Kavernido im Internierungslager Knockaloe

Die Internierung von Goldberg im Britischen Lager Knockaloe auf der Isle of Man in den Jahren 1915-1918

Kurz nach seiner Verwandlung in Filareto Kavernido verließ Goldberg 1913 Deutschland und zieht durch verschiedene Länder, bis er schliesslich in England landet. Er hatte darüber in einigen Artikeln berichtet, wenn auch etwas ungenau. Daraus entstand bei uns die Vermutung, dass er zwischen 1915 und 1918 in einem Englischen Internierungslager gewesen sein musste. Dank der Memoiren des Anarchisten Adolf Mosch wissen wir auch, dass er dort seine festen anarcho-kommunistischen Überzeugungen entwickelte. Er war im Kontakt mit Anarchisten, Gewerkschaftern oder linken Sozialdemokraten, darunter Rudolf Rocker. Anfang 1918 tauchte Goldberg wieder in Holland auf, von wo aus er sich im November 1918 nach Berlin begab. Dort gründete er dann die Kaverno di Zaratustra.

All dies lag nahe, wenn man Filaretos Berichte in das historische Zeitgeschehen einordnete. Wir hatten aber keinerlei Belege. 

Dank der kürzlich erfolgten Recherchen des englischen Privatforschers, Peter Bate, können wir nun diese bislang fehlenden Jahre in Goldbergs Vita nachvollziehen und belegen.

In einem Memoirenbuch eines früheren englisch-österreichischen Gefangenen, Paul Cohen-Portheim, über die Zeit im Internierungslager Knockaloe, auf der Isle of Man, [1]http://www.isle-of-man.com/manxnotebook/history/intrn_ww1/tst/index.htm, das den Titel “Time Stood Still” trägt, wird über verschiedene Mitinsassen referiert. Aus welchen Gründen auch immer, nennt der Verfasser den wirklichen Namen der kolportierten Menschen selten. Jedoch fällt ein gewisser Dr. A auf. Es ist schwer, diesen nicht als Dr. Goldberg wiederzuerkennen. Nachfolgend die betreffenden Passagen des Buches:

“One did not, however, have to turn to our ‘ exotics ‘ to discover curious samples of humanity, plenty were to be found amongst those of undisputedly German nationality. The most striking figure of our crowd was a man who called himself Dr. A and was born in Berlin. He was an absolutely perfect example of the bolshevik of popular imagery, a bolshevik avant la lettre, for in 1915 their existence was unknown to the world or, at any rate, the term meant nothing. It meant a good deal to this man, however, for he knew them all and corresponded with them, I believe. Before being interned he had, or said he had, lived in a sort of communist settlement in England. He was tall and very thin, he stooped and he had masses of untidy black hair covering his head and face. He looked like an unkempt and a little starved Assyrian king. His clothes, however, were not royal, for he invariably wore a pair of old trousers over a bathing-suit, and sandals. He would, in fact, have looked smartly dressed at Juan les Pins in the summer season of 1930, but in 1915 and in Knockaloe his was considered a scandalous get-up by nearly all his fellow prisoners. The doctor was an ardent revolutionary and he began his incendiary propaganda the very first day, which soon made him the best hated man there. The capitalist class was as furious with him, as might have been expected, but the majority did not take kindly either to his sharp tongue, his hissing and cutting voice, and his excessively Jewish appearance. As a convinced pacifist he condemned war and all the belligerents, no matter on which side they fought. He refused to make concessions to sentiment or patriotism; he was much too uncompromising and severe to gain popular applause. Strange to say, his only admirers were some very fair, very teutonic sailors – at least it seemed very strange to me at the time, but when the revolution in Germany started by a sailors’ revolt I began to see the connection between the two types, which in spite of all differences have one fundamental thing in common: love of independence. One very young, flaxen-haired sailor-boy never left the doctor’s side, and listened mute and adoring to all he said; I called him the John of this strange Christ who was perhaps more of a St. Paul. One could not help admiring his logic and his courage. He preached revolution by violence in all countries and was firmly convinced of the victory of communism, all of which seemed fantastic nonsense in 1915. Nor was the world he prophesied the one his hearers wished to look forward to. After victory and peace everyone was going to be happy and prosperous – that is what they hoped for (in common with the vast majority of people in all countries) and that is what they wished to hear. Some men – one never knew who they were – complained to the Commandant about the doctor’s political speeches and meetings which, they said, created unrest in the camp. The Commandant sent for him and this is how the revolutionary described the interview: ‘ He looked at me, my beard, my naked shoulders, etc., with great disgust and said: “Do you consider this the proper costume to appear in here? ” I said: ” Certainly, why not? ” He got furious and shouted: ” You look like a wild beast,” and I said, “You have put me in a cage like a wild beast, haven’t you? ” After that he laughed and said, “Well, there is something in that.”‘ He was transferred to another compound and so I lost sight of him, but I came across him again in 1918.”

Wenig später findet man im Buch eine Stelle, in der beschrieben wird, wie einige der Insassen mit Vermittlung des Roten Kreuzes und im Austausch für englische Gefangene nach Holland deportiert wurden:

“There was no joyous reception awaiting us ; there was, in fact, no one to receive us at all. On this side of the water things were exactly the same as on the other, and this was the first evidence. Neither the Dutch nor the German authorities had been warned in time of our coming, it appeared, and as most of them had to come from the Hague, several hours passed before they arrived. It was then discovered that they were not expecting exchange-prisoners at all, but a batch of women and children, and so all arrangements had to be modified. In the meantime they held a roll-call and found all correct except that one man — the famous revolutionary doctor — had disappeared.”[2]http://www.isle-of-man.com/manxnotebook/history/intrn_ww1/tst/tst_20.htm

Näheres dazu findet man noch im selben Buch:

” I had one pleasant surprise, which was seeing Dr. A., the anarchist agitator of my first Knockaloe days again. He looked wilder than ever, though considerably more clothed on account of the cold, and he was quite furious because he was amongst the men, of whom there were quite a number at this place, who were to be sent back to Germany in exchange for English prisoners. [202] This was the last thing he desired as he expected a very warm reception there. I imagine he was a deserter, but he may have been wanted for political offences, at any rate he told me that he was determined not to return to Germany. I don’t know how he managed it, but when, after arrival in Holland, the roll call was taken he was missing. I met him some months later and he told me that Dutch friends of his had helped him; that was the last time I saw him, but I read about him in 1919 : he was then leader of a group of anarchists who had decided to live en plein air somewhere in the woods near Berlin, and the police were after them. They were caught, and he was accused of and condemned for offences against the law, illegal medicinal practices committed before the war. Meanwhile at Boston we exchanged experiences. I told him of mine, which he disapproved of, being a convinced materialist, and he told me of his, which were of the higher mathematical variety and which remained enigmatic to me. Even the simplest mathematics have always seemed utterly incomprehensible to me, and I have never been able to understand why anyone should care what happens to x and y or pi; he assured me, however, that I had really arrived at the same conclusions as he had, though in a confused manner, whereas he could sum up all the world and its workings in one simple mathematical formula which he kept shouting at me. So I left it at that.” [3]http://www.isle-of-man.com/manxnotebook/history /intrn_ww1/tst/tst_19.htm

Mit diesem überraschenden Fund erhalten wir neue Daten und Klarheit über den Aufenthaltsort und das Verhalten von Heinrich Goldberg alias Filareto Kavernido alias Dr. A während der Jahre des Ersten Weltkriegs. Wir erwarten mehr Neuigkeiten aus diesen Quellen. Somit ist dieser Kurzbericht provisorisch.

Santiago Tovar, Madrid, Juli 2023

Mit besonderem Dank an Peter Bate, London. Seine Recherche führte zu all diesen Hinweisen und Quellen, die eine lange, unbekannte Periode im Leben Goldbergs aufklärte.