british MILITARY camp in iraq
Sept.– Oct. 14th 1941
© 2020-2023 Designed by P. KHOSRONEJAD
Axis Agents Leave Iran For Internment Abroad 1941. © British Pathé.
"We were heading towards the Shatt-al-Arab and the lorries were driven onto the ferry to cross the river to Basra. There were big liners in the harbour and the wide river presented a most picturesque oriental harbour scene. The streets in Basra were shaded everywhere by palms, and a lot of Arabs waved and showed friendliness towards us. Then we were driven to the transit camp which was situated in a bleak landscape outside Basra and only to the north and east long, dark lines of palms and the smoke of ships were visible on the horizon.
We were then taken to tents where the camp’s administration took down our personal details, checked our luggage, took away money, confiscated against receipt in admissible objects, and medically examined us. We were finally taken by Indian soldiers to the actual camp... Here there was no lockable gate: the entrance was protected by barbed wire in front of which Indian guards were mounted. Hundreds of people previously taken from Teheran were standing behind barbed wire: all of them were dressed merely in shorts or bathing trunks."
"K. died at 12 noon of a heart attack: he was 45 and leaves a wife with two children. At 5 pm he was taken to the military cemetery and buried with all honours. His tent companions accompanied him on the road to true freedom. M. said a few words over the grave. The British offered their flag to be put on the coffin as no German flag was available, but this was declined with thanks."
"A certain engineer Kurz died at 12.00 o’clock from a weak heart. Who knows how many of the companions in camp will go the same way during their imprisonment?"
September 27th 1941, from the personal diary of Johann Friedrich Bambach (1883-1962), detained on August 16th 1941 in Isfahan, Iran. (R36428)
October 6th 1941.
October 6th 1941, from the personal diary of Rudolf Girschik (1910-1989), detained on August 30th 1941 in Karind, Kermanshah, Iran. (R36358)
Sketches made by German civilian internee Carl von Bandenstein while in the British military camp in Basra, Iraq. Wulff Collection. © P. Khosronejad.
Dr. Pedram Khosronejad | Adjunct Professor
Religion and Society Research Cluster | Western Sydney University
Fellow | Department of Anthropology | Harvard University