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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.3/221195
- A doubtful character
- Neumann, Klaus; Davis, Sharon
- Wolf Klaphake was a respected German scientist who came to Australia in 1935 in search of new horizons. Multi-talented and inventive, Klaphake sought support for many schemes---including a huge condenser tower to be built at Cook in the Nullarbor to generate drinking water from atmospheric humidity. In 1940, Klaphake was interned along with thousands of 'enemy aliens'. Isolated from his fellow internees---many of whom were pro Nazi---and frustrated by his desire to work, Klaphake submitted numerous proposals to the Army Inventions Board with suggestions for products and processes which might actively contribute to the war effort. All of his ideas were rejected, and by the time he was released in 1944, Klaphake had lost much of his visionary passion. He spent the rest of his life operating a small chemical business, manufacturing toilet cleaner and disinfectant. Privately, he continued to pursue his interests in Eastern philosophy, and by the time of his death in 1967 he enjoyed a reputation as something of a local sage. A Doubtful Character is a richly textured portrait of Klaphake drawn from the archival record of his internment (including Intelligence reports, interrogation records and copies of intercepted mail), and the memories and recollections of friends and family. It is also a portrait of a bureaucracy ill-equipped or unwilling to deal with a brilliant man working in difficult circumstances. A Doubtful Character is particularly pertinent at a time when our current refugee policies are under close scrutiny. A Doubtful Character features a large cast of actors led by Kerry Walker and Lewis Fitzgerald.
- Publication type
- Creative work
- Hindsight, presented by Sharon Davis, 26 February 2012
- Publication year
- 20th century history; Australia; Biography; Germans; Germany; History; Immigrants; Internment camps; Inventors; Wolf Klaphake (1900-1967); Migrant history; Refugee policy; Scientists; Twentieth century history; World War II; World War II 1939-1945; WWII
- ABC Radio National
- Publisher URL
- Copyright © 2012 Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Podcast reproduced with the kind permission of the ABC.
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