Saturday, July 28, 2012

WWII Real Photo Postcards
German POWs Interned in Canada

During WWII, photographs of German POWs interned in Canadian camps were taken and reproduced on postcard size stock. The cards provided family and friends with visual assurance of the prisoners' well-being.

The cards shown in this post were printed on Eastman Kodak silver chloride paper called Azo which is identified in the upper right hand corner of the address side.

Azo photographic postcard stock
was introduced by Kodak in the
early 1900s.

Camp 20 Gravenhurst

An enlargement shows details captured on the Real Photo

February 17, 1945

Camp 30 Bowmanville

December 1, 1944

Camp 44 Grande Lygne

May 12, 1945

Camp 133 Lethbridge

Two postcards from the Lethbridge camp are shown.

June 21, 1943

July 20, 1943
The War Prisoners' Aid of the YMCA
Cartoon Cards

The War Prisoners' Aid of the YMCA printed cartoon cards showing the experiences of German prisoners of war in Canada during World War II. . The cartoons were probably drawn by German prisoners and depict activities such as ping-pong, food preparation, roll call, the food-line, sun-bathing. The cartoon cards measured 14.9 cm x 9.2 and could be used for correspondence. The three cards in the author's collection shown in this post were not postally used.

(The National Archives of Canada has a selection of 19 cartoon cards in its collection.)

1. "Capture"

2. Sunbathing

Prisoners enjoying a peaceful afternoon at the camp.

3. "Smoking Prohibited"

Can anyone explain what this cartoon depicts?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The War Prisoners' Aid of the Y.M.C.A.
P.O.W. Christmas Cards

During WW II, the Y.M.C.A. set up "The War Prisoners' Aid" to support both Allied and German prisoners of war by providing sports equipment, musical instruments, art materials, radios, eating utensils and other items. To celebrate the Christmas season, the Y.M.C.A. printed prisoner-designed cards, shown and described as follows in the December 1944 issue of the YMCA War Prisoners Aid News :
As the Christmas cards reproduced [below] show, life behind barbed wire does not completely stifle the prisoners'  feeling for the sentimental things of the outside world. Nor is this feeling confined to Allied prisoners, for the Germans, too, look upon Christmas with nostalgia and yearning. Though crude perhaps in comparison with commercial cards, the work of the prisoners has an appealing spiritual quality. The Y.M.C.A. prints many of the cards after they have been designed by the prisoners.

In this posting, Y.M.C.A. Christmas cards  mailed by German prisoners of war interned in Canada are shown.

1. Christmas 1941

The card showing a deer outside a barbed wire fence was mailed from the camp at  Espanola, Ontario in November 1941.

2.  Christmas 1942

Mountains, a guard tower, and a barbed wire fence are featured in the Christmas card below, mailed  from Camp 21, Espanola, Ontario, November 1942.


 The next Christmas  card was mailed from Camp 133, Lethbridge, Alberta, in November 1942.


3. Christmas 1943

The winter cold is captured in the 1943 Card showing prisoners' barracks mailed from Camp 133, Lethbridge, Alberta, in November 1943.


Friday, July 6, 2012

WWII Internment Camps in Canada

Post card of German prisoners of war at Internment Camp 30,
Bowmanville, Ontario, December 1944

On September 3, 1939, Canada declared war on Germany. Internment camps were established across the country to house military prisoners of war, merchant seamen, refugees, and other civilian detainees. When Italy declared war against the Allies on June 10th 1940, residents of Italian descent were subject to internment. The Japanese in Canada were interned in 1942.

The Canadian government set up over two dozen camps during the war, housing over 35,000 military prisoners and interned civilians. The first German prisoners arrived in Canada soon after the declaration of war. Jewish refugees who had been residents or were citizens of enemy countries were regarded as enemy aliens and were also interned in camps upon their arrival in Canada. Germans and Japanese (civilians only) made up the majority of prisoners in internment camps in Canada during the war.

Classification of Prisoners

After 1943, prisoners held in Canada were almost all German military personnel who were assigned colors according to their allegiance to Nazism. Anti-Nazis were Whites, those with no particular allegiance were Greys, and Nazi hardliners were Blacks.

Designation of POW camps (Alphabet/Numbers)
Camps were first designated by letters of the alphabet. On October 15, 1941, the letters were changed to numbers corresponding to military district numbering. POW hammers with numbers were distributed to the internments camps in early 1943.
Covers to and from many of the internment camps are shown in this posting.


 Thematic Guides : Internment Camps in Canada during the First and Second World Wars (Library and Archives Canada)

Internment Camps

No. 10 Internment Camp : Chatham and Fingal, Ontario

The Chatham/Fingal camp was a tented camp housing merchant seamen who were employed in farming projects in southwestern Ontario. The camp was first opened in 1944 and closed at Fingal on November 14, 1946.

Internment Camp 10, September 29, 1945
Prisoner had been transferred from Camp 23, Monteith

P.O.W. 10 circular date stamp

No. 20 Internment Camp. Gravenhurst, Ontario, (formerly camp C)

The Gravenhurst camp opened on June 30 1940 in the Calydor Sanitorium (TB), near Gravenhurst. This resort-like camp in the Muskokas housed officers and other ranks until closing on June 29, 1946. In December, 1944, the camp became a "Black" camp for officers, i.e. die-hard Nazis.

Internment Camp 20 (Gravenhurst) November 20, 1944

P.O.W. 20 circular date stamp
November 20, 1943

No. 21 Internment Camp, Espanola, Ont. (formerly Camp E)

The Espanola camp opened on July 7 1940 on the mill site owned by Abitibi Power and Paper, 40 miles west of Sudbury. Over 1400 German army, navy and air force arrived from Britain in July 1940. In May 1943, over 1000 were transferred to Lethbridge (camp 133). The camp closed on November 30, 1943.

Camp "E", Espanola, Ont. to Vienna
Base A.P.O. cancellation, July 17, 1941

From Internment Camp "E"

Camp "E", Espanola, Ont. to Vienna
Base A.P.O. cancellation, January 20, 1941

From Internment Camp "E"

Internment Camp 21 (Espanola) to Konstanz, Germany
Base A.P.O. January

Sender: Theodoe Kutsche
Internment Camp "21"

No. 22 Internment Camp, New Toronto (Mimico), Ontario (formerly Camp M)

The Mimico internment camp opened on June 25, 1940 at the Ontario Reformatory, Mimico. Enemy merchant seamen and civilians were transferred to the camp which closed on April 30, 1944.

Internment Camp "M" (Mimico, Ont.) to Sao Paulo, Brazil
Base A.P.O. October 18, 1941

No. 23 Internment Camp, Monteith, Ontario (formerly camp Q)

The Monteith camp was located in northeastern Ontario at the Ontario Government Detention Farm, 35 miles south of Cochrane. Internees and enemy merchant seaman first arrived at Monteith on July 14, 1940. The camp closed in December 1946.

Hampstead Rd., London, to Aliens Internment Camp, Liverpool
July 13, 1940 (2d. post card rate shortpaid 1/2d. and taxed 1d.)
Forwarded to Internee Camp "Q"

Internee at Camp "Q"

Oakland, California to Camp "Q", October 3, 1940

Internment Camp "23" (Monteith)
Base A.P.O. May 5, 1942

From Internment Camp "23"

San Francisco to Internment Camp "23" (Monteith), July 7, 1944

To Internment Camp "23"

Veteran Guards Of Canada

In May 1940, the Veteran Guards of Canada was created. The Veteran Guards consisted mostly of First World War veterans too old for battlefront duty. They assumed responsibility for guarding POWs in May 1941.

From Veteran Guards of Canada member at Internment Camp "23", Monteith
Canadian War Legion Services stationery
North Bay and Timmins R.P.O., November 1944

From Pte Woodrow, 6 Active Coy, V.G. of C.
Monteith, Ontario

No. 30 Internment camp, Bowmanville, Ontario

Opened in November 1941 at the Ontario Boys' Training School, the Bowmanville camp housed officers and orderlies. It became a grey officers' camp in December 1944 and closed on July 30, 1945.

Internment Camp "30" (Bowmanville)
Base A.P.O. March 17, 1942

Post cards of group photos were made available to POWs

Address side of post card
Internment Camp 30 (Bowmanville), December 1, 1944

P.O.W. 30 circular date stamp
December 1, 1944

No. 31 Internment Camp, Fort Henry (Kingston), Ontario (formerly camp F)

In September 1939, Fort Henry was a receiving station and temporary internment centre until the camp at Petawawa was ready for occupancy. Fort Henry opened as a camp on June 29, 1940 with the arrival of 600 enemy merchant seamen and German merchants from West Africa. The camp closed on December 20, 1943.


Bad Wilsnack, Germany to Internment Camp C, January 28, 1941
POW had been transferred to Camp F, Fort Henry  (Blue crayon marking)

The POW had been interned at Camp C

"F" indicates the POW had been transferred to Fort Henry

No. 32 Internment Camp, Hull, Quebec (formerly Camp H)
Opened August 9 1941 in the newly constructed provincial jail in Val Tetreau, the Hull camp`s first occupants were 90 members of the Communist Party of Canada who were transferred from Petawawa (Camp 33) after trouble developed between them and Fascist internees at Petawawa. Prisoners in Hull Camp were employed on farms in the Ottawa-Hull area, many on farms.
The Camp was disbanded March 20, 1947.

Detroit to County Gaol, London, Ont., February 2, 1941
London Gaol censorship, February 3, 1941
Camp "H" Commandant handstamp, October, 13, 1941

Camp "H" Commandant handstamp
Hull, Que., October 13, 1941

London Gaol censored handstamp (Feb. 3, 1941)
Canada Internment censored handstamp

No. 33 Internment Camp, Petawawa, Ont. (formerly camp P)

Petawawa opened 23 September 1939 at the Forest Experimental Station, Centre
Lake, 12 1/2 miles from the Petawawa Military camp. The first inmates were aliens of enemy origin who were transferred from Fort Henry (Camp 31). In June 1941 the camp included 409 internees of British nationality, 103 of whom were members of either the Communist or the Unity party. There were also 298 internees who were "foreign born" (95 Germans, 174 Italians). The camp which housed Japanese-Canadian internees, merchant seamen, and combatants, closed on March 31, 1946.
(cover not shown)

No. 40 Internment Camp, Farnham, Quebec (formerly Camp A)

The Farnham Camp opened October 11 1940 at the Dominion Experimental Station with the arrival of 139 internees (refugees) from Quebec (Camp L), 180 from Monteith (Camp 23) and 200 from Fredericton (Camp 70).

Farnham`s Status changed to a refugee camp in July 1941. All 445 refugees in camp were transferred to Sherbrooke (Camp 42) on January 23, 1942 and the camp was closed temporarily. Farnham Camp re-opened as an internment camp on April 18, 1942 with the arrival of 597 enemy merchant seamen. Prisoners left for the UK on May 22 1946 and the camp closed on June 17, 1946.

Heatfield, England, to internee at Camp "L" (Cove Fields, Que)
Base A.P.O. (Ottawa) receiver, October 20, 1940
Camp L had closed down. The internee had moved to Camp "A"
at Farnham, Que.

Letter sent to Camp "A"
Farnham, Que.

Camp "A" Farnham, Que., to New York
Base A.P.O. cancellation, February 19, 1941

Sender Dr. Richard Strauss
Camp "A"

Internment Camp 40 (Farnham), Dec. 17, 1942

Internment Camp "40" (Farnham)

Chevaliers de Colomb, Services de Guerre stationery
Correspondence probably from Farnham Internment Camp Guard
Farnham, April 18, 1944

Chevaliers de Colomb
Services de Guerre

Farnham, April 18, 1944

No. 41 Internment Camp, Ile aux Noix, Quebec (formerly Camp I)

The Ile aux Noix camp opened July 15 1940 with the arrival of 273 Jewish internees and became a refugee camp in July, 1941. Most refugees were released by the fall of 1943. The camp closed December 24, 1943.

Internment Camp "I", Isle Aux Noix, Quebec to London, England
Base A.P.O. ,March 17, 1943

Camp "I" return address

Canadian Legion War Services stationery
Letter probably sent by guard at Ile-Aux-Noix refugee camp
Isle-Aux-Noix to Montreal, March 1942

No. 42 Internment Camp, Sherbrooke, Quebec (formerly Camp N)

The Sherbrooke Camp opened on October 15, 1940 in buildings owned by Quebec Central Railway and became a refugee camp on June 30 1941. All refugees remaining in the camp were transferred to Ile aux Noix in November 1942. The camp then housed Enemy Merchant Seamen until June 1946.

Internment Camp "N" (Sherbrooke) to Detroit
Base A.P.O. December 7, 1940

Camp "N" (Sherbrooke)

Montreal to Refugee Camp "N", August 13, 1941

London, England to Internment (Refugee) Camp "N" (Sherbrooke)
June 30, 1942

Refugee camps were placed under the control of the
Secretary of State. The office of the Commission for Refugee
Camps (C.R.C.) censored refugee mail and affixed a
circular C.R.C. numbered handstamp

No. 43 Internment Camp, St. Helen's Island (Montreal) (formerly Camp S)

Opened in July 1940, St. Helen`s Island held Italian Enemy Merchant Seamen and Italian internees. The camp also served as an assembly point for internees and refugees returning
to the UK Most inmates were either released or returned to the UK by the time the camp
closed in November 1943.

Camp "S" (St. Helene's Island) to Oxford, England
Base A.P.O. July 31, 1941

Rome to P.O.W. Internment Camp 43 (St. Helene's Island)
Base A.P.O. receiver June 21, 1943

To Camp "43"

No. 44 Internment Camp, Grand Ligne, Quebec

The Grande Ligne camp was located on a 240-acre farm belonging to the Feller Institute, Grande Ligne Mission which was taken over in January, 1943. The camp housed officers, servants and Enemy Merchant Seamen. It became a grey camp for officers from December 1944. The camp closed in May, 1946.

Internment Camp 44 (Grande Ligne, Quebec), November 6, 1943

P.O.W. 44
Grande Ligne, Quebec
November 6, 1943

No. 45 Internment Camp Sorel, Quebec

Opened May 9, 1945 in a former army basic training centre, Camp Sorel was a "white" camp, composed of officers and other ranks, who were to supply material to be used as propaganda in Germany as well as material to be used in re-education work in "grey" camps Prisoners left for repatriation in March 1946. The camp closed on April 17, 1946.
(Cover not shown)

No. 70 Internment Camp. Fredericton. N.B. (formerly Camp B)

Fredericton Camp was located on the site of former Unemployment Relief Camp (Little River Camp, Colters Siding) in Acadian Forest Experiment Station, 20 miles west of Fredericton
717 internees, many of them Jewish, arrived from Trois-Rivieres (Camp T) August 12, 1940. The camp housed civilian internees and a few merchant seaman until August, 1945. The camp closed on October 14, 1945.

Camp "B", Fredericton, N.B., to Oxford England.
Base A.P.O. cancellation, January 28, 1941

Addressee: Paul Hirsh

Toronto to internee, Camp "B", Fredericton N.B., November 8, 1940

No. 100 Internment Camp Neys, Ontario (formerly Camp W)

Camp Neyes was opened January 13, 1941 on Lake Superior shore at the mouth of Little Pie
River, near Jackfish and Schreiber housing officers and other ranks. Approximately 650 civilian internees arrived from Monteith November 26, 1941. The camp was closed temporarily in December 1943 and 16 re-opened in August 1944 becoming a "super black" camp for other ranks. The camp closed on April 30, 1946.

Internment Camp "W", Neyes, Ontario
Base A.P.O. November 15, 1942

Internment Camp "W"

Internment Camp 100 (Neyes, Ontario) to Memel (Lithuania)
November 15, 1943

P.O.W. 100
November 15, 1943

No. 101 Internment Camp, Angler, Ont. (formerly camp X)

Camp Angler opened in January, 1941 at Ontario Highway construction Camp No. 12. By May 1942, there were almost 700 other ranks in the camp. All prisoners were transferred to Ozada (Camp 133) on June 13, 1942. Japanese-Canadian internees began to arrive at the camp on June 19, 1942. Internees were released one by one, beginning in February 1943. The camp closed on July 29, 1946.

Internment Camp 101 ( Angler)
Base A.P.O. March 2, 1942

No. 130 Internment Camp Seebe, Alta (formerly Camp X)

Opened 6 September 1939 at Eau Clair Camp Kananaskis, a former Unemployment
Relief camp 60 miles west of Calgary. The camp housed Canadian residents of enemy alien origin, mostly German, who were apprehended by the RCMP in the four western provinces
Members of the Communist Party and Canadians of Italian origin joined them in June 1940. 507 German internees, mostly enemy merchant seamen, arrived from Red Rock
(camp R) in October 1941. Camp Seebe became a "super black" camp for officers from December 1944. The camp closed on June 28, 1946

Kananaskis Internment Camp to Winnipeg, September 26, 1939
Postage Free

Kananaskis Camp handstamp, September 26, 1939


Seebe, Alta., Sept. 29, 1939

No. 132 Internment Camp, Medicine Hat, A1ta.

The Medicine Hat camp, constructed to house 10,000 other ranks, was opened January 1, 1943. The first 500 arrived from Libya on May 8, 1943. 900 arrived from Normandy in July 1944, thousands more in September. Medicine Hat was a camp for "grey" other ranks from December 1944. Most of the camp was transferred to Monteith in February 1946. The remaining 85 were witnesses at trials of accused murderers of August Plaszek and Karl Lehmann. The camp closed on April 30, 1946.

Internment Camp 132, Medicine Hat, January 10, 1944

P.O.W. 132
Medicine Hat

No. 133 Internment Camp, Ozada and Lethbridge, Alta.

A tented camp for other ranks opened at Ozada, Morley Flats, Alberta May 6, 1942. There were almost 13,000 prisoners at the camp by September, 1942. The camp moved to permanent quarters at Lethbridge in November-December 1942. Lethbridge was a camp for for "black" and "dark grey" other ranks from December 1944. The camp closed in the fall of 1946

Internment Camp 133, Lethbridge, July 10, 1943

P.O.W. 133
Lethbridge, Alberta

Internment Camp 133, Lethbridge, March 28, 1944

P.O.W. 133 Air Mail meter
March 28, 1944

No. 135 Internment Camp. Wainwright. Alta.

In December, 1944, the Army training camp at Wainwright, Alberta was converted to a camp to house "black" and "dark grey" officers and servants. The camp closed in June, 1946.
(Cover not shown)

Internment Camp "L", Cove Fields, Ouebec

Camp "L" was opened on July 13, 1940 as a temporary camp to accommodate 743 internees who arrived from the U.K. aboard S.S. Ettrick. All but 90 were, in fact, refugees and 60% were Jewish (i.e. 600 Jews, 102 others) The remaining 90 were considered to be pro-Nazi. The British Government requested that the internees be treated as refugees. The Jewish internees were moved to Sherbrooke (Camp 42) in October 1940.

Heatfield, England, to internee at Camp "L" (Cove Fields, Que)
Base A.P.O. (Ottawa) receiver, October 20, 1940
Camp L had closed down. The internee had moved to Camp "A"
at Farnham, Que.

Letter sent to Camp "A"
Farnham, Que.

Internment Camp "R", Red Rock, Ontario

Camp "R" opened in July 1940 on property owned by Lake Sulphite Pulp Co. Ltd., Red Rock, Ontario. There were 1100 internees, approximately 900 enemy merchant seamen. The internees included merchants and professional men, many of whom came from former German African colonies. "A number of these men are of birth, breeding,- education and wealth". The merchant marine officers were "of quite superior type and largely anti-Nazi" Only 174 were considered anti-Nazi, 78 of whom were Jewish. The camp closed in October 1941 because water supply was "extremely unsatisfactory".

Internment Camp "R", ( Red Rock, Ont.) to New York
Base A.P.O. Nov. 25, 1940

Internment Camp "T", Trois-Rivieres, Quebec

The Trois-Rivieres camp opened in July 1940 in the Exhibition Buildings to accommodate internees from the U.K. (515 Jews, 202 others). The pro-Nazi internees were
transferred to New Toronto (Camp 22) in July 1940. The remainder transferred to Fredericton (Camp 70) August 12, 1940 and Camp "T" closed.
(Cover not shown)

Quebec Citadel

The Citadel was used as a temporary internment camp for enemy aliens in the fall of 1939. The aliens were transferred to Petawawa (Camp 33) on December 7, 1939.
(Cover not shown)