Miss Rose Campbell, a local woman from Blantyre packed more incident into her years during the 1930’s, than most of us experience in a lifetime. Her story was told to a journalist in July 1938 who remarked “Rose wanted to tell me more, but couldn’t through fear what would happen to her fiance.”
She taught in the Canary Islands before settling down in Malaga, Spain in the mid 1930’s. She had been there only a short time when the Spanish Revolution broke out. Speaking to a journalist at the time she told them
“It was horrible, first one part would murder somebody, then reprisals would follow. There were strikes for everything, from food sales, to tram cars. The bins weren’t being emptied and city stank to high heaven.” Miss Campbell fled with her passport, a jewel box and some clothes and managed to catch a passing warship at Gibraltar.
In 1936 wishing to resurrect her language skills abroad, she decided to try her luck in Germany, in Hamburg, feeling that the place would be a million miles from Spain. How wrong could she be, if it was peace and harmony she wanted.
It was around then she met her German Fiance, a Jewish Doctor, a very clever man who ironically had fought for the fatherland at only 17 years old during the first war. However, now in 1938 it was the Jews who were being targeted by the very country he had been loyal to. It was a dangerous time to be Jewish in Germany and nobody could have imagined the horrors about to befall. However, sensing the tension, Rose and her new fiance quickly left Germany and came back to Scotland, something which would have no doubt saved her fiance’s life. The question of marriage in Scotland also presented a problem. Jews were officially extradited from Germany meaning her finance was a man with Nationality or Country. It was going to take some money and letters to the Home Secretary to permit such a union.
Speaking of her brief time in Germany just before the outbreak of World War 2, Miss Campbell commented passionately “It was a nightmare, yet you are not allowed to show that it is such. You only see what you are allowed to see, you read only what you are allowed to read. There are spies all round the place and what you read is only part truth. We could only use a certain amount of money each month. You had to declare where you got it from and what you were buying. Outgoing and incoming letters were always opened and read first. For the Jews, conditions are really bad. There is such a feeling something will happen soon. My German experience has made me glad to be British, and to be back in a country with good food and where i am allowed to speak my mind. The individual German person is an honest, kind and straightforward individual but living in fear, any officer with a strong thumb and forefinger can lead him by the nose down a troubled path. The whole trouble is the Nazi regime. I would like to say more, but i fear for my husband, even safe here in Scotland and wanting to forget our time there, i will not say more.”