Internment Camps: Southern Rhodesia – Hartley Temporary Camp

Southern Rhodesia

Hartley Temporary Camp


The declaration of war against Germany on 3 September 1939 by Britain triggered off the internment process, as the former was accompanied by a proclamation, whose message was repeated in the colonies newspapers: Warning all enemy subjects within the colonies to register details of their birth, passport and property owned, surrender all arms, ammunition and yourself to the Member-in-Charge of the nearest police station.

Following this announcement, internment on the African continent proceeded apace. In Tanganyika, 4 000 Germans in the Iringa region, were quickly rounded up and dispatched to the Union of South Africa. Their women and children were destined for Southern Rhodesia.

On the night of 3-4 September, the Department of Ministry of Justice and Defence,
through the Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and army, moved swiftly on all ‘Starred Germans’, capturing 508 who were then gathered at Chikurubi Prison. After a few days interrogation, many were released on parole leaving 52 men and a woman under restriction. These were moved to a temporary holding camp and former primary school in Hartley, 100 kilometres west of the Salisbury, where they were joined by 64 aliens from
Northern Rhodesia.

At this time, the first selected site in Salisbury, east of KG VI Barracks, was still under construction. It became ready on 12 October, when it was opened as Internment Camp No. 1 (General).



  • Keith Harrop