This feature-length documentary looks at German POWs from the WWII who were housed in 25 camps across Canada. Filmmaker Eva Colmers follows her father's story - Theo Melzer - who spent three and a half years in a POW camp in Lethbridge, Alberta. Growing up in Germany, she had always been puzzled by her father's fond memories of his POW life, so when she moved to Canada, she set out to rediscover this story. What she found surprised her. Watch as Theo Melzer, along with other POWs, recount how their lives were changed by the unexpected respect and dignity they received at the hands of their Canadian captors.
The NFB's 2nd Oscar®-nominated film.
This short film examines the Japan that emerged at the beginning of the 1900s and was firmly established as an industrialized nation by the outbreak of World War II. Facing the greatest threat in their history, the democracies of the Pacific took careful stock of this new Japan and its strength, and erected a vast system of defence across the world's greatest ocean.
This documentary introduces us to Italian-Canadians whose lives were disrupted and uprooted by seclusion in internment camps during the Second World War. On June 10, 1940, Italy entered WWII. Overnight, the Canadian government came to see the country's 112,000 Italian-Canadians as a threat to its national security. The RCMP rounded up thousands of people it considered fascist sympathizers. Seven hundred of them were held for up to three years in internment camps, most of them at Petawawa, Ontario. None were ever charged with a criminal offence. Remarkably, the former internees are not bitter as they look back on the way their own country treated them.
This film is part of the Valour and the Horror series, three controversial films on Canadian involvement in World War II. In the autumn of 1941, nearly 2,000 inexperienced Canadian soldiers were sent to Hong Kong at the request of the British government as a symbolic show of strength that would deter a Japanese attack on the colony. Canada's soldiers found themselves in the midst of a desperate battle they could not hope to win. On Christmas Day, 1941, the British colony of Hong Kong officially surrendered to Japan. The surviving defenders became prisoners of war. Over the next three and a half years, many of them would come to envy the dead.
This feature-length documentary tells the story of the Asahi baseball team. In pre-World War II Vancouver, the team was unbeatable, winning the Pacific Northwest Championship for five straight years. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, all persons of Japanese descent in Canada were sent to internment camps. The former Asahi members survived by playing ball. Their passion was contagious and soon other players joined in, among them RCMP officials and local townspeople. As a result, the games helped break down racial and cultural barriers. This remarkable story is told with a combination of archival footage, interviews and dramatic re-enactments.
Based on the diaries of Canadian doctor Ben Wheeler during his internment in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp during World War II, this feature-length docudrama is a glowing account of the spirit and its will to survive physical and mental suffering. The film is comprised of newsreel footage, interviews and dramatic re-enactments.
The bombing of the American naval base at Pearl Harbor thrust 9-year-old Minoru Fukushima into a world of racism so malevolent he would be forced to leave Canada, the land of his birth. Like thousands of other Japanese Canadians, Minoru and his family were branded as an enemy of Canada, dispatched to internment camps in British Columbia and finally deported to Japan. Directed by Michael Fukushima, Minoru's son, the film combines classical animation with archival material. The memories of the father are interspersed with the voice of the son, weaving a tale of a birthright lost and recovered.
This documentary tells the personal story of filmmaker Jari Osborne's father, a Chinese-Canadian veteran. She describes her father's involvement in World War II and uncovers a legacy of discrimination and racism against British Columbia's Chinese-Canadian community. Sworn to secrecy for decades, Osborne's father and his war buddies now vividly recall their top-secret missions behind enemy lines in Southeast Asia. Theirs is a tale of young men proudly fighting for a country that had mistreated them. This film does more than reveal an important period in Canadian history. It pays moving tribute to a father's quiet heroism.
Part one of a 3-part series, Canada Remembers, Turning the Tide documents the years between the outbreak of WWII in September 1939 and June 1944. A compilation of modern day interviews interspersed with photographs and footage from the war, this documentary covers landmark events such as the Battle of Britain, the raid on Dieppe, the landing in Sicily and the battle for Ortona. It focuses on both the Canadian soldiers, sailors and airmen who fought in the war and the women who became part of the war effort, either by enlisting or by going to work in the factories and shipyards.
Part three of a 3-part series, Canada Remembers, Endings and Beginnings focuses on the final phase of WWII in Europe in 1945 and the aftermath. Veterans recount their memories of the conflict at the Rhine and the celebrations on VE Day, followed by their contribution to the victory in the Far East. These recollections are complemented by outstanding footage filmed by army cameramen. The film also focuses on what transpired after the war, when the soldiers had to reintegrate back into society.
Part two of a 3-part series, Canada Remembers, The Liberators focuses on WWII during the period between June and December 1944. While following the action from the D-Day landings on the shores of Normandy up into Belgium and Holland, the film also highlights the contributions of the women who remained on the homefront. As the fourth largest producer of armaments among the Allied countries, Canada spent much of the war evolving into a formidable industrial nation.