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P.O.W.s in CANADA

A Presentation by Michael O'Hagan

Thursday, August 31 | 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

POWs on Lake of the Woods

From 1943 to 1946, over 400 German prisoners of war (POWs) could be found working in lumber camps scattered across Lake of the Woods. Working for the Ontario-Minnesota Pulp & Paper Company, these men cut fuelwood and pulpwood for $0.50 per day, braving bears, black flies, mosquitoes, and the Canadian winters. Based on archival records, interviews, memoirs, and photographs, Michael O’Hagan’s presentation will showcase what life was like in these camps and explain how these men found themselves working in Canada, what they thought of the work, and what happened to some of them after the war ended. Although focusing primarily on the camps in the Lake of the Woods area, the presentation will also look at those employed in nearby areas, namely Vermillion Bay, Flanders, Hudson and the rest of Northwestern Ontario.

Presenter Michael O’Hagan is a PhD student in the History Department at Western University in London, Ontario. His dissertation examines the lives of German POWs employed in labour projects in Canada during the Second World War. He is particularly interested in POWs employed in lumber camps and how their interactions with the natural environment helped shape their ideas and understandings of Canada and its peoples.

Michael is also hoping to meet anyone with information about these camps who have stories to tell.

Admission is by donation.

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There were 6 prisoner-of-war camps on Lake of the Woods during World War II. The lumber camps housed German prisoners who were set to work out in the bush cutting timber. The Museum has several boat models built by the prisoners at those camps.