Filmmaker shares little-known story of German PoWs in southern Alberta

A Canadian filmmaker is highlighting the story of German prisoners of war who were kept in southern Alberta during the Second World War.

Secret Alberta: PoWs on the Prairies tells the story of German PoWs housed in Lethbridge and Medicine Hat during the Second World War. Both cities had camps built to house roughly 13,000 people, according to Corey Lee, director of the documentary.

“A lot of the soldiers that were in Alberta were from the battle of North Africa,” Lee said during an interview Sunday on Global News Morning.


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“I think people are largely unaware of it, which is why I wanted to be involved with (making the film).”

The documentary explains that if PoWs had been kept in Europe, German forces may have been able to free them and reintegrate soldiers back into battle. In Canada, however, this was less likely to happen.

“They’re in a wide open space, they’re miles away from the front,” Lee said.

“Even if something happened and the war swung a little bit, they wouldn’t be able to get back into action.”

Lee said the PoWs were well treated in Alberta and even integrated into society. Some had opportunities to work on farms and ranches in the area.

“It says so much about how Canadians are decent humans being first,” Lee said.

“Despite being enemies, people are people… we can still have our differences and treat each other decently, and I’d like to see more of that happening today.”

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