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The War Years

The interned refugees released into Canada remained accountable to various government departments. Their ability to travel was restricted and they had to report monthly to immigration officers and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. They were reminded of their likely removal to Europe at the end of the war and warned: “Refugees should be careful to limit their personal belongings and luggage as far as possible to a total not exceeding 150 lbs.”

Students, with the support of their sponsors, fared very well. It was more difficult for those released as workers, particularly for older refugees. Permission was needed to change employers, and many complained of exploitation. The men sent to farms were particularly vulnerable. The refugees could be re-interned if they complained publically about their treatment or refused to remain with their approved employers.

Canadian Jews were predominantly eastern European, first generation and working class. They were not always certain how to treat these educated, eloquent German and Austrian Jews. The former internees were advised not to marry Canadians, and when they did their new wives faced loss of citizenship.

In November 1943, with stories of the horrific fate of European Jewry appearing in the press, Canada agreed to release the remaining refugees. Camp I was closed and about 50 mentally and physically ill and otherwise “unreleasable” refugees were shipped back to Britain.

A dossier of images about the war years. Dossier

A collection of images relating to the war years.

New Lives
in the classroom


New Lives
Students learn about the release of the internees from internment, their subsequent contributions to Canada and, through video, their perspectives on internment today.


Remarkable Achievements


Dossier: Release


Internee Testimony: Postscript

Complete Teachers’ Guide to Enemy Aliens
PDF 7.8 MB

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