852 RARE: The Weekly Special – New Exhibit

Historical & Special Collections is pleased to announce the installation of a new exhibit: Ruhleben: A British community in wartime Germany.

Ruhleben was a civilian internment camp established by Germany at the outbreak of World War I.  German authorities arrested all male British citizens in the country shortly after England declared war on Germany.   Many of these men spent the entire war in the camp.  Over the course of their incarceration the Ruhlebenites (as they came to be called) created their own community complete with a police force, education system and a multitude of clubs and associations.

The objects in the exhibit are taken from two collections created by former Ruhleben internees, Maurice Ettinghausen and John C. Masterman.  The material on display provides one with an idea of the type of community created at Ruhleben.

Both of these collections have been digitized. Links to the digitized material can be accessed via each collections finding aid listed here: Maurice Ettinghausen collection of Ruhleben civilian internment camp papers; and the John C. Masterman collection of Ruhleben civilian internment camp papers.

Color photomechanical print postcard depicting a version of the Ruhleben Coat of Arms, which contains a square coat of arms quartered with a pail, a sausage, a piece of bread, and a shoe within it. Two rats support the square, and a cap sits on the top. The coat of arms reads "Dum, Spiro, Spero," which translates to "While I breath, I hope." From the John Cecil Masterman collection of Ruhleben internment camp materials. olvwork418594.


Post contributed by Edwin Moloy, Curator of Modern Manuscripts and Archives.

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