Letter: The Boer camps

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The Independent Culture
Sir: John Stawson's comments (letter, 4 September) on John Pollock's Boer War article ring less than true. My wife's Boer grandmother often stated, of the Standerton concentration camp, in which she spent part of the war, that the epidemic did indeed have a cause in the lack of knowledge of hygiene of Boer women.

The Afrikaners have for decades spread the tale that "the British invented the concentration camp in the Boer War". It was in fact invented just before that war by the Spanish in Cuba.

The camps had little in common with the Nazi version, and were genuinely intended only to concentrate civilians away from the fighting, and prevent them supporting their guerrillas with food and shelter.


Uxbridge, Middlesex