HC Deb 11 May 1915 vol 71 cc1463-5
30. Mr. KING

asked the Attorney-General (1) whether he has considered the case of Otto Weitz Grainger, a youth who having repeatedly offered to register under the Aliens Restriction Order, and having been declined registration as not being an alien enemy, was in February prosecuted at Brentford for being an unregistered alien enemy, but was discharged by the magistrates and told not to register, but has since been interned in a camp with alien enemies; and will he say whether any prosecution will be undertaken against him; and (2) whether Otto Weitz Grainger being doubtful of his nationality according to English law, made himself known at the outbreak of war to the police at Ramsgate, then offered to enlist but was refused as an alien; whether on removal to Gloucester he again offered to register with the police, and was registered as an alien friend, and was subsequently prosecuted at Brentford by the police authorities for being an unregistered alien enemy, was there discharged and informed by the magistrates that he should not register; again consulted his solicitor in view of a decision in the Court of Appeal affecting the position of aliens, and was advised not to register but obey the magisterial decision, who has since been arrested presumably as an unregistered alien enemy and interned; whether he is aware that Otto Weitz Grainger was stated by the police conducting the case at Brentford to have had his whereabouts known at Scotland Yard since August, and that he has never gone anywhere without notifying the police; and, if so, why was he not arrested before 10th March; whether he is aware that when requested to discover the birthplace of his father, who has been for years lost to him, he made inquiries which resulted in his producing a marriage certificate in which his father was stated to have been born at Grevenbroich, Germany; whether it is in consequence of this that he is now interned; whether he is aware that Otto Weitz Grainger has only resided a few weeks in Germany since he was born, and is imperfectly acquainted with the German language; and whether, in view of these facts, this youth may now be set at liberty, especially as respectable parties are willing to be guarantee of his good behaviour?


The Attorney-General has asked me to reply to these questions. The young man to whom the questions relate succeeded for some time in the provinces in passing as a Dutch subject. It is not the fact that his whereabouts were known to the Metropolitan Police since August. They got into touch with him at the end of December and he was arrested on the 2nd of January. He was prosecuted for failing to register as an alien enemy, and though the magistrate at Brentford eventually dismissed the charge, further consideration of all the facts, including the marriage certificate which showed that his father was born in Germany, pointed clearly to the conclusion that he was of German nationality—like his mother and sisters who had duly registered themselves as such. He was thereupon arrested and handed over to the military authorities for internment as an alien enemy, and I am advised that no hope of his release can be held out.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the mother of this young man has practically disowned him for many years, and only turned up when he inherited money and she wanted to get a share of it?


I have not entered into those matters.


As I know a great deal more about this case than the Home Secretary, may I have a conference with him on the subject?



33. Mr. R. McNEILL

asked the Home Secretary if he is aware of the circumstances in which Bruno Schmidt-Reder, a major in the German Army, who was released from the prisoners' camp at Dorchester, was permitted to leave the country without an order From the Home Office; and why he was not detained at Folkestone, seeing that the War Office had issued an order for his rearrest?


No, Sir; this German officer did not leave the country without a permit from the Home Office. A permit was duly issued by agreement with the War Office, and there was no reason for detaining him at Folkestone. The War Office did not issue an order for his rearrest.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this gentleman, when he went back to Germany, said that he got away without an order from the Home Office?


Then I am afraid the gentleman in question did not speak the truth.