Internees have been shut up for so long they are heartily sick of each other

Jewish-Dutch internee David Stad/Stadt was isolated in internment. Fellow Dutchman Johannes Van Zwol, also mentioned here, was a seaman.

23 May 1918
D. Stadt [sic]

The above man was interned at Islington 17.7.15. Transferred to Reading 11.1.16.

On the back of my copy of his internment order appears

Leman[?] St Police Station
23rd July 15

I certify having this day served a true copy of this order on David Stadt

Signed Charles Chapman CID.

Prisoner has always seemed to me to be not very “bright”. At one time there were 7 or 8 Jews here – now he is the only one. I believe in the past he did not have a very good [illegible], though he seldom complained. When he did, I tried to help him. At the present time there are 13 nationalities here & being shut up for so long they are heartily sick of each other. When any few are friendly together it usually means they are plotting mischief.

Stadt keeps to himself, partly from choice and partly from being unpopular as a Jew. Few men speak to him – they appear to ignore him. Generally speaking he is fairly conducted and I recommend him for favourable consideration.

Letters from Holland are irregular. Stadt writes twice a month to his wife but receives very few replies.

My book shows that he received letters on Dec. 16, 1917, Jany 1st 1918, & 23 March 18 the last. I cannot say how often his wife writes.

Other Dutchmen complain of the same thing. Van Zwol received his last letter on 18th March and it is dated 18th Dec 17.

From the contents of letters received it would appear that letters take about 2 months after being written here to reach people in Holland.

Stadt appears in very fair health, his weight on reception here 11-1-16 was 168 lbs, today it is 157 lbs.

Report from MO is attached.

C M Morgan
Gov.
[to] The Commissioners

23rd May 1918
Re David Stadt

I have this day examined the above-named interned prisoner. This is a neurotic man…

I am inclined to regard the various symptoms of which he complains as arising from functional disturbance of the nervous system. He is well nourished, and I do not find any evident signs of loss of flesh in his case.

G O Lambert, MD, pro W T Freeman, MD (Medical Officer)

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

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“At least half of the interned prisoners refuse to associate with him, because he is a Jew”

David Stad was a Dutch Jew aged 27 when he arrived at Reading Place of Internment in January 1916. He did not enjoy his internment, feeling isolated and discriminated against. In June 1918 he was transferred to Islington.

22.5.18
The Governor
P of I Reading

With ref: to the petition of D Stad dated the 13th inst of which the following is a precise translation:

He says that on the 23rd June he will have been interned 3 yrs, and that he has never been told the reason for his internment.

He has never received any order, as many other interned [prisoners deleted] persons have. He asks to have one.

He asks if, after 3 yrs, he may be allowed to go to Holland, and is prepared to give an undertaking not to leave that country again, at any rate in war-time.

He says that out of a total period of nearly 3 yrs internment he has been 2 yrs & 3 months at Reading Gaol, and feels his vitality diminishing: his appetite is bad, and he suffers from sleeplessness.
This, he says, is due to the unpleasant life he leads at Reading, where at least half of the interned prisoners refuse to associate with him, because he is a Jew.

He accordingly begs to be sent to Holland, or failing that to another camp, saying he even prefers Brixton so as no longer to meet the men who dislike him.

Unless this is done, he cannot hold himself responsible for himself.
He asks that all attention may be given to the question of his correspondence with Holland; he feels sure that his wife and relations write to him at least 3 times a month, but he has had no letters for 6 months.

Please furnish your observations on the statement as to his life at Reading, and the need, if any, for his removal, and also as to the facts respecting the letters he receives and sends.

W J Pond for Sec:

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

Who are Frauleins Maria and Anna Hemmerle?

Internees were allowed to keep some contact with friends and relations, but the authorities kept a close eye on everyone.

Place of Internment
Reading

30th April 1918

R. Koch
2.10.15 S of S Order, Defence of the Realm Regn: Internment

The above named Alien was visited yesterday the 29th inst: by Miss D. Shain (friend) of 56 Gladstone Avenue, Wood Green, N.

The conversation was of private and family affairs.

C M Morgan
Governor
[to] The Commissioners

30th April 1918
Reading PI

Two letters from the War Office are enclosed having reference to certain correspondence that is taking place between Albert Hemmerle in your custody and – Bushe interned at the Cornwallis Road, Islington, with one Fraulein Maria Hemmerle, together with a letter written by Bushe to this latter person.

Please question Hemmerle on the following points:

1. Who are Frauleins Maria and Anna Hemmerle, where do they live, and who do they live with?
He should then be asked
2. Who is the Widow Hasler?
3. Who is Johann Ulrick Wohlwerk?
4. Where does the Hemmerle family live?

The letter written by Bushe may be shown to him after he has answered.

J F Wall
Report attached:
Place of Internment
Reading

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

“He was the leader and chief agitator” of the internees

Ferdinand Louis Kehrhahn arrived at Reading in January 1917, aged 33. He was an art publisher born in the UK (Birkenhead) of German parentage. He had been sent back to Liverpool Police in April 1917, but now (following an unsuccessful escape) wanted to return to Reading. The Governor of Reading Prison objected to this troublemaker returning.

18 April 1918
Reading PI

The internee Ferdinand L. Kehrhahn, now in Brixton Prison, has petitioned the Secretary of State to take into consideration his present position – no companions with whom to mix with. On that account it is suggested that he be moved back to your custody, but before so doing please furnish your observations and views of the questions.
[?] Wall
Secretary

19 April 1918

In reply to letter … dated 18.4.18 on the subject of F. Kehrhahn, I think it very undesirable that he should return here for the following reasons:

When here before he was the leader and chief agitator amongst the men, and almost all of the men (of what was then C. party) are here, including his special friends.

Secondly, after leaving here he brought most untrue and unfounded charges against Warders, accusing them of stealing prisoners’ food – and they deeply resented his accusations.

Thirdly, when Kehrhahn and others escaped from Islington, information was given to me by Escosuras as to their whereabouts. I communicated with Scotland Yard by telephone, an official was sent from Scotland Yard within an hour to see me, and two of the men were arrested the same night, Escosuras being moved from here before Kehrhahn came. Escosuras is now here.

C M Morgan
Gov.
[to] The Commissioners

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

A lazy, mischievous, and highly neurotic man, not fond of work

Bernard Henrick Roehls (Rohls with an umlaut over the o), a Prussian born builder and surveyor, was 45 when interned in 1916. He remained at Reading until he was released on parole in August 1919. Like many of the internees, he worked while interned.

27 March 1918
B H Roehls

Prisoner is a capable workman but exceedingly cantankerous. On two previous occasions he has been employed by the Engineer – on building work and also on repairing wheelbarrows &c, and on each occasion he gave up the work because he insisted on doing it in his own manner & refused to do as the Engineer told him. Further, the Engineer was strongly suspicious that he stole the glue to use for his own private work. However, rather against the Engineer’s advice, I gave the man another opportunity by letting him saw up some wood for firewood – for payment, & later, at his request, allowed him to repair chairs & stools. He did the work well, and I had it done in the building formerly used as an association room in the garden, where things could be under lock &c. Yesterday Roehls asked to be allowed to work there after the officers had gone. [Illegible] not safe. He then [quite a lot too faint to read]…

He then became rather important, stating that he was a British subject, and if I did not allow him to make things & have tools, he would petition against it that way. I ordered him out of the office, and out of his work.

His record from Islington gives him much the same character, & he was removed here for that reason.

He is by no means fond of work – except entirely under his own authority, and invariably has a grievance against someone.

C M Morgan

HM Prison
Reading March 28.18

From the M.O. to the Governor concerning B H Rohls

Recognising that I was dealing with a lazy, mischievous, and highly neurotic man, I advised him to occupy himself with some form of manual labour. His general health appears to me good, very good.

W. Fenman

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)