Alfred Erlanger was one of some 500 ‘Persian Germans’ interned in Loveday.
Born in Berlin in 1907, Erlanger, was working in Iran during the Second World War. His records show that he was captured in Iran by British forces on 15 August 1941 and brought to Australia for internment via Basra in Iraq and India. The vessel Rangitiki, having commenced its voyage in Bombay (Mumbai), delivered its human cargo, including Alfred Erlanger, to Outer Harbor on 19 November 1941. From Adelaide all the men were immediately sent to Loveday.
Australian records show that at the time of his arrival in Australia Erlanger regarded himself as Lutheran. A fellow internee from Iran, Helga Griffin, suggests in her memoirs that Alfred had left Berlin in the 1930s to work in Iran, where he was paymaster for the workers on the Trans-Iranian Railway. It is likely he had moved to Iran to avoid the Nazi persecution of Jews.[i] Nazi persecution was based on racial rather than religious identity.
Like other Germans, Erlanger was transferred from Loveday to Tatura at the end of January 1945; he was not released into the community until August 1946. He lived and worked in Melbourne and was naturalised in 1948. He married and had two children.
NAA: MP1103/2, R36451, Prisoner of War/Internee; Erlanger, Alfred; Year of birth - --07; Nationality – German
NAA: B78, 1948/ERLANGER A. ERLANGER Alfred - Nationality: German - Arrviced Adelaide per Rangatici 19 November 1941
Helga Griffin, At Home in Exile: A Memoir, Canberra: ANU Press, 2021. http://doi.org/10.22459/AHE.2021
[i] Helga Griffin, At Home in Exile: A Memoir, Canberra: ANU Press, 2021, p. 262.