Heritage Highlights: Prisoners of War near Winkler

A truck loaded with German POWs heading to the beet fields. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)

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By Ed Falk – Do you know that there was a World War II Prisoner of War Camp located east of Winkler in 1944?
The German prisoners were housed in tents. Some of them worked in sugar beet fields and some worked for local farmers helping with combining.
Stories of the time include:
• Residents of Winkler socialized with the prisoners, walking to the camp from town.
• When the prisoners were loaded onto the truck box, the guard would hand his rifle to one of the prisoners, climb into the box and take back his weapon. The driver would then proceed to the beet field.
• It has been said that some of the young men returned to Canada after they were repatriated to Germany.
This writer was fascinated when as a young boy of nine years, he saw the POWs playing soccer.

Heritage Highlights, supplied by the Winkler Heritage Society, introduces readers to the people, places and things that still impact us today. The Winkler Heritage Museum is located in the Southland Mall and is open Tuesday to Friday, 12 to 4 p.m., Saturdays 10 am – 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday evenings. The Archives located in the Winkler Centennial Library are open Wednesdays from 3 to 5 p.m.. For appointments call archivist Ed Falk at 204-325-8929. The Stones and Stories binders are on display at both locations. Come for a visit! One way of showing support for the Winkler Heritage Society (Archives, Stones & Stories and Museum) is by becoming a member of the Society. Forms may be picked up at both the Archives and Museum.

The Winkler Heritage Society will host an open house and barbecue fundraiser on Saturday, June 8. The event takes place at the north end of the Southland Mall with the open house running from 10-4 and the barbecue from 11:30-1:30. Come out for a hotdog, chips and a drink for $5.

POWs also helped local farmers with harvest. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)

POWs also helped local farmers with harvest. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)

Tents set up east of Winkler to house German POWs. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)

Tents set up east of Winkler to house German POWs. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)

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