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Rotholz, Siegfried (fl 1907-1977)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1556 WL 847
Held at: Wiener Library
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Full title: Rotholz, Siegfried (fl 1907-1977)
Date(s): 1907-1977
Level of description: collection
Extent: 6 folders
Name of creator(s): Rotholz | Siegfried | fl 1907-1977


Administrative/Biographical history:

Siegfried Rotholz was a German Jew and former resident of Berlin, who was transported to Australia on the HMT DUNERA.

HMT DUNERA was a British passenger ship built as a troop transport in the late 1930s. On 10 Jul 1940 the Dunera left Liverpool with men classed as enemy aliens, who were considered a risk to British security. Although many of the internees had in fact fled Europe to escape Nazi persecution, they were considered to have been German agents, potentially helping to plan the invasion of Britain. Included were 2,036 Jewish refugees from Austria and Germany, 451 German and Italian prisoners of war and others including the survivors of the Arandora Star disaster. They were taken to Australia for internment in the rural towns of Hay, New South Wales and Tatura, Victoria Australia. The ship had a maximum capacity of 1,500 - including crew - however on this voyage there were 2,542 transportees. The resultant condition has been described as 'inhumane', the transportees were also subjected to ill-treatment and theft by the 309 poorly trained British guards on board. On arrival in Sydney, the first Australian on board was medical army officer Alan Frost. He was appalled and his subsequent report led to the court martial of the army officer-in-charge, Lieutenant-Colonel William Scott.


Scope and content/abstract:

Personal papers of Siegfried Rotholz, 1907-1977, including papers documenting his experiences as a refugee who travelled to Australia on the HMT DUNERA. Comprising exercise book entitled 'Memorandum re Dunera' addressed to the UK High Commission in Australia from the inmates of Hay Camp, Western Australia, written under the following sub-headings: 'Treatment during Voyage'; 'Searches and Confiscation'; 'Handling and Loss of Luggage' and 'Treatment of Internees by Military', 2 Dec 1940; detailed inventory of Rotholz's possessions prior to departure from Germany; travel permit describing Rotholz's place of birth and current address; two Australian shillings from Hay internment camp, Australia; a revocation of the detention order, 7 Dec 1943; correspondence on compensation for personal possessions lost en route and restitution claim from the German government; registration certificates; job references; visa applications; family correspondence; birth register extract and official documents regarding financial and residency status.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
English, German and Polish

System of arrangement:

The original order has been largely retained. The only two folders which have had their contents individually numbered are the two 'Australia files', (847/1-2).

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies can be made for personal use. Permission must be sought for publication.

Finding aids:

Detailed description on the Wiener Library's online catalogue

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited Mar 1990.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Entry compiled by Sarah Drewery.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Mar 2008

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