German tragedy of destiny

British and Canadian camps




In the initial phase of the war hardly any German soldiers fell into English captivity except a few pilots shot down.


With the beginning of the German air offensive their number counted appr. 4,000 by the end of 1940.


From 1941 onwards the Brits distributed their German POWs all over the entire territory of the Commonwealth.


Outside Great Britain the biggest detention camps were established especially in Canada, Australia, the Middle East and North Africa.


While the British motherland held only 2,000 German prisoners in custody by March 1944, this situation changed enormously by the invasion of Normandy in June 1944.


By the end of 1944 there were already 140,000 prisoners on the British islands, in 380 large camps and in 1,500 smaller satellite camps, scattered all over the country.


Following temporary stations the prisoners of the African Corps were kept in the Heluan camp near Cairo as well as in the camps established at the Bitter Lake area between Suez and Ismailia.


These were huge sandy locations enclosed by barbed wire, divided into smaller quarters. The prisoners dwelled  in tents exposed to great heat, put on meagre rations, frequented by insects, mice and rats.


From these desert camps the prisoners were scattered to all parts of the world.



In this Canada played a key role with a prisoners' contingent of more than 12,000 by 1942.


The prisoners were concentrated in the big tent camp named Ozada erected at the feet of the Rocky Mountains.




German POWs in Egypt


German POWs in England



German POWs in Canada