Skip to content

Do you have a story about the internment of refugees from Nazism in Canada?

Share a story or
Read others’ stories.


Despite its tedium and the petty tyrannies of the administration, internment was a learning experience for many. Among the prisoners were some of the leading intellectuals, political activists and artists of Germany and Austria. They mixed with university students, youngsters from yeshivas (Orthodox Jewish seminaries), and merchant seamen to create a remarkable forum for learning and exchange.

With so many students, so much talent and so strong a desire to study, the internees organized schools in every camp. Using materials donated from advocacy agencies, internee teachers provided academic, religious and technical training. Everyone learned English.

In Camp N alone there were seven different educational programs that operated simultaneously. Instructors included Max Ferdinand Perutz, who went on to receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1962, two economists, five lawyers (three held doctorates), one art historian, a professor of international relations, eight medical doctors, a dental surgeon, and two rabbis expert in the history of religion and Semitic languages. In fact, it was commonly proclaimed that each camp had enough learned men to staff several universities. Internees were eventually permitted to write McGill matriculation exams that enabled them to apply for entrance to Canadian universities.

Former internees discuss education. Video

Former internees discuss education.

A dossier of images about education. Dossier

A collection of images relating to education.

Camp Boys
in the classroom


Camp Boys
Through internee testimony, students learn about the conditions of internment in Canada, and explore a variety of primary sources relating to the responses of the “camp boys” to internment.


Internment in Canada


Map: Canadian Internment Camps (77Kb PDF)


Internment in Canada

Complete Teachers’ Guide to Enemy Aliens
PDF 7.8 MB

Adobe Reader can be used to view PDF files.