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Internees - Why were people interned at the beginning of the war? Main page

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As the fear of invasion grew anyone in Britain who was German, Austrian or Italian was interned. This meant that they were put in prison because the government was very worried that foreigners from a country Britain was at war with might tell the enemy about troop movements or send them important industrial information. Many were refugees who had come to Britain because Hitler had threatened to kill them or put them in concentration camps.

Over 8,000 people were interned and, of these, about 5,000, including women and young children, were sent to Port Erin and Port St Mary on the Isle of Man. They were held in crowded housing and separated from the rest of the island by barbed wire fencing. As the war progressed, the government released many of the internees who were judged not to be a threat back to their homes but some spent the whole war behind wire.

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