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Former German PoWs attend Alberta internment camp reunion

The Story

It's been more than 34 years since nearly 1,000 German prisoners were released from the barbed wire confines of PoW Camp 130 in Alberta. Now several dozen of the former prisoners have made a pilgrimage back to the site of their imprisonment in scenic Kananaskis in the Rocky Mountains. In this CBC Television clip, reporter Terry Milewski tags along as the German ex-PoWs share their memories of camp life and wax nostalgic with a former guard. 

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Sept. 16, 1980
Guests: Syd Hughes, Max Schulte, Emil Zimmerman
Host: Knowlton Nash
Reporter: Terry Milewski
Duration: 2:05

Did You know?

• Camp 130 in Kananaskis, Alta., was one of the first camps to begin accepting prisoners from British PoW camps. It opened Sept. 29, 1939, to house German refugees and German merchant seamen who were kept temporarily in military tents.
• Permanent barracks were built later on to house German soldiers and officers.
• Nearly 1,000 German PoWs ended up living in the idyllic camp, which included a billiard hall, tennis courts and skiing trips in the winter.
• As one former PoW recall in this clip, while he harboured bad memories of the Second World War in general his memories of the camp were positive.
• Even former Canadian guard Syd Hughes was feeling nostalgic at this 1980 reunion. Hughes calls his former charges "gentlemen" and said they never gave him any trouble.
• In fact the camp experienced no violence in its six years of existence and there were no escapes.
• Like all of the camps, little remains of the Kananaskis PoW camp.
• As reporter Terry Milewski says in this clip, since then "the place has gone downhill" and has become an environmental research centre.
• To see more about German PoW reunions in Canada, watch the additional clip "Return to Camp Wainwright".



Canada's Forgotten PoW Camps more