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Kananaskis (Seebe and Ozada)

The Kananaskis Prisoner Of War camp (No. 130), also known as Seebe for the nearby hamlet, operated from 29 September 1939 to 28 January 1946. Locals referred to this facility as Camp "Kan-A-Nazi". Seebe was small with a capacity of 200 prisoners of war (POWs). It was categorized as a Class II facility, meaning prisoners were afforded no extra privileges or special rights. POWs earned 20 cents per day for completing non-war-related duties and work. Maintaining discipline and order was the top priority; the maximum punishment was solitary confinement for up to 28 days. As stipulated by Geneva Convention guidelines, escapees could face up to two years in prison. Most of the German prisoners held here belonged to the German Afrika Korp. German-Canadians who openly supported Hitler’s campaign in Europe were also transferred to the Kananaskis Prisoner of War Camp, under strict surveillance.

During the first few years of the war, an influx of POWs continued to arrive in Alberta. Camp Ozada (No. 132) opened in 1942. It was located between Banff and Calgary, approximately 30 kilometres (18.64 miles) away from the POW camp at Seebe. Ozada was established as a temporary facility until such time as the permanent camps at Lethbridge and Medicine Hat were completed. The facility covered roughly 500 hectares (1235.5 acres) and housed thousands of POWs in fairly crude conditions. Prisoners griped about the facility, but federal government officials pointed out that the guards, members of the Veterans Guard of Canada—veterans of the First World War—were forced to live under the same conditions. The Prisoner of War camp at Ozada remained open for roughly twelve months before the larger camp in Lethbridge opened.

References

John Joseph Kelly, “Der Deutsche Kriegsgefangener auf Alberta: Alberta and the Keeping of German Prisoners of War, 1939–1947”, ed. K.W. Tingley, For King and Country: Alberta in the Second World War. (Edmonton: Provincial Museum of Alberta and Reidmore Books, 1995), 285–302.

David Carter, “POW Camps in Canada during WWI and WWII.” (accessed September 2007).


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