Catalogue description Home Office: Aliens Department: Internees Index

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Details of HO 396
Reference: HO 396
Title: Home Office: Aliens Department: Internees Index

This series contains records of mostly Germans, Austrians, Italians and their spouses who were interned or considered for internment during the Second World War.

Different categories of internees are covered by these documents; these include:

  • People of all nationalities interned in the UK, Canada and Australia;
  • Those allowed to remain at liberty;
  • Germans and Italians released in the UK;
  • Germans and Italians interned in the UK;
  • Germans and Italians repatriated to the UK from Australia and Canada.

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Date: 1939-1947

The records, which date from 1939 to 1947, are in individual binders, usually grouped by nationality, and are in alphabetical order within each binder. The papers within these set are either the original slips, giving personal details on the front and sometimes details of the individual's case on the reverse side (for those interned this information is closed for 85 years). There are also many copy slips within the sets, particularly those listing internees shipped out to Canada or Australia: these give name, date of birth, reference and the name of the internee ships with dates of embarkation.

Individual internees may have slips in several sets of binders; for example one person may have been interned in the UK, was then shipped to Canada or Australia and finally released from internment and returned to this country, all of which may be detailed in several different pieces.

The piece descriptions show the main range of surnames for the items in that piece but there might be occasional exceptions with regard to the names filed in that record.

The descriptions are recorded as they are on the cards, and reflect political boundaries in the 1930s/1940s not the boundaries and names of places as they were prior to the First World War when many of these people were born.

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 308 volume(s)
Administrative / biographical background:

Internment began immediately before the outbreak of war in 1939 with a small number of Germans considered to be potentially hostile, with tribunals set up to decide who should be detained and who was to be allowed to remain at liberty. Internment of German and Austrian nationals was later expanded dramatically from 12 May 1940 onwards; Italian nationals were interned after Italy's declaration of war on 10 June 1940. However this policy was later reversed and in the period from Autumn 1940 to the end of 1942 most internees were released, with many of the remainder being repatriated from 1943 onwards.

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