VE Day – May 8, 1945

"PROCLAMATION" - 1945. Source: Library and Archives Canada.
“PROCLAMATION” – 1945. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Today marks the seventieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe.

At Camp 133 in Lethbridge, Alberta, the Camp Spokesman, Assistant Spokesman, and Interpreter were paraded in the Commandant’s office to inform them of the news. Shortly after, the PoWs were assembled in the camp and read the proclamation. The Commandant described the scene,

“During the reading of the Proclamation there was complete silence on the part of the PW and no comments of any kind were heard during or after the reading. There was very little outward expression of emotion that could be observed, although on the whole the PW looked decidedly depressed.” 1

At Camp 132, in Medicine Hat, the situation was much the same. Having assembled the PoWs in the camp stadium, the Camp Interpreter read the proclamation and the Spokesman made a short address. Commandant Colonel Elwood noted the PoWs maintained perfect discipline and that the ceremony was “most impressive.” However, an informant inside the wire noted a significant change in attitude that evening,

“…a large number of PW are so downhearted that they cannot talk about their defeat, others, in quite large numbers are openly expressing relief that it is all over, and talk of repatriation, while the ‘Blacks’ are proclaiming that Nazism can never die, and that within ten years Germany will be restored to ‘National Socialism’.” 2

Although the war in Europe had ended, the work of Canadian Internment Operations was far from over. Most PoWs would not leave Canada until the following year and, after working to help rebuild Britain, did not return to Germany until 1947 or 1948.

  1. Colonel E.D.B. Kippen, “Report of Commandant, Lethbridge Internment Camp,” May 9, 1945, HQS 9139-4-133, Camp Intelligence, 1944-1946, C-5365, LAC.
  2. Colonel W.J.M. Elwood, “V.E. Day,” May 9, 1945, HQS 9139-4-132, Camp Intelligence, 1944-1946, C-5365, LAC.

Published by Michael O'Hagan

Historian studying German Prisoners of War in Canada during the Second World War

One thought on “VE Day – May 8, 1945

  1. Cool thanks man.

    How Are you keeping?


    Adrian Myers, PhD, RPA Archaeologist Amec Foster Wheeler Environment & Infrastructure Office 604-295-8259, Mobile 604-219-8405 Reception 604-294-3811, Fax 604-294-4664 Suite 600, 4445 Lougheed Highway, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, V5C 0E4

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