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By Miriam Kochan

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My niece and I volunteered to give our social help on Saturdays and Sundays and that is how the first chapter of the Popular University began. I invited the refugees Britain's Internees in the Second World War of Ealing to give lectures in German and I was surprised how pleased they were that they were acknowledged in England. 'One morning in May 1940 I was arrested at six o'clock and taken to Knightsbridge Grenadier Barracks. My mother had already packed my trunk. My mother and father were both interned, although my father was already sixty-two.

All in all, some 3500 women were interned as a result of this measure, 1500 of them from the London area. 'In some instances in London', The Times reported on 28 May, 'the police had to wait at houses until the women had dressed. By noon several hundreds had been taken to special centres. The great majority seemed to be under thirty, and most of them appeared to be of the domesticservant class. Each carried a small, tightly packed suitcase, and some also had paper parcels. Many mothers took their children with them.

We couldn't communicate with anybody. We could have one visit from a member of the family to get some necessities for a long stay. Irma came and brought me some shirts and pyjamas. I spent three "pleasant" days in Fenham. The food was army rations and very good. For breakfast we had bacon, three eggs and tomatoes. What was not so good was the latrine, because May Madness 27 the barracks were intended for a few hundred people and they now held thousands. This caused great difficulties and long queues.

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