Kitchener Camp, Richborough, Kent: records

Scope and Content

Papers relating to the Kitchener camp, Kent, 1939-1988, including Phineas May's manuscript diary of camp life, 1939; issues of the 'Kitchener Camp Review', 1939; information leaflets and illustrated brochure of the Kitchener Camp; correspondence of Phineas May in his capacity as entertainments' officer for the Pioneer Corps, 15 Aug 1939-12 Apr 1941 and memoirs of a former Kitchener camp inmate, May 1988.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Kitchener camp, a derelict site which had previously been an army camp, was taken over by the Council for German Jewry at the beginning of 1939 as a result of pressure from the Reichsvertretung der Juden in Deutschland to rescue threatened Jews from Germany and Austria. Conditions for admission were that inmates must be aged between 18 and 40 and that they have a definite prospect of emigration overseas. The camp began receiving refugees in February 1939 and ended with the outbreak of war in September after which most of the inmates chose to enlist in the British army. Three young English Jews, Jonas and Phineas May and M Banks, who were later to become commissioned officers in the Pioneer Corps, were put in charge of the management of the camp.


Original order

Conditions Governing Access


Acquisition Information

Phineas May; Harold Jackson; Peter Mansbacher

Other Finding Aids

Description exists to this archive on the Wiener Library's online catalogue

Archivist's Note

Entry compiled by Howard Falksohn.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies can be made for personal use. Permission must be sought for publication.

Custodial History

This collection comprises 4 separate deposits. The core material was deposited by Phineas May in October 1987 (Accession numbers 54096-54102) when he was Honorary Custodian of the Jewish Museum at Bloomsbury House. He also deposited the entertainments licence at 644/5 in May 1988. In addition Peter Mansbacher, a former inmate of the camp, deposited some material which includes a brief autobiographical sketch at 644/7 and memoirs at 644/8 (Accession number 55506). Harold Jackson also deposited some photographs in September 1985 (Accession number 49111).

Corporate Names

Geographical Names