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Published: 02 November 2019

By Andy Ross

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The barbed wire and fence post loom

During the Second World War, Jewish refugees were interned in Jamaica.

Writer Joanna Newman, Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (www.acu.ac.uk) and a Senior Research Fellow in the history department at King’s College London, has published a book about the flight of Jewish refugees from Nazism to the British West Indies before and during the War, and in an article talks about some of the interviews which illuminate that story. One part in particular catches the attention. Arnold von der Porten, alive and well eighty years after those calamitous events, collaborated while interned with other inmates to make a loom from barbed wire and fence posts. With carding equipment from local Quakers, the group made several blankets, one of which Arnold kept as a reminder of the times and the creative spirit that shone through. Have a read of the article here where you can also see a picture of the blanket, held proudly by Arnold.