Jul 062014


The selection of Sir Malcolm Lyall Darling, as head of the Commission of Enquiry, was strategically a prudent, political choice. The Government entrusted upon him, „a man of sterling character,“12 the unpleasant chore of the investigations, and for some German nationals his name remains synonymous to the investigations, a form of political inquisition.13 The gentleman Sir Malcolm Darling was the Commissioner of a Punjab district,14 but also in the Indian Civil Service, „a distinguished civilian, who … had been invited to attend the Tambaram Conference as a co-opted member“15 in December, 1938. 

Darling’s name was identified with India, in particular with the State of Punjab. He knew the problems of the Punjab and of India, generally „much better than the average Englishman.“16 The Hon. Vivian Bose, Chief Justice of the Central Provinces, felt that Darling „was genuinely trying to do what he could for the good of the country.“17 As a „Civil Service man from the Punjab, (he) had made a study of the Punjab peasant in debt and his property.“18 „He really took time to know village conditions and to understand villagers; and in his books you have unlimited conversations recorded between him and villagers.“19 Thus, when he was called to Ahmadnagar, Darling, now in his fifties, came from a rich service and awareness of Indian life and culture.20

For most of the German internees, Sir Malcolm is remembered as „a very friendly and pleasant type of person, also in the interviews.“21 In his ways, he was a cultured man and at the same time a „very well-meaning person.“22  Oskar Gans described him as

… a very friendly and obliging man. His interrogation was very considerate and even if you could not explain yourself, as was the case with some of these refugees who couldn’t speak very well; he used to help them to explain things in their favour.23

Paul Gabler, expressing the general opinion of the missionaries, recollected that Darling „dealt with us in a noble way, … so I only have good memories.“24 Another, the Breklumer Christian Lohse recaptures Darling’s attitude; he

… had discerned the necessity for emphasizing the release of the missionaries as well as the political insignificance and the consequent uselessness of interning the missionaries. … Sir Malcolm knew quite precisely that missions in India can do no harm; rather they can only help the English, and that it was a pity that all the missionaries had to be interned so indiscreetly.25

The fears of „bitter attacks oh Great Britain“26 could partially be allayed by the „honourable man“27 from the Punjab and the association of the Darling name to the Commission.

Assisting Sir Malcolm with the enquiries were some British army officers.28 In a correct, judicial sense the „interrogation officer was a Colonel Wood.“29 It was the lot of some missionaries to be brought before Mr. Wood,30 and by others he is remembered as Major Wood or Colonel Wood.31 Whatever the rank, the memories of Wood are markedly contrasted to the ‚man of sterling character‘. One recalls briefly from Indian history, only a quarter century earlier, that Major Wood had little in common with the former State Secretary of India, Sir Wood. Before the tragic Jallianwalla Bagh incident of 1919, Sir Wood, portraying similarities to Sir Malcolm, once wrote:

No one can be more anxious than us, that Christianity extends over India. Quite independent of Christian consideration, we know quite well that each additional Christian connects, solidifies our ties with India and strengthens the empire.32

For some of the younger missionaries, given to an awakened nationalism, Major Wood of the C.I.D. seemed, to find in every German the criminal.33 Even the mere objection to Mr. Wood’s „general condemnation of all Germans,“34 as raised by one man, brought unfavourable consequences to his investigation. This seemed to emphasize A.L. Warnshuis’s contention that „only the uninformed will raise questions.“35

The other members of the Commission of Enquiry, as remembered by the German missionaries, were continental Europeans, in all probability Jewish officers of either German, Czech or Polish origin, who at least were somewhat acquainted with the German language.36 Irrespective of their national origins, this group of competent persons was „set up by the British Government to investigate all the cases of the missionaries,“37 as for all German nationals. Open now is the question, whether all the German missionaries could truthfully speak of the Commission’s investigations, as the National Christian Council Review portrayed, „in the highest terms of the kindly treatment they received at the hands of Sir Malcolm Darling and his colleagues.“38

Paul von Tucher: Germans in British India – Nationalism: Case and Crisis in Missions, 1980, p. 104-107


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

13. Lorch, loc. cit.

14. Vivian Bose, P.I. (Gufflham: 5 December, 1971), Tr. p. 9.

15. J.Z. Hodge, „The War and Missions,“ Proceedings of the Eighth Meeting of the N.C.C. of India. Burma and Ceylon (Nagpur: N.C.C, 28 December, 1939 – 2 January, 1940), p. 30. This is the same „Statement by Mr. Hodge“ classified also under the N.C.C. Executive Committee minutes of Sept., 1939.

16. Bose, loc. cit.

17. Ibid.

18. Tucher, loc. cit. Likely Sir Malcolm Darling’s most helpful works would be: Rusticus Loquitor. or The Old Light and the New in the Punjab Village (London: Oxford University Press, 1930), and Wisdom and Waste in the Punjab Village (London: Oxford University Press, 1934.

19. Irene Mott Bose, P.I. (Gufflham: 5 December, 1971), Tr. p. 9. Vivian and Irene Bose once met Sir Malcolm Darling on a ship voyage travelling from Bombay to England.

20. Christian Lohse, P.I. (Husum: 18 July, 1972), Tr. p. 5.

21. Ibid. 

22. Lohse, loc. cit.

23. Gans, op. cit., p. 5

24. Paul Gäbler, P.I. (Erlangen: 9 November, 1970), Tr. p. 5.

25. Lohse, loc. cit.

26. Home Department, German Christian Missions (Simla: Government of India, D.O. No. 21/65/38 – Political, August, 1939, and Geneva: WCCA – IMC File), pp. 1-2.

27. Palm, loc. cit.

28. Tucher, loc. cit.

29 Wagner, op. cit.. p. 4. According to the Public & Judicial Files (London: India Office Library & Records), under No. 5094 (5074), on 16th October, 1939, the Home Department registered that alien missionaries were being examined by the Interrogation Committee.

30.Lokies, loc. cit.

31. Tiedt, loc. cit.; Alfred Brocke, P.I. (Munchen: 14 October, 1969), Tr. p. 9.

32. Albrecht Oepke, Ahmednagar und Golconda (Leipzig: Verlag von Dörffling und Franke, 1918), p. 88.

33. Tiedt, loc. cit.

34. Wagner, op. cit., p.5

35. A.L. Warnshuis, „The Orphaned Missions,“ The Christian Century (Chicago: 1 January, 1941), p. 17.

36. Bareiss, op. cit., p. 7; Palm, loc. cit.; Wagner, loc. cit.

37.Richard Lipp, P.I. (Süssen: 14 April, 1973) Tr. p. 11

38 Hodge, Proceedings, op. cit., pp. 30-31; J.Z. Hodge, The War and the N.C.C. (Nagpur: N.C.C, Report by Mr. Hodge up to July 31, 1941), p. 4.


  One Response to “Gossner Missionare in Danapur und Ahmednagar”

  1. Gerne erinnere ich mich an Johannes Stosch, der mit meiner Familie im Lager Satara sehr oft Mah-Jongg gespielt hat. Anlässlich meines ersten Aufbaulagers in Berlin-Weissensee 1957 habe ich ihn in Berlin-Wannsee besucht und gemeinsame Erinnerungen ausgetauscht.