Right here in BC
Recently received this comment:
I saw your recent post at Westcoast German News concerning concentration
camps in Canada during the Great War. You may be interested to know that
members of the Vernon and District Family History Society have been
researching the camps in this area. I’ve attached a flyer about a
28-page booklet recently published as a kind of “interim report” on our
findings. (I think people have been surprised at how much the story
concerns Germans, rather than Ukrainians.)
Vernon & District Family History Society (https://www.vdfhs.com/) is a non-profit genealogical association. It first secured a grant from the Canadian World War I Internment Recognition Fund to restore headstones of the (11) prisoners who died in the Vernon Internment Camp, and to research their histories. Then it received a second grant to research in detail the Vernon camp as well as three others in this vicinity: Monashee, Edgewood, and Mara Lake.
A committee has been working for three years on the project, and has amassed a significant amount of new information from foreign archives, private collections, and newspapers with which to supplement surviving records in the national archives.
The great thing about the research is the detail we have been able to bring to stories of several prisoners, and to some of the guards as well. The Vernon camp generally held 250-350 people, most of them single German men, and a couple of dozen families and children. They were very diverse in their education, background, and politics, but despite that managed to create a remarkable “community” for a time. Most were deported in the course of 1919. We have managed to identify some of their ancestors and gain access to some remarkable collections of letters and photos, small and large. The booklet features several of these.
No buildings remain in any of the camp locations. Most shelters were woodframe or tents, and are long gone. A “brick building” acted as the administration office at Vernon Internment Camp, but was demolished in the 1940s. (The 10-acre site is now a public school and sports ground.) The Canadian World War I Internment Recognition Fund has funded memorial plaques for all these locations.
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