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The Long Arm of the Third Reich: Internment of New Guinea Germans in Tatura

Christine Winter
The Journal of Pacific History
Vol. 38, No. 1 (Jun., 2003), pp. 85-108
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25169621
Page Count: 24
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The Long Arm of the Third Reich: Internment of New Guinea Germans in Tatura
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Abstract

Mission histories and autobiographies dealing with the internment of Germans from New Guinea in Australia during World War II remember the shock and hardship of the initial detention and the journey from New Guinea to Australia, stories of funny events and good times in the camps, and the struggle with the Australian bureaucracy to get back to New Guinea. The time of enthusiastic or reluctant commitment to National Socialist leadership and ideology has had hardly any space in personal memories or written history, neither in mission accounts nor in Australian war histories. This article examines the politics of Tatura Camp 1, where most Germans from New Guinea were interned, within the context of wider Australian and German internment policies. The Germans from New Guinea were not cut off from the outside world behind barbed wire, but became entangled in a net of interacting and conflicting agencies. By examining the role of the German Reich and Switzerland, and their interaction with the Australian government, military authorities, and internees, the article shifts away from national histories of internment, which set the interning nation as the central reference point, to transnational histories.

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