS OF KNOCKALOE.

Some of the most difficult days were those that came after the armistice. The war was over. All the prisoners felt sure that the longed-for day of their release was at last arriving. It was a good thing that they did not know that another year would go by and find some of them still interned. Almost all work in camp came to an end and it was difficult to persuade men that it was worth while to undertake any operation except that of packing their belongings. Months went by, under all the old restrictions, and men who had borne up against previous troubles began to give way under this final strain. There was also a new journalistic agitation against allowing any " enemy alien " to remain in England, and this raised fresh anxieties among those whose families and ties bound them close to this country. At length some movement began. Small parties left for repatriation to Germany ; there were no ships, for a long while, available to take large numbers. A new committee was set up, to investigate once more the cases of those who wished to remain in England. Our workers one by one left the island, till only the "industrial adviser" was left, living now in official quarters in camp, and largely occupied in closing and clearing the workshops. The numbers shrank steadily until the last of the inhabitants of the wooden city of distress marched out of it on October 9th,1919.

About three thousand of the interned civilians were allowed to remain in England and these had yet more months to wait in other camps, until they were released in batches, and enabled at last to rej om their families and see with their own eyes what havoc the war had made in their homes. A number of them naturally found their way to our London offices, seeking assistance in finding work, or offering to help the Committee’s activities.

THE PRISONERS OVER THE WATER.

There is a curious superstition that is common in circles where an exaggerated patriotism has tended to dull the natural humane feelings, to the effect that any sign of sympathy with aliens or enemies necessarily implies lack of sympathy with our own folk. We find it existing now in the form of the plea that we have no right to save children on the continent of Europe from death or disease so long as there are any English children in distress. So, during the war, the Emergency Committee was continually accused of unpatriotic conduct and lack of sympathy because its members were helping enemy prisoners instead of British. Such a criticism hit no mark. Many of the workers had friends or relations interned in Germany, and the knowledge gained of what internment meant in this country deepened their sympathies for those who were suffering in similar fashion across the sea. They felt, too, that they were trying in some degree to interpret the best heart of England in this ministry among her innocent " enemies." They found too, best of all, what they might have expected from the beginning, had they thought about it, that the method of service, of trying to capture your enemy’s heart rather than his body, had wide and unexpected results. The methods of goodwill, like those of hatred, produced reprisals after their own kind. Services rendered to prisoners in England were found to have called forth kindness to prisoners in Germany, and in the same way we received, now and then, offers of help from those whose friends or relatives had been well treated by German men and women. Examples of the direct working of this law are seen in such cases as one where the wife of a doctor, interned in England, because of what she heard of the help given to him and his comrades in camp, formed a Committee of her own in Germany to help imprisoned men ; or where the men in a British camp, having received much assistance by gifts of books for their library, scattered over Germany requests to their friends to do the like for the German camps. More general examples of this inter-action will be found in the ensuing description of the relations of the Emergency Committee with the corresponding organisation in Berlin. Suffice it to say here that it seems fairly certain that one effect—a bye-product, shall we call it ?—of the work of the Friends’ Emergency Committee among the interned aliens and prisoners of war, was to benefit men in the internment camps in Germany to a greater extent than could have been done by any direct means that were open to us.

FELLOW-WORKERS IN GERMANY.

It was natural that our workers should be specially interested in enquiring whether any efforts were being made in Germany to supply the needs of prisoners there. Many things were discovered which showed that the wish to help the helpless was strong in many hearts. There was the case, for example, of Professor Stange, who set up an office within the camp at Gottingen and enlisted the assistance of his fellow-citizens in providing for the social and intellectual life of the prisoners of all nationalities. Committees of ladies were formed in various towns in order to provide food-parcels, especially at Christmas-time, for those men who were getting nothing from home. We learned of the efforts made by the authorities of Friedrichsfeld camp to provide schools for training disabled prisoners in various trades. But the chief work for prisoners was done by the American Y.M.C.A., which held an officially recognised position in this respect. Some of their camp workers came to England, and we were able to compare notes. As stated in a previous chapter, we agreed that on the whole conditions were fairly comparable, the most noticeable difference being due to the variation in food conditions in the two countries. In several respects the facilities given to the camp visitors in Germany were superior to those in England. For example, they could spend far more time in the camps and actually lived in them in many cases, and they were more free to introduce university and other lecturers and helpers from outside.

A report of some of the Y.M.C.A. work in foreign camps will be found in the Appendix.

RECIPROCITY.

The efforts we have been describing, on both sides of the water, arose independently. But the official Government attitude towards the prisoners was, to a large extent, governed by the principle of granting concessions as to treatment on a reciprocal basis, so that we found, as did Dr. Rotten’s committee in Berlin, that our facilities for helping were partly dependent on what was done on the other side. This was an added inducement to both bodies to enlarge the camp side of their work as much as possible. Any new effort on one side was always reported to the other committee, and often by them to the Government authorities, accompanied by a request for similar treatment.

The Berlin Committee was, of course, mainly occupied in helping the women and children, and when certain women were interned, in miserable conditions, in Holzminden camp, it was the bold action of Dr. Rotten that procured their release. Form such matters it required no doubt great boldness and energy to run counter to the working of the German State and military machinery. The successes achieved by Dr. Rotten and her workers were made easier because of the strong support given to them by some highly-placed and influential men. Among these the names of Prince Lichnowsky and of Prince Max of Baden deserve honourable mention for the strenuous and practical assistance they supplied. The help and sympathy given by Dr. Rotten and her workers to the families of the British civilians interned in Ruhleben camp, naturally gave them special interest in the camp itself, and the desire to help its prisoners was intensified by the knowledge that the Emergency Committee was working among the interned civilians in England. One method of help was to pay fares of wives who could not afford otherwise to visit their men at the camp, and to provide these visitors with lodging and entertainment in Berlin.

RUHLEBEN CAMP.

It was not so easy to render direct help to the prisoners themselves. In the first place, workers were not allowed to enter the camp, on the plea that the Y.M.C.A. was doing all that could be done. But on the other hand leaders of the various camp departments were allowed periodic visits to Berlin to buy supplies and transact business, and some of these found their way to Dr. Rotten’s office. Another difficulty was that, because of independence of spirit or suspicion, some of the camp leaders discountenanced the acceptance of help that was offered. But for those camp activities that were willing to accept it, every possible source of supply of the necessary material was utilised by the Berlin Committee. Sometimes war-time shopping proved very difficult.

 

*It was a curious coincidence that "German " was the name of the Manx district in which Knockaloe lay. [sic - actually Knockaloe is in adjacent parish of Patrick]


 

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