Hitler’s Canadians (2007)


Hitler’s Canadians is a documentary about men thrown together by fate and war.


In the spring of 1940 small towns across Canada awakened to the sound of Nazi jackboots. German soldiers, sailors and pilots marched down main streets to hastily constructed camps for some 40,000 German fighters imprisoned as prisoners of war (POWs) on Canadian soil.

With growing ranks of German prisoners and Nazi armies nearing its shores, Britain saw POWs as a potential threat and opted to send them to Canada . Between 1940 and 1946 there were 26 camps in Canada where POWs lived in relative luxury. But it was not a vacation for everyone. Day-to-day camp life was run by the inmates and organised along military lines. Committed Nazis, frequently in command positions, made life miserable for those deemed less committed to the Nazi cause.

Hitler’s Canadians tells the little known story of German POWs behind Canadian barbed wire during World War Two. It features dramatic re-enactments of daring and hilarious escapes (only a handful of the over 600 escapes attempted were successful), the biggest prison rebellion in Canadian history and surprising interviews with former prisoners whose words reflect the contradictory and complicated nature of the time.

Without exception, the former POWs interviewed in Hitler’s Canadians realised that if it was not for their time behind Canadian barbed wire, they might never have survived the war. It was a time when Canada’s fundamental decency shone through.

The film will show that Canada’s effect on the POWs did not stop with their return home. After the war, several hundred ex prisoners of war returned to Canada to live, building their lives and raising families in the country that had been their prison.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Douglas Williams.
  • Producer(s):
    • Ed Barreveld … producer.
    • Ted Biggs … co-producer.
  • Writer(s):
    • Douglas Williams.
  • Music:
    • Edgardo Moreno.
  • Cinematography:
    • Michael Grippo.
  • Editor(s):
    • Steve Weslak.
  • Production:
    • Storyline Entertainment.
  • Distributor(s):
    • History Television (2007) (World-wide) (TV)
  • Release Date: 11 March 2007 (Canada).
  • Running Time: 48 minutes.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Country: Canada.
  • Language: English.

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