As far as we know , Paul Gowa was born in August 1890 in Hamburg. He was the 8th child of Emil Gowa, a Jewish businessman, and Johanna née Jacob. He was trained in business matters. For July 10th, 1914, the “Passenger Arrival List” of Ellis Island shows an entry that appears to match him (regarding age and origin). In August and September of the same year, his name can once again be found on a passenger list, this time that of the “Nieuw Amsterdam”. At that time, however, he had already been deemed “unfit for military service“. After the “Nieuw Amsterdam” had been seized, he was transferred to “Fort Crozon” and later to the decommissioned cruiser “Charles Martel”, along with most of his fellow passengers. However, while most of the latter were transferred to the camp on Île Longue once the barracks there had been completed, he was moved to Trébéron Island due to his poor health. There, a former quarantine ward served as a hospital in which he would remain for the following five months. It was again because of his poor health that he was scheduled to be transported to Germany on board a Dutch ship. However, this journey would never take place due to unrestricted submarine warfare and he therefore remained in a military hospital in Brest (“Hôpital de l’arsenal de Brest”) for some more time. In the summer of 1915, he finally returned to Germany (via Switzerland) where he died in November 1918.
In 1915, he wrote an account describing the conditions he experienced during his respective stays. Additionally, his account offers any information he had gained during this time regarding the officers’ camp “Château d’Anne de Bretagne” in Brest and the “Île Longue” camp.
Today, this account (comprising 36 typewritten pages and a printed title page) is part of the digitalized collection of the German national library in Berlin (digitalisierte Sammlungen der Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin).