Dr George F.J. Bergmann: Diaries and personal papers
Dr George F. J. Bergmann was a German Jew who enrolled in the French Foreign Legion as a foreign national living in France in 1939. He was later interned in the notorious prison, Hadjerat M'Guil, in French North Africa and later fought for the British in a pioneer company. Dr. George F. J. Bergmann was born the son of a salesman in Lissa (Posen) in 1900. He went to school in Lissa and then studied philosophy, economics and law in the universities of Heidelberg, Breslau and Munich. During this period he became a member of the Kartellverband jüdischer Studenten to which organisation he retained links for the rest of his life.
In 1922 he gained his doctorate, oeconomiae publicae, at the University of Munich. In 1929 he became a lawyer. In 1930 he began working in the chambers of the lawyers Julius Heilbronner and Dr. Eugen Schmidt.
In June 1933 he went to France where in September he was struck off the register of lawyers as a consequence of the Nazi racial laws. Unable to obtain a work permit he supported himself through casual work. In 1935 he married F. I. Hilde Baum from Fulda.
At the outbreak of war he volunteered to serve in the French army. There followed periods of internment in a number of prison camps, service in the Foreign Legion and from 1943 to 1947 he served in the British Army in North Africa, Italy and Austria.
In January 1947 he was demobilized to Australia where he owned a delicatessen business, was one time secretary of the World Jewish Congress and, having gained British and Australian nationality in 1950, became a permanent officer of the Commonwealth.
Having been separated from his wife for many years, in 1951 he married Emilie Raik, the widow of a Jewish Czech officer.
He became a keen historian of Australian history, publishing numerous articles on the subject. In 1953 he was vice-President of the Blue Mountains Historical Society.
The typescript transcriptions of his diaries covering the war years (616/1/1-6) must have been deposited at a date considerably earlier than the rest of the papers[ and later subsumed into the present document collection.
Diaries and personal papers
Donated 19 May 1982
Donor: Dr Bergmann
Amongst the papers in this collection are a set of typescript transcripts of his diaries which document in detail his experiences in the Foreign Legion and in prison. They also provide a full report on the infamous trial of French officers and guards at Hadjerat M'Guil.
The original order according to chapter has been retained, each chapter being assigned a separate sub-number.