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Italian internee-made ship in a bottle

Date made: 1942

Description: Ship in bottle (28 cm tall) 4 master with Italian flag clearly made by an Italian internee with oval wooden stand with 3-legs inlaid. 23 x 12.5 cm. Label 'S Camp Douglas IOMAN 12.12.1942'.

When war was declared in September 1939, there were about 75,000 Germans and Austrians living in Britain. Some had lived in Britain for several years, others were economic migrants but many were religious (Jewish) or political refugees who had fled from Nazi persecution in Germany and later in Austria. Following the declaration of war, all German and Austrian nationals had to register as ‘enemy aliens’ and go before a tribunal to determine whether they posed a security risk or not. Only a minority were deemed to have Nazi sympathies (and were immediately arrested and imprisoned), some had their freedom of movement curtailed (for example they couldn’t live near the coast but were otherwise free to do as they wanted) and the majority were deemed genuine refugees and therefore ‘friendly’ enemy aliens. But all this changed when Germany’s invasion of France, Belgium and the Netherlands began on the 10th May 1940 and each of countries soon fell and were occupied by German forces during May and June. By the end of May 1940, British and Allied troops were being evacuated from Dunkirk (many on requisitioned Manx Steam Packet vessels) and on the 10th June, Italy joined the Axis powers with Germany and Britain was now under threat of invasion.

Suddenly there were no ‘friendly’ enemy aliens, just thousands of potential 5th Columnists and enemy spies spread throughout Britain, including thousands of Italians who had lived in Britain for several years. Mass internment of ‘enemy aliens’ was seen as the answer. S Camp was the official name for Metropole Camp, located on Douglas Promenade during the Second World War. It opened in July 1940 and mainly housed Italian internees.

Measurements: overall: 12.5 cm x 28 cm

Materials: glass, wood

Object name: model

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 1988-0376



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