Sudeten-German Refugees in Saskatchewan
S-530 to S-566
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Summaries of interviews
Interviews conducted in 1982 under a contract of the Saskatchewan Archives Board. In 1938 the Sudetenland region of the Czechoslovak Republic was annexed by Hitler's Germany with British and French approbation. The Nazis were not welcomed by all Germans living in the region. Hitler's coming also endangered those active in or sympathetic to socialist political movements. Therefore, individuals associated with the Sudeten German Social Democratic Party were immediately threatened. Many packed their belongings and within hours fled to the unoccupied parts of Czechoslovakia. It was only a movement of the Labour Party in Britain which saved the refugees from their plight. Britain decided to grant a temporary asylum to the German socialists and assist them in resettling overseas. A number of the refugees eventually emigrated to Saskatchewan under the auspices of the colonization departments of the CNR and CPR. While the CPR located 152 families in the Peace River District of British Columbia, the CNR delivered its 148 families to the St. Walburg area of Saskatchewan. This oral history project aimed at recording the personal and group experience of the Sudeten Germans in Saskatchewan. The twenty-eight informants relate their life stories and talk about adjustments to the Canadian way of life. Few actually had worked in agriculture prior to their arrival in St. Walburg and their survival depended not only on acculturation but also on adapting to a new occupation. The interviewer also attempted to document their social and political structure in Canada, such as involvement in the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation. Represented among the informants are men, women and community leaders, and children of the refugees.
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