May 7th is the official publishing date for "Dangerous Enemy Sympathizers"
When we think of World War II, we think of Nazis, Pearl Harbor, Vimy Ridge, and other iconic images that have been passed down through the generations in Canada. What we don’t always acknowledge are the internment of Japanese Canadians, sympathizers, and those who opposed the war effort. Canada’s self-identity tends to be absolved of guilt.
From 1940 to 1945, Internment Camp B at Ripples, some 35 kilometres east of Fredericton, played a considerable role in the Second World War. Chosen for its remote rural New Brunswick location, Camp B interned hundreds who were deemed by the Canadian government to be enemy sympathizers.
In the first year of its operation, the camp incarcerated German and Austrian Jewish refugees dispatched from Britain. In May 1940, fearful that the refugees were agents of the Nazis they'd fled, the British government sent thousands of men to Canada to be interned as "dangerous enemy sympathizers." After the refugees were finally released in 1941, Camp B held Canadian citizens who were suspected of opposing the war effort — including the prominent opponent of conscription and Mayor of Montreal Camillien Houde, Canadians of German and Italian descent, and homegrown fascists such as Adrien Arcand — as well as captured German and Italian merchant mariners.
“Dangerous Enemy Sympathizers” also scrutinizes the troubling context that led to the internment of both refugees and Canadian citizens, the debates over the ethics of internment inside and outside the camp, and the role of the camps in shaping government policy towards immigration and the post-war powers of the Canadian state.
Here are some of the links and stories regarding Internment Camp B.
“Fifty-two buildings once stood at the site, housing almost 1,000 men at any given time. Once Internment Camp B-70 gave way to the prison camp, Germans and Italians from the front lines were locked up there.”
“In this video, Jack Hahn describes how prisoners at Camp B were forced to work every day, many of them cutting down trees in the forest. Jack and several other internees devised a plan to study in secret while they were in camp.”
“They wore denim pants with a red stripe on the leg, and denim jackets with a large red circle on the back. ‘That’s in case you ran away and you could be identified as an internee,’ Kaufman said. ‘It would also make a good target if someone wanted to shoot you.’”
“When these students dug for facts, they did it literally. An expedition to the site with picks and shovels unearthed a find of kitchen items and other material remains from the camp that were buried three feet down.”
About the author
Andrew Theobald holds degrees in history from Mount Allison University, the University of New Brunswick, and Queen's University. He is also the author of The Bitter Harvest of War: New Brunswick and the Conscription Crisis of 1917 and numerous scholarly articles.
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