The Internment Story

The Internment Story by Fred Fletcher

Stories and paintings by Fred Fletcher Published by his daughter Dorothy Scorsone

Frederick (Fritz) Fleischer was born in Stadlau, a suburb of Vienna, Austria on June 7, 1909. His father was a pharmacist who died when Fritz was 12 years old. Fritz and his mother moved into the city where Fritz later attended the University of Vienna and studied law. He was an article clerk in Vienna when Hitler moved into Austria. His mother convinced him to leave Austria because it could become potentially dangerous for him to stay. He moved to London, England to stay with Sigmund Freud, the uncle of his friend Harry Freud.
In 1940, he was taken into custody by the British government as an “enemy alien” because he was an Austrian citizen.
This is his unedited story of his internment and subsequent transfer to Canada.

Some time after the internment of “enemy aliens”, the British and Canadian governments realized that they had made a mistake and these people were not prisoners of war but just ordinary citizens of a country at war. By this time, the ships that had been used to transfer the internees were being employed in the war effort so there was no transportation to get them back. Gradually they were released in Canada for war work, such as farming or in the postal service, or if they had a Canadian sponsor.
The parents of my father’s friend, Harry Freud, had immigrated to Toronto before the war and were able to sponsor him so he went to live with them on his release. There he met Herta Bellak who had immigrated with her family to Toronto from Vienna in 1938 (another long story) and were friends of the Freuds. Herta and Fred (he now used the English nickname for Frederick) were married on June 18, 1944 and he legally anglicized his surname from Fleischer to Fletcher. Their only child, I was born on May 24, 1945. ~ Dorothy Scorsone

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