Prisoners of the Home Front: German POWs and "Enemy Aliens" in Southern Quebec, 1940-46
In the middle of the most destructive conflict in human history, almost 40,000 Germans civilians and prisoners of war were detained in internment and work camps across Canada. Five internment camps were located on the southern shores of the St. Lawrence River in the province of Quebec: at Farnham, Grande Ligne, le-aux-Noix, Sherbrooke, and Sorel.
Prisoners of the Home Front details the organization and day-to-day affairs of these internment camps and reveals the experience of their inmates. Martin Auger shows how internment imposed psychological and physical strain in the form of restricted mobility, sexual deprivation, social alienation, and lack of physical comfort. In response, Canadian authorities introduced labour projects and education programs to uphold morale, thwart internal turmoil, and prevent escapes. These initiatives were also intended to expose prisoners to the values of a democratic society and prepare them for postwar reintegration.
Auger concludes that Canada abided by the Geneva Convention; its treatment of German prisoners was humane. Prisoners of the Home Front sheds light on life behind barbed wire, filling an important void in our knowledge of the Canadian home front during the Second World War.