Douglas Jewish Camp

This part of Douglas Internment Camp would appear to be an unplanned addition - most of the information presented here is from Madoc's daily log and as others have noted, Madoc's hand is at times extremely difficult to decipher!

The first mention of Jewish internees occurs within the first week of the camp when Madoc noted on 28 September 1914 that some Jews want a service on Wednesday - 'a day of atonement' - Madoc arranged to have a 'platform' or the base on which a hut would be built, to provide at least some dry ground for the service. On the 29th Madoc noted that the 9 Jews arranged for meals and services and that the C.R. [?Chief Rabbi] visited the camp.

It must have been realised fairly early on, that the number of interned Jews who wished to follow Kosher practice was too small for the kitchen arrangements used at Knockaloe to be economically viable - who made this decision is not clear - possibly there had been some representation to the UK authorities as Jewish co-religionists seemed able later in the course of the war to arrange for many Jews to be sponsored and released for employment. Madoc noted in early January 1915 when he was able to ease congestion at Douglas by decanting some 400 to Knockaloe that he was unable to include some he wished to see go because they were Jews. In January 1915 two small groups of Jews, 31 in total, were transferred from Knockaloe to Douglas - Madoc comments immediately after these arrivals "I am extemely sorry that I am saddled with all these foreign Jews, as altho' many are decent respectan? men, some are mere scum." "I have spoken to Capt Bristaner? about them quite straight: v especially as to special food : no more can be given : indeed there is no reason for it" . He also charged two prisoners who were transferred in the first batch of Jews with making speeches critically comparing food here with that at Knockaloe. Four days later he notes that he "also asked the Jews from Knockaloe to see me and explain certain matters which apparently they did not understand about the food etc so that there should be no misunderstanding."

A further 32 Jews transferred from Knockaloe on the 15th and 27th March 1915 - Madoc comments "think that they have come under a misaprehension as to the food they will get". A further 6 arrived at the end of May "two had to be bathed on arrival" - at the end of June Madoc notes "2 Austrian Jews transferred from Knockaloe; 3362 Hugo Militsch a Jew was seen as letter retained by censor in London that he cannot get Kosher food here - MO says he is half-witted"

However on the 12 July 1915 Madoc notes a discussion with Edmund Sebag Montefiore (Secretary to Destitute Aliens Committee Westminster) + also Capt Bridson on the matter of Kosher food - on the 13th Madoc has "spent all the morning enquiring into the financial status of all the Jews in the camp so as to get more paid for Kosher food. It is like getting blood out of a stone". On the 15th July 80 Jews arrive from Knockaloe - 60 of them are able to afford Kosher food and as Madoc notes "this arrival necessitates nine tents in the huts which is rather a nuisance". The following day #3398 Moses Cohen is released on parole to return to his home in Douglas. A further 14 Jews transfer from Knockaloe on 5th Aug (Madoc notes 11 will take Kosher).

The 27th August saw a visit by the Rev G Prince + Mr A Harris who saw many Jews in Madoc's presence - Rev Prince helped out at Jewish service in camp. On the 28th 380 prisoners were transferred to Knockaloe but in return 173 arrived in exchange of which 95 were Jewish and 78 'better class' to go into the newly created paying or privilege camp. On the 31st a Mr S Wallace came to see Madoc re Kosher food + festivals - saw some Jews re Saturday + festival food - also to supply 65 more Jews with kosher who could not pay; 30 arrived from Knockaloe (29" low class Jews"). However on the 4th September Dr Caine? reports that there is "some scabies among the Jews in A Barrack & it must have come from Knockaloe. I am having it dealt with energetically at once" Futher small groups of Jews arrive from Knockaloe over the next couple of days, most of whom could afford Kosher so that by Jewish New Year on 8th September 1915 there were 300 at the service. On the 17th September Madoc notes the Jews started their services for the Day of Atonement - all arrangements were made for them including meals at 12 and 4.

Madoc also had a careful list made of the Manchester? Jews - 58 in all to try to see who were unable to pay for Kosher - on the 18th Sept "The Jews were busy all day at the services of Atonement which were carried out with full ceremony and ended at 7.19 pm when a meal was served for them."

The 21st saw a further 13 Jews arriving from Knockaloe, about half could afford Kosher, however it appears that the availability of Kosher food at Douglas had spread to other camps as 26 arrived on transfer from Stobs who "all took it for granted they could get kosher free here - most are utterly destitute."

On the 25th Madoc notes "the Jewish festival of the Passover and Tabernacles is now finished, except for some few services next week. Everthing has gone off quite satisfactory.

On the 1st October 1915 Madoc has detailed discussion with Montefiore concerning the cost of Kosher food and the assistance given by outside people for destitute Jews. "We later had in Mr Cunningham and the Alien Jewish Committee and it was finally decided that Mr Cunningham would take 1s per week instead of 1s 6d, the margarine should be recognised as Kosher, the gas stuner? should no longer be used : & an attempt made to reduce the cost of Kosher meat, possibly by killing locally. It is indicative? that a lot more Jews need be sent here to cover this"

By 8th July 1916 some 500 Jews were noted in the Jewish camp with another 120 in the Privilege Camp out of a total there of 464.


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