Internment at Camp T in 1940

In this video, Joseph Lazar describes his arrival at Internment Camp T in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, in 1940, when his group found themselves among German prisoners-of-war singing Nazi songs. A Jewish engineer advised a camp commander to separate the two groups to avoid bloodshed.   Source: Montreal Holocaust Museum, 2008



Video begins with inter-title in white text on black screen while instrumental music plays and fades into the next frame: Joseph Lazar was 16 years old when he arrived in Canada as an “enemy alien” in 1940. He was interned at Camp T in Trois-Rivières, Quebec.



Cut to Holocaust survivor Joseph Lazar, sitting in front of a black background, and looking to the left of the camera. The camera shows his face and shoulders as he speaks during an interview conducted in Montreal in 2008.


>> Joseph Lazar: And we marched in. And as soon as we came into the camp…



The name “Joseph Lazar” and the location of the filmed interview, “Montreal”, appear in white text above Joseph's right shoulder.


>> …there were others there, which we didn't know who they were. But they immediately started to sing their Nazi songs, and the most vicious ones: [sings in German] “When Jewish blood sprays from our knives, we feel that was good.“



Cut to black-and-white photograph that has a barbed wire fence taking up the right half of the picture, and on the left side a man, with his back to the camera looks out at the internment camp barracks in a row. The photo caption appears in white text in the top-left corner, “Internment Camp in Canada, ca. 1940”.


>> And this is what you're going to get again. There was a danger there was going to be god knows what.



Cut to Joseph Lazar in front of the camera.


>> But we had already one spokesman for us, he was an engineer. And when we came in, there was this, the office, the commander, and he told him, “Look”, he says, “if you're not going to part us from these people, you're going to have a blood bath here.” He says, “What do you mean?” He says, “Exactly what I'm telling you.” “You are Germans, they are Germans!” So, he tried to explain him, and he warned him, “Do you hear what they're singing?” Well he hears but he doesn't know what it is. Anyway, he took this warning. And he told him, “If within 48 hours, we are not going to be parted from these people, you are going to have a blood bath.”



Cut to the same photograph of the internee facing the internment camp barracks in the distance, with the camera zooming in on the barbed wire on the right.  The photo caption appears in white text in the top-right corner, “Internment Camp in Canada, ca. 1940”.


>> So immediately they threw up a barbed wire between them and us.



Music plays for the remainder of the video. Three credit pages appear in white text on black screen: Interview conducted by Barry Stahlmann, Witness to History Program, Montreal 2008, Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre


Images: Courtesy of Marcell Seidler, Library and Archives Canada/PA-143485


Directing: Helgi Piccinin; Editing and Colorization: Michaël Gravel, Helgi Piccinin; Audio Mix and Original Music: Pierre-Luc Lecours. [Logo for Chaire de recherche du Canada en patrimoine ethnologique]


Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, copyright 2017.



End of transcript.

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