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HANGED IN MEDICINE HAT: New e-book particulars Nazi murders at POW camp

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Christmas was only one week away however there was little room for sentimentality in these instances.

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No, Canada had left tens of hundreds of her sons planted in soil removed from dwelling. The Second World Battle nonetheless reverberated within the Canadian psyche.

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And on Dec. 18, 1946, 4 diehard Nazis (plus a intercourse killer) climbed the deadly 13 wood steps in a Lethbridge, Alta., jailhouse and had been hanged by the neck till they had been lifeless.

It will mark the final mass hanging in Canada.


Creator and historian Nathan Greenfield has written the chilling Hanged in Drugs Hat, concerning the demise cull that occurred seven many years in the past.

Greenfield informed The Toronto Solar that whereas researching the e-book, he was usually shocked by profound occasions in Canadian historical past that had beforehand been unknown.

“The largest was that these prisoner of battle camps (POW) had their very own camp Gestapo who would homicide fellow prisoners in the event that they didn’t have adequate fealty to Hitler,” Greenfield stated. “I used to be additionally utterly shocked by the problem of homosexuality within the camps.”

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He added: “In fact, it made sense that this went on, nevertheless it additionally turned a problem for the camp Gestapo, and they’d maintain degradation ceremonies as punishment. This was a part of their reign of terror.”

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Canada entered the Second World Battle in 1939. Our British allies had been involved concerning the hundreds of prisoners they had been capturing, and it was determined they might be despatched to Canada and South Africa.

A sequence of POW camps had been established throughout the nation that had been famous for his or her humanity and the freedoms accorded the defeated Germans. Most of the troopers, sailors and aircrew preferred it a lot that they emigrated right here after the battle.

Schwab would hang. RCMP
Schwab would dangle. RCMP

However not everybody took Canada’s benevolence within the spirit during which it was supposed, Greenfield writes.

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In numerous the camps, there remained a daunting stage of Nazi true believers, principally members of Hitler’s vaunted Afrika Korps. One of the vital Nazified was Camp 123 in Drugs Hat, Alta.

Finally, homicide would go to the camp confines. Its management would even destroy Canadian newspapers that confirmed the Nazis dying by the tens of hundreds within the Russian snow, slowly being crushed again in Italy, and German cities being pulverized by round the clock air raids.

Former International Legionaire August Plaszek was the primary to die on July 22, 1943 following an argument over ideology.

Subsequent to go was Dr. Karl Lehmann (who Greenfield stated was a spy) who was murdered within the camp on Sept. 10, 1944. His crime was allegedly taking part in a task in making an attempt to overthrow the camp management.

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Death came calling. German prisoners in Medicine Hat. POSTMEDIA
Loss of life got here calling. German prisoners in Drugs Hat. POSTMEDIA

He additionally wasn’t shy about telling individuals he thought that Germany would lose the battle (he was proper).

In all, for the 2 murders, 5 males had been sentenced to hold.

“I don’t suppose it was a query of vengeance,” Greenfield stated. “No Canadians had been killed. Paperwork point out that the justice minister on the time, future prime minister Louis St. Laurent, didn’t wish to go forward.”

However his successor did, regardless of some authorized entanglements. First, they had been British prisoners and topic to legal guidelines of the U.Ok., not Canada and secondly, there have been the accepted guidelines of battle.

The Hitler Youth units parade in the streets of Soltau, in September 1937, in front of German nazi Führer and Chancellor Adolf Hitler (2nd L). The Hitler Youth was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party that existed from 1922 to 1945.
The Hitler Youth models parade within the streets of Soltau, in September 1937, in entrance of German nazi Führer and Chancellor Adolf Hitler (2nd L). The Hitler Youth was a paramilitary group of the Nazi Social gathering that existed from 1922 to 1945. Picture by FILES /GETTY IMAGES

“They thought Lehmann was a spy and the Nazis within the camp turned extra inflexible after the 1944 Hitler bomb plot which they heard about on a secret radio,” Greenfield stated. “Contained in the wires, the camp was thought of to be Germany.”

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Canadian officers and guards acknowledged the camp’s hierarchy, regardless that they thought of them loathsome, because the command construction.

“A command construction nonetheless existed (because it did in German POW camps) and in reality, they had been proper. However after Valkyrie (the plot to ice Hitler) the camp Gestapo turned extra strident,” Greenfield stated.

The killers had been ultimately sentenced to hold, however the combating that had roiled the planet for six, lengthy years had ended.

“There have been numerous letters calling for clemency, together with from the YMCA,” Greenfield stated, including that some camps, such because the one in Bowmanville, full of Battle of the Atlantic submariners and sailors was not one in every of them.

“One U-Boat commander who sank a ship in Halifax Harbour in the course of the Battle of the St. Lawrence would ultimately return to Canada and for 25 years was the chief engineer for the TTC.”

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The commander of the Drugs Hat camp could “not have been the person for the job,” Greenfield stated, including he was “too arms off” and should have let Nazism fester.

“The camp Gestapo managed prisoners’ mail, watched for code phrases and customarily subjected POWs to the horrors of Nazi Germany.”

Werner Schwalb was the lone killer who died for the Plaszek homicide the earlier summer season.

On Dec. 18, 1946, Heinrich Busch, 29, Willy Mueller, 32, Walter Wolf, 28, and Bruno Perzcnowski, 34, had been hanged for the homicide of Karl Lehmann.

Baby intercourse killer Donald Staley, 29, joined the Germans in demise that night time.

You may pre-order Hanged in Drugs Hat from Sutherland Home Books. It’s out Oct. 13.

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