Emil Pospischil

Emil Pospischil
Emil Pospischil at the time of his initial internment in Iran. With the invasion of Iran by British and Soviet forces, Pospischil was among the Germans captured by the British, taken to Basra in Iraq and from there to Loveday via Bombay (Mumbai). Photo courtesy Mick Pospischil.

Emil Pospischil was born in Vienna on 3 March 1900. By occupation a master stonemason, after more than a decade working in Austria after World War I, he was sent to Iran in 1932 to participate in railway work, in particular the construction of bridges and tunnels. A series of photos held in his possession, and later handed on to his son Mick, provides a record of the work he undertook in Iran overseeing bridge and tunnel stonework.

Pospischil was captured by British forces at Borujerd in western Iran, on the main highway between the Persian Gulf and Tehran, on 10 September 1941. Along with nearly 500 other ‘German Persians’ he was transported to Adelaide on the Rangitiki, arriving on 19 November 1941, and then transported to Loveday. He was held in Camp 10, later in 14A. His internment number was R36696, the ‘R’ indicating that he was a member of the group captured by British forces in Iran.

At Loveday Pospischil distinguished himself by using his building skills to construct and then to run one of the two cafes in the camp. It featured multiple domes and was made from rammed earth, a technique he had learned in Iran.

Assessed by the camp authorities as ‘anti-Nazi’, the one blemish on his Loveday record was a 28-day detention for the possession of fermented liquor.

In January 1945, along with other Germans, he was transferred to Tatura in Victoria.

After the war, Pospischil successfully made the case that he should remain in Australia and was allowed to do so. A priest gave him work as a gardener in the Villa Maria in Boronia in Victoria when he was released from Tatura on 19 July 1946. It was there that he met Ivy Banner, whom he married in May 1947.

Together they had three children. Emil Pospischil died in 1993.

Emil Pospischil
Emil Pospischil with pet eagle, 1932/33. The eagle was found in the snow by Emil when it froze trying to fly over the mountains. It was released after it clawed Emil’s face. Photo courtesy Mick Pospischil.
Emil Pospischil
Austrian engineers, photographed while working on the 3 km. tunnel. Photo courtesy Mick Pospischil.
Emil Pospischil
Railway to the right of the Ab-i-Diz River. While in Persia, Emil worked on the rail line that runs from Khorramshahr to Tehran and from Tehran to Bandar-e-Shah.Photo courtesy Mick Pospischil.
Emil Pospischil
Viaduct, 300 m. long. Buleduchtar. Photo courtesy Mick Pospischil.
Emil Pospischil
Watercolour by fellow-internee Fritz Bambach showing ‘Café Neustadt’, built and run by Emil Pospischil in Loveday. Courtesy Ralph Guilor.


NAA: A367, C74751 Pospischil Emil

NAA: MP1103/2, R36696 Prisoner of War/Internee; Pospischil, Emil; Year of birth - 1900; Nationality – German

NAA: B1356, CAMP 1/POSPISCHIL EMIL ANTON, Pospischil, Emil Anton born 1900, Wien (Vienna) Austria - German - R36696 [personal file of internee from Camp 1 (Tatura)]

Personal communications, Mick Pospischil