Researching PoWs

Researching a Prisoner of War interned in Canada?

PoW Pay Record for Gerhard Barthmann. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

PoW Pay Record for Gerhard Barthmann. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

There are a very limited number of sources available online to the public regarding PoWs in Canada. The vast majority of PoW-related files are held at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa, Ontario. Since Library and Archives Canada discontinued their interlibrary loan service in 2013, you can no longer order microfilmed documents to view at your own library. This means that in order to research PoWs in Canada, you either have to visit the archives in person or you can hire a researcher.

Unfortunately there is no simple list of prisoners of war held in Canada during the Second World War (yet – I’m working on it!). Personal files relating to PoWs interned in Canada are limited. Following the end of the war, individual files were destroyed with very few exceptions (those of high profile individuals were kept). That being said, Library and Archives Canada has index cards and pay records for most of the PoWs in Canada. The information on these cards is limited but it can provide the name of the PoW, identification number, branch of service, rank, approximate date of capture, and date when shipped to the United Kingdom.

PoW Index Card for Richard Becker. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

PoW Index Card for Richard Becker. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

If you are looking for information on a particular PoW or the PoW experience in Canada, please get in touch and I would be happy to help!

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