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Un-British no more: torture and interrogation by Britain in Germany, 1945-54

Photiadou, Artemis ORCID: 0000-0003-4629-4035 (2022) Un-British no more: torture and interrogation by Britain in Germany, 1945-54. Journal of Contemporary History, 57 (4). 1029 - 1050. ISSN 0022-0094

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Identification Number: 10.1177/00220094221087854


Among the thousands of camps Britain operated in the twentieth century were some that gained a notorious reputation for how they treated prisoners. Such places were often seen as aberrations within their individual contexts. Their recurrence across different places and times – including in Aden, Cyprus, and Northern Ireland – nonetheless renders it difficult to dismiss them as mere anomalies. This article examines one of the first post-war camps to have attracted such attention in Allied-occupied Germany, which was closed down following an investigation into its appalling conditions. Seeking to understand how an establishment ended up departing so drastically from accepted interrogation norms, which saw torture as unproductive and un-British, it finds that prisoners were subject to a combination of neglect due to difficult circumstances and malevolence. Tracing the camp's successors, the article also finds that political considerations ensured future camps in Germany did not step out of line; nevertheless, there was a failure to ensure the same for other cases more generally and to turn this into a one-off affair for Britain. Overall, while the camp existed within a unique post-war context, its history points to conditions and structures that may serve as units of analysis for investigating similar establishments.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Author
Divisions: International History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D839 Post-war History, 1945 on
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
J Political Science > JZ International relations
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2022 17:39
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 03:38

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