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Internment Camps in Canada during the First and Second World Wars

Image of an internment camp
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New huts at an internment camp in the City of Québec
Image of an internment camp
Source
Prisoner tents on shore at Spirit Lake internment camp, Abitibi, Quebec

Introduction

First World War

Second World War


Introduction

Library and Archives Canada holds an extensive collection of governmental and private records generally consisting of textual documents on paper or on microfilm as well as publications and films about internment camps located on Canadian soil during both World Wars (1914-1918 and 1939-1945). Please note that this guide relates mainly to the internment camps on Canadian soil. At the end of this guide, you will find a section devoted to internment camps abroad.

How to search archival records held at Library and Archives Canada

How to search for photographs held at Library and Archives Canada


First World War

The First World War (1914-1918), also known as the Great War, began on August 4th 1914 with the declaration of war by the British and the French governments first against Germany and then Austria-Hungary. The British declaration of war was made on behalf of Britain and her dominions. Thus, Canada was immediately implicated. From the outset, the Canadian government adopted many measures by Order in Council to respond to the new exigencies of war, including the restriction of some civil liberties. Canadian authorities were given the right to arrest, to detain, to censor, to exclude, to deport, to control or to capture all persons and property considered as a potential threat to Canada. Any resident not naturalized who had been a native of the now enemy nations were considered de facto "enemy illegal residents." Many of these persons were ultimately subject to detention in camps. The War Measures Act was subsequenlty approved by Parliament . The Act in addition to authorizing future actions, also legitimized the decisions implemented in the early days of the war by the Privy Council (Cabinet).

Signed in 1907, the Hague Convention guaranteed the rights of prisoners of war held in camps. The rules of the Convention were not always or completely respected by Canada during the First Wold War. The Convention made a distinction between prisoners of war and civilians but, the Canadian authorities to a large degree ignored this distinction. The twenty-four camps that accommodated internees were mostly located away from cities, such as remote areas in the Rocky Mountains.

The majority of detainees were of Ukrainian origin. They were considered enemies because Ukraine was, at that time, part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The other detainees were either Germans or Austrian residents in Canada. There were also some German prisoners of war held in the camps who were transferred from England. There were no Turkish prisoners in Canada.

Acts and Orders-in-council relating to internment camps

  • The War measures act, 1914: Full text of the law giving greater powers to the govenrment of Canada during times of war
    [http://canadiana.org/ECO/ItemRecord/9_08039 ]
  • The Hague Convention, 1907: Full text of the treaty which concerns the treatment of prisoners of war.
    [www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/FULL/195]
  • The Canada Gazette: Official publication of the Government of Canada, notably containing Orders in Council.

Ethnic Groups Detained

In Canada during the First World War, detainees were divided into two main ethnic groups in the internment camps: the Austro-Hungarians (mostly Ukrainians) and the Germans.

Austro-Hungarians

Austro-Hungarian Prisoners were mainly residents of Canada from the Ukraine, then a province of the empire of Austria-Hungary. Many still had Austro-Hungarian nationaly and were therefore considered to be resident enemy aliens. No Austro-Hungarian prisoners of war were held in Canada.

Germans

Like the Austro-Hungarians, German Canadian residents were arrested and detained in internment camps. Because Canada also served as a place of detention for German prisoners of war on behalf of the British, they formed a large proportion of the detainees.

List of Camps

The following chart provides the name of each camp, the type of buildings used and the dates of operation.

Camp Type of buildings Dates
Amherst, Nova Scotia Malleable Iron Foundry April 1915 to September 1919
Beauport, Quebec The Armoury December 1914 to June 1916
Banff-Castle Mountain, Alberta Dominion Park July 1915 to July 1917
Brandon, Manitoba Exhibition Building September 1914 to July 1916
Edgewood, British Columbia Bunk Houses August 1915 to September 1916
Fernie-Morrissey, British Columbia Rented premises June 1915 to October 1918
Halifax, Nova Scotia The Citadel September 1914 to October 1918
Jasper, Alberta Dominion Park February 1916 to August 1916
Kapuskasing, Ontario Bunk Houses December 1914 to February 1920
Kingston, Ontario Fort Henry August 1914 to November 1917
Lethbridge, Alberta Exhibition Building September 1914 to November 1916
Monashee-Mara Lake, British Columbia Tents and Bunkhouses June 1915 to July 1917
Montreal, Quebec Immigration Hall August 1914 to November 1918
Munson-Eaton, Alberta Railway Cars October 1918 to March 1919
Nanaimo, British Columbia Provincial government building September 1914 to September 1915
Niagara Falls, Ontario The Armoury December 1914 to August 1918
Petawawa, Ontario Militia Camp December 1914 to May 1916
Revelstoke-Field-Otter, British Columbia Bunk Houses September 1915 to October 1916
Sault-St-Marie, Ontario The Armoury January 1915 to January 1918
Spirit Lake, Quebec Bunk Houses January 1915 to January 1917
Toronto, Ontario Stanley Barracks December 1914 to October 1916
Winnipeg, Manitoba Fort Osborne September 1914 to July 1916
Valcartier, Quebec Militia Camp April 1915 to October 1915
Vernon, British Columbia Provincial government building September 1914 to February 1920

Main Records

There are a variety of documents on the internment camps listed above in the collections of Library and Archives Canada. The finding aid previously available only in the reference room has been digitized and is available in pdf format.

Finding Aid for the First World War [PDF 1,802 KB]

For an accessible version of this finding aid, please send an email to: cgc-ccg@bac-lac.gc.ca.

Other Records

Government Records

The Canadian government records consist mainly of administrative textual documents such as lists or reports.

Secretary of State (RG6)

  • Major-General Otter, 1916-1918, series H-3, volume 799, file 2797 and 2799

Militia and Defense (RG9)

  • Military district 11 internment operations, 1918, series II-F-9, volume 1390

Ministry of Justice (RG13)

  • Internment Operations Office files, 1908-1926, series A-2, volumes 192 (files 1915-419 and 510), 229 (file 1918-2565), 230 (file 1918-2719), 238 (file 1918-1573), 246 (files 1919-249 and 1920-299), 261 (file 1921-1629), 274 (file 1922-2258), 275 (files 1918-1998A, 1919-1055, 1921-1338, 1922-1496 and 1923-264), 284 (file 1924-167), 1926 (file 1916-175), 1927 (file 1916-387), 1929 (files 1915-19, 1915-1080, 1916-100, 1916-1144, 1916-1633, 1916-1695, 1918-10, 1919-10 and 1920-9) , 1940 (file 1919-1451), 1942 (file 1919-2744), 1951 (file 1921-2076), 2148 (file 1916-184), 2183 (file 1925-200), 2185 (file 1925-1172)

Immigration Branch (RG76)

  • Exeats (Exit Forms) to the list of registration of enemy aliens, 1914-1918, series I-A-1, volume 604, microfilm C-10671.

Department of Defense (RG24)

  • Internment camps collection, 1915-1918, 170 photographs of Vernon internment camp, B.C.

Parks Canada (Sous-fonds of the Canadian Parks Service, R5747-1-X-E)

  • NPC 1975-262, 32 photographs of Yoho internment camp, B.C.

Private Records

Private records, for the most part, contain a variety of documents ranging from photographs to letters collected by and from individuals and associations.

George Macoun Letter, 1919 (MG30-E310/ R2085-0-2-E)
(Mikan 102082)

George Macoun was an internment militia member and guard for the 2nd Canadian Garrison Regiment. Item consist of a letter describing the experience of George Macoun as a guard at Kapuskasing, Ontario.

William Dostock, 1916-1934 (MG30-D394/ R2430-0-1-E)
(Mikan 107187)

William Dostock immigrated to Canada in 1910 from Austria-Hungary. Not yet naturalized, he was interned in 1915 as an enemy alien. He was released in 1920. Fonds consist of correspondence, notebooks and illustrations.

Antoine G. Renaud Collection, 1916 (R10486-0-7-E)
(Mikan 202198)

Collection consists of photographs and views of the landscape at Spirit Lake internment camp 1916.

Kapuskasing internment camp photograph, July 1916 (R10140-0-3-E)
(Mikan 199876)

Item consists of a photograph of guards and prisoners of war at Kapuskasing in July 1916.

William Dillon Otter, 1850-1929 (MG30-E242/ R3902-0-7-E)
(Mikan 102591)

William Dillon Otter served the Canadian Army from the age of 15. He distinguished himself many times in his career. He was the Director of Internment Operations in 1914. Fonds consist of records comprising correspondence, notebooks, diaries, memoirs, press files and photographs. Microfilms M-1671 to M-1674

Ernest Scrase Collection, 1915 (R10532-0-6-E)
(Mikan 202794)

Collection consists of amateur mounted prints showing many aspects of the Spirit Lake internment camp.

Publications

General

Internment Operations, 1914-1920: Report by Sir William Otter,1921.
(AMICUS 28573593)

Internment Operations:The Role of Old Fort Henry in World War I by Lubomyr Y. Luciuk and edited by Bryan Rollason, 1980.
(AMICUS 2357598)

Ukranians

A Bare and Impolitic Right: Internment and Ukrainian-Canadian Redress by Bohdan S. Kordan and Craig Mahovsky, 2004.
(AMICUS 28573593)

Commemorating an Injustice: Fort Henry and Ukrainian Canadian as "Enemy Aliens" During the First World War, editor John B. Gregorovich, 1994.
(AMICUS 13936871)

Enemy Aliens, Prisoners of War: Internment in Canada During the Great War by Bohdan S. Kordan, 2002.
(AMICUS 27491559)

Freedom Had a Price (videorecording); producer/director/editor Yurij Luhovy; associate producer, Zorianna Hrycenko; script writers Thom Richardson and Oksana Rozumna; narrator Paul Almond, 1994.
(AMICUS 14190060)

In fear of the Barbed Wire Fence: Canada's First National Internment Operations and the Ukrainian Canadians, 1914-1920 by Lubomyr Luciuk, 2001.
(AMICUS 23071505)

In my Charge: the Canadian Internment Camp Photographs of Sergeant William Buck by Lubomyr Y. Luciuk & Borys Sydoruk, 1997.
(AMICUS 15993713)

In the Shadow of the Rockies: Diary of the Castle Mountain Internment Camp, 1915-1917; edited and introduced by Bohdan S. Kordan and Peter Melnycky, 1991.
(AMICUS 10660898)

Interned Without Cause, by Peter Krawchuk, translated from the Urkanian by Pat Prokop, 1985.
(AMICUS 5270594)

Righting an Injustice: the Debate Over Redress for Canada's First National Internment Operations, edited by Lubomyr Luciuk; afterword by Mary Manko Haskett, 1994.
(AMICUS 13412334)

Righting Historical Wrongs: Internment, Acknowledgement and Redress by Kordan, Bohdan S, 1993.
(AMICUS 13649978)

Roll Call: Lest We Forget; compiled by Lubomyr Y. Luciuk with the assistance of Yurieva and Roman Zakaluzny, 1999.
(AMICUS 22419242)

A Time for Atonement: Canada's First National Internment Operations and the Ukrainian Canadians, 1914-1920 by Lubomyr Luciuk, 1988.
(AMICUS 7644718)

Without Just Cause: Canada's First National Internment Operations and the Ukrainian Canadians, 1914-1920 by Lubomyr Y. Luciuk, 2006.
(AMICUS 32338124)


Second World War

Library and Archives Canada holds many records relating to the internment camps in Canada during the Second World War (1939-1945). On one hand, there are archival records, public or private, consisting of textual records, photographs, microfilm or works of art. On the other hand, there are published works such films, audio tapes, monographs, biographies, etc.

Canada entered the war against Nazi Germany September 3, 1939 but, the procedures for establishing internment camps were already under way for several weeks. Therefore, on September 3rd, the Canadian government adopted the Regulations for the Defence of Canada by Order in Council. In addition, the War Measures Act is passed, allowing authorities to govern by decree. One of these Orders in Council banned Communist, Nazi, and Fascist organizations.

On September 4th 1939, the government appointed a senior official to be responsible for operations of the internment camps and gave the responsibility for construction and maintenance of camps to the Department of National Defence. The first German prisoners of war arrived in Canada in early fall of 1939. Transfer camps are set up to receive them in large urban centers like Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver. Starting in June 1940, most detainees were transferred to permanent camps such as Petawawa (Ontario) and Kananaskis (Alberta). In accordance with the Geneva Convention of 1929, prisoners of war were held separately from civilian detainees.

When Italy declared war against the Allies on June 10th 1940, residents of Italian descent were deemed suspicious and were subject to internment. The Japanese in Canada became subject to detention at the beginning of 1942. It is noteworthy that no Italian or Japanese military personnel were imprisoned in Canada. With the exception of the Japanese, the majority of refugees and other civilians are released before the end of 1943.

There is a list of enemy aliens transferred to Canada during the war of which the vast majority are of German origin. There are also Italians listed.

List of enemy aliens sent from England [PDF 2,946 KB]

For an accessible version of this finding aid, please send an email to: cgc-ccg@bac-lac.gc.ca.

Many camps are reconfigured to receive prisoners of war who continued to arrive in Canada. After 1943, prisoners held in Canada were almost all German military personnel and to improve the efficiency of classification of prisoners, they were assigned colors according to their allegiance to Nazism. Anti-Nazis were assigned to classed as Whites; those with no particular allegiance were Grays, were and; Nazi hardliners were Blacks. There were also more subtle color groupings (eg. light gray or dark gray). In May 1945, there were nearly 35,000 prisoners of war held in Canada. Please note that archival documents of the Department of National Defence related to Second World War internment are generally organized by camp.

Acts and Orders-in-council relating to Canadian Internment Camps

  • The War measures Act: Act adopted in 1914 and reintroduced in 1939 which gives additional powers to the government of Canada.
    [http://canadiana.org/ECO/ItemRecord/9_08039]
  • Geneva Convention, 1929: Contains the full text of the international treaty on the treatment of prisoners of war camps.
    [www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/FULL/305?OpenDocument]
  • The Canada Gazette: Official publication of the Government of Canada, notably containing Orders in Council

Ethnic Groups Detained

Germans and Japanese made up the majority of prisoners in internment camps in Canada during the Second World War. There were other groups of internees but together they were a small proportion of the total numbers. Therefore, there is less information on these groups available within the collection of Library and Archives Canada but, it is equally accessible.

Germans

The first German prisoners arrived in Canada in the days following the declaration of war. They were either Jewish refugees or enemy merchant seamen. Prisoners of war soon followed. They were first received at stations located near major urban centers like Montreal, Toronto, Kingston, Vancouver, Niagara, etc. These stations were temporary receiving camps since the "permanent" camps were not yet ready. Many other prisoners are added over the years. The majority of the prison population in Canadian internment camps were made up of Germans.

Pay Documents for German Prisoners of War and Civilian Internees

Microfilm From To
T-7020 ABE, Erich BECKER, Karl
T-7021 BECKER, Karl BRAEUNINGER, E
T-7022 BRADEN, Franz DECK, HUGO
T-7023 DECK, Walter ENGELHART, Adolf
T-7024 ENGELHART, Adolf FRISCHKORN, Heinrich
T-7025 FRISCHMANN, Ludwig GRETZ, Karl
T-7026 GREULICH, Werner HEDERHOFF, Guenter
T-7027 HEDINGER, Kurt HOHN, Polo
T-7028 HOHNBAUM, Adolf KAMMERER, Peter
T-7029 KAMMERER, Ulrich KOEBSELL, Fritz
T-7030 KOECHER, Arno KEUHLING, Herman
T-7031 KUHLKE, Fritz LOHANN, Walter
T-7032 LOHMEYER, Peter MEYER, Frederick
T-7033 MEYER, Frederick NEUMAN, Rudolf
T-7034 NEUMAN, Rudolf PIONTER, Wilhelm
T-7035 PIONTKOWSKI, Herbert RICHTER, Hans
T-7036 RICHTER, Hans RZONCA, Bruno
T-7037 SAABER, Paul SCHMIDTKE, Otto
T-7038 SCHMIDTKE, Paul SELTMANN, Oskar
T-7039 SELTMANN, Oskar STREMMEL, Willi
T-7040 STEIBEL, Josef VOGEL, Fritz
T-7041 VOGEL, Fritz WICHERT, Gert
T-7042 WICHERT, Rudolf ZORN, Martin
T-7043 BAEURLE, Wilhelm ZWICKE, Theodore
T-7044 ABBATE, Georgio DWARS, Warner
T-7045 DREWS, Hans HASS, Herbert
T-7046 HASS, Herman KUNKIS, Herman
T-7047 KUNKIS, Herman PALLOKS, Georg
T-7048 PALM, Otto SCHULTZ, Gerhard
T-7049 SCHULZ, Gustav WINTER, Walter
T-7054 AAL, Albert HEINEMANN, Herbert
T-7055 HEINEMANN, Karl PADBERG, Fritz
T-7056 PAA, Anton WIEBERHAUSEN, Hans
T-7057 WIATR, Hans ZYWICKI, Theodor

There are access restrictions for microfilm reels T-7051 to T-7053 as they contain the medical records of German prisoners held in Canada.

Japanese

Japan entered the war against Canada in December 1941. Many civilians and refugees were interned but no Japanese prisoners of war were interned in Canada. Some would be subject to repatriation to Japan at the end of the war. The War Measures Act allowed Canadian authorities intern Canadian residents of Japanese origin and to seize their assets. (including women and children).

List of Japanese repatriated to Japan [PDF 2,995 KB]

For an accessible version of this finding aid, please send an email to: cgc-ccg@bac-lac.gc.ca.

Italians

In June 1940, Italy entered the war alongside the Germany. Consequently, Italian nationals living in Canada, and Canadians of Italian origins who were suspected of being sympathetic to the Fascist cause were arrested and interned in camps. No Italian military personnel were imprisoned in Canada during the Second World War.

Jewish

Many Jews fleeing persecution and violence of war sought refuge in Canada. Some were residents or citizens of enemy countries and therefore were regarded as enemy aliens and interned in camps upon arrival in Canada.

Mennonites

Mennonites are Christian evangelical Protestants pacificists and many were concientious objectors during the Second World War. Consequently, they were considered a suspect group and many were interned.

Women

Women were equally subject to internment during the war. With the exception of Japanese Canadians, very few were interned. Non Japanese women internees were held at the camp in Kingston, Ontario. They were released by the summer of 1943.

List of the Camps

The following chart provides the name of each camp, the type of detainees and the dates of operation.

Camp Type of detainees Dates of operation
Internment Camp L, Cove Fields, Quebec Jewish refugees July to October 1940
Internment Camp R, Red Rock, Ontario Enemy Merchant Seamen and refugees July 1940 to October 1941
Internment Camp T, Trois-Rivières, Quebec Pro-Nazi internees July to August 1940
Internment Camp V, Valcartier, Quebec   Never in use as internment camp because too close to important structures
Camp No. 10, Chatham and Fingal, Ontario First housed enemy Merchant Seamen, with enemy officers in 1945-1946 In use periodically from May 1944 to November 1946
Camp No. 20, Gravenhurst, Ontario (formerly Camp C) Enemy officers and other ranks June 1940 to June 1946
Camp No. 21, Espanola, Ontario (formerly Camp D) German military personnel July 1940 to November 1943
Camp No. 22, New Toronto (Mimico), Ontario (formerly Camp M) Enemy Merchant Seamen and civilians June 1940 to April 1944
Camp No. 23, Monteith, Ontario (formerly Camp Q) Transfer centre for various internees, PoWs and civilians July 1940 to December 1946
Camp No. 30, Bowmanville, Ontario Enemy officers and other military personnel November 1941 to April 1945
Camp No. 31, Fort Henry (Kingston), Ontario (formerly Camp F) Enemy Merchant Seamen, refugees and resident aliens September 1939 to 23 December 1943, when Petawawa opened
Camp No. 32, Hull, Quebec (formerly Camp H) First housed Communist party members, then anti-Nazi refugees August 1941 to March 1947
Camp No. 33, Petawawa, Ontario (formerly Camp P) First housed enemy aliens, then Communists and Fascists, then Japanese Canadians and enemy Merchant Seamen September 1939 to March 1946
Camp No. 40, Farnham, Quebec (formerly Camp A) Various internees October 1940 to June 1946
Camp No. 41, Ile-aux-Noix, Quebec (formerly Camp I) Jewish internees, then other refugees after July 1941 July 1940 to December 1943
Camp No. 42, Sherbrooke, Quebec (formerly Camp N) Refugees and enemy Merchant Seamen October 1940 to July 1946
Camp No. 43, St-Helen's Island (Montreal), Quebec (formerly Camp S) Italian enemy Merchant Seamen and refugees July 1940 to November 1943
Camp No. 44, Grande Ligne, Quebec Officers, enemy Merchant Seamen and other military personnel January 1943 to May 1946
Camp No. 45, Sorel, Quebec German officers and other ranks (supplied propaganda in Germany) May 1945 to April 1946
Camp No. 70, Fredericton, New-Brunswick (formerly Camp B) Various internees July 1940 to October 1945
Camp No. 100, Neys (Middleton), Ontario (formerly Camp W) Officers and other ranks and enemy Merchant Seamen January 1941 to April 1946
Camp No. 101, Angler, Ontario (formerly Camp X) Japanese internees January 1941 to July 1946
Camp No. 130, Seebe, Alberta (formerly Camp K, also known as Kananaskis Camp) Many internees September 1939 to June 1946
Camp No. 132, Medicine Hat, Alberta Enemy Merchant Seamen and PoWs from Europe and North Africa January 1943 to April 1946
Camp No. 133, Ozada and Lethbridge, Alberta Mainly PoWs of many ranks May 1942 to autumn 1946
Camp No. 135, Wainwright, Alberta Officers and other ranks December 1944 to June 1946
Cap Rouge Internment Camp   Never in use because of inadequate water supply
Grosse-Île, Quebec (Disease Control Station)   Considered as family internment camp in 1939, became War Disease Control Station from 1943
Piers Island, B.C.   Considered for use but rejected
Quebec Citadel Internment Camp Resident enemy aliens In use in the fall of 1939,
Saint-Jean, Île d'Orléans, Quebec   Considered for internment in 1940 but never in use

Main Records

There are a variety of documents on the internment camps mentioned above in various archival records at Library and Archives Canada. The finding aid previously available only in the reference room has been digitized and is available in pdf format.

Finding Aid for the Second World War [PDF 8,244 KB]

For an accessible version of this finding aid, please send an email to: cgc-ccg@bac-lac.gc.ca.

Other Records

Government Records

Government records about Canadian camps during the Second World War are mostly administrative or operational. They are organized according to the department that produced the documents, and they are primarily textual. It should be noted that these documents are mostly written in English.

Privy Council Office (RG2)

  • Manpower
    • Compulsory military service for aliens, 1941-1945, series B-2, volume 6 and 25, file M-5-5
      Military service of aliens, 1950, series B-2, volume 169, file M-5-5
  • National Status
    • Naturalization Act, 1942-1948, series B-2, volume 17, 88 and 249, file N-10-3
      Citizenship and nationality questions, 1949-1951, series B-2, volume 171, file N-10-3, parts 1 to 3
  • Immigration
    • Enemy aliens (Finland, Hungary, Italy and Romania), 1947, series A-5-a, volume 2640, microfilm reel T-2365
      Cabinet Conclusions, Admission, removal of enemy aliens (German), naturalization and exemptions from service, 1949-1954, series A-5-a, volumes 2644, 2646, 2648, 2656, microfilm reels T-2366, T-2367 and T-2369.
  • Department of Justice
    • Enemy aliens and internees, 1940-1942, series B-2, volume 2 and 45, file D-15-2
  • Security organization
    • Security of government employees-aliens, 1952, series B-2, volume 234, file S-100-4-A

Custodian of Enemy Property (RG117)

  • Textual records and microfilms, 1891-1977, R1213-0-9-E (Main Office); 19-8-E (Vancouver Office); 23-X-E (War Claims Branch), 18-6-E (Clerk's Office)
  • Case file of Headquarters Records, 1914-1960, R1213-17-4-E, R1213-acquisition 112-000498-7

Secretary of State (RG6)

  • Internment operations, 1939-1943, series A-1, volumes 207 and 208, file 2902, parts 6-5 to 12 R

Immigration Branch (RG76)

  • List of enemy aliens, 1939-1947, series I-A-1, volumes 446 and 447, microfilm C-10322.
  • Enemy Aliens from Britain sent to Canada, 1940-1946, volumes 454 and 455, microfilm C-10327.
  • List of enemy aliens and enemy alien seamen, 1942-1947, volume 447, microfilm C-10323.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RG18)

  • Enemy aliens and prisoners of war from Britain, 1940-1942, series F-3, volume 3565, file C11-19-4-1, parts 4 to 8.
  • Registry files on PoWs and internment operations and subject files, 1919-1964, series R196-154-1-E to R196-156-5-E (RG18 F-3).

Canada Department of External Affairs collection (RG25)

  • Department of External Affairs fonds R219-0-2-E, 1940-1960, reference #05836-05838, NPC 1980-119, 646 photographs.

Directorate of Interment Operations (part of RG24)

  • Files on German and Italian PoWs and Canadian citizens with questionable loyalty, 1939-1945, R112-133-X-E (RG24 C-5), volumes 1589-1595, 6576-6595, 11244-11273, microfilms T-7020 to T-7057.

Bird Comission Fonds (RG33-69)

  • Fonds consist of textual records of the Royal Commission to Investigate Complaints of Canadian Citizens of Japanese Origin who Resided in British Columbia in 1941, That Their Real and Personal Property had been Disposed of by the Custodian of Enemy Property at Prices Less than the Fair Market Value fonds, 1935-1950, (R1150-0-0-E (RG33-69), volumes 1 to 79.

Advisory Committee on Orders of Restrictions and Detention (part of RG13)

  • Part of Department of Justice fonds (R188-0-3-E), contains correspondence, transcripts, reports, exhibits and other records on Regulation 21, 1939-1941, R188-67-2-E (RG13 F-12), volumes 964 to 971.

Private records

The archival collections created or donated by individuals and associations contain a variety of documents ranging from paintings to photographs and letters. Most of these collections contain multiple documents. The descriptions are only available in English.

Documents relating to Germans

Otto Thierbach, 1920-1945 (MG30-E232/ R2620-0-1-E)
(Mikan 102577)

Otto Thierbach emigrated from Germany to Canada in 1928 and settled in Montreal. During the 1930s he joined the "Deutsche Bund" and worked as "Bund" organizer for eastern Canada until 1939, when he was interned at the Fredericton Internment Camp until 1945. Fonds consist of correspondence, identification card, photographs and postcards.

Kurt Gunzel, 1940-1943 (R10192-0-9-E)
(Mikan 200044)

Fonds consist of photographs of Fredericton internment camp in New Brunswick as well as views of the Forestry Experimental Station and internment camp at Kananaskis, Alberta; and wood carvings and paintings made by internees.

Eric Koch, 1937-1982 (MG30-C192/ R2408-0-5-E)
(Mikan 101664)

Born in 1919 in Germany, Eric Otto Koch was interned in Canada as an enemy alien in July 1940. Released in 1941, he became a writer and broadcaster. Fonds consists of correspondence, documents from other internees, memoirs, poetry, dramas, paintings and scripts of interviews and films as well as photographs.

Carl Weiselberger, after 1939 (MG30-D191, R5702-0-9-E)
(Mikan 103189)

Carl Weiselberger emigrated from Austria in 1939 to England. He was interned and deported to Canada and released in 1943. He became a journalist for the Ottawa Citizen. Fonds consist of short stories such as descriptions, accounts of activities, recreation, meals, and scenes of daily life in a camp.

Oskar Demuth, 1948 (MG30-C199/ R1764-0-2-E)
(Mikan 101888)

Oskar Demuth immigrated in Canada in 1913. He worked as a businessman for the German community in Winnipeg until he was interned in September 1939. He was released in 1945, and resumed his commercial activities of his community. Fonds consist of an autobiographical account describing the experience of camps. Microfilm M-7495.

Heinz Warschauer's personal correspondence, 1932-1978 (MG31-D129/ R4561-0-2-E)
(Mikan 119169)

Series consist of correspondence with family in both German and English; educational, medical and financial records, as well as correspondence during his internment.

Bernard Pfundt, 1939-1988 (MG31-H174)
(Mikan 142245)

Bernard Pfundt was fleeing the war when he was interned first in England then in Canada, in 1940. He was released in 1943. Fonds consist of letters, a manuscript, observations, thoughts and experiences on internment.

Max Gamper collection, 1940 (0330-A086-02, Picture division, Acquisition 1983-099 PIC)
(Mikan 17695)

Contains one watercolour of Camp B in Little River, New Brunswick by Max Gamper when he was interned.

Heinrich Holtmann, 1940-1942 (MG30-C153/ R1806-0-7-E)
(Mikan 101864)

Heinrich Holtmann immigrated to Canada in 1928. Living in Manitoba, he was interned in 1940 in Kananaskis, Alberta. He was released in 1942. Fonds consist of correspondence and letters.

Gerald Frey, 1939-1974 (MG30-C252/ R10003-0-3-E)
(Mikan 160936)

Gerald Frey was interned in 1939 in England as a young German student. Sent to Canada in 1940, he was released in 1941. He then received permission from the British to continue his studies. He joined the British army in 1942 and served with the occupation forces in 1945. He came to live in Canada in 1950. Fonds consists diary notes, memoirs, letters and experiences as an internee and soldier.

Documents relating to British

Mrs. Grace Tucker, 1942-1968 (MG30-D200/ R6611-0-0-E)
(Mikan 103195)

Grace Tucker emigrated from England in 1905. She was a welfare worker who worked with the Japanese Canadian internees during the Second World War. Working with the Anglican Church at the end of the war, she helped with the resettlement of Japanese Canadians. Fonds consist of correspondence, petitions, notices, minutes, agendas, news bulletins, articles, memoranda, forms, pamphlets and photographs.

Charles Stanley Gallop collection, 1940-1941 (R753-0-7-E)
(Mikan 140415)

Charles Stanley Gallop emigrated from England in 1891 and fought in the First World War. In World War II, he enlisted as a guard at Red Rock internment camp, Ontario.

Department of External Affairs files as part of Norman A. Robertson fonds, 1920-1941 (MG30-E163/ R2481-0-X-E)
(Mikan 122234)

Series consist of files on various subjects including files on the Interdepartmental Committee on Internment Cases.

Documents relating to Italians

Giuseppe Grittani, 1930-1967 (MG30-C96/ R1938-0-5-E)
(Mikan 107018)

Giuseppe Grittani emigrated from Italy and settled in Toronto. He founded the Italian-Canadian Economic Board, a board responsible for the exhibits at the Canadian National Exhibition. He was interned at Petawawa during the Second World War. Fonds consists of scrapbooks, newspaper clippings as well as correspondence and photographs.

Documents relating to Japanese

Thomas K. Shoyama 1920-2000 (R10881-0-7-E)
(Mikan 205229)

Born in British Columbia, Thomas Shoyama published a newspaper before he was interned along with others from the Japanese Canadian community during the Second World War. He was briefly part of the Intelligence Corps of the Canadian Army in 1945. After the war, he occupied many government positions and taught at universities. Fonds consist of correspondence, reports, speeches, memoranda, honorary degrees, awards, circulars, clippings, photographs and drawings.

Masajiro Miyazaki, 1926-1975 (MG31-H63/ R3948-0-3-E)
(Mikan 102358)

Masajiro Miyazaki emigrated from Japan and lived in British Columbia, working as a surgeon, until he was interned in 1942. Fonds consist of draft memoirs and correspondence, statistics and surveys, memoranda, lists, notes, lists, clippings, reports and photographs.

Keitaro Matsubara, 1942-1969 (MG31-H96/ R4103)
(Mikan 101749)

Keitaro Matsubara immigrated to Canada in 1907 and settled in British Columbia. First, he worked as a merchant, later becoming a clergyman with the United Church of Canada. He was interned in 1942 in Holmwood, Manitoba. Fonds consist of diaries, photographs, certificates and documents.

Japanese Canadians collection, 1910-1973 (MG28-V73/ R4000-0-0-E)
(Mikan 100740)

The Japanese Canadians collection is an assembly of various smaller units from many donors. The fond consists of documents, clippings, outlines and interviews, reports, issues, newspapers and photographs.

Japanese Canadian Citizens Association, 1884-1975 (MG28-V7/ R3135-0-0-E)
(Mikan 100580)

The Japanese Canadian Citizens Association (JCCA) was formed in 1947 with the primary roles of helping claimants before the Royal Commission of Japanese Property losses (Bird Commission) and fighting the discriminatory laws. The fonds consist of records of the JCCA and documents of business operations. It also contains briefs, files, literature, accounts and historical notes.

Mitsuru Shimpo, 1971 (R5786-0-3-E)
(Mikan 181297)

Mitsuru Shimpo emigrated from Japan in 1962. Shimpo has authored a number of books which focus on the sociological aspects of Aboriginal experiences in Canada, and Japanese Canadian internment. Fonds consist of oral interviews and recordings of discussions.

Documents relating to Jews

William Walsh, 1932-1998 (MG31-B27/ R4771-0-9-E)
(Mikan 101745)

Born as Moishe Wolofsky, Walsh grew up in Montreal. In the 1930s, he worked in the USSR as metal worker. After returning to Canada, he adopted the name William Walsh and then joined the Communist Party of Canada in 1935. He was interned in 1940 and released in October of 1942. He then joined the Canadian Army and fought in Europe. At the end of the war, he became a labor activist and negotiator. The fonds consist of correspondence, notes, awards, decisions, reports, collective agreements, submissions, minutes, negotiation papers, printed matter and photographs.

Documents relating to Ukrainians

Peter Krawchuk, 1906-1996 (MG30-D403/ R1435-0-8-E)
(Mikan 136287)

Peter Krawchuk emigrated to Canada in 1930 from Poland. He was a member of the Communist Party of Canada. Krawchuk was interned in 1940, released in 1942. He worked as a journalist for the Canadian Ukrainian Press. The fonds consist of correspondence, diaries, draft articles, manuscripts, photographs and other materials.

Documents relating to Women

Bertha Hower, 1942 (MG30-C149/ R1776-0-5-E)
(Mikan 101645)

Arriving in Canada in 1928, Bertha Hower was interned in 1940 and released in 1942. Fonds consist of a brief presented by the Minister of Justice against Hower's internment.

Publications

Alien Justice: Wartime Internment in Australia and North America; edited by Kay Saunders and Roger Daniels, 2000.
(AMICUS 24666598)

Barbed Wire and Mandolins [videorecording]; produced by Sam Grana; directed by Nicola Zavaglia; executive producer, Don Haig; produced by the National Film Board of Canada and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 1997.
(AMICUS 17539386)

Broken Entries: Race, Subjectivity, Writing: essays by Roy Miki, 1998.
(AMICUS 18835351)

Dangerous Patriots: Canada's Unknown Prisoners of War by William Repka and Kathleen M. Repka, 1982.
(AMICUS 3471671)

The Prisoner of War Camps in Canada 1939-1947 (includes maps) by John Joseph Kelly, 1976.
(AMICUS 29000)

Prisoners of the Home Front: German POWs and "Enemy Aliens" in Southern Quebec, 1940-46 by Martin F. Auger, 2005.
(AMICUS 31888222)

Proclamations and Orders in Council Passed Under the Authority of the War Measures Act, R.S.C. (1927) chap. 206, 1940-1941.
(AMICUS 9210062)

Regulations Respecting Trading with the Enemy (1939)(P.C. 2512 and 2586), 1939.
(AMICUS 4244999)

Germans

Camp 30 "Ehrenwort": a German Prisoner-of-war Camp in Bowmanville, 1941-1945 by Daniel Hoffman, 1990.
(AMICUS 10341250)

The Enemy Within [videorecording]: directed by Eva Colmers; written by Eva Colmers; produced by Bonnie Thompson and Jerry D. Krepakevich, 2003.
(AMICUS 29780629)

Escape from Canada!: the Untold Story of German POWs in Canada, 1939-1945 by John Melady, 1981.
(AMICUS 2486164)

The Gilded Cage: Gravenhurst German Prisoner-of-war Camp 20, 1940-1946 by Cecil Porter, 2003.
(AMICUS 27929470)

Trop loin de Berlin: des prisonniers allemands au Canada (1939-1946) by Yves Bernard and Caroline Bergeron, 1996.
(AMICUS 15155966)

Italians

The city without Women: a Chronicle of Internment Life in Canada during the Second World War by Mario Duliani; translated from the French and the Italian and with an essay by Antonino Mazza, 1994.
(AMICUS 13287802)

Enemies Within: Italian and Other Internees in Canada and Abroad; edited by Franca Iacovetta, Roberto Perin and Angelo Principe, 2000.
(AMICUS 20997221)

Japanese

A Black Mark: the Japanese-Canadians in World War II by Mary Taylor, 2004.
(AMICUS 30881413)

Caged Eagles by Eric Walters, 2000.
(AMICUS 23071441)

The Canadian Japanese and World War II, a Sociological and Psychological Account. Issued under the Auspices of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs and the Institute of Pacific Relations by Forrest Emmanuel La Violette, 1948.
(AMICUS 2229205)

A Child in Prison Camp by Takashima, 1971.
(AMICUS 77439)

The Enemy That Never Was: a History of the Japanese Canadians by Ken Adachi, 1976.
(AMICUS 11849448)

Itsuka by Joy Kogawa, 1992.
(AMICUS 13053685)

The Nisei Mass Evacuation Group and P.O.W. Camp 101: the Japanese-Canadian Community's Struggle for Justice and Human Rights during World War II by Robert K. Okazaki; translated by Jean M. Okazaki and Curtis T. Okazaki, 1996.
(AMICUS 16154999)

Obasan by Joy Kogawa, (American Edition), 1981.
(AMICUS 2869221)

Obasan by Joy Kogawa (Canadian Edition), 1981.
(AMICUS 2269641)

P.O.W. Camp 101, Angler, Ontario by Robert K. Okazaki, 1995.
(AMICUS 15223365)

Stone Voices: Wartime Writings of Japanese Canadian Issei, edited by Keibo Oiwa, 1991.
(AMICUS 10848122)

This is My Own: Letters to Wes & Other Writings on Japanese Canadians, 1941-1948 by Muriel Kitagawa; edited by Roy Miki, 1985.
(AMICUS 5637440)

Reducing the Numbers [microform]: the Transportation of the Canadian Japanese, 1941-1947 by R. L. Gabrielle Nishiguchi, 1994.
(AMICUS 14162652)

Report on Citizens of Japanese Origin who Resided in British Columbia in 1941 that their Real and Personal Property had been Disposed of by the Custodian of Enemy Property at Prices Less than the Fair Market Value by Henry Irvine Bird, 1950.
(AMICUS 3565516)

Report of the Department of Labour on the Administration of Japanese Affairs in Canada, 1942-1944, by the Department of Labour, 1944.
(AMICUS 9478495)

Report of the Department of Labour on the Administration of Japanese Affairs in Canada, 1942-1944 and Report of the re-establishment of Japanese in Canada, 1944-1946, 1978.
(AMICUS 465637)

Report on Re-establishment of Japanese in Canada, 1944-1946 by the Department of Labour, 1947.
(AMICUS 6117876)

Jewish

Both Sides of the Wire: the Fredericton Internment Camp by Ted Jones, 1988.
(AMICUS 818663)

Deemed Suspect: a Wartime Blunder by Eric Koch, 1980.
(AMICUS 1548263)

Mennonites

Experiences of the Mennonites of Canada during the Second World War: 1939-1945, compiled by David P. Reimer, 1947.
(AMICUS 24425166)

That There be Peace: Mennonites in Canada and World War II, edited by Lawrence Klippenstein, 1979.
(AMICUS 1779400)

Women

Cartographies of Violence [microform]: Women, Memory, and the Subject(s) of the Internment by Mona Gail Oikawa, 2000.
(AMICUS 24738883)

Des civils internés pendant la Deuxième guerre mondiale [microforme]: le camp des femmes de Kingston, 1939-1943 by Andrée Laprise, 2001.
(AMICUS 26406937)

Documents relating to both the First and Second World Wars

A limited list of records relating to Canadian internment camps, which covers both the First and Second World War, is available. The research guide for each war is mentioned earlier in this guide.

Government Records

Office of the custodian of enemy property (RG117)

  • 1891-1977; R1213-12-5-E (Headquarters); R12130-19-8-E (Vancouver Office); R1213-23-X-E (War Claims Branch); R1213-18-6-E (Clerk's Office)
  • Headquarters Case Files: 1914-1960; R1213-17-4-E, R1213-Accession 112-000498-7

Private Records

Norman A. Robertson fonds, 1920-1941 (MG30-E163/R2481-0-X-E)
(Mikan 122234) including Department of External Affairs files

  • The series contains files on various topics including records of the Interdepartmental Committee on Internment Cases.

Publications

Internment Mail in Canada, 1914-1919 & 1939-1946 an exhibit prepared by Steven C. Luciuk, 2000.
(AMICUS 23943339)

POW, Behind Canadian Barbed Wire: Alien, Refugee and ¨Prisoner of War Camps in Canada, 1914-1946 by David J. Carter, 1998.
(AMICUS 19445456)

Internment or Prisoner of War Camps located outside of Canada

There are documents on internment camps outside Canada, mainly managed by the International Red Cross, the main ones are:

Records of Prisoners of War in Germany

These records are held by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva.

Concentration Camp Records

These records are held by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Germany.

Records of Displaced Persons (Displaced Persons Camps)

These records are held by the International Committee of the Red Cross. The International Tracing Service (part of ICRC) handles all requests concerning civilian (non-combatants). The organization can search those records that have survived.

For inquiries from Canada, you must contact your local branch of the Red Cross which will then forward the request to a responsible office in Europe. [www.redcross.ca/community.html]

Library and Archives Canada also has documents on the internment camps located outside of Canada. The finding aid previously available only in the reference room has been digitized and is available in pdf format.

Link to Second World War Finding Aid [PDF 8,244 KB]

For an accessible version of this finding aid, please send an email to: cgc-ccg@bac-lac.gc.ca.

Acknowledgments

Research and Writing:
Pascal Martin, Co-op student from the Université du Québec en Outaouais

Content Specialist:
Patrick Couperus, Reference Archivist

Translation:
Nicole Watier, Genealogy Consultant

Thematic Guides