Around 1900 my grandfather immigrated from Germany to Indonesia and lived a peaceful life on Java and Sumatra until in 1940 he was picked up by the Dutch and put in detention camp Boven Digul in Papua New Guinea.  This in spite of the fact that he was no threat to the Dutch in any way.  His son Theo, then 7 years old, was left behind on his own without a father or a mother.  He never saw his father, my grandfather, again.  I found out that the Dutch in mid 1943 evacuated everyone in camp Boven Digul to the POW camp in Cowra, Australia because the Japanese were approaching.  I am looking for any trace of my grandfather, Bruno Bahrfeldt, in the Cowra POW camp, but have not been able to find any register of Boven Digul prisoners detained at the camp.  There is plenty of info of Indonesians at the camp, but my grandfather was officially German, not Indonesian.  Any help pointing me in the right direction would be very much appreciated by me and my uncle, still alive, who lost his father at the age of 7 and still wonders what became of him.

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Hi Max

The National Archives' office in Sydney holds a large collection of records of people who were interned in New South Wales during the war, including those who were interned at Cowra. I suggest that you use our Family History reference inquiry form at to submit an inquiry to our Reference Service.  A reference officer will then search the records on your behalf to identify any records we may hold about your grandfather's internment.



(NAA staff)

Many thanks for your reply.  I will follow this up.  Much appreciated !!


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