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Mission in Indien
Dänisch-Hallesche Mission
Leipziger Missionare 1
Leipziger Missionare 2
Breklumer Missionare
Erster Weltkrieg 1
Erster Weltkrieg 2
Erster Weltkrieg 3
Erster Weltkrieg 4
Erster Weltkrieg 5
Zweiter Weltkrieg 1
Zweiter Weltkrieg 2
Germans in British India
Dehra Dun
Escape from Internment
Flucht aus Dehra Dun
Ludwig Schmaderer
Internierte in Satara
Post-War Interment
Hermann Selzer
Rolf Benkert
Gerhard Buelle
Helmuth Borutta
Jürgen Kulp
Rudolf Tauscher
Jürgen-Heine Meyer
Hinrich Speck
Rolf Benkert

German Missions in British India
Nationalism: Case and Crisis in Missions

Paul von Tucher

Überblick über Lagerorte in Britisch-Indien und auf Ceylon
während des Zweiten Weltkrieges


© 1980 Selbstverlag Paul H. von Tucher



Links zu den Merkblättern über die Lage der Deutschen in Britisch-Indien

Weitere Links

"There were three camps:

  • an 'i n t e r n m e n t  c a m p'
    enclosed with harhed wire for Germans;

  • a similar enclosed camp, one out of
    buildings in the town, for Italians;

  • and our 'parole camp' which was not
    wired around, but it was guarded at
    certain positions by the Indian police, yet
    in which we had a great amount of freedom."

Frau Selma Heller Unpublished Manuscript June 13th, 1970



During World War II the Mahratti town of Satara served as the location of three detention camps for civil prisoners of war. It was the very last of 14 stations of internment, considering where all the German missionaries had been detained in British India. The 15th 'station' for these personnel would be either the freedom to return to a mission church, or for the majority to be brought to a former Nazi concentration camp in Germany. During a good portion of the war and immediately following, most of the missionary families were quartered at Satara, a town of 22,500 and a district capital in the Bombay Presidency.

Satara lies 55 miles due south of the Deccan city of Poona. The main highway, running just east of the Western Ghats, passes through Satara. Seven or eight miles to the east of the town lies Satara Road, the railway station on the smaller guaged railroad.1 One missionary remembered the countryside around Satara;

The better known part of the region around Poona is known as Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani. Mahabaleshwar is the highest elevation (4,700 ft.) in the Deccan on the peninsula of India.2

Because of its elevation, its beauty and its invigorating climate, Mahabaleshwar served as the summer residence of the Bombay Presidency Government. Due to the Indian Ocean immediate to its west and its height above sea-level, Mahabaleshwar

. . . also has the highest rate of rainfall in India after Charepunji in Assam. And near Mahabaleshwar was the other hill-station called Panchgani, which was mostly then (known for) a school for sending English and Anglo-Indian children.

And just beneath that hill-station was Satara, where the Government of India had another camp for German internees.3

Satara should be recognized for its part in Maratha history. The town itself is situated somewhat south of the important chain of Shivaji's hill forts, Pratapgarh, Raigarh (where Shivaji died on April 5th, 1680), Torna, Rajgarh, Singgarh, Purandhar and other fortresses.4 Satara was in the heart of Shivaji country and the Mahratti people, a peo ple extremely intelligent and linked to the Western Ghats.5

Shivaji at the time of his death in 1680 controlled the whole of the Konkan from the country around Daman in the north to Karwar in the south. His eastern boundary ran through the districts of Nasik and Poona and enclosed within his territories the whole of Satara and most of Kolhapur. ...6

Satara was not without its own fort, located south of the town, though it could not be classified as a hill fortress. The town lies in the valley, not too distant from the Histna river, and seen in the eyes of a German internee, "the landscape reminds one of the Lavant Valley in Kärnten, (Austria)."7 The Satara fort and the town bespeak an era of a raja dynasty of Shivaji's descendants;

After the execution of Sambhaji (Shivaji's son) the Maratha Government was carried on by his brother, Raja Ram, who retired to Jinji (Gingee) in the south. When he died a few years later (1700), his widow Tara Bai, an able and energetic woman, administered the affairs of the state as regent, and gave the Moghuls no peace. Her capital was Satara.8

In the 19th century the British Raj expanded its control over India and the former Maratha Confederacy became included in the Bombay Presidency. The town received special leniency, for

Satara had been revived by Lord Hastings in 1818, for the benefit of Shivaji's direct descendants; it came well within the class of 'dependent' states, but its annexation (in 1848) irritated Maratha sentiment.9

The annexation of Satara stemmed from the doctrine of lapse, meaning no successor to the throne. Lord Dalhousie, as Governor-General of India 1848-1856, made such a sweeping application of this doctrine that it created "misgivings among all Hindu princes, ... (and) Muslims princes as well."10 The doctrine provoked unrest in north India, particularly in Oudh, which eventually led to the costly Sepoy Mutiny of 1857-1858.

As town and district in the State of Bombay, Satara remained an important business and farming center for the surrounding countryside. Through its brassware the town was known, but it also offered pulses and grains in the market, as well as other products. The German internees too, "with permission . . . could also go to the bazaar in the town."11 Today Satara exhibits its Maratha monuments and also claims the noted sword of Shivaji.

Then too, Satara is not without its own chapter in the expansion of Christian Missions and the Christian Church in India. In the year 1855 the American Board (ABCFM), one of the earliest non-British Missions to enter India (1834), became concerned for the people of the town and the villages12 surrounding it. In time the American Congregationalists were to be followed by the Salvation Army and the Seventh-Day Adventists.13 Under the American Board the missionary Lillian L. Picken, the "initiator of mission dispensary and social service in Satara City and villages,"14 Mrs. H. Wellen Fisher, widowed in 1934, and at times Dr. Maria Korchagina, with others, developed the Satara Public Health Unit, the Leprosy Control and the Social Rehabilitation Department of the district.15 These missionaries and others as their predecessors brought Christianity and the healing ministry to this needy town in India.


In 1940, following the Nazi invasions of Germany's neighbours, Satara took on a different development. It received many additional foreigners, but as war internees. "At the outbreak of the war the German women were not interned,"16 and in the spring of 1940 the majority of them returned to Germany, while the male German nationals remained at Ahmadnagar. As the European war turned for the worse, the paroled missionaries were largely re-interned. At the same time the women's camps were established throughout India. Marianne Brocke described her own situation:

. . . When they interned all the women and the children, I was brought to Satara. That was purely a women's camp at first. And there I met . . . Mrs. Hoops and Mrs. Lampe. They both had two children. So our six children and we three women got a bungalow. After a lot of fighting we got a bungalow.17 

According to the German Government's knowledge in 1940,

There are 59 German women, 5 men and 18 children accommodated there. The camp, a former military cantonment, is divided into two parts which are situated a distance of five minutes from each other. The internees are housed in the old military barracks, which are constructed dissimilarly. ... 

Other barracks, in which the interned married couples are accommodated, have been divided so that each married couple has a large room with a verandha, a bath and a toilet. ...18

At first Satara had only five men, mostly Jewish with their wives. In February, 1941, the ratio at the camp was 41 German women, nine men and 12 children, indicating that some of the women and children had been transferred to Purandhar.19 In October, 1941, when the 600 German men were transported from Deolali to Dehra Dun, a few of the internees, as in the case of Karl Bareiss, joined their wives at Satara.20 Thus, from the summer of 1940 through the summer of 1942, Satara served as a parole camp for German women. So far in the war, there had been:

  1. Parole Camps for women;

  2. the Internment Camp for the German males; and

  3. the 'segregated camp' Purandhar for German Jews.

In 1942 the British authorities changed their detention system, when the Family Camps were finally established. The Foreign Office of the German Government reported:

Thanks to the constant efforts of the Swiss representative and the Red Cross representative in British India, in the end of July, 1942, permission had been granted by the British-Indian authorities for the establishment of two Family Camps, namely Satara and Purandhar. All married civil internees from Dehra Dun and the other Internment Camps in British India, will be transferred to Satara and Purandhar, so that they can be with their families. . . .

All the other Family Camps have also been closed. The married couples have arrived at the Family Internment Camps in Satara and Purandhar, and the unmarried German women, who had been interned elsewhere were brought to the Parole Camp of Satara, while the few unmarried men who had still been free were brought to the Parole Camp of Purandhar.21

In the autumn of 1942 the missionary families under the family camp conditions at Kodaikanal and Yereaud were brought to Satara. Selma Heller described the move:

... in September, 1942, they were finally so far that the new barracks in Satara, near Poona, were finished and we then were transferred there. Approximately the same time as we arrived there, quite a number of other internees came from various places, i.e. the Ceylon internees from Bengal (or Bihar), with those from Indonesia. ...22

Thus from a relatively small, quiet parole camp for women, children and a few men in 1940, Satara became a thriving town of three detention settlements primarily for German and Italian nationals. Theodor Lorch (Basel) stated,23 that

. . . near the Parole Camp, the 'German' Wing, ... (there was) the Nazi Wing, those who openly avowed themselves as Nazis or also as fascists. And I myself was, with most all of the missionaries, in the Parole Camp.24

The American missionary, Alma Tauscher, interned with her family, remembered that "they had the camp divided into two sections. They had what they called the Nazi section, and they were under police protection when they left the camp; but they let us go freely"25 into the town. The fact that the camp had two sections now draws attention to some form of interdependence, particularly as it concerned the children's education. Here again Tauscher (Breklum) noted:

There were 26 nationalities in Satara. It is unbelievable that they had that many people together. The Italians were in a separate camp, and there were two or three priests there. There were some people there who were ... pro-fascist. There was one Swedish woman who had had some trouble, and they put her in the camp, though she didn't belong to the group at all. Then too there were Germans with their Anglo-Indian wives. . . .26

Lorch defined the situation at Satara further:

Our camp conveys international features: other than us (Germans) there are Jews, Italians, Scandinavians, French and also all kinds of people there. Just as colourful is the picture of the types of professions: professional dancers and missionaries, businessmen and scholars, barbers and doctors, everything thrown together and now supposed to find a social order. . . . One sees man at closer quarters than usual.27

The 'thrown-together' society, like Hazaribagh and other camps used for the missionary families, was a period spent with other people of other morals and standards.

In September, 1943, the last four Breklum families arrived "in the Satara Camp, where most of the German missionaries to India were stationed."28 The single ladies and Johannes Stosch had also been assigned to this camp. According to the I.M.C. records of August, 1944, the German Missions personnel at Satara made up quite a significant list.29 There was also the reference to the 'Internment Camp', denoting "the one exception of a missionary in the Nazi camp."30

The two Family Camps - Satara and Purandhar - where the German families were detained for the greater part of the war, had many similar conditions and problems. There were also many other contrasting aspects to the two places;


  • adjacent to town & market

  • valley environment (800 m.) trade centre and picturesque countryside

  • largely crowded barracks

  • adjacent Nazi camp influence and few German Jews

  • missionaries distanced themselves from Nazis and sympathizers

  • these missionary families separated briefly in 1939 - 1940


  • isolation at fort camp

  • hill-top setting (1,300 m.) and varying climate, pleasant walks around hills

  • bungalows & some barracks

  • German Jewish camp at first and few pro-Nazi Germans

  • some missionaries distanced themselves from anti-Nazis and German Jews

  • most of these missionary families separated 1940 - 1942

In both parole camps the missionaries had a considerable influence upon the commandants as well as in the daily routines and activities.31

For the Basel and the Leipzig families the move from Kodaikanal and Yereaud was not an improvement. On the hill-stations they at least had the use of bungalows. These missionaries had been living with their families ever since Sir Malcolm Darling had released them from Ahmadnagar. Though there were the good aspects of Satara, the 'close living' in the barracks meant increased noise and tensions in the camp.32 In contrast, on the Purandhar hill "the life was not bad,"33 or as another expressed it, "what better could you have."34

Lorch, in charge of the "church activities in the camp,"35 gave this pastoral note on Satara.

There are quite a number of missionaries together. We belong to different Societies and come from different State Churches. Certainly, as a rule, there weren't any pertinent differences which led to frictions. One did gladly fight for Lutheranism or some other great cause then, and still there were the little foxes who spoiled the vineyard. No one could accuse us for having committed adultery or otherwise flagrantly offending the moral commandments. But who among us could say that he was free from a false consciousness of one's own importance?36

True, the causes of the frictions and the tensions were varied and complicated. There were occasions where the frustrations became apparent, and the missionary, talented and called to offer a ministry in the Indian Church, found himself severely limited by the opportunities in the camp.

The barracks were not to be compared with the bungalows of the mission stations. The missionary bungalow usually held a much coveted position in a town or village, both for its centrality and for its European dimensions.37 When the Missions personnel came from their stations of authority and responsibility, they were subjected to sharing bungalows at Kodaikanal and Yercaud, or they were given apartments in a barrack row. A description of the old Satara military barracks was given when it was still a women's camp;

Four barracks are subdivided into 8 rooms, which in each case has been made available to one woman and one child or to two single persons. In each of these barracks there are two bathrooms, with two bathtubs and four toilets.38

The new barracks of Satara were constructed hastily so as to facilitate the family camp, but they scarcely seemed commensurable to the families' needs, particularly since they would have to face four years' residence there.39 The sheer lack of adequate living space in the congested community was the cause of much unhappiness and irritation among the families. As an example, Selma Heller recaptured the difficult barrack days in a letter to the commandant;

Dear Sir,
My husband's nerves are getting into a state which makes him unable to stand, along with the work he does for the school, the noise unavoidable in our surroundings, and so we have decided that one room in a quieter corner would be better than our nice two rooms here. May I ask you to sanction our moving over into the room in the Old Barrack E 7, No. 6, in which Mr. Krueger has lived up till now.40

Friedrich Hübner (Breklum) also pointed out why the accommodations were the cause for disturbing many relationships;

At the same time the built-up psychosis of the seven years of internment, with the family conditions with women and children, for many there was generated the feeling of utmost depression.41

Thus, the life in the Satara barracks was aggravated by the families' differences, by the personal issues in the camp and by the noise from one's neighbours. Isolated by the British authorities from their vocational bases in the mission churches, severed from their own home church to a large degree and restricted in their movement in the camp, the missionaries were left alone to keep themselves busy in the prime years of their lives. It was not difficult to find substitute concerns or issues, many not of their own choosing, yet for the moment crucial and captivating.


The boredom and the dreariness of internment life in the overcrowded conditions gave the missionaries ample time to become involved with the current issues which went beyond the personal and family relationships and tensions. The prevailing wartime issues in the parole camp centered on the Nazis, the Russians, the Jews, the Vaterland, the prayers in Sunday worship, etc., all seemingly more political than religious matters of concern. Alma Tauscher, voluntarily interned at Satara, acknowledged:

There were difficulties; there were differences of opinion among the Germans. Yes, there certainly were even in our group. But one thing they really stood together on was that they felt that everything should be done to keep Russia from coming into German territory. That was the greatest tragedy; they knew it. ...42

As the appointed pastor of the parole camp community, Theodor Lorch coped with the many issues and the reactions;

In the beginning the question was discussed whether one should pray for Germany's victory or the Führer in the Church worship prayers. After the decision had been made that we should pray for peace and for our German people, it was generally accepted. The everyday political conversations had no ideological acuteness. Where opposing sides arose, as a rule it is a question pertaining to a different position on the matter and not pertaining to a different belief. Most of the nominal members had not experienced National Socialism themselves. . . .

Since the political conversations were fruitless under these circumstances, they soon did not take place. In any case, the political differences of opinion in our camp community were insignificant in comparison to the t questions on communion and similar theological concerns.43

Yet, let there be no mistake, there was pressure upon the missionaries, but their thinking was resolute;

Although the outcome of the war was not certain in the first years and the people in the Nazi camp calculated largely with a reward later on and with our punishment, no missionary was that vague about letting himself be transferred over (to the Nazis).44

For the seasoned missionaries the issues were explicit and they had been thought out, with positions taken on them.

The Satara Parole Camp had the slightly older German missionaries of the Breklum, the Gossner, the Leipzig and the Basel Societies. The Missions leaders Meyer, Stosch, Gäbler and Lorch (for the Basel families), along with their colleagues, nevertheless attempted to keep a true missionary spirit in spite of their bondage. Stosch, the spokesman for the missionaries at Ahmadnagar, is remembered for his unmistakable position, one identified with the Confessional Church movement at home. The Quaker Tucher could see that "Herr Stosch was a man with a very clear mind and he was old enough to stand above it all."45 Alfred Brocke, a Nazi opponent, also remembered

... Dr. Stosch; he was the President from either Orissa or Bihar. ... He was absolutely of our opinion He was dead set against the Nazis. He was very reasonable, a tolerant man in every respect. ...46 

These Missions leaders at Satara guided the families in the camp community on a fairly healthy, political course.

A further consuming issue during the war years at Satara was the acceptance of the German Jews, the emigrants and the refugees who had managed to escape to India. Satara could not be equated with Purandhar where the acceptance of the Jewish internees was a problem and where social ostracism was prevalent on both sides. There was some discussion on the subject among the missionaries at Satara, which was an admission that the air had been cleared and an unambiguous stand taken. Lorch wrote:

In our camp community we also had Jews. There was never a question regarding them, whether they should be accepted as valid community members. They were regarded exactly as every other community member. ...

I had no proper conception whatsoever over the concentration camps, the persecution of the Jews and the like, and therefore I can only say that I believed in the underground and foreign reports, while others believed in the German news.47

The German missionaries, as Lipp and Bareiss, through their continuing association with the Jewish families in camp, were made aware of the injustices done against these German citizens fleeing from Nazi Germany.48


The overwhelming gauge to an internment camp or a parole camp is frequently the disposition and the intelligence of the commandant. From all reports, Captain E.A. Fern, Satara's commandant, appeared to have a more benevolent and well-meaning outlook than his colleague Holland at Purandhar. Fern's attributes outweighed his faults, and in general he is remembered as being "very pleasant,"49 great help to all and one who let his internees take the initiative in many spheres of the camp life.

Commandant Fern was a career police officer and he had been a "commissioner of Police in Bombay."50 He was an Anglo-Indian,51 not a full Englishman, but an English Captain52 of the British Indian police and military structure. Fern's wife was also an Anglo-Indian.53 In the opening period of the war at the Satara Women's Camp, Fern had become its commandant; and an internee woman wrote home:

By and by we have become accustomed to our present existence, especially since our Commandant, Captain E.A. Fern, is doing everything for us which lies in his power. We are all very grateful to this man, and we hope that one will also recognize his name at home.54

Some time later, some of the women internees were

. . . transferred from Satara to Purandhar, . . . because Mr. Fern had a lot of trouble with these people. . . . They decided to bring this batch up to Purandhar, because they felt that Holland will be able to deal with these persons. . . . Holland was much stricter in every respect than Fern was.55

"Fern was a very jovial man and he moved (about) with all the ladies and with everyone."56 He was seen in a fatherly role,57 and he is remembered as a "friend of the children."58 Towards the internees Fern was generous in permitting them to go shopping in the town or to make excursions at times.59

Considering all the professions, the frustrations over the war and the tensions in the barracks among the Satara internees, the commandant's task was quite intricate;

... in Satara too there were also the complaints that some people were flattering the commandant and were able to obtain certain freedoms, while others were held down rather strictly.60

On the other hand, according to a Basel missionary,

He did not put obstacles in anyone's way. Certainly there were particular friendships with specific persons. . . . And it was not out of the question that they were favoured then. Yet by and large he was a good man. There were no difficulties, no chicaneries.61

At Satara the missionary families had a great deal to do with the weekly activities of the camp life and programs. A close working relationship developed between some of the Missions personnel and the commandant. Theodor Lorch was the camp chaplain, Heinrich Meyer became the camp leader or spokesman, Traugott Jungjohann carried the responsibilities of the co-operative store, Selma Heller had the children's activities and the education program, and many others shared in their particular capacities. The missionaries were accustomed to community activities and the administration of church groups and congregations.

Lorch related what his position was in Satara;

The commandant Captain Fern was full of good will. . . . I was appointed the camp chaplain from the Evangelical-Lutherans) , in particular by the missionaries there. In that capacity I had to deal more with Captain Fern.

I was able to start a kindergarten for the children in the parole camp. In this manner he was very helpful to me. We had cultural events planned, meaning a series of lectures and the like. We then had a theological course, a study group was carried through, and also a language course. And in all these things, for which we naturally needed space, Captain Fern was quite helpful. Therefore he wanted to disturb us as little as possible in our activities; and further he demanded of us that we should carry this program by ourselves. ...62

The religious, the educational and much of the cultural camp activities were directed by the missionary internees.

When the four Breklum Mission families entered the parole camp in September, 1943, it seems,

Herr Meyer became more and more the advisor to the commandant of the camp. He founded with his assistants in camp a store, in which there was everything and in which also the internees, those who became free one after the other, could sell those things which they wanted to dispose. ...63

Traugott Jungjohann told how he became the "Ecomomics Minister of Satara."64 "We were all certainly self-reliant. Meyer had the official management there, while I had the food department."65 According to Alma Tauscher,

Mr. Jungjohann had a lot to do with him (Fern), since he had the co-operative store in camp. Whatever they had in India, foodstuffs and the sorts, we had in camp. He was the business manager . . . and he could correspond through the camp office. And he could write to any business house in India. ... He actually ordered the things for the co-operative.66

Jungjohann, in reflecting on those camp years, remarked:

... I travelled throughout the entire area, which meant to Poona, Bombay. (I was) free but I had to be accompanied by a small Indian from the C.I.D., and I negotiated the biggest trade deals for our camp. There had been others before, but they had profited from all. Their prices had gone up and up until the boss, the commandant said, "This is impossible; the missionaries must go to the front now." And so we missionaries were given the camp management.67

In the interests of the co-op store and for the internees' advantage, Jungjohann had to abide by a certain rule;

. . . each day I had to visit this man (Fern). Really, he couldn't have managed alone, if I had not come and chatted with him a while. For this was an ordinance and I had to appear.68

Captain Fern seemed to understand his internees' needs and he did his best for the families. According to Jungjohann, "You can hardly imagine all that which we got, because our dear boss, the commandant, was so kind. ..."69


The children of the camp were very much at the center of the community life at Satara, and one of the commandant's attributes was assessed as "a friend of children."70 One did all one could for the next generation. Selma Heller took a very active role in the children's activities, though
her own children were in Germany. She "was going every where",71 promoting and caring for the children's programs. Frau Heller remembered, that

Everything which could be done for the children had the complete consent and favour of the commandant. . . . He was especially interested in a grand children's Christmas Party. He apparently had a treasury into which all tradesmen, barbers, etc., who wanted to carry on a business in camp, had to pay a certain tax. From this treasury he gave a small group of us about 1,000 Rupees in our hands and let us travel to Poona to buy the toys. As a result after the party for the children a torch-light procession with lanterns was put on as an expression of thanks.72

Besides the scheduled activities and the schooling for the children, one of the few blessings of the internment years was found in the family life. Lorch readily admitted:

. . . There was also this to it; I said to my children sometimes, "You are the little gainers from the war." For never would I have had so much time for my children as a father, or for my wife, as was the case in the internment camp.73

The children's schooling was a crucial matter. Before the missionary families arrived at Satara,

. . . there were already the many internees from Bombay. . . . They had 22 school-aged children with them and they had set up a school with the necessary help from the camp inmates; so that we were told that there were 25 teachers for 22 children.74

Thus, according to Lorch, in September, 1942,

There was a school for the children, which at first, because of the majority of the children being (in the Internment Camp), it was under Nazi management. Then only when Germany collapsed, was the school administration handed over to me (in the Parole Camp).75

In September, 1943, the numerical balance shifted in favour of the Parole Camp;

... it received the addition of four (Breklum) families with 18 children (three Meyer, six Helms, five Tauscher and four Jungjohann) and one teacher (Sister Helene Langlo). ... In the meantime there were now 50 school-aged children. . . .

We had the four classes of the elementary school, and the Classical as well as the Secondary (School) classes up to the 5th, if not up to the 6th class. . . . There were all kinds of people who also helped and taught classes. ...76

Regarding the children's education, "practically all the men taught, while all the missionary wives had enough to do, as all had quite a few children to take care of. There were women who helped"77 educate the children, and Selma Heller was one such dedicated person. Karl Bareiss remembered teaching religion and mathematics classes,78 while Christian Lohse, a later arrival at Satara, taught Greek.79 Frau Heller gave this description:

My husband gave classes in Latin and biology; a Breklum missionary taught history. There was a definite shortage of books for the children. The history teacher got the necessary teaching material from the few mutually treasured books and typed out the lesson on a typewriter, which he then could gladly hand out to the children as a folio-sheet.80

Later the situation improved, for the International Red Cross and the Y.M.C.A. gave considerable assistance; "the school got all the books it wanted, books even up to Abitur,"81 the German Gymnasium exams. Upon returning to Germany in 1949, Alma Tauscher became quite aware of the fact, that "we had more there than we had here in Germany. They supplied us everything."82 "The Red Cross certainly helped the school; they had presents for the children also during Christmas."83

The Satara educational program was not adequate for the older children. For that reason the "two (Gäbler) girls were in Kodaikanal at the American hill-station school, and a boy was studying in a higher class at a Bombay school."84  The "Drittes Merkblatt" noted, that from the Satara Camp,

. . . some children are attending the boarding-school at Panchgani, whereby the parents in the camp receive a subsidy of Rs. 30/- from the Government of India for the living expenses of a child. Occasionally the children may be visited, which then costs Rs. 15/- for car fares. 85

For the pre-school children the camp "also had a kindergarten, which was led by the Gossner Mission Sister (Storim)."86

For a while Selma Heller printed a children's paper "Unser Kinderblatt".87 In the fourth issue (October, 1944), she wrote:

Due to the friendliness of the commandant our paper does not need to be typed on my typewriter, rather it will be printed on the big black press in town. So today it looks different from what it was up to now. There is more to it, so that you have more to read and the picture on the front is, as you see, much more attractive.88

Due to the shortage of funds and a complication between the commandant and an Italian internee (a journalist) assisting the Kinderblatt, Heller had only a few issues to the paper.89

The Kinderblatt did mention the children's outings at Satara and "all the wonderful enjoyable hours spent at the old fort."90 The Missions personnel were blessed with many children, and according to Selma Heller's school list of 1944, the 'missionary kids' composed 37 of the 57 children in the Parole Camp or of the total of 89 children at Satara.91 When Alfred de Spindler of the International Red Cross visited the Satara camps in August, 1945. he reported that there were still 87 German children among the internees.92 Through all the activities, the special events and the attention which the children were given, these young internees were the "little gainers from the war."93


In the world of parole and internment camps, where "everybody had his little duty and he could make himself useful,"94 the seven lean years were difficult and uncertain; much patience and forbearance was required.95 Yet Theodor Lorch admitted, that "in every hour of despondency and dissatisfaction, how much better did we have it than many others! God cared for us in the smallest things in a gracious way."96

There was absolutely no question . . . that one naturally had something to do, but to a large extent one just busied himself, when in this time of life one could have rendered something else and more and better.97

Camp life had its obvious limitations, as Alma Tauscher recounted about the parole settlement:

Now as we look back to our internment, it was rather calm and not too disturbing. They didn't take roll call or anything like that. Of course we had to stay in camp, but we could go walking and nobody asked us how far we went. We were supposed to go only two miles. ... We didn't go any further because the children were small.98

Karl Bareiss explained, "We could go out as far as 1½ miles (3 km.), so that we could make our outings."99 Beyond that distance one required the permission of the authorities. Outings to the Pateshwar Hill,100 or the joint visitational team of the Hellers, Lorch and Mr. Luciani calling on "the patients in the isolation ward on Christmas Eve, 24 December, 1944,101 as examples, were occasions when one required the commandant's permit.

Closer to home there were the responsibilities and the chores, the most pleasant one being the care of the children, while other jobs remained quite unattractive;

Each barrack had its 'hammal' (sweeper) who had to care for the cleanliness. This task also entailed, from time to time, that they had to control the increase of the roaming dogs by using poisoned scraps of meat. Eventually one of the missionaries took charge in supervising these fellows.102

What further broke the monotony for the internees was the cinema in the camp.103 Apparently the Satara town movie house was making too great a profit from the internees. According to Heller, with Fern's consent,

. . . some of the interned men, who formerly had been active in this business, Joined together and prevailed on the commandant that they should decide on the selection of the showings in the camp. Through the years we were able to see ... by and large some good films, from which I especially treasure the historical ones.104

These films gave the missionary families, even if only for a brief span of time, the occasion to forget camp life.

There were many other activities, as Lorch wrote in his booklet, "Begegnungen in Indien";

When I recall to memory the long years of internment, so many ventures come to mind, where one tried to fill one's life in camp with meaning and variety. What all didn't we start; study courses and lecture series, study groups and sports clubs, amusement and cultural clubs. Yet how quickly the interest waned in all these activities. The seven years, week for week, we carried through only two things; those were our Sunday services and our Evening-songs. Perhaps at certain times we were not inwardly composed, and we went to the worship service not just out of an inner conviction, but because of faithfulness and habit. But to the Evening Song some of us came each time with the same joy. There one could forget the monotony once more.105

Concerning the chapel needs, Selma Heller offered this note:

The Catholics among us could visit the church of a Catholic Mission station about a quarter of an hour distance, where there were also about six priests interned on parole, similar to us in the parole camp. We Evangelical (-Lutherans) had a large barrack room, which our ladies, through the use of curtains, gave the appearance of a church. A treasured hamoninm represented the organ; I had that as my duty.106

And in the camp one could also give "piano and harmonium lessons; a good grand piano stood in the office building."107

Though the camp chaplain was responsible for the church activities, Lorch "did not preach every Sunday. They tried to have quite a number take the responsibilities, to take their turns."108 Paul Gäbler (Leipzig) also participated in the ministerial duties, though he admitted that many stopped preaching because their lives were as glass houses.109 Nevertheless, he felt that he had an obligation to preach, in spite of the closeness to one's neighbour.110

They also formed a small mixed church choir, which was directed at first by Dr. Lorch, . . . our community pastor, and it blossomed in the last half year. ...111

In April, 1946, when the families were transferred from Purandhar, "among them was also Herr Hübner, a Breklum missionary, who took over the choir and improved it greatly."112 The Christian seasons, the church services and thespecial occasions one could recall, so Lorch wrote:

When I hear again the Prätorius verses from "In dulci jubilo", Christmas time in the camp stands out with such emotion, like nothing else can generate; or Bach's verse - "Ach Herr, lass dein lieb' Engelein" - leads me always to the Satara cemetary, where we sang this verse for the departing. In such times ... the soul is especially receptive and impressionable.113

At the same time, the internment years at Satara became a time of preparation for the families' return to the German Church.114 Besides the study groups, the lecture series and the language courses, "a theological faculty"115 offered a theological course for those missionaries from the Missions insitutions. Similar to Purandhar, the course had the blessing of the N.C.C., and Bishop Sandegren greatly assisted in making the arrangements. Thus, "Mr. Meyer had the New Testament, my husband (Tauscher) had Old Testament ..."116 and others took the subjects of Church History, Practical Theology and Systematic Theology.

What was so often the case for the internee, "one of the strangest lessons that our unstable life-passage teaches us is that the unwanted is often creative rather than destructive."117 Lorch spoke of a similar experience;

One attempted then to make the best out of it; so at least one studied individually and mutually. It was for me also a time of contemplation, or concentration and of preparation for the later tasks. There is no ... doubt that from this time much fruit was borne for me.118

There was also the growing awareness among the German missionaries that one day they would be superseded from their calling and ministry in the Church of India. Once Principal of Malabar Christian College, Lorch realized

. . . the time for me as an active man in the best years of my life, who had just received the position, which both satisfied me thoroughly and which gave me inspiration, it was embittering; and that now for seven of my best years I should be condemned to a professional idleness. . . .119

Certainly as the camp chaplain, Lorch, like his colleagues, found a partial fulfillment and encouraging moments in the Christian ministry and pastoral care.


A customary practice of missionary families on the Indian field was to send their children to a boarding school, either in Kodaikanal, Mussoorie, Darjeeling or on one of the other hill-stations. The German families mostly either left their older children in Germany or sent their children home to receive a German education. Prior to World War II, few of the German children remained in the boarding schools in India. It was unusual that the Paul Gäblers, in the pre-war years, had sent their two oldest daughters to the American mission school at Kodaikanal. Gäbler remembered what it meant for his family;

I was (supposedly) also in bad company because our two daughters went to school in Kodaikanal at the American School. It was uncommon, un-German! Still the manager at the school at Kodai said, "Well, we are Christians after all. So we are glad to have your Lenore and Ulrike in school." He was a very fine person.

As soon as the war was over, they then also asked me, "How can we get our children admitted into the American School?" That was now 1945; everything had changed.120


1. C.H.D. Ryder, C.I.E. (Surveyor General of India) Catalogue of Maps (Calcutta: Survey of India Offices, 1923; Bombay - Satara District; London: IOLR).

2. Heinz von Tucher, P.I. (Gufflham, Bavaria: 28 July, 1966), Tr. p. 5.

3. Ibid.; The Tourist Division, Hill Stations of Western India (New Delhi: Government of India, Ministry of Transport, March, 1957), p. 17; Das Auswärtige Amt, Drittes Merkblatt über die Lage der Deutschen in Britisch-Indien; Die Intern!erungslager auf Ceylon und Jamaica (Berlin: German Government, State January, 1941), p. 8. Under Satara the Merkblatt reported: "Im Lager ist eine Schule, die von einer mitinternierten deutschen Lehrerin unterhalten wird; einige Kinder sind in Internaten in Panchgani untergebracht, wofür die Eltern von der indischen Regierung die Lebens-haltungskosten des Kindes im Lager (30 Rs.) als Zuschuss erhalten." Also, Alfred Brocke, P.I. (Miinchen: 14 October, 1969), Tr. p. 17, makes mention of their daughter attending a boarding school at Panchgani.

4. Vincent A. Smith, The Oxford History of India (Oxford: At the Clarendon Press; orig. Oxford University Press, 1958), p. 409.

5. Ibid.. p. 410.

6. C. Collin Davies, An Historical Atlas of the Indian Peninsula (London: Oxford University Press, 1959), p.48. Davies's map of "The Marathas in 1680" indicates how extensive Shivaji's influence was in the State of Maharashtra and the additional regions in South India.

7. Das Auswärtige Amt, Viertes Merkblatt über die Lage der Deutschen in Britisch-Indien und auf Ceylon (Berlin: German Government, State September, 1941), p. 11.

8. Smith, op. cit. . p. 422.

9. Ibid. . p. 659.

10. Ibid.

11. Selma Heller, Manuscript on Internment (Rummelsberg: 13 June, 1970), p. 3.

12. World Missionary Conference, Statistical Atlas of Christian Missions (Edinburgh: World Missionary Conference, 1910, p. 120. The Atlas was prepared for the Conference held at Edinburgh, June 14-23, 1910.

13. Ibid.

14. United Church Board for World Ministries, Directory and Calendar of Prayer (New York: The United Church Board for World Ministries, 1966-1967), p. 141.

15. Ibid., pp. 129, 134, 137.

16. Auswärtiges Amt, Viertes Merkblatt, op. cit., p. 3.

17. Marianne Brocke, P.I. (München: 14 October, 1969), Tr. p. 24.

18. Auswärtiges Amt, Drittes Merkblatt, op. cit., p. 6.

19. Auswärtiges Amt, Viertes Merkblatt, op. cit., p. 8.

20. Karl Bareiss, P.I. (Ebingen: 23 May, 1973), Tr. p. 5.

21. Das Auswärtige Amt, Sechstes Merkblatt über die Lage der Deutschen in Britisch-Indien (Berlin: German Government, State December, 1942), p. 15.

22. Heller, op. cit., p. 2.

23. Auswärtiges Amt, Drittes Merkblatt, loc. cit.; Auswärtiges Amt, Viertes Merkblatt, loc. cit.; Comité International de la Croix-Rouge et la Guerre, "Délégations du Comité international dans les cinq continents," Revue International De La Croix-Rouge (Geneve: Comite Interna-tional de la Croix-Rouge, No. 322, October, 1945), p. 747.

24. Theodor Lorch, P.I. (Ludwigsburg: 13 April, 1973), Tr. p. 9.

25. Alma Tauscher, P.I. (Glückstadt: 19 July, 1972), Tr. p.3.

26. Ibid., p. 7.

27. Theodor Lorch, Begegnungen in Indien (Stuttgart: Kreuz-Verlag, 1948), p. 122.

28 Theodor Lorch, "Die politische Haltung der deutschen Missionare um die Zeit des zweiten Weltkriegs" (Unpublished review; Appendix), p. 1.

29. Rajah B. Manikam, "List of Missionary Internees and their Addresses" (Geneva: WCCA - IMC File, August, 1944)

This list was prepared for the I.M.C. and was the NCC Secretary's tabulation of the German missionaries interned.

30. Lorch, "Politische Haltung", op. cit., p. 2.

31. Lorch, P.I., loc. cit.; Tauscher, op. cit., pp. 6-7; Traugott Jungjohann, P.I. (Wedel: 17 July, 1972), Tr. p. 7; Heller, Manuscript on Internment, op. cit., p. 4.

32. Selma Heller, Letter to Commandant Fern (Appendix: 4 August, 1945).

33. Helmuth Borutta, P.I. (Exten: 23 August, 1973), Tr. p. 8

34. Richard Lipp, P.I. (Süssen: 14 April, 1973), Tr. p. 11; Renate Klimkeit, P.I. (Bierde: 23 August, 1973), Tr. p. 14.

35. Tauscher, op. cit., p. 7.

36. Lorch, Begegnungen, op. cit.. p. 123.

37. Rajah B. Manikam, Letter to John W. Decker (Geneva:WCCA - IMC File, 23 February, 1945). Though it was very much a letter of information, as well as personal observations, Manikam termed it a "Confidential Statement on Orphaned Missions."

38. Auswärtiges Amt, Drittes Merkblatt, loc. cit.

39. Heller, Manuscript on Internment, op. cit., pp. 2-5.

40. Heller, Letter to Fern, loc. cit.

41. Friedrich Hübner, P.I. (Kiel: 25 September, 1970), Tr. p. 8.

42. Tauscher, op. cit. . p. 3.

43. Lorch, Politische Haltung, loc. cit.

44. Ibid.

45. Heinz von Tucher, P.I. (Gufflham, Bavaria: 29 December, 1969), pp. 6-7.

46. Alfred Brocke, P.I. (München: 14 October, 1969), Tr.p. 5.

47. Lorch, Politische Haltung, loc. cit.

48. Bareiss, op. cit. . pp. 8-9; Lipp, op. cit., p. 9.

49. Jungjohann, op. cit. , pp. 7-8.

50. Ibid., p. 7.

51. Lipp, op. cit.. p. 12; Heller, Manuscript on Internment, op. cit.. p. 3; Bareiss, op. cit.. p. 6.
52. Lorch, P.I., loc. cit.; Bareiss, loc. cit.

53. Jungjohann, loc. cit.

54. Auswartiges Amt, Sechstes Merkblatt, loc. cit.

55. Marianne Brocke, op. cit. , pp. 1-2.

56. Lipp, op. cit.. p. 11.

57. Bareiss, loc. cit.

58. Jungjohann, op. cit.. p. 8; Heller, Manuscript, loc.cit.

59. Lorch, P.I., loc. cit.

60. Tucher, P.I. 1966, loc. cit.

61. Bareiss, loc. cit.

62. Lorch, P.I., loc. cit.

63. Heller, Manuscript on Internment, loc. cit.

64. Jungjohann, op. cit. , p. 7.

65. Ibid.

66. Tauscher, op. cit.. pp. 6-7.

67. Jungjohann, loc. cit.

68. Ibid.

69. Ibid., p. 8.

70. Ibid.

71. Tauscher, op. cit., p.7.

72. Heller, Manuscript on Internment, loc. cit.

73. Lorch, P.I., op. cit. . p. 10.

74. Heller, Manuscript on Internment, op. cit., p. 2.

75. Lorch, P.I., loc. cit.

76. Heller, Manuscript on Internment, op. cit. . pp. 2-3; also Selma Heller, Satara "Kinderliste" (Appendix: 1944), gives one a good idea of the number of children being educated at the camp.

77. Tauscher, op. cit., p. 6.

78. Bareiss, op. cit., p.8.

79. Christian Lohse, P.I. (Husum: 18 July, 1972), Tr. p. 11.

80. Heller, Manuscript on Internment, op. cit., p. 5.

81. Tauscher, loc. cit.; Heller, Manuscript, op. cit., p. 5.

82. Tauscher, loc. cit.

83. Ibid.

84. Heller, Manuscript on Internment, op. cit., p. 3; Lorch, P.I., loc. cit.

85. Auswärtiges Amt, Drittes Merkblatt, o_p_. cit.. p. 8; as in footnote 3.

86. Heller, Manuscript on Internment, loc. cit.

87. Selma Heller, Unser Kinderblatt (Satara: Vijay Press, October, 1944; Appendix).

88. Ibid., p. 1.

89. Selma Heller, Letter to the writer (Rummelsberg: 20 June, 1970). The Leipzig missionary lady wrote: "Ich habe natürlich auch allerlei vergessen darin zu erwähnen; z.B. von dem Kinderblatt, das ich herausgab, steht nichts drin. Das ersehen Sie aus den zwei Mustern, die ich mitschicke. Die Sache verlief zuletzt doch noch im Sande." Refer to Appendix.

90. Heller, Unser Kinderblatt, op. cit., p. 1.

91. Heller, Satara 'Kinderliste', loc. cit.

92. Comite International de la Croix-Rouge, loc. cit.

93. Lorch, P.I., loc. cit.

94. Lipp, op. cit., p. 17.

95. Lorch, Begegnungen in Indien, op. cit. . p. 128.

96. Ibid.

97. Lorch, P.I., loc. cit.

98. Tauscher, op. cit., p. 3.

99. Bareiss, op. cit.. p. 6.

100. Assistant Commandant, Permission to Mr. & Mrs. Heller (Parole Camp, Satara: 29 December, 1943; Appendix).

101. Commandant Fern, "Permit" to Rev. & Mrs. Heller, Dr. Th. Lorch and Mr. Luciani (Satara, Internment Camp and Parole Centre: 21 December, 1944; Appendix), No. 5917/1944.

102. Heller, Manuscript on Internment, loc. cit.

103. Bareiss, loc. cit.

104. Heller, Manuscript, loc.cit.

105. Lorch, Begegnungen in Indien, op. cit., pp. 128-129.

106. Heller, Manuscript, loc. cit.

107. Ibid.

108. Ibid.

109. Paul Gäbler, P.I. (Erlangen: 9 November, 1970); statement not on tape.

110. Ibid.

111. Heller, Manuscript, op. cit.. p. 4.

112. Ibid.

113. Lorch, Begegnungen, op. cit.. p. 129.

114. Lipp, loc. cit.

115. Bareiss, op. cit., p. 8.

116. Tauscher, loc. cit.

117. Langdon Gilkey, Shantung Compound (The Story of Men and Women under Pressure), (New York: Harper & Row, 1966), p. 242.

118. Lorch, P.I., loc. cit.

119. Ibid.

120. Gäbler, op. cit.. p. 6.