Thematic Guides - Internment Camps in Canada during the First and Second World Wars

Introduction

First World War

Second World War

Documents relating to both the First and Second World Wars

Internment and prisoner of war camps located outside of Canada

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 in Canada during both World Wars (1914-1918 and 1939-1945). Please note that this guide relates mainly to the internment camps in Canada. At the end of this guide, you will find a section related to internment camps abroad.

How to access Library and Archives Canada records

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How to search for archival records and 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 against the Imperial German Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. 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 citizen of the now enemy states were considered de facto "enemy illegal residents." Some of these persons were ultimately subject to detention in camps. The War Measures Act was subsequently 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 World 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 civilian internees were of Ruthenian, Galician and Bukovinian origin. They were considered enemies because what is now Western Ukraine was, at that time, part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The other internees were either German 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 of war in Canada, but there were a few civilian internees who were subjects of Turkey as well as a few subjects of Bulgaria.

Acts and Orders-in-council relating to internment camps

Groups Detained

In Canada during the First World War, internees were divided into two main groups in internment camps: citizens of Austro-Hungary (mostly Ukrainians) and citizens of Germany.

Austrians, Hungarians, Ruthenians, Bukovinians, Galicians

Prisoners from the Austro-Hungarian Empire were mainly residents of Canada from what is now Ukraine. Many still had Austro-Hungarian citizenship and were therefore considered to be resident enemy aliens. No prisoners of war from the Austro-Hungarian Empire were held in Canada.

Germans

Some German citizens living in Canada 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 internees.

List of camps - First World War

  • Table 1: 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 - First World War

There are a variety of documents on the internment camps listed above in the collections of Library and Archives Canada. Finding Aid for the First World War Internment Camps [PDF 1.82 MB]

Other Records - First World War

  • Government Records - First World War

    The Canadian government records consist mainly of administrative textual documents such as lists or reports. Besides the sources listed in the above finding aid, there are some additional sources:

    Secretary of State (RG6)

    • Major-General Otter, 1916-1918, series H-3, volume 799, file 2797 and 2799
    • Certificates of release from internment camps, 1915-1920, series H-1, volumes 772 to 780. This series also includes some certificates for subjects of Turkey and Bulgaria. Use Collection Search to find references. Enter the keywords RG6 release certificate and a surname. Note that there is not a certificate for every internee.

    Department of Militia and Defence (RG9)

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

    Department of Justice (RG13)

    Internment Operations Office files, 1908-1926, series A-2:

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

    Immigration Branch (RG76)

    Exeats (Exit Forms to be used for the registration of enemy aliens), includes completed forms for some individuals, 1914-1918. Series I-A-1, volume 604, file 884866: Exeats, microfilm C-10671

    Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RG18)

    Very few files were retained relating to individual internees. Use Collection Search to find existing files. Enter the keyword RG18 and a surname.

    Department of Defence (RG24)

    Internment camps collection, 1915-1918, 170 photographs of Vernon internment camp, British Columbia (Mikan 4601717)

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

    NPC 1975-262, 32 photographs of Yoho internment camp, British Columbia (Mikan 11428)

  • Private Records - First World War

    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 a guard for the 2nd Canadian Garrison Regiment. Item consists of a letter describing the experience of George Macoun as a guard at Kapuskasing, Ontario.
    William Doskoch, 1916-1934 (MG30-D394/ R2430-0-1-E) (Mikan 107187)
    William Doskoch 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 consists 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 internees 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 consists 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 - First World War

    General

    Internment Operations, 1914-1920: Report by Sir William Otter. (OCLC 1007188298)

    Internment Operations:The Role of Old Fort Henry in World War I by Lubomyr Y. Luciuk and edited by Bryan Rollason. (OCLC 15899943)

    Ukranians

    A Bare and Impolitic Right: Internment and Ukrainian-Canadian Redress by Bohdan S  Kordan and Craig Mahovsky. (OCLC 53161722)

    Commemorating an Injustice: Fort Henry and Ukrainian Canadian as "Enemy Aliens" During the First World War, editor John B. Gregorovich. (OCLC 31781425)

    Enemy Aliens, Prisoners of War: Internment in Canada During the Great War by Bohdan S. Kordan. (OCLC 50441192)

    Freedom Had a Price (videorecording); producer/director/editor Yurij Luhovy; associate producer, Zorianna Hrycenko; script writers Thom Richardson and Oksana Rozumna; narrator Paul Almond. (OCLC 631959060)

    In fear of the Barbed Wire Fence: Canada's First National Internment Operations and the Ukrainian Canadians, 1914-1920 by Lubomyr Luciuk. (OCLC 43427719)

    In my Charge: the Canadian Internment Camp Photographs of Sergeant William Buck by Lubomyr Y. Luciuk & Borys Sydoruk. (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. (OCLC 24286635)

    Interned Without Cause, by Peter Krawchuk, translated from the Urkanian by Pat Prokop. (OCLC 12821778)

    Righting an Injustice: the Debate Over Redress for Canada's First National Internment Operations, edited by Lubomyr Luciuk; afterword by Mary Manko Haskett. (OCLC 30072804)

    Righting Historical Wrongs: Internment, Acknowledgement and Redress by Kordan, Bohdan. (OCLC 35970134)

    Roll Call: Lest We Forget; compiled by Lubomyr Y. Luciuk with the assistance of Yurieva and Roman Zakaluzny. (OCLC 43281613)

    A Time for Atonement: Canada's First National Internment Operations and the Ukrainian Canadians, 1914-1920 by Lubomyr Luciuk. (OCLC 17328338)

    Without Just Cause: Canada's First National Internment Operations and the Ukrainian Canadians, 1914-1920 by Lubomyr Y. Luciuk. (OCLC 71322897)

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 as films, audio tapes, monographs, biographies, etc.

Canada entered the war against Nazi Germany September 10, 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 was 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 were 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 internees.

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.

Many camps were 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 designated as Whites; those with no particular allegiance were Grays; Nazi hardliners were Blacks. There were also more subtle colour groupings (e.g. 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.
  • Geneva Convention, 1929: Contains the full text of the international treaty on the treatment of prisoners of war camps.
  • The Canada Gazette: Official publication of the Government of Canada, notably containing Orders in Council

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.

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 were added over the years. The majority of the prison population in Canadian internment camps were made up of Germans.

  • Table 2: Pay Documents for German Prisoners of War and Civilian Internees

    The Directorate of Internment Operations includes some indexes and pay documents for German prisoners of war and civilian internees (RG24-C-5). Microfilm reels T-7020 to T-7050, and T-7057 are digitized on Héritage.

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

    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

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. The War Measures Act allowed Canadian authorities to intern Canadian residents of Japanese origin (including women and children) and to seize their assets. Some would be subject to repatriation to Japan at the end of the war. See Japanese Canadians: Research material for sources.

Italians

In June 1940, Italy entered the war alongside Germany. Consequently, Italian citizens living in Canada, and Canadians of Italian origin 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 in Europe 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 Protestant pacifists and many were conscientious objectors during the Second World War. Consequently, they were considered a suspect group and many were interned.

Women from German and Italian Groups

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 women's prison in Kingston, Ontario. They were released by the summer of 1943.

List of camps - Second World War

  • Table 3: List of the camps

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

    Camp Type of internees 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
    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
    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,

Main Records - Second World War

There are a variety of documents on the internment camps mentioned above in various archival records at Library and Archives Canada. See the Finding Aid for the Second World War [PDF 8,244 KB]

Other Records - Second World War

  • Government Records - Second World War

    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. Besides the sources listed in the above finding aid, there are some additional sources:

    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
    • 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.
    • See also Cabinet Conclusions.

    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
    • For more information see Mikan 370 and its lower level descriptions.

    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)

    • Enemy aliens and enemy alien seamen, 1939-1947,(includes lists of names) series I-A-1, volumes 446 and 447, file 675985, starts on microfilm C-10322 and continues on C-10323.
    • Enemy Aliens from Britain sent to Canada for internment, 1940-1946, (includes lists of names), volumes 454 and 455, file 694381, starts on microfilm C-10327 and continues on C-10397.

    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).

    Department of External Affairs collection (RG25)

    • Nominal rolls of enemy aliens interned in Canada, action by the International Red Cross Committee and Swiss Consul General (RG25, file 1939-842-AF). Only one list from that file has been digitized: Nominal roll of refugees [PDF 3.16 MB]
    • 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.

    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 - Second World War

    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.

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

    Series includes files on the Interdepartmental Committee on Internment Cases, with correspondence relating to enemy aliens and internees (volumes 12 to 14).

    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 consists of correspondence, identification card, photographs and postcards.
    Kurt Gunzel, 1940-1943 (R10192-0-9-E) (Mikan 200044)
    Fonds consists 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, of Jewish descent, was interned 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 consists 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 to 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. Fonds consists 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 consists of letters, a manuscript, observations, thoughts and experiences on internment.
    Max Gamper collection, 1940 (0330-A086-02, Picture division, Acquisition 1983-099 PIC) (Mikan 2926567)
    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 101648)
    Heinrich Holtmann immigrated to Canada in 1928. Living in Manitoba, he was interned in 1940 in Kananaskis, Alberta. He was released in 1942. Fonds consists 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 immigrated Canada to 1950. Fonds consists diary notes, memoirs, letters and experiences as an internee and soldier.
    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 the Second World War, he enlisted as a guard at Red Rock internment camp, Ontario. Collection consists of photographs.

    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 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 labour activist and negotiator. The fonds consists 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 consists of correspondence, diaries, draft articles, manuscripts, photographs and other materials.

    Documents relating to Interned 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 consists of a brief presented by the Minister of Justice against Hower's internment.
  • Publications - Second World War

    Alien Justice: Wartime Internment in Australia and North America; edited by Kay Saunders and Roger Daniels. (OCLC 44890360)

    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. (OCLC 631987533)

    Broken Entries: Race, Subjectivity, Writing: essays by Roy Miki. (OCLC 41871639)

    Dangerous Patriots: Canada's Unknown Prisoners of War by William Repka and Kathleen M. Repka. (OCLC 9694145)

    The Prisoner of War Camps in Canada 1939-1947 (includes maps) by John Joseph Kelly. (OCLC 15825437)

    Prisoners of the Home Front: German POWs and "Enemy Aliens" in Southern Quebec, 1940-46 by Martin F. Auger. (OCLC 61526340)

    Proclamations and Orders in Council Passed Under the Authority of the War Measures Act, R.S.C. (1927) chap. 206, 1940-1941. (OCLC 1032978949)

    Regulations Respecting Trading with the Enemy (1939)(P.C. 2512 and 2586), 1939. (OCLC 606972747)

    Germans

    Camp 30 "Ehrenwort": a German Prisoner-of-war Camp in Bowmanville, 1941-1945 by Daniel Hoffman. (OCLC 25090892)

    The Enemy Within [videorecording]: directed by Eva Colmers; written by Eva Colmers; produced by Bonnie Thompson and Jerry D. Krepakevich. (OCLC 85220188)

    Escape from Canada!: the Untold Story of German POWs in Canada, 1939-1945 by John Melady. (OCLC 8504981)

    The Gilded Cage: Gravenhurst German Prisoner-of-war Camp 20, 1940-1946 by Cecil Porter. (OCLC 51275152)

    Trop loin de Berlin: des prisonniers allemands au Canada (1939-1946) by Yves Bernard and Caroline Bergeron. (OCLC 35929006)

    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. (OCLC 34640286)

    Enemies Within: Italian and Other Internees in Canada and Abroad; edited by Franca Iacovetta, Roberto Perin and Angelo Principe. (OCLC 41661915)

    Japanese

    See Japanese Canadians: Books and other resources.

    Jewish

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

    Deemed Suspect: a Wartime Blunder by Eric Koch. (OCLC 7309489)

    Mennonites

    Experiences of the Mennonites of Canada during the Second World War: 1939-1945, compiled by David P. Reimer. (OCLC 11719965)

    That There be Peace: Mennonites in Canada and World War II, edited by Lawrence Klippenstein. (OCLC 5948875)

    Detained Women

    Cartographies of Violence [microform]: Women, Memory, and the Subject(s) of the Internment by Mona Gail Oikawa. (OCLC 81505924)

    Des civils internés pendant la Deuxième guerre mondiale [microforme]: le camp des femmes de Kingston, 1939-1943 by Andrée Laprise. (OCLC 1007208534)

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. See also:

Government Records - First and Second World Wars

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
  • For more information see Mikan 370 and its lower level descriptions.

Publications - First and Second World Wars

  • Internment Mail in Canada, 1914-1919 & 1939-1946 an exhibit prepared by Steven C. Luciuk. (OCLC 60833261)
  • POW, Behind Canadian Barbed Wire: Alien, Refugee and ¨Prisoner of War Camps in Canada, 1914-1946 by David J. Carter. (OCLC 40453521)

Internment or Prisoner of War Camps located outside of Canada

Library and Archives Canada also holds some documents relating to internment camps located outside of Canada. Consult the Second World War Finding Aid [PDF 8,244 KB].

Archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross

This archives holds records relating to Displaced Persons and Prisoners of War.

Other archives

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