The Richborough Camp and Jews fleeing Nazi Germany

Thursday 28th November.

The Rescue of German Jewish Men to Britain in 1939, with Clare Ungerson.

This is remarkable story about how 4,000 refugees came to live in Sandwich.

The year is 1939 and the refugees were Jews from Nazi Germany, many of them recent concentration camp prisoners.

After being given visas, they established a camp in Richborough, using buildings that had housed troops on their way to the Western Front during the Great War. It became known as the ‘Kitchener Camp’.

How did the people of Sandwich and East Kent react to an influx of German-speaking Jewish foreigners? The British Union of Fascists and right-wing newspapers tried to inflame tensions. But cultural life at the camp flourished, and fears did not materialise. The Kitchener camp had a positive impact on Sandwich and the region, and has left an important legacy in local memory.

Clare Ungerson has written an acclaimed book about the camp. It tells the story of salvation from the nightmare of Nazi Germany, but also describes how a Kentish community reacted to the arrival of so many German Jews in their midst.

Shepherdswell Village Hall @ 7.30pm. Members £1, Non-members £2.50