A Family Touched by Wartime Internment Supports Refugee Education

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Rachel, Tony, and Adrian Kitzinger recently donated to Anera and shared the following moving story to provide background on the donation.

Our father, Ernst Kitzinger, fled Germany in 1933 and ended up in England some years later. 

As you may know, at the start of WWII, the British rounded up and deported all Germans living in England. They were sent to internment camps in Canada and Australia. No distinction was made between refugees from Hitler’s Germany and Germans living in England who were either against or sympathetic with the Third Reich. Our father was sent on the ship H.M.T. Dunera to Camp Hay in Australia.

Upon going through his papers after his death we found a file of memorabilia from his time at the camp, where he and other refugees set up classes to teach each other subjects in which an inmate was an expert. They organized concerts, literary magazines, debates, and artistic exhibitions. 

Ernst Kitzinger portrait
Ernst Kitzinger

One of the refugees was a graphic designer who designed the bills that were used for money in the camps. Included in our father’s papers was one of these bills, a 21-note.

While we sent the collection of memorabilia to a library in Sydney, which is creating an archive of materials from the camps, we decided to sell the note (since it has acquired a market value among collectors) and contribute the proceeds to a refugee organization in our father’s name. 

We looked for an organization with a focus on education. We were impressed with Anera’s work with refugees to help them establish their own educational initiatives, which seemed to us to be in the spirit of the way the refugees in Camp Hay educated each other.

Along with the check for the proceeds from the sale of the note, I share a photograph of the note. Interlaced in the barbed wire, which makes the border of the note, are the words “We are here because we are here because we are here.”

Photo of the currency note
Photograph of the currency note from Camp Hay
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