Camp 132: A German prisoner of war camp in a Canadian prairie community during World War Two
During World War Two, the Canadian Government was responsible for over 34,000 German Prisoners of War. These prisoners were housed in twenty-five separate camps across Canada, with the two largest being situated in Medicine Hat and Lethbridge, Alberta. In the first year of the war the Canadian Government had intended to only intern Canadian enemy aliens, people suspected of being subversives. In June 1940 this changed. The British Government requested Canada accept that country's civilian internees. However, included in the first shipment of civilians were Jewish refugees and German prisoners of war, groups not expected by the Canadian administration. The country's own internment policy became inadequate and the government decided that if the nation was to intern any group from Britain, it would be German soldiers captured during military operations. The two countries began negotiations on developing a prisoner of war policy while at the same time Canada was receiving German prisoners of war. The lack of a congruent policy, and the presence of devout Nazis within the prisoner ranks created problems for the country. By the time the Canadian Government was able to formulate an articulate internment policy, a Nazi regime had taken control of Camp 132 in Medicine Hat. It took two murders of prisoners of war to bring the seriousness of the problem to Internment authorities.
Master of Arts (M.A.)