Immigrant files to be opened


Thousands of British police records detailing Jewish immigrants entering the UK, including Holocaust survivors, are to be re-released after being removed from public access over concerns the Official Secrets Act would be breached.

Historic “alien files” from West Yorkshire Police’s immigration records were released in February but were immediately withdrawn. They embarrassingly revealed officers describing immigrants as a "self-opinionated Jew’ and a “dim-witted peasant".

The files showed that one immigrant, Barnet Jacobsson, from Romania, was barred from the UK in 1908 because he was “illiterate”.

They also revealed the tragic case of Arthur Joshua Schiff, who committed suicide amid appalling conditions in the aliens internment camp in Liverpool before the Second World War.

Mr Schiff’s daughter was married to Walter Ettinghausen, who helped decode Nazi communications at Bletchley Park, and went on to become one of Israel’s top diplomats.

John Scothern, principle data management officer for West Yorkshire Police, said the release of the 3,000 files was “imminent”, but warned that some details might not be revealed.

“If there might be sensitivity around people being used for the secret services, or other reasons, we may wish to consider protecting their anonymity. One issue might be the Official Secrets Act, for example.”

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