A Day in the Life of a POW Woodcutter

As of April 1946, almost 9,000 German combatant POWs, Enemy Merchant Seamen (EMS), and Civilian Internees were employed in logging and pulpwood operations in Ontario alone. And hundreds, if not thousands, more had spent some time in a bush camp between July 1943 and July 1946. The majority of these bush camps were operated byContinue reading “A Day in the Life of a POW Woodcutter”

From Bismarck Survivor to Canadian Citizen: Helmut Keune

Today is the 81st anniversary of the sinking of the #Bismarck. From a crew of over 2,000, only 114 survived. The survivors were subsequently interned in Canada until 1946, but one POW, Helmut Keune, would remain in Canada for the rest of his life. Here is his story.

An Update to “Seeing Double: POW Artists at Camp 133 (Ozada)

Last week, I published a post about two paintings that depicted the same scene at Camp 133 at Ozada, Alberta. As the existence of two paintings showing the same scene prompted many questions, I asked if anyone had other copies. And, within twenty-four hours of my original post, a reader had forwarded a third paintingContinue reading “An Update to “Seeing Double: POW Artists at Camp 133 (Ozada)”

Seeing Double: POW Artists at Camp 133 (Ozada)

Updated March 7, 2022 Scenes from Camp 133 at Ozada remain among the most popular depicted by POW artists (for more on POW art, click here to read some of my earlier posts). The camp was one of Canada’s largest, holding over 12,500 POWs by November 1942, and among those interned were a number ofContinue reading “Seeing Double: POW Artists at Camp 133 (Ozada)”

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”