Magna Carta

Today marks the 807th anniversary of the Magna Carta. The full name is Magna Carta Libertatum, which translates into “The great charter of Freedoms”, but in common use it is known as the Magna Carta. It was agreed by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215.

The document is basically the foundation of the British constitution. The Magna Carta still forms an important symbol of liberty today, often cited by politicians and campaigners, and is held in great respect by the British and American legal communities, Lord Denning describing it as “the greatest constitutional document of all times—the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot”. Ironically the anniversary of the Magna Carta comes a day after the British Government was suppose to send a group of refugees to Rwanda. It is only because of the intervention of the European Courts of Human Rights that didn’t happen.

Below is the translated text of the Magna Carta.

JOHN, by the grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and Count of Anjou, to his archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, justices, foresters, sheriffs, stewards, servants, and to all his officials and loyal subjects, Greeting.

King John on a stag hunt

KNOW THAT BEFORE GOD, for the health of our soul and those of our ancestors and heirs, to the honour of God, the exaltation of the holy Church, and the better ordering of our kingdom, at the advice of our reverend fathers Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, primate of all England, and cardinal of the holy Roman Church, Henry archbishop of Dublin, William bishop of London, Peter bishop of Winchester, Jocelin bishop of Bath and Glastonbury, Hugh bishop of Lincoln, Walter bishop of Worcester, William bishop of Coventry, Benedict bishop of Rochester, Master Pandulf subdeacon and member of the papal household, Brother Aymeric master of the knighthood of the Temple in England, William Marshal earl of Pembroke, William earl of Salisbury, William earl of Warren, William earl of Arundel, Alan of Galloway constable of Scotland, Warin fitz Gerald, Peter fitz Herbert, Hubert de Burgh seneschal of Poitou, Hugh de Neville, Matthew fitz Herbert, Thomas Basset, Alan Basset, Philip Daubeny, Robert de Roppeley, John Marshal, John fitz Hugh, and other loyal subjects:

  • (1) FIRST, THAT WE HAVE GRANTED TO GOD, and by this present charter have confirmed for us and our heirs in perpetuity, that the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired. That we wish this so to be observed, appears from the fact that of our own free will, before the outbreak of the present dispute between us and our barons, we granted and confirmed by charter the freedom of the Church’s elections – a right reckoned to be of the greatest necessity and importance to it – and caused this to be confirmed by Pope Innocent III. This freedom we shall observe ourselves, and desire to be observed in good faith by our heirs in perpetuity.

TO ALL FREE MEN OF OUR KINGDOM we have also granted, for us and our heirs for ever, all the liberties written out below, to have and to keep for them and their heirs, of us and our heirs:

(2) If any earl, baron, or other person that holds lands directly of the Crown, for military service, shall die, and at his death his heir shall be of full age and owe a ‘relief’, the heir shall have his inheritance on payment of the ancient scale of ‘relief’. That is to say, the heir or heirs of an earl shall pay £100 for the entire earl’s barony, the heir or heirs of a knight 100s. at most for the entire knight’s ‘fee’, and any man that owes less shall pay less, in accordance with the ancient usage of ‘fees’.

(3) But if the heir of such a person is under age and a ward, when he comes of age he shall have his inheritance without ‘relief’ or fine.

(4) The guardian of the land of an heir who is under age shall take from it only reasonable revenues, customary dues, and feudal services. He shall do this without destruction or damage to men or property. If we have given the guardianship of the land to a sheriff, or to any person answerable to us for the revenues, and he commits destruction or damage, we will exact compensation from him, and the land shall be entrusted to two worthy and prudent men of the same ‘fee’, who shall be answerable to us for the revenues, or to the person to whom we have assigned them. If we have given or sold to anyone the guardianship of such land, and he causes destruction or damage, he shall lose the guardianship of it, and it shall be handed over to two worthy and prudent men of the same ‘fee’, who shall be similarly answerable to us.

(5) For so long as a guardian has guardianship of such land, he shall maintain the houses, parks, fish preserves, ponds, mills, and everything else pertaining to it, from the revenues of the land itself. When the heir comes of age, he shall restore the whole land to him, stocked with plough teams and such implements of husbandry as the season demands and the revenues from the land can reasonably bear.

(6) Heirs may be given in marriage, but not to someone of lower social standing. Before a marriage takes place, it shall be made known to the heir’s next-of-kin.

(7) At her husband’s death, a widow may have her marriage portion and inheritance at once and without trouble. She shall pay nothing for her dower, marriage portion, or any inheritance that she and her husband held jointly on the day of his death. She may remain in her husband’s house for forty days after his death, and within this period her dower shall be assigned to her.

(8) No widow shall be compelled to marry, so long as she wishes to remain without a husband. But she must give security that she will not marry without royal consent, if she holds her lands of the Crown, or without the consent of whatever other lord she may hold them of.

(9) Neither we nor our officials will seize any land or rent in payment of a debt, so long as the debtor has movable goods sufficient to discharge the debt. A debtor’s sureties shall not be distrained upon so long as the debtor himself can discharge his debt. If, for lack of means, the debtor is unable to discharge his debt, his sureties shall be answerable for it. If they so desire, they may have the debtor’s lands and rents until they have received satisfaction for the debt that they paid for him, unless the debtor can show that he has settled his obligations to them.

  • (10) If anyone who has borrowed a sum of money from Jews dies before the debt has been repaid, his heir shall pay no interest on the debt for so long as he remains under age, irrespective of whom he holds his lands. If such a debt falls into the hands of the Crown, it will take nothing except the principal sum specified in the bond.
  • (11) If a man dies owing money to Jews, his wife may have her dower and pay nothing towards the debt from it. If he leaves children that are under age, their needs may also be provided for on a scale appropriate to the size of his holding of lands. The debt is to be paid out of the residue, reserving the service due to his feudal lords. Debts owed to persons other than Jews are to be dealt with similarly.
  • (12) No ‘scutage’ or ‘aid’ may be levied in our kingdom without its general consent, unless it is for the ransom of our person, to make our eldest son a knight, and (once) to marry our eldest daughter. For these purposes only a reasonable ‘aid’ may be levied. ‘Aids’ from the city of London are to be treated similarly.
  • (13) The city of London shall enjoy all its ancient liberties and free customs, both by land and by water. We also will and grant that all other cities, boroughs, towns, and ports shall enjoy all their liberties and free customs.
  • (14) To obtain the general consent of the realm for the assessment of an ‘aid’ – except in the three cases specified above – or a ‘scutage’, we will cause the archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, and greater barons to be summoned individually by letter. To those who hold lands directly of us we will cause a general summons to be issued, through the sheriffs and other officials, to come together on a fixed day (of which at least forty days notice shall be given) and at a fixed place. In all letters of summons, the cause of the summons will be stated. When a summons has been issued, the business appointed for the day shall go forward in accordance with the resolution of those present, even if not all those who were summoned have appeared.
  • (15) In future we will allow no one to levy an ‘aid’ from his free men, except to ransom his person, to make his eldest son a knight, and (once) to marry his eldest daughter. For these purposes only a reasonable ‘aid’ may be levied.

(16) No man shall be forced to perform more service for a knight’s ‘fee’, or other free holding of land, than is due from it.

(17) Ordinary lawsuits shall not follow the royal court around, but shall be held in a fixed place.

(18) Inquests of novel disseisin, mort d’ancestor, and darrein presentment shall be taken only in their proper county court. We ourselves, or in our absence abroad our chief justice, will send two justices to each county four times a year, and these justices, with four knights of the county elected by the county itself, shall hold the assizes in the county court, on the day and in the place where the court meets.

(19) If any assizes cannot be taken on the day of the county court, as many knights and freeholders shall afterwards remain behind, of those who have attended the court, as will suffice for the administration of justice, having regard to the volume of business to be done.

(20) For a trivial offence, a free man shall be fined only in proportion to the degree of his offence, and for a serious offence correspondingly, but not so heavily as to deprive him of his livelihood. In the same way, a merchant shall be spared his merchandise, and a villein the implements of his husbandry, if they fall upon the mercy of a royal court. None of these fines shall be imposed except by the assessment on oath of reputable men of the neighbourhood.

(21) Earls and barons shall be fined only by their equals, and in proportion to the gravity of their offence.

(22) A fine imposed upon the lay property of a clerk in holy orders shall be assessed upon the same principles, without reference to the value of his ecclesiastical benefice.

(23) No town or person shall be forced to build bridges over rivers except those with an ancient obligation to do so.

(24) No sheriff, constable, coroners, or other royal officials are to hold lawsuits that should be held by the royal justices.

  • (25) Every county, hundred, wapentake, and tithing shall remain at its ancient rent, without increase, except the royal demesne manors.

(26) If at the death of a man who holds a lay ‘fee’ of the Crown, a sheriff or royal official produces royal letters patent of summons for a debt due to the Crown, it shall be lawful for them to seize and list movable goods found in the lay ‘fee’ of the dead man to the value of the debt, as assessed by worthy men. Nothing shall be removed until the whole debt is paid, when the residue shall be given over to the executors to carry out the dead man’s will. If no debt is due to the Crown, all the movable goods shall be regarded as the property of the dead man, except the reasonable shares of his wife and children.

  • (27) If a free man dies intestate, his movable goods are to be distributed by his next-of-kin and friends, under the supervision of the Church. The rights of his debtors are to be preserved.

(28) No constable or other royal official shall take corn or other movable goods from any man without immediate payment, unless the seller voluntarily offers postponement of this.

(29) No constable may compel a knight to pay money for castle-guard if the knight is willing to undertake the guard in person, or with reasonable excuse to supply some other fit man to do it. A knight taken or sent on military service shall be excused from castle-guard for the period of this service.

(30) No sheriff, royal official, or other person shall take horses or carts for transport from any free man, without his consent.

(31) Neither we nor any royal official will take wood for our castle, or for any other purpose, without the consent of the owner.

(32) We will not keep the lands of people convicted of felony in our hand for longer than a year and a day, after which they shall be returned to the lords of the ‘fees’ concerned.

(33) All fish-weirs shall be removed from the Thames, the Medway, and throughout the whole of England, except on the sea coast.

(34) The writ called precipe shall not in future be issued to anyone in respect of any holding of land, if a free man could thereby be deprived of the right of trial in his own lord’s court.

(35) There shall be standard measures of wine, ale, and corn (the London quarter), throughout the kingdom. There shall also be a standard width of dyed cloth, russet, and haberject, namely two ells within the selvedges. Weights are to be standardised similarly.

(36) In future nothing shall be paid or accepted for the issue of a writ of inquisition of life or limbs. It shall be given gratis, and not refused.

(37) If a man holds land of the Crown by ‘fee-farm’, ‘socage’, or ‘burgage’, and also holds land of someone else for knight’s service, we will not have guardianship of his heir, nor of the land that belongs to the other person’s ‘fee’, by virtue of the ‘fee-farm’, ‘socage’, or ‘burgage’, unless the ‘fee-farm’ owes knight’s service. We will not have the guardianship of a man’s heir, or of land that he holds of someone else, by reason of any small property that he may hold of the Crown for a service of knives, arrows, or the like.

(38) In future no official shall place a man on trial upon his own unsupported statement, without producing credible witnesses to the truth of it.

  • (39) No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.
  • (40) To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice.

(41) All merchants may enter or leave England unharmed and without fear, and may stay or travel within it, by land or water, for purposes of trade, free from all illegal exactions, in accordance with ancient and lawful customs. This, however, does not apply in time of war to merchants from a country that is at war with us. Any such merchants found in our country at the outbreak of war shall be detained without injury to their persons or property, until we or our chief justice have discovered how our own merchants are being treated in the country at war with us. If our own merchants are safe they shall be safe too.

  • (42) In future it shall be lawful for any man to leave and return to our kingdom unharmed and without fear, by land or water, preserving his allegiance to us, except in time of war, for some short period, for the common benefit of the realm. People that have been imprisoned or outlawed in accordance with the law of the land, people from a country that is at war with us, and merchants – who shall be dealt with as stated above – are excepted from this provision.

(43) If a man holds lands of any ‘escheat’ such as the ‘honour’ of Wallingford, Nottingham, Boulogne, Lancaster, or of other ‘escheats’ in our hand that are baronies, at his death his heir shall give us only the ‘relief’ and service that he would have made to the baron, had the barony been in the baron’s hand. We will hold the ‘escheat’ in the same manner as the baron held it.

(44) People who live outside the forest need not in future appear before the royal justices of the forest in answer to general summonses, unless they are actually involved in proceedings or are sureties for someone who has been seized for a forest offence.

  • (45) We will appoint as justices, constables, sheriffs, or other officials, only men that know the law of the realm and are minded to keep it well.

(46) All barons who have founded abbeys, and have charters of English kings or ancient tenure as evidence of this, may have guardianship of them when there is no abbot, as is their due.

(47) All forests that have been created in our reign shall at once be disafforested. River-banks that have been enclosed in our reign shall be treated similarly.

*(48) All evil customs relating to forests and warrens, foresters, warreners, sheriffs and their servants, or river-banks and their wardens, are at once to be investigated in every county by twelve sworn knights of the county, and within forty days of their enquiry the evil customs are to be abolished completely and irrevocably. But we, or our chief justice if we are not in England, are first to be informed.

  • (49) We will at once return all hostages and charters delivered up to us by Englishmen as security for peace or for loyal service.
  • (50) We will remove completely from their offices the kinsmen of Gerard de Athée, and in future they shall hold no offices in England. The people in question are Engelard de Cigogné, Peter, Guy, and Andrew de Chanceaux, Guy de Cigogné, Geoffrey de Martigny and his brothers, Philip Marc and his brothers, with Geoffrey his nephew, and all their followers.
  • (51) As soon as peace is restored, we will remove from the kingdom all the foreign knights, bowmen, their attendants, and the mercenaries that have come to it, to its harm, with horses and arms.
  • (52) To any man whom we have deprived or dispossessed of lands, castles, liberties, or rights, without the lawful judgment of his equals, we will at once restore these. In cases of dispute the matter shall be resolved by the judgment of the twenty-five barons referred to below in the clause for securing the peace (§61). In cases, however, where a man was deprived or dispossessed of something without the lawful judgment of his equals by our father King Henry or our brother King Richard, and it remains in our hands or is held by others under our warranty, we shall have respite for the period commonly allowed to Crusaders, unless a lawsuit had been begun, or an enquiry had been made at our order, before we took the Cross as a Crusader. On our return from the Crusade, or if we abandon it, we will at once render justice in full.
  • (53) We shall have similar respite in rendering justice in connexion with forests that are to be disafforested, or to remain forests, when these were first afforested by our father Henry or our brother Richard; with the guardianship of lands in another person’s ‘fee’, when we have hitherto had this by virtue of a ‘fee’ held of us for knight’s service by a third party; and with abbeys founded in another person’s ‘fee’, in which the lord of the ‘fee’ claims to own a right. On our return from the Crusade, or if we abandon it, we will at once do full justice to complaints about these matters.

(54) No one shall be arrested or imprisoned on the appeal of a woman for the death of any person except her husband.

  • (55) All fines that have been given to us unjustly and against the law of the land, and all fines that we have exacted unjustly, shall be entirely remitted or the matter decided by a majority judgment of the twenty-five barons referred to below in the clause for securing the peace (§61) together with Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, if he can be present, and such others as he wishes to bring with him. If the archbishop cannot be present, proceedings shall continue without him, provided that if any of the twenty-five barons has been involved in a similar suit himself, his judgment shall be set aside, and someone else chosen and sworn in his place, as a substitute for the single occasion, by the rest of the twenty-five.

(56) If we have deprived or dispossessed any Welshmen of land, liberties, or anything else in England or in Wales, without the lawful judgment of their equals, these are at once to be returned to them. A dispute on this point shall be determined in the Marches by the judgment of equals. English law shall apply to holdings of land in England, Welsh law to those in Wales, and the law of the Marches to those in the Marches. The Welsh shall treat us and ours in the same way.

  • (57) In cases where a Welshman was deprived or dispossessed of anything, without the lawful judgment of his equals, by our father King Henry or our brother King Richard, and it remains in our hands or is held by others under our warranty, we shall have respite for the period commonly allowed to Crusaders, unless a lawsuit had been begun, or an enquiry had been made at our order, before we took the Cross as a Crusader. But on our return from the Crusade, or if we abandon it, we will at once do full justice according to the laws of Wales and the said regions.
  • (58) We will at once return the son of Llywelyn, all Welsh hostages, and the charters delivered to us as security for the peace.
  • (59) With regard to the return of the sisters and hostages of Alexander, king of Scotland, his liberties and his rights, we will treat him in the same way as our other barons of England, unless it appears from the charters that we hold from his father William, formerly king of Scotland, that he should be treated otherwise. This matter shall be resolved by the judgment of his equals in our court.

(60) All these customs and liberties that we have granted shall be observed in our kingdom in so far as concerns our own relations with our subjects. Let all men of our kingdom, whether clergy or laymen, observe them similarly in their relations with their own men.

  • (61) SINCE WE HAVE GRANTED ALL THESE THINGS for God, for the better ordering of our kingdom, and to allay the discord that has arisen between us and our barons, and since we desire that they shall be enjoyed in their entirety, with lasting strength, for ever, we give and grant to the barons the following security:

The barons shall elect twenty-five of their number to keep, and cause to be observed with all their might, the peace and liberties granted and confirmed to them by this charter.

If we, our chief justice, our officials, or any of our servants offend in any respect against any man, or transgress any of the articles of the peace or of this security, and the offence is made known to four of the said twenty-five barons, they shall come to us – or in our absence from the kingdom to the chief justice – to declare it and claim immediate redress. If we, or in our absence abroad the chief justice, make no redress within forty days, reckoning from the day on which the offence was declared to us or to him, the four barons shall refer the matter to the rest of the twenty-five barons, who may distrain upon and assail us in every way possible, with the support of the whole community of the land, by seizing our castles, lands, possessions, or anything else saving only our own person and those of the queen and our children, until they have secured such redress as they have determined upon. Having secured the redress, they may then resume their normal obedience to us.

Any man who so desires may take an oath to obey the commands of the twenty-five barons for the achievement of these ends, and to join with them in assailing us to the utmost of his power. We give public and free permission to take this oath to any man who so desires, and at no time will we prohibit any man from taking it. Indeed, we will compel any of our subjects who are unwilling to take it to swear it at our command.

If one of the twenty-five barons dies or leaves the country, or is prevented in any other way from discharging his duties, the rest of them shall choose another baron in his place, at their discretion, who shall be duly sworn in as they were.

In the event of disagreement among the twenty-five barons on any matter referred to them for decision, the verdict of the majority present shall have the same validity as a unanimous verdict of the whole twenty-five, whether these were all present or some of those summoned were unwilling or unable to appear.

The twenty-five barons shall swear to obey all the above articles faithfully, and shall cause them to be obeyed by others to the best of their power.

We will not seek to procure from anyone, either by our own efforts or those of a third party, anything by which any part of these concessions or liberties might be revoked or diminished. Should such a thing be procured, it shall be null and void and we will at no time make use of it, either ourselves or through a third party.

  • (62) We have remitted and pardoned fully to all men any ill-will, hurt, or grudges that have arisen between us and our subjects, whether clergy or laymen, since the beginning of the dispute. We have in addition remitted fully, and for our own part have also pardoned, to all clergy and laymen any offences committed as a result of the said dispute between Easter in the sixteenth year of our reign (i.e. 1215) and the restoration of peace.

In addition we have caused letters patent to be made for the barons, bearing witness to this security and to the concessions set out above, over the seals of Stephen archbishop of Canterbury, Henry archbishop of Dublin, the other bishops named above, and Master Pandulf.

  • (63) IT IS ACCORDINGLY OUR WISH AND COMMAND that the English Church shall be free, and that men in our kingdom shall have and keep all these liberties, rights, and concessions, well and peaceably in their fullness and entirety for them and their heirs, of us and our heirs, in all things and all places for ever.

Both we and the barons have sworn that all this shall be observed in good faith and without deceit. Witness the abovementioned people and many others.

Given by our hand in the meadow that is called Runnymede, between Windsor and Staines, on the fifteenth day of June in the seventeenth year of our reign (i.e. 1215: the new regnal year began on 28 May).

sources

https://www.bl.uk/magna-carta/articles/magna-carta-english-translation

https://www.onthisday.com/photos/magna-carta

Rwanda

The British government have passed a law which will send refugees coming into Britain, to Rwanda. Boris Johnson’s government announced in April that it would send some asylum seekers to Rwanda for an initial payment of 120 million pounds.

Lets just have a quick look back at Rwanda’s recent history. In just 100 days in 1994, about 800,000 people were slaughtered in Rwanda by ethnic Hutu extremists. They were targeting members of the minority Tutsi community, as well as their political opponents, irrespective of their ethnic origin. One man, Paul Rusesabagina (pictured above)source- a hutu himself, saved more than 1,200 people during the nation’s 1994 genocide. His story was portrayed in the movie Hotel Rwanda.

The Rwandan government, headed by the Tutsi president Paul Kagame,  abducted Rusesabagina, 67, in August 2020 in Dubai. This past September, a Rwandan court sentenced him to 25 years in prison. Rusesabagina is a U.S. permanent resident and holds Belgian citizenship.

The Rwandan government has openly admitted that it planned an elaborate operation inside the United States to track Paul Rusesabagina and use its agents to trick him into traveling — with false promises of contractual work in Burundi— from his home in the United States to Rwanda,” lawyers for the Rusesabagina family say in court documents. “He was drugged and taken to Rwanda where President Paul Kagame’s security agents forcibly abducted him, tortured him, and forced him into illegal imprisonment.”

Rusesabagina has been a harsh critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, accusing the president of war crimes and human rights violations. The Rusesabagina family says the government targeted him in response.

That is the same government Boris Johnson’s government struck a deal with in order to ‘alleviate’ Britain’s refugee crisis.

sources

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-26875506

https://www.npr.org/2022/05/01/1095826996/family-of-hotel-rwanda-hero-sues-rwandan-government-for-kidnapping-and-torture?t=1655205109943

https://www.gov.rw/president

Murdered in Westerbork March 15 1943.

Although Westerbork wasn’t an extermination camp but transit camp, it didn’t mean that no one was murdered there. It is often referred to as a ‘humane’ camp, but there was nothing humane about it.

Only 751 people were murdered there, now some will say that some died and were not murdered, but I don’t subscribe to that point of view. Everyone who died in the camps was murdered, they should never have been there in the first place and all camps had sub standard and appalling living condition. It is a wonder that not more died.

The low mortality rate in Westerbork is mainly due to the relatively short period of time that most prisoners would stay in Westerbork, before they were transported to Auschwitz,Sobibor or Treblinka and a few other camps.

Westerbork was originally established in 1939 by the Dutch before the German invasion of the Netherlands. It began as a refugee camp for German Jewish refugees who had fled Nazi persecution.

Until 1942, when it became a transit camp from which Jews, Roma and Sinti were deported to Nazi extermination and concentration camps in Germany and occupied territories of Central and Eastern Europe..

These are just a few names of the 751 who were murdered in Westerbork. They were all murdered on March 15,1943.

Jacques Jacob Arend-Born in Rotterdam, 11 March 1908.Occupation Draughtsman.

Jacques Jacob Arend was murdered on 15 March 1943 he was cremated on 18 March 1943. The urn with his ashes was placed on the Jewish cemetery in Diemen on field U, row 7, grave number 12.

Rosina de Solla-Sturkop- Amsterdam, 14 September 1860

Rosina de Solla-Sturkop,murdered on 15 March 1943 she was cremated on 18 March 1943. The urn with her ashes was placed on the Portuguese-Israelite cemetery in Ouderkerk at the Amstel on field 1894, Ca.12, Sa.13.

Borach Sleutelberg-Born Delfzijl, 26 February 1860.Occupation,butcher.

Borach Sleutelberg, murdered on 15 March 1943, he was cremated on 17 March 1943. The urn with ashes was placed on the Jewish cemetery in Diemen on field U, row 2, grave number 6.

Margaretha Hamburger-Stouwer-Born in Amsterdam, 22 May 1870.

Margaretha Hamburger-Stouwer ,murdered on 15 March 1943, she was cremated on 17 March 1943. The urn with her ashes was placed on the Jewish cemetery in Diemen on field U, row 2, grave number 1.

Hermine Sichel-Schwabacher- born in Frankfurt am Main, 17 April 1858

Hermine Sichel-Schwabacher, murdered on 15 March 1943, she was cremated on 18 March 1943. The urn with her ashes was placed on the Jewish cemetery in Diemen on field U, row 4, grave number 27.

Margaretha Hamburger-Stouwer-Born in Amsterdam, 22 May 1870.

Margaretha Hamburger-Stouwer. murdered on 15 March 1943,she was cremated on 17 March 1943. The urn with her ashes was placed on the Jewish cemetery in Diemen on field U, row 2, grave number 1.

Josua Colthof-Born in Opsterland, 10 May 1864.

Josua Colthof, murdered on 15 March 1943,he was cremated on 18 March 1943. The urn with his ashes was placed on the Jewish cemetery in Diemen on field U, row 1, grave number 3.

With the exception of Jacques Jacob Arend, all of these people were 70 years and older. It is clear that the conditions in the camp must have killed them, to me that makes it murder.

sources

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/westerbork

https://culture.ec.europa.eu/cultural-heritage/initiatives-and-success-stories/european-heritage-label/european-heritage-label-sites/camp-westerbork-the-netherlands

https://www.tracesofwar.com/articles/4439/Camp-Westerbork.htm#

Donation

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Remembering Josef Strauss

This is not the famous composer Joseph Strauss as a young man. This is actually another young man called Josef Strauss. Technically he never became a man because he was murdered in Auschwitz on August 17,1942. He was aged 17.

Unlike his famous name bearer there is very little known about Josef, yet from the little data we have a picture can be painted about his life.

He was born October 6 1924 in Darmstadt, Germany. His mother was Helene Rothschild. his father was Henry Strauss.

His mother’s birth date was August 6,1891. His father’s birth date was December 20,1875.

Josef was a refugee from Germany: he arrived in the Netherlands on December 7th, 1938. First he stayed in the quarantine facility in Amsterdam, in December 1938 he went to live in Arnhem (Huize Sonsbeek), and from there in February 1940 to Wieringen.

Notes upon arrival in the Netherlands:
Parents on their way to Rhodesia. Will probably go with Kindertransport to USA.

He was only 14 when he arrived in the Netherlands.

He had either a cousin or uncle, but I assume cousin because of a different surname, there is no difference in the Dutch language for cousin or nephew. However. lets assume it was a cousin, his name was Paul Schirling. There is only one reference I can find on Paul, on a site I often use for research. He was also murdered in Auschwitz on March 31.1944.

On July 20,1939 Paul sent a request to the Dutch ministry of internal affairs, asking if his cousin Josef Strauss, could holiday with him for 2 weeks. The request was approved on July 29,1939.

On 27 February 1940, Josef was sent to Werkdorp Wieringen, Nieuwesluizerweg 42, Slootdorp (Wieringen), this was set up for young German Jews to learn a trade before emigration. The werkdorp was officially opened on October 3, 1934.

On May 22,1942 Josef was sent to Amsterdam

From there he was sent to Auschwitz, presumably via Westerbork, where he was murdered on August 17,1942.

Josef was sent away as a refugee by his parents, because an evil regime had taken power in their country. I am a parent, and one of my sons is traveling abroad soon, not as a refugee but as a student and to the country where I was born. Despite that I am having panic attacks, I can only imagine what Josef parents went through.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/226300/josef-strauss

WWII Internment camps in Britain

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“Collar the lot,” is what Churchill said about the citizens of enemy nations living in the UK, it didn’t matter if they were friend or foe,.

During the Second World War (1939 – 1945) a number of internment camps for civilians from enemy countries were established on the Isle of Man. These were based at Peveril Camp, Peel (on the west coast of the island) and Mooragh Camp, Ramsey (on the NE coast of the island). Some civilians lived in the pre-war guest houses at Douglas and other Manx towns. Prisoner of War camps were established at Base Camp, Douglas and one nearby at Onchan.

During the war, thousands of people were held in internment camps on the Isle of Man.

Some were political detainees or suspected spies, but many were innocent refugees who had nowhere else to go.

Throughout the UK citizens from Germany,Italy and Austria,including Jews who had escaped these countries from Nazi perscuion, were rounded up and transferred to the Isle of Man.

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At the outbreak of World War Two there were around 80,000 people in Britain who were considered potential “enemy aliens”.

It was feared there might be people acting as spies, or people willing to assist Britain’s enemies in the event of an invasion.The UK government asked the Isle of Man to accommodate people at camps in Douglas, Ramsey and Peel.

Political prisoners were detained in high security camps, but most internees – including many Jewish refugees – were free to go shopping, swim in the sea and attend classes.

onchan

One of the internees was Rabbi Werner van der ZylRabbi_Werner_van_der_Zyl. a rabbi in Berlin and in London.He was a founder and President of Leo Baeck College, London; President of the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain (now known as the Movement for Reform Judaism); and Life Vice President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism.Van der Zyl came to Britain in 1939. During World War II the British Government interned him at Kitchener Camp in Sandwich, Kent and then at Mooragh Internment Camp  on the Isle of Manas an “enemy alien”. He was released from internment in 1943.

Fred Uhlman was born in Stuttgart, Germany, into a prosperous middle-class Jewish family. He studied at the Universities of Freiburg, Munich and Tübingen from where, in 1923, he graduated with a degree in Law followed by a Doctorate in Canon and Civil Law.uhlman

On 4 November 1936, he married Diana Croft, daughter of Henry Page Croft (later Lord Croft), against her parents’ strongest wishes, and they remained close and happy for nearly fifty years.

They set up home on Downshire Hill, in London’s Hampstead and it became a favourite cultural and artistic meeting place for the large group of refugees and exiles who, like Uhlman, had been forced to flee their homeland. He founded the Free German League of Culture, whose members included Oskar Kokoschka and Stefan Zweig, though he parted company with it when he felt it coming under communist domination.

Nine months after the outbreak of the Second World War, Uhlman, with thousands of other enemy aliens, was, in June 1940, interned by the British Government, in Hutchinson Camp on the Isle of Man.  He was released six months later and reunited with his wife and with his daughter, born while he was interned.

Photograph of internees in a yard at Hutchinson Internment Camp [c.1940-1] by Major H. O. Daniels

 

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Sources

BBC

The Telegraph

WWII refugee camps in Iran

polish_refugees_in_iran_19

Nowadays Iran is often referred to as an axis of evil and this piece is not meant to agree or disagree with that, it is meant to show that it hasn’t always been that way. In a similar fashion it is often believed that the Soviet army were the good guys during WWII, that wasn’t always the case either.

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Following the Soviet invasion of Poland at the onset of World War II in accordance with the Nazi-Soviet Pact against Poland, the Soviet Union acquired over half of the territory of the Second Polish Republic. Within months, in order to de-Polonize annexed lands, the Soviet NKVD rounded up and deported between 320,000 and 1 million Polish nationals to the eastern parts of the USSR, the Urals, and Siberia. There were four waves of deportations of entire families with children, women and elderly aboard freight trains from 1940 until 1941.

Sybiracy_(deportacje_1940-1941)

These civilians included civil servants, local government officials, judges, members of the police force, forest workers, settlers, small farmers, tradesmen, refugees from western Poland, children from summer camps and orphanages, family members of anyone previously arrested, and family members of anyone who escaped abroad or went missing.

Their fate was completely changed in June 1941 when Germany unexpectedly attacked Soviet Union. In need of as many allies it could find, the Soviets agreed to release all the Polish citizens it held in captivity. Released in August 1941 from Moscow’s infamous Lubyanka Prison, Polish general Wladyslaw Anders began to mobilize the Polish Armed Forces in the East (commonly known as the Anders Army) to fight against the Nazis..

Ally_AndersArmy

Forming the new Polish Army was not easy, however. Many Polish prisoners of war had died in the labor camps in the Soviet Union. Many of those who survived were very weak from the conditions in the camps and from malnourishment. Because the Soviets were at war with Germany, there was little food or provisions available for the Polish Army. Thus, following the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran in 1941, the Soviets agreed to evacuate part of the Polish formation to Iran. Non-military refugees, mostly women and children, were also transferred across the Caspian Sea to Iran.

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Starting in 1942, the port city of Pahlevi (now known as Anzali) became the main landing point for Polish refugees coming into Iran from the Soviet Union, receiving up to 2,500 refugees per day. General Anders evacuated 74,000 Polish troops, including approximately 41,000 civilians, many of them children, to Iran. In total, over 116,000 refugees were relocated to Iran.

Despite these difficulties, Iranians openly received the Polish refugees, and the Iranian government facilitated their entry to the country and supplied them with provisions. Polish schools, cultural and educational organizations, shops, bakeries, businesses, and press were established to make the Poles feel more at home.

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The refugees were weakened by two years of maltreatment and starvation, and many suffered from malaria, typhus, fevers, respiratory illnesses, and diseases caused by starvation. Desperate for food after starving for so long, refugees ate as much as they could, leading to disastrous consequences. Several hundred Poles, mostly children, died shortly after arriving in Iran from acute dysentery caused by overeating.

Thousands of the children who came to Iran came from orphanages in the Soviet Union, either because their parents had died or they were separated during deportations from Poland. Most of these children were eventually sent to live in orphanages in Isfahan, which had an agreeable climate and plentiful resources, allowing the children to recover from the many illnesses they contracted in the poorly managed and supplied orphanages in the Soviet Union.

polish_refugees_in_iran_1

Between 1942–1945, approximately 2,000 children passed through Isfahan, so many that it was briefly called the “City of Polish Children”. Numerous schools were set up to teach the children the Polish language, math, science, and other standard subjects. In some schools, Persian was also taught, along with both Polish and Iranian history and geography.

polish_refugees_in_iran_12

Because Iran could not permanently care for the large influx of refugees, other British-colonized countries began receiving Poles from Iran in the summer of 1942. By 1944, Iran was already emptying of Poles. They were leaving for other camps in places such as Tanganyika, Mexico, India, New Zealand and Britain.

While most signs of Polish life in Iran have faded, a few have remained. As writer Ryszard Antolak noted in Pars Times, “The deepest imprint of the Polish sojourn in Iran can be found in the memoirs and narratives of those who lived through it. The debt and gratitude felt by the exiles towards their host country echoes warmly throughout all literature. The kindness and sympathy of the ordinary Iranian population towards the Poles is everywhere spoken of”.

polish_refugees_in_iran_10

The Poles took away with them a lasting memory of freedom and friendliness, something most of them would not know again for a very long time. For few of the evacuees who passed through Iran during the years 1942 1945 would ever to see their homeland again. By a cruel twist of fate, their political destiny was sealed in Tehran in 1943. In November of that year, the leaders of Russia, Britain and the USA met in the Iranian capital to decide the fate of Post-war Europe. During their discussions (which were held in secret), it was decided to assign Poland to the zone of influence of the Soviet Union after the war

polish_refugees_in_iran_15

 

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The Struma Disaster-the floating coffin

struma_ship

February 24 was the 79th anniversary of a tragic event that took place during World War II, involving 769 Jews who perished in a ramshackle ship called Struma while escaping from Romania.

The woeful circumstances that surrounded this event were a grim global war, clumsy diplomatic maneuvers conducted by the British to keep the Jews away from Palestine, and also a hypocritical international politics. Jews all over Europe were desperately trapped in this chaos relentlessly haunted by a pathological Nazi hatred.

World War II was already in fever pitch. Against the enormity of the then-unfolding Holocaust, the loss at sea of 781Jewish lives (103 of them babies and children) was at most blithely overlooked as a marginal annotation.Moreover, although these Jews fled the Nazis, in the pedantic literal sense they weren’t executed by Third Reich henchmen.

The Struma disaster was the sinking on 24 February 1942 of a ship, MV Struma, that had been trying to take several hundred Jewish refugees from Axis-allied Romania to Mandatory Palestine. She was a small iron-hulled ship of only 240 GRT that had been built in 1867 as a steam-powered schooner[but had recently been re-engined with an unreliable second-hand diesel engine.Struma was only 148.4 ft (45 m) long, had a beam of only 19.3 ft (6 m) and a draught of only 9.9 ft (3 m) but an estimated 781 refugees and 10 crew were crammed into her.
Strumas diesel engine failed several times between her departure from Constanţa on the Black Sea on 12 December 1941 and her arrival in Istanbul on 15 December. She had to be towed by a tug both to leave Constanţa and to enter Istanbul. On 23 February 1942, with her engine still inoperable and her refugee passengers aboard, Turkish authorities towed Struma from Istanbul through the Bosphorus out to the coast of Şile in North Istanbul. Within hours, in the morning of 24 February, the Soviet submarine Shch-213 torpedoed her, killing an estimated 781 refugees plus 10 crew, making it the Black Sea’s largest exclusively civilian naval disaster of World War II.

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Until recently the number of victims had been estimated at 768, but the current figure is the result of a recent study of six different passenger lists.Only one person aboard, 19-year-old David Stoliar, survived (he died in 2014).

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Struma had been built as a luxury yacht,but was 74 years old and in the 1930s had been relegated to carrying cattle on the River Danube under the Panamanian flag of convenience.

Apart from the crew and 60 Betar youth, there were over 700 passengers who had paid large fees to board the ship.The exact number is not certain, but a collation of six separate lists produced a total of 791 passengers and 10 crew.Passengers were told they would be sailing on a renovated boat with a short stop in Istanbul to collect their Palestinian immigration visas. Ion Antonescu’s Romanian government approved of the voyage.

Each refugee was allowed to take 20 kilograms (44 lb) of luggage.Romanian customs officers took many of the refugees’ valuables and other possessions, along with food that they had brought with them.

The passengers were not permitted to see the vessel before the day of the voyage. Below decks, Struma had dormitories with bunks for 40 to 120 people in each. The berths were bunks on which passengers were to sleep four abreast, with 60 centimetres (2 ft) width for each person.

On the day of her sailing Strumas engine failed so a tug towed her out of the port of Constanţa. The waters off Constanţa were mined, so a Romanian vessel escorted her clear of the minefield. She then drifted overnight while her crew tried vainly to start her engine. She transmitted distress signals and on 13 December the Romanian tug returned.The tug’s crew said they would not repair Strumas engine unless they were paid.The refugees had no money after buying their tickets and leaving Romania, so they gave all their wedding rings to the tugboatmen, who then repaired the engine.Struma then got under way but by 15 December her engine had failed again so she was towed into Istanbul in Turkey.(Last letter from a Struma passenger to his son, while confined aboard ship in Istanbul harbor)

struma-letter

There she remained at anchor while British diplomats and Turkish officials negotiated over the fate of the passengers. Because of Arab and Zionist unrest in Palestine, Britain was determined to apply the terms of the White Paper of 1939 to minimiZe Jewish immigration to Palestine.

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British diplomats urged the Turkish government of Refik Saydam to prevent Struma from continuing her voyage.

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Turkey refused to allow the passengers to disembark. While detained in Istanbul, Struma ran short of food. Soup was cooked twice a week and supper was typically an orange and some peanuts for each person. At night each child was issued a serving of milk.

After weeks of negotiation, the British agreed to honour the expired Palestinian visas possessed by a few passengers, who were allowed to continue to Palestine overland. One woman, Madeea Solomonovici, was admitted to an Istanbul hospital after miscarrying. On 12 February British officials agreed that children aged 11 to 16 on the ship would be given Palestinian visas.The United Kingdom declined to send a ship, while Turkey refused to allow them to travel overland. According to some researchers, a total of 9 passengers disembarked while the remaining 782 and 10 crew stayed on the ship. Others believe that there had only been 782 passengers initially, just Madeea Solomonovici being allowed to leave the ship.

Negotiations between Turkey and Britain seemed to reach an impasse. On 23 February 1942 a small party of Turkish police tried to board the ship but the refugees would not let them aboard.Then a larger force of about 80 police came, surrounded Struma with motor boats, and after about half an hour of resistance got aboard the ship. The police detached Strumas anchor and attached her to a tug, which towed her through the Bosphorus and out into the Black Sea.As she was towed along the Bosphorus, many passengers hung signs over the sides that read “SAVE US” in English and Hebrew, visible to those who lived on the banks of the strait.

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Despite weeks of work by Turkish engineers, the engine would not start. The Turkish authorities abandoned the ship in the Black Sea, about 10 miles north of the Bosphorus, where she drifted helplessly.

On the morning of 24 February there was a huge explosion and the ship sank. Many years later it was revealed that the ship had been torpedoed by the Shchuka-class Soviet submarine Shch-213, that had also sunk the Turkish vessel Çankaya the evening before.

Struma sank quickly and many people were trapped below decks and drowned. Many others aboard survived the sinking and clung to pieces of wreckage, but for hours no rescue came and all but one of them died from drowning or hypothermia. Of the estimated 791 people killed, more than 100 were children.Strumas First Officer Lazar Dikof and the 19-year-old refugee David Stoliar clung to a cabin door that was floating in the sea.The First Officer died overnight but Turks in a rowing boat rescued Stoliar the next day. He was the only survivor. Turkey held Stoliar in custody for many weeks but released him after Britain gave him papers to go to Palestine.

On 9 June 1942, Lord Wedgwood opened the debate in the British House of Lords by alleging that Britain had reneged on its commitments and urging that the League of Nations mandate over Palestine be transferred to the USA. He stated with bitterness: “I hope yet to live to see those who sent the Struma cargo back to the Nazis hung as high as Haman cheek by jowl with their prototype and Führer, Adolf Hitler”. Anglo-Jewish poet Emanuel Litvinoff, serving in the British army at the time, wrote a scathing poem, mourning the loss and betrayal of Struma. Having volunteered in the British army to fight the Nazis, he now called the British khaki he wore a “badge of shame.”

For many years there were competing theories about the explosion that sank Struma. In 1964 a German historian discovered that Shch-213 had fired a torpedo that sank the ship.Later this was confirmed from several other Soviet sources.The submarine had been acting under secret orders to sink all neutral and enemy shipping entering the Black Sea to reduce the flow of strategic materials to Nazi Germany.

Harold Alfred MacMichael High Commissioner of the British Mandate of Palestine was blamed for sending at least 768 Jewish refugees aboard MV Struma to their deaths. The Jewish freedom fighters in Palestine, whom the British called terrorists, pasted posters bearing his portrait everywhere in the country saying he was wanted for murder.

struma-poster

Walter Edward Guinness was regarded as one of the architects of Britain’s strict immigration policy, and to have been responsible for the British hand in the Struma disaster,which followed a refusal to grant visas to Palestine for its Jewish refugee passengers.

NPG x133257; Walter Edward Guinness, 1st Baron Moyne of Bury St Edmunds by Walter Stoneman

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/11/06/the-assassination-of-walter-guinness-1st-baron-moyne/

Israeli politics still refers to the Struma disaster. On 26 January 2005 Israel’s then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, told the Knesset:

The leadership of the British Mandate displayed… obtuseness and insensitivity by locking the gates to Israel to Jewish refugees who sought a haven in the Land of Israel. Thus were rejected the requests of the 769 [sic] passengers of the ship Struma who escaped from Europe – and all but one [of the passengers] found their death at sea. Throughout the war, nothing was done to stop the annihilation [of the Jewish people

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