Four Thousand Lives

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In November 1938, about 30,000 German Jewish men were taken to concentration camps where they were subject to torture, starvation, and arbitrary death. This book tells the remarkable story of how the grandees of Anglo Jewry persuaded the British Government to allow them to establish a transit camp in Sandwich, in East Kent, to which up to 4000 men could be brought while they waited for permanent settlement overseas—known as the Kitchener camp. The whole rescue was funded by the British Jewish community with help from American Jewry. Most of the men left their families behind. Would they get their families out in time? And how would the people of Sandwich—a town the same size as the camp—react to so many German speaking Jewish foreigners in their midst? There was also a well organized branch of the British Union of Fascists in Sandwich. Captain Canning, a virulent anti-Semite, lived there. He and his grand friends, including the Prince of Wales, used to meet there to play golf. This background adds to the drama of the race against time to save lives.


Clare Ungerson worked in academic research institutes for many years, and was an Emeritus Professor at the University of Southampton in 2004. She is the author of many books on social policy.