Street and town names were changed, loyal citizens were dragged off to internment camps, books
and bibles were destroyed, and of course, innocent citizens could be molested and robbed without
repercussion. In South Australia the government changed 69 "German" names of geographic features
and places. The Australian government banned immigration from Germany until 1925. In 1919, to
pour salt on the wounds of armistice, imports from Germany were banned for three more years.
In 1912, approximately 300,000 Germans had emigrated from Russia to North and South America
to escape Bolshevik genocide. Between 1885 and W.W.1, the population of Argentina saw an influx
of 100,000 German speaking citizens. Strong German communities developed throughout South
America and most maintained strong ties to German culture, providing high-quality German
schooling, while strong feelings developed between the Argentinians and the Germans. A new wave
of emigration began after the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in 1918. In Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and
Chili, larger and more compact German settlements already existed, all with cultural institutions.
At the least about 250,000 Germans emigrated just to Brazil from 1824 to 1969, becoming the fourth
largest immigrant community to settle in the country. Germans living in Latin America soon paid a
high price for their ethnicity with harsh treatment, loss of their homes and businesses, internment and
outright theft of their assets. In Argentina and in Rio de Janeiro, German owned businesses and clubs
were wrecked by mobs. Brazil declared war on Germany in 1917, stating that Germany had "forced
the war on the country," and seized 46 German ships and German assets as well. The President was
empowered to declare any area "under siege" because of Germans in southern Brazil. Oppression of
the German minority was terrible. Their communities were intimidated and their homes and
businesses stolen or burned. When Costa Rica broke relations with Germany in 1917, all of the
German residents were interned. German ships were also seized in Argentina, Peru, Chile and
Uruguay after the Allies intentionally started rumors that Germans living in southern Brazil planned
to invade Uruguay and make it part of the Reich.
Canadian towns with German names were renamed. Over 2,000 German immigrants were interned,
with 37,000 Albertans alone designated as "enemy aliens." Germans directly from Germany were
barred from entry into Canada until 1923. Above: Hun crucifies enemy soldier; Internment camps in
Australis and Canada; Pin from the Anti-German League in Australia, 1915
In Canada, Australia, England and South America, things were just as dire for ethnic Germans. Some
Germans had originally fled to these countries in the first place to escape genocide and persecution
elsewhere only to be being victimized again. In 1891, there were 45,000 German- born people in
Australia. In 1900, almost 10% of the population of South Australia was German-Australian. World
War One was a very difficult time for them. Even some second and third generation German
Australians were interned. Employment became so difficult that, for one example, the Australian born
Attorney General of South Australia had to resign from his position as did other public officials.
German schools had to close and German language instruction was forbidden in schools. The South
Australian Education Department did not employ anyone of German background or even those with
a German name and all 49 Lutheran schools were closed in 1917.
At the onset of War, Germans became Canada's leper overnight with the Enemy Alien Act, 1914 -
1924. Charged with treason and sedition, even without proof, many were socially and economically
ruined. Clubs and associations were dissolved, German schools closed, and German newspapers
were suppressed, then outlawed. The ‘Enemy Alien Act' stripped German Canadians of their right to
vote, to speak their language in public or to teach their children in German.
|The Thrashing of German Civilians by the British
While Papua, New Guinea was taken by Britain in the late 19th century then passed to Australia in
1906, Germans controlled some parts of it, including Rabaul on New Britain island which had been in
German hands since 1884. When World War One erupted, Australian forces took and occupied
Rabaul on September 13, 1914. A terrible incident took place, the truth of which was hidden for half
a century until photos of the event surfaced.
On November 10,1965, long after these pictures were taken in 1914, a elderly retired clerk and eye-
witness to the event named A. McKay gave an interview to 'The News' in Adelaide, Australia where
he explained what had transpired. McKay, who was at the time a young serviceman, explained to the
newspaper that in a British ceremony which took place in the main square in Rabaul on November
30, 1914, four German civilians had been flogged.
One Col. William Holmes managed to have "confessions" extracted from four Germans on Rabaul
admitting they had become intoxicated and roughed up a Methodist minister they suspected of being
a spy. Holmes ordered the Germans to be publicly flogged at Proclamation Square in Rabaul. Natives
and women were not allowed to attend. Half a battalion of men was marched to the square and lined
up to watch. Before the flogging, the Germans loudly protested their innocence, but it was to no
avail. The first German, a medical officer, was placed across a trunk with his hands handcuffed to
two tent pegs in the ground while his ankles were chained with leg irons to two pegs on the opposite
side of the tree trunk. He was given 30 extremely violent strokes of the cane and carried away. The
next man then was similarly lashed across the trunk and given 25 strokes, as was the next. Since the
last victim was only a young boy, he received only 10. A new provost was brought on for each
caning so one man wouldn't "tire out". After each flogging, the victim was carried away, but not one
of them made a sound. Although no photographs were allowed at the flogging, one private hid his
camera under his shirt with only the lens popping out, and he managed to catch it on film.
During World War One 24 major sites such as Banff & Ozada, Alberta were used in Canada to
house internees. Most of the prisoners were 'landed immigrants' with citizenship in Germany or the
Austro-Hungarian empire. 8,579 men were taken into custody plus 81 women and 156 children. The
camps operated from 1914 until 1920, well after hostilities ceased. This photo shows internees lined
for food within the walls of Fort Henry, Kingston, Ontario.