Isle of man

Why did Britain lock up so many innocent refugees in 1940?

Despite prostrate Germany’s need for the return of its men, in Britain we didn’t release our prisoners of war until 1948. In Russia — for those who survived — freedom came even later, in the 1950s; an apparent lack of moral equivalence saw the subject conveniently ignored until recently. Likewise, in a country that thrives on retelling wartime tales of derring-do, Britain has been slow to examine the complex story behind its internment of ‘enemy aliens’, the vast majority of whom were Jewish refugees. The horror of the Nazi concentration camps helped contribute to the silence on the subject post-1945, but, as Simon Parkin argues in The Island of Extraordinary