Internment Camp B: Jewish Refugees with Andrew Theobald

| April 14, 2021

Juno Beach and Beyond
Internment Camp B: Jewish Refugees with Andrew Theobald
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New Brunswick is one of Canada’s smallest provinces, yet it has always played a prominent role in Canadian military history. Many will be aware of the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment’s efforts on D-Day. Less well known is the story of Ripples Internment Camp (Camp B), located about 30 kilometres from Fredericton, the provincial capital. Between 1940 and 1945, Camp B was the only internment camp in the maritime provinces. It held predominantly Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution in central Europe and political prisoners ranging from German and Italian merchant mariners to homegrown fascists and others deemed to threaten the Canadian war effort.

In this first episode of a two-part series, historian and author Andrew Theobald joins us to discuss the early war history of Camp B. We begin with some background on internment in Canada during the Second World War. Then we examine how Jewish refugees came to dominate the camp’s population in its first year. We look at the impact of public attitudes toward Jews in Canada during the 1940s and the refugees’ attempts to secure release. Finally, Andrew shares how the refugees passed the time at the camp and the impressive credentials of the internee population, including 19 concert pianists!

A future episode will cover Camp B’s second group of internees: political prisoners from Canada and Axis countries.

Internees in a working party cut firewood to keep warm in the winter. The man on the left is Fritz (Frederich) Bender, a chemical engineer and the inventor of waterproof plywood. Dr. Bender later went on to help with the development of the de Havilland Mosquito, a hugely successful twin-engined multirole combat aircraft made primarily of wood (New Brunswick Internment Camp website).

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Time Stamps

4:04 Internment in Canada

8:48 Fleeing Nazi Persecution

13:03 On Behalf of the British Government

16:25 Passing Time at Camp B

33:52 The End of the Beginning

Guest Biography

Andrew Theobald has a PhD in history from Queen’s University. He previously worked as a Research and Collections Officer with The Memory Project: Stories of the Second World War and now works as a historical consultant in the television industry. His latest book, “Dangerous Enemy Sympathizers”: Canadian Internment Camp B, 1940-1945 is published by Goose Lane Editions as volume 26 of the New Brunswick Military Heritage Series.

Notes

The following links offer more information on the topics discussed in this episode:

Podcasts

Bomb Girls with Barbara Dickson

Aerodrome of Democracy – A Visit to the CH2A Hangar

Double Threat with Ellin Bessner

Mackenzie King in Hitler’s Germany with Robert Teigrob

People

Winston Churchill

W.L. Mackenzie King

Credits

Juno Beach & Beyond is hosted and edited by Alex Fitzgerald-Black, the centre’s Digital Projects Coordinator.

Mackenzie King’s speech to British Parliament from the British Pathé YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SlEvclY5LE&t=48s

Artillery firing sounds from the CBC News: The National YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsCSQ4uWR1Y

Female veteran’s voice (Eileen Green, née Short) Courtesy of The Memory Project, Historica Canada: http://www.thememoryproject.com/stories/383:eileen-green-nee-short/

Winston Churchill’s “Finest Hour” speech from Jonathan Thomas’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jB5wZtV1MWM

Spitfire sound effect from Jason Kirby’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgZI4tAoMN0

Dramatic Interlude by Alexander Nakarada | https://www.serpentsoundstudios.com

Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com

Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Dispatches from Juno shares all the news, events, and stories from the Juno Beach Centre in France and Canada. Interested in contributing a story to the blog? Email the editor at jbca@junobeach.org.

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