Internment Camp B: Political Prisoners with Andrew Theobald

| May 12, 2021

Juno Beach and Beyond
Internment Camp B: Political Prisoners 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.

Our previous episode covered Camp B’s first group of internees: Jewish refugees in 1940-1941.

In this second episode of a two-part series, historian and author Andrew Theobald joins us to discuss the late war history of Camp B. We begin by discussing the camp’s transition to holding political prisoners in summer 1941. Andrew outlines the hierarchy and relationships between different groups of internees at the camp. Then we examine the impact of overseas events, like the Dieppe Raid and the armistice with Italy, on Canadian policy towards internees and prisoners of war. Next, we discuss the role of the Veterans Guard of Canada and various escape attempts. Finally, Andrew reflects on the legacy of Camp B and others like it for modern Canada.

This photograph depicts what were likely political internees at Camp B in 1942. It is from the collection of Otto Thierbach, a stonemason who had arrived in Canada from Germany in 1928. He was arrested as an organizer for the pro-Nazi Deutsche Bund Canada in 1939. (Library and Archives Canada / PA-104564).

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Time Stamps

4:40 Dangerous Enemy Sympathizers

7:20 Camp Hierarchy and Culture

10:32 The Impact of Overseas Events

19:05 The Guards at Camp B 

26:01 Escape Attempts

32:03 The Legacy of Camp B

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

Internment Camp B: Jewish Refugees with Andrew Theobald

The Dieppe Enigma with David O’Keefe

Operation Husky with Mark Zuehlke

Double Threat with Ellin Bessner

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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