Internees Phase I (1940 - 1941)

The first people housed at the camp were primarily German and Austrian Jews. Many of the 711 Jewish men and teenage boys sent to the camp had escaped from the brutal holocaust of Nazi Germany and fled to England. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, not knowing where the loyalty of these Jewish people lay, asked Canada and Australia to house these refugees. After a year, the government of Great Britain realized that many people among the refugees could contribute to the war effort. The internees were given the choice to return to England and join their military, or obtain a sponsor to remain in Canada or the United States. Many contributed to the fields of medicine, the arts and business, some leading to international recognition. One name to remember is Fritz (Frederich) Bender, an inventor who went to Ottawa where he furthered his work to waterproof plywood, which led to the development of the mosquito bomber.