Home Television Drama Dunera Boys, The

Dunera Boys, The

1 9 8 5 (Australia)
2 x 120 minute episodes

At the start of WWII, the British Government decided to arrest all Germans in the UK no matter how long they had been here. Among those arrested were many Jewish refugees and many who were fully assimilated, but who the British feared might be German spies.

This miniseries records the true story of a group who were sent to a POW camp in Australia aboard the HMT Dunera – one of the greatest influxes of academic and artistic talent to have entered Australia on a single vessel.

Cafe owner and concert hall violinist Alex Engelhart (Joseph Spano) had escaped from Nazi-occupied Austria and made it to England, where he thought his troubles were over. Unfortunately, he is rounded up with other Jewish refugees and shipped off to Australia.

During their three years in a POW camp in far western NSW, the Dunera boys prove to be model prisoners. Over time the rules of the prison are relaxed and the refugees are able to integrate into the local community.

Bob Hoskins and Warren Mitchell are exceptional.


Many of the real Dunera internees returned to Britain to fight in the war, but others remained in Australia and later became notable contributors to that nation’s scientific, business, academic and cultural communities. A number of them were awarded the Order of Australia later on in their lives.

Also among those on the Dunera were Franz Stampfl, who helped coach the athlete Roger Bannister to the world’s first sub-four-minute mile and Anton Walter Freud, grandson of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud.

Alexander Engelhardt
Joseph Spano
Morrie Mendellsohn
Bob Hoskins
The Baron
Joseph Fürst
Naomi Mendellsohn
Mary-Anne Fahey
Colonel Berry
Simon Chilvers
Steven Vidler
Rabbi Aronfeld
Moshe Kedem
Brigadier Templeton
John Meillon
Mr. Baum
Warren Mitchell
Paul Mason
Captain Webber
Kirk Alexander
Julia Blake
Max Bruch
Sally Cooper
Marcel Cugola
Corporal Carter
Maurie Fields
Private Bruce
Kim Gyngell 
Captain Minter
Stephen Kearney
Wally Dunstan
Mark Little
Alan Levy
Henry Maas
Alex Menglet
Wyn Roberts
Dalibor Satalic
Private Kerwin
Ed Turley
Abe Joelstein
Bruno Lucia