Amherst POW Camp 100th Anniversary
I am very pleased that Her Excellency Sabine Sparwasser, the Ambassador of the Republic of Germany and His Excellency Andriy Shevchenko, the Ukrainian Ambassador have taken an interest in the 100th Anniversary of the closure of the Amherst Prisoner of War Camp. When we have the commemoration event on July 2, their participation will make this an international event and put a spotlight on Amherst and Cumberland County, as well as help telling an interesting chapter in our history. Both ambassadors were quick to take an interest in this 100th Anniversary commemoration. The camp housed hundreds of German and Ukrainian prisoners from 1915 to 1919.
Our Canadian Minister of Defense has also offered to lend a hand in putting this together as has the Minister of Veterans Affairs. I expect that we will see more uniforms in Amherst than we have seen for a long time….. and there will be quite a variety of them.
This POW camp provided employment for hundreds of local residents and servicemen. The inmates worked on many projects in the county that improved the quality of life here. The contribution they made in establishing the Nappan Experimental Farm is not forgotten as the federal farm is still very active today, 100 years later. Dickey Park was another project that the inmates helped to construct.
The July 2 event at the Amherst Armoury will be a great occasion with a wide range of exhibits and historical details. The 50 person German Luftwaffe Band will be a highlight and will provide us with a unique concert. A diorama of the actual camp will be on display, a slide show will be providing some of the amazing photos that our museums have on the camp, dozens of artifacts will be on display, and much more. This will be a very unique event and there will be only one opportunity to experience it.
The Germans have teased us with information about the history of the prisoners but will not tell us the details until July 2. They have gone into their records and somehow uncovered information about some of the prisoners and the crafts they created. All we can do is wait until July 2 to find out.
This promises to be an exciting, interesting and unique event. Dozens of volunteers are already busy getting ready to make sure that everything works well and our guests are properly welcomed and looked after. July 2 will come quickly but we will be ready.
Bill Casey, MP