From Norway to Northern Ontario: One POW’s Journey to Canada

Most of the roughly 40,000 German prisoners of war (POWs) sent to Canada during the Second World War were captured in now well-known campaigns like that in North Africa and Normandy or they were shot down during the Battle of Britain or plucked from the cold Atlantic waters. But some came from lesser-known battles andContinue reading “From Norway to Northern Ontario: One POW’s Journey to Canada”

Christmas in Canada, 1941

As part of their efforts to help POWs interned in Canada, the War Prisoners’ Aid of the YMCA printed and distributed thousands of Christmas cards each year for POWs and internees in the country. Calls for art submissions were issued to internment camps and POW artists submitted sketches, paintings, and linocuts in the chance ofContinue reading “Christmas in Canada, 1941”

“Unknown, Foreign Soldier, WWII POW”

Tucked away among the graves in the cemetery in Indian Head, Saskatchewan is a simple white cross bearing a plaque, “Unknown / Foreign Soldier / WWII POW.” Having learned about the grave from a fellow researcher, I visited the cemetery back in 2015. Since then, I have unsuccessfully tried to identify who may be buriedContinue reading ““Unknown, Foreign Soldier, WWII POW””

All Bottled Up – Ships in Bottles Revisited

Seven years ago, I posted an article about ships in bottles made by German POWs in Canada. Since then, I’ve added more examples to my collection and thought I would revisit the topic share some of them and to share what I have learned about the manufacture of these unique items. Following their arrival inContinue reading “All Bottled Up – Ships in Bottles Revisited”

A Sewing Kit with a Story

This may not be the most exciting of artifacts at first glance but it does have a story. This is a sewing kit, also known as a “housewife,” that was issued to Canadian soldiers during the Second World War. The design had changed little from those issued in the First World War and they included,Continue reading “A Sewing Kit with a Story”

National Canoe Day

June 26 is National Canoe Day and I thought I would take a quick look at Prisoners of War and Canoes in Canada during the Second World War. Prisoners of War in Canada spent the early war years in internment camps behind barbed wire but this changed when the Canadian government approved their employment inContinue reading “National Canoe Day”

POWs and “the good ol’ hockey game”

On first glance, it may seem a simple photo of a hockey game and soldiers looking on. But on a closer look, something stands out – the soldiers are not Canadian. They are German. This picture, which I was very pleased to add to my collection, is a relatively rare photo of German POWs atContinue reading “POWs and “the good ol’ hockey game””

Prisoner of War Canoes

Today (June 26) marks National Canoe Day so what better way to celebrate than a post on PoW-made canoes! In May 1943, the Canadian government approved the use of prisoner of war labour to help boost the struggling lumber and agricultural industries. From 1943 to 1946, thousands of German PoWs, Enemy Merchant Seamen (EMS), andContinue reading “Prisoner of War Canoes”