Behind the Wire is a temporary exhibition at the KwaZulu-Natal Museum and explores civilian internment in the British Empire from 1914 – 1919, the duration of World War 1.
South Africa’s internment camp was based at Pietermaritzburg’s own Fort Napier Hospital, where over 2500 ‘enemy alien’ nationals from all over the Union of South Africa, as well as prisoners of war from German South-West Africa (now Namibia) were kept behind the wire.
The KZN Museum have added panels to this display by exploring South Africa’s involvement in WW1, highlighting South Africa’s campaign in German South-West Africa, the Battle of Delville Wood, the SS Mendi, and the traces of WW1 that remain in Pietermaritzburg.
On display are the Museum’s own WW1 collections in a unique and informative display. You will find the original items crafted by the German internees, evidence of the changing roles of women in society, as well as various items from the front lines.