Camp Kitchener #general


Although this information was requested by Sylvia Jacobs, it might be of
interest to other genners. I visited relatives who came to Camp Kitchener in
March 1939 >from Vienna, Austria. One had been arrested during Crystal Night
on November 10, 1938. He was released after several hours when a physician
at the police barracks certified him as being ill. A young lady who lived
across the street >from him and worked at the Jewish Community Center,
arranged for him to immigrate to England. The other left after his place of
business had been "aryanized," i.e. taken over by Nazis. Both arrived in
Camp Kitchener on March 29, 1939.

Camp Kitchener was located near the towns of Ramsgate and Sandwich, it had
been a military installation, formerly called Richborough Camp, which had
been deserted and derelict since it was last used by General Kitchener's
troops in 1918. It was transformed into an emergency home for 300 refugees
from Germany in February 1939. The camp population reached 3,500 men, mostly
young German and Austrian Jews who were granted temporary sanctuary. They
reconstructed the camp, working >from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for their food,
lodging, and sixpence a week for pocket money. Fifty huts with thirty-six
double bunks each were the sleeping quarters. There were classes in English
after work. They could also leave the camp after work, but had to return
before the 10 p.m. roll call. Only two men were cited for misdemeanors, both
for overstaying their leave. All refugees remained at Camp Kitchener until
they were able to emigrate to the United States or other locations outside
of England. The camp was run on a self-sufficient basis. Of the sixty
doctors in the camp, all but two performed ordinary camp tasks. Artists
decorated the camp with pictures and mottoes. A former member of the Vienna
Philharmonic Orchestra organized a camp orchestra, and professional and
amateur actors and singers provided the entertainment.

I hope this information is helpful.

Victor Singer, New York

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