Letters: Anti-German feelings and violence in 1915

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I found your article on Sir Joseph Jonas in last week’s Midweek Retro very interesting as I had never heard of him before.

However, on going through a Sheffield Daily Telegraph of Saturday, May 15, 1915 which I recently acquired, I found a letter from Sir Joseph on the persecution of people with German names.

In the letter Sir Joseph said he abhorred the sinking of the Lusitania.

He saidthat he had never belonged to the ‘German Club’ nor had ever been invited to join.

He also said that he had always supported Sheffield and served the city in a ‘wide variety of public capacities’ in the last 25 years.

There were also letters from CA Hahn, another naturalised German, who came to Sheffield in 1872 and became a British citizen in 1877.

He also stated that his wife was a ‘Sheffield girl’ and that his children were born here. He also stated that his eldest son was serving in the British Army and his younger son was serving in the British Medical Corps and that he wished to express his, ‘abhorrence of the inhuman acts committed by men of the German Army and Navy’.

There must have been some anti-German incidents on the Moor on the night of May 14, 1915, because P Gebhardt of 191 The Moor wrote to thank the police for their protection for him and his family during an incident.

He also said he had lived in Sheffield for 35 years and that his wife was a Sheffield woman and his children and grandchildren were born here.

There were reports of anti-German incidents in Hillsborough, Tinsley and the Newhall Road area where shops of people with German names were attacked and looted.

Dave Sandilands

Via email