September 1943 pre-printed foldable envelope with letter from German soldier interned in the POW Camp #133 located at Lethbridge Alberta to his mother and sister back home.
PRISONER OF WAR MAIL FREE
Mailed to ‘Great Germany Frau Kathrina Ludwig Lorsch Hessen'. Lorsch is a town in Hessen, Germany, 60 km south of Frankfurt.
On front ‘P.O.W. 43 SP 28 AM 133’ and ‘EXAMINED BY D.B. 55’, German cancellation, 'Ab 4a' .
Long text in German:
Kanada 26 September 43 “Dear Mother and Sister…."
Note that censor has blacked-out several lines at the bottom.
Small tears at edge of folds, paper creases. Stains.
General concern about 'Fifth Columnists' in Britain, inflamed by the press and exacerbated by the invasion of Holland in May 1940, resulted in the internment of Category B aliens who had previously been subject to light restrictions. The fall of France and Mussolini's declaration for the Axis prompted the 'Collar the lot' approach and those previously categorised C - largely refugees from Nazi oppression - were also interned.
The risk of invasion and increased internee numbers made Australia and Canada seem safer places to hold both internees and pows. Approaches were successful and Canada agreed to accept 7,000. This resulted in the transfer to Canada in June/July of some 4,000 enemy aliens with about 2,000 captured enemy combatants whose numbers were to be greatly increased by those captured in North Africa in 1942/3 and following D-Day in 1944.
Camps were set up mainly in eastern Canada with 26 centres established during the period of hostilities. Two were large, Camp 132 at Medicine Hat and 133 at Lethbridge each held between ten and thirteen thousand men. Camp 23 at Monteith held about four thousand and the remainder were smaller.