Exhibit recalls Jewish refugees and Nazi prisoners held together in Canadian prisons

tags: Holocaust, Nazis, Canada, Jewish Telegraph Agency



VANCOUVER, Canada (JTA) -- When Austrian and German Jews escaped Nazism by fleeing to Britain during the 1930s, the last thing they expected was to find themselves prisoners in Canada, interred in camps with some of the same Nazis they had tried to escape back home.

But that's what happened to some 7,000 European Jews and “Category A” prisoners -- the most dangerous prisoners of war -- who arrived on Canadian shores in 1940. Fearing a German invasion, Britain had asked its colonies to take some German prisoners and enemy spies. But the boats included many refugees, including religious Jews and university students.

Though Britain alerted Canada to the mistake, it would take three years for all the refugees to be freed.

“It was a period where everybody was closing their doors,” said Paula Draper, a historian who worked on an exhibit about the refugees currently on display at the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre. “But Canada closed its doors more tightly than almost anybody else.”...




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