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Simon Parkin: The Island of Extraordinary Captives
7 February 2022 8:00 pm
The police came for Peter Fleischmann in the early hours. It reminded the teenager of the Gestapo’s moonlit roundups that he had narrowly avoided at home in Berlin. Now having endured a perilous journey to reach England –– hiding from the rampaging Nazi thugs at his orphanage, boarding a kinder transport to safety –– here the aspiring artist was on a ship bound for the Isle of Man, suspected of being a Nazi spy. What had gone wrong?
In May 1940 faced with a country gripped by paranoia Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered the internment of all German and Austrian citizens living in Britain. Most, like Peter, were refugees who had come to the country to escape Nazi oppression. Now they were imprisoned by the very country in which they had staked their trust.
Join British journalist and author Simon Parkin for a talk to coincide with the publication of his new book. Painstakingly researched from dozens of unpublished first-hand accounts and previously classified documents, The Island of Extraordinary Captives: A True Story of an Artist, a Spy and a Wartime Scandal tells the story of Hutchinson Camp in Douglas on the Isle of Man, history’s most astonishing internment camp, and of how a group of world-renowned artists, musicians, and academics came to be seen as enemy aliens.
It is the story of a battle between fear and compassion at a time of national crisis. It reveals how Britain’s treatment of refugees during the Second World War led to one of the nation’s most shameful missteps, and how hope and creativity can flourish in even the most challenging circumstances.
To book, click here.
PLEASE NOTE: Simon’s book can be purchased online by those attending this talk at £4 off the cover price of £20.
IMAGE: Book cover – The Island of Extraordinary Captives by Simon Parkin