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Why were Jewish refugees deported to Australia on HMT Dunera in 1940?

A talk given for the Association of Jewish Refugees and the UK Dunera Interest Group, Monday 16 October 2023.

HMT Dunera set sail from Liverpool, UK for Australia on July 10, 1940, carrying 2546 civilian internees who had been detained by the British during the first year of the Second World War. These internees had been arrested because they were German, Austrian and Italian ‘enemy aliens’. But how did these individuals end up on HMT Dunera and why were the British deporting these ‘enemy aliens’ to other countries?

Launch of the Wiener Holocaust Library's Refugee Map

On Thursday 25 November 2021, The Wiener Holocaust Library celebrated the launch of our new online Refugee Map resource. Drawn from the Library’s extensive collection of photographs and documents of Jewish refugees to Britain, the map traces individual stories and journeys. The evening included an in-person talk given by Dr Rachel Pistol on the subject of the trajectories and experiences of Jewish refugees to the United Kingdom during the Second World War, including their internment and treatment as ‘enemy aliens’, and opening remarks from Refugee Council Chief Executive, Enver Solomon and Lucy Ash.

About the Refugee Map:


Supported by funding from Arts Council England, the Library’s Refugee Map visually traces refugee journeys with documents from our collection, including handwritten diaries, photo albums, identity and emigration papers, Red Cross letters and taped interviews. The documents on our new resource reveal and preserve the stories of the individuals and families that fled Nazi persecution and antisemitism in the years before, during and after the Second World War. The Library will continue to add donated collections to the map after its initial launch.

Rachel Pistol in conversation with broadcaster, Nick Ross, on Australian internment

An event organised by Hidden Treasures: Celebrating Jewish Archives in Britain on Sunday January 10, 2021. What will the experts reveal about Jewish heirlooms and histories? Discover more in our Roadshow event.


Second World War Internment in the UK – September 1939 to July 1940

A talk given for the Insiders/Outsiders Festival, September 23, 2021 on early internment.

Early WWII Internment Camps in the UK

A talk given April 25, 2021, which focuses on the often overlooked temporary camps on the British mainland which most of the so-called ‘enemy aliens’ of the Second World War passed through before being sent to the Isle of Man in 1940. Internees were held in prisons, holiday camps, racecourses, derelict mills and many other makeshift locations from anything from a few days to several months.


Camps discussed include Clacton, Seaton, Paignton, Lingfield, Holloway Prison, Kempton Park, Prees Heath, Sutton Coldfield, Warth Mill, and Huyton.

Warth Mills: An Untold Story

An event organised by the Insiders/Outsiders Festival with the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) as part of Refugee Week 2020.

Panellists: Rachel Pistol – Author, Internment during the Second World War

Richard Shaw – Warth Mills Project

Anna Nyburg – Author, From Leipzig to London: The Life and Work of the Émigré Artist Hellmuth Weissenborn.

Monica Bohm-Duchen – Insiders/Outsiders Festival

Internment of refugees during World War II

Milim and the Leeds Branch of the Jewish Historical Society hosted a webinar with Dr Rachel Pistol on May 4, 2020.

The talk and Q&A session offer an introduction to the policy of Second World War internment in Britain, life in the camps, and the experiences and memories of former internees.

Twitter Conference

War Through Other Stuff Twitter Conference 2018 on art in World War II internment. See the thread here.

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Second World War internment talk available online

Jewish Refugees in Britain: Internment of 'Enemy Aliens' During the Second World War. A talk given by Rachel Pistol in partnership with the Kitchener Descendants Group

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