HC Deb 03 August 1943 vol 391 cc2109-10W
Dr. Peters

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that Kurt Schier, aged 44 years, married to an Englishwoman, recently committed suicide by hanging himself at P camp, after he had again heard from the Home Office declining to give him an opportunity of meeting any charge against hm; that other internees at the same camp are contemplating committing suicide rather than be left without any opportunity of redress; and how many internees have committed suicide since the commencement of the war?

Mr. H. Morrison

I would refer to my Answer to the Question by my hon. Friend the Member for South Croydon (Sir H. Williams) on 29th July, when I explained that the deceased had recently applied unsuccessfully for release from internment. The suggestion that the Home Office had declined to give him an opportunitiy of meeting any charge against him indicates a failure to appreciate that the internment of aliens of enemy nationality in time of war is a measure of preventive security, and does not necessarily involve any charge of criminal activities or other misconduct or raise any question of redress. I think that the position is well known to all those who still remain interned. I greatly regret this tragic occurrence, but I have no information which suggests that other internees are contemplating suicide. The Home Office has been responsible for the administration of all civilian internment camps in this country and the Isle of Man for the last three years, and during that time there have been four cases of suicide.

Dr. Peters

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that many months ago the interrogation of Theodore J. Zerkowitz, of P camp, was stopped by order of his Department before it was completed; that this internee complains that for some two years he has been detained without any idea of the charge against him; will he see that the interrogation is completed, and if a charge is to be preferred against this internee make it without further delay and give him an opportunity of meeting any such charge?

Mr. Morrison

I am not aware of any interrogation of this alien having been stopped by order of my Department, or of any necessity for further interrogation of him. As regards the question of there being any charge against him, I would refer my hon. Friend to my Answer to his Question in the case of Kurt Schier.