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Internment of Aliens in World War II
Professor Ron Bracewell, a WAISer of Australian origin with ties to Cambridge University, writes:
My colleagues Herman Bondi and Tommy Gold were interned in 1939 and sent from England to a camp in Canada. They were returned to England after a time and worked on the radar effort. After the war, Gold was sent to Germany with a lieutenant's uniform to debrief German scientists. They were Viennese. Bondi rose to be British scientific ambassador to Europe and Master of Churchill College. Gold, at Cornell, is the chief proponent of the non-orthodox theory that natural gas originates inside the earth rather than as a decay product of animals or plants.
After the war, at Cambridge, Hoyle, Bondi and Gold became famous for enunciating the steady state theory of the universe. The big-bang theory has supplanted the steady state theory, but Hoyle considers that a steady state of repeated big bangs, or minibangs, is not inconsistent with existing observations.
Substantial numbers of Germans, mainly South Seas residents were interned at Bathurst, NSW. My colleague Wolfgang Boerner of U. Michigan spent the war in this camp and feels kindly towards Aussies for the treatment received.
My comment: A key question is the treatment of prisoners and internees. The Japanese record is terrible. As for scientists; I wonder how Einstein was treated. I saw him at Christ Church, Oxford, before the war, but he preferred to go to Princeton. The American government viewed him as a fool politically.
Ronald Hilton - 10/13/99