The Answer – Justice
An Australian Prisoner of War and Witness in the Small Fortress, Terezin Concentration Camp, in 1945
Excerpts from the autobiography of Alexander McClelland (1920-2010)
Held in the death cell in last Nazi Concentration Camp till May 1945 and then 28 days solitary confinement in Detention Barracks in UK. Going on false Australian Army records which claimed no charge or detention while I was in England prior to leaving for Australia. In 1971 DVA doctors diagnosed me as a paranoid schizophrenic. They told me if I told people I’d been in a Nazi Concentration Camp during WWII and that I’d been given 28 days solitary confinement in UK, I would have to be put in a place and given special treatment. As no-one in Australia believed me, in desperation I went to England where Airey Neave, MP and WWII hero, believed me and helped me prove my claims. Finally, in 1988, the Australian Government confirmed I had been incarcerated in both the places I had claimed in 1970.
This book was officially launched by the Lord Mayor of Newcastle at the Newcastle War Memorial Library on 24 November 1998. Prior to leaving his office on the day, the mayor received a phone call advising him that it was “not acceptable to us for you to launch the book by Alexander McClelland, “The Answer – Justice.”
This phone call made the Mayor extremely annoyed. He held the book out to the assembled news reporters and said “this is a book every Australian should read.” The book launch was completely ignored by the media.
All my attempts to have the book published in Australia had failed, so I had made arrangements to have it published in England at my own expense from my T.P.I. war pension.
After launching it in 1998 I approached book shops in Sydney, Newcastle, Gosford and other country towns. I left samples of my book at those shops over the weekend, only to find they were not prepared to sell my book.
They all said “We would love to sell your book but we cannot.” When asked “WHY?” they all said it would put them out of business! – bankrupt.
I asked “HOW?” they answered that if they sold my book the wholesalers would not supply them with books or newspapers!
A headline in the Australian Jewish News which said that Barry Cohen, former MHR, had planned to write a book about Jewish workers in Australia, but he could not find any Jewish workers. They were all in wholesale!
As I am not allowed to sell my autobiography in shops here in Australia, I donated two copies to every library in Canberra, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Maitland.
What has happened to freedom of speech in our democratic country of Australia and the justice that I believe I am entitled to as a returned soldier and concentration camp survivor of WWII?
I wish to thank the Australian taxpayers who have paid my Totally and Permanently Incapacitated WWII pension since 1975 and all the genuine Australians who have assisted me in my fight for Truth and Justice.
My sincere thanks!
Alexander C. McClelland
We used to hang around the docks as there was more to be seen there, the ships coming Tobruk and unloading and ships going out. The Hospital Ship came in and, much to our surprise, reinforcements disembarked carrying arms and ammunition. This was surprising to us because we had heard about ambulances being attacked by Italian fighters outside Bardia. I myself thought it was just a rumour and that we wouldn’t do such a thing, but ambulances were used to carry ammunition up the pass at Salum. We knew the ship would be taking our wounded mates back to Alexandria. Armed men coming off one of our hospital ships... We didn’t like the idea at all.
There were several high-ranking British Staff Officers on the docks. We could pick them out quite easily because of the red band round their caps and the red tabs of their collars. One of my mates went over and said, “What’s the idea of bringing all these armed troops on the same ship that our wounded mates are going back to Alexandria in? We didn’t volunteer for this type of thing.” The British Staff Officer, with a very superior air, looked at him and said, “You volunteered to do what we consider to be necessary.”
We all looked a bit dumbfounded at this, but later on when Rommel was having difficulty in getting supplies through, particularly diesel fuel for his tanks, he asked an Italian general who was in charge of supplies. “Incidentally, how are you getting this fuel through to me?” The Italian replied, “Oh, Field Marshall, we have had special tanks built into the Hospital Ships.” According to reports, Rommel exploded, “Good God, you mean my wounded men are going back to Italy on ships which have been used for carrying oil?” and he immediately forbade it. (p. 49)
The Answer – Justice was originally published by HRP in 1998 with an incorrect ISBN. In 2013 it was renotified with a valid ISBN, 978-1-901240-23-8.