University of Alberta Press

Book details

Publication date: July 2015
Features: 25 B&W photographs, map, bibliography, notes, index
Keywords: Canadian History/Military History/World War II
Subject(s): HISTORY / Canada / Post-Confederation (1867-), Canadian History, Military History, Cultural Studies, Canadian History/Military History/World War II
Publisher(s): The University of Alberta Press

Ernest Robert Zimmermann. Born in 1931, in Cologne, Germany, historian Ernest Robert Zimmermann grew up in war-time Nazi Germany. After many adventures and through hard work, he received a doctorate from the University of London, England. He began a long career at Lakehead University in 1967. He passed away in 2008.

Michel S. Beaulieu. Michel S. Beaulieu is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of History at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

David K. Ratz. David K. Ratz, a Professor in the Department of History at Lakehead University, specializes in Canadian military history. He lives in Slate River, Ontario.

"The firsthand accounts collected through interviews over the years alone make The Little Third Reich on Lake Superior: A History of Canadian Internment Camp R an important addition to the literature, providing a much better understanding about life in a Canadian internment camp. Further, the experience of Camp R demonstrated to Canadian authorities the need for better constructed facilities, provision of adequate recreational activities, and the need to avoid mixed camps of hard core Nazis, prisoners of war, and interned civilians. It was the origin for rewriting prisoner classifications and rights within internment camps in Canada..." [Full article at]

Research Matters

"Most of us have an image of what prisoner of war camps looked like, either from documentary footage about Nazi POW camps, or feature films about World War ll, or television situation comedies. The Little Third Reich on Lake Superior shatters all of those stereotypes and, through diligent assembly of public records, multiple library archives and personal interviews, gives us a in-depth picture of a Canadian internment camp. All of this is skilfully organized in a reader-friendly, chronological way.... There are extensive notes and historical photographs included in the volume." [Full article at]

Michael Sabota, Chronicle Journal

"Hitler’s publicist once spent the winter in Red Rock, Ont., humming the Horst Wessel Song and cursing his fate. In the carnival of Canadian oddities, none is more curious than The Little Third Reich On Lake Superior. Historian Ernest Zimmerman of Lakehead University chronicles the strange events that saw 1,150 men and boys – Jews and Nazis alike – herded into bunkhouses northeast of Thunder Bay in the winter of 1940.... Little Third Reich counts 26 such camps nationwide from Kananaskis Park in Alberta to Montréal’s St. Helen’s Island, future site of Expo 67. None were bigger than Camp R at Red Rock." [Full article at]

Holly Doan, Blacklock's Reporter

“… Zimmermann details life in one small, remote camp on Lake Superior to show unique origins and to criticize persons and procedures of Canada’s internment program. He condemns Churchill for deporting enemy aliens from the UK to Canada to forestall an imaginary ‘fifth column’ in case of German invasion. He blames the Mackenzie King government in Ottawa for accepting deportees and handling internees in an illegal, unworkable manner…. Nazis and anti-Nazis (including Jews) fought bloody conflicts in the camps, often leaving Nazis to dominate camp life, plan escapes, and generate propaganda. The book includes colorful incidents of daily life and inmate characters such as former Hitler confidant Ernst ‘Putzi’ Hanfstaengel. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries."

G. H. Davis, CHOICE Magazine

“The Little Third Reich on Lake Superior (University of Alberta Press) reminds us how many people it can take to bring a work to print. The late Ernest Robert Zimmermann’s manuscript required further editing that was provided by two academics, Michel S. Beaulieu and David K. Ratz. Then the author’s estate had opinions and expectations about aspects of a difficult work that blends both memoir and scholarly research. Lesley Peterson worked effectively and efficiently as an editor on all technical fronts as she negotiated into print this important work that takes you inside Canada’s often contradictory internment policies during the Second World War.” Judges’ comments, Tom Fairley Award

“Lesley Peterson successfully navigated the occasionally competing interests of a late author’s family and colleagues while shepherding this book through a publishing house in transition, accomplishments that go far beyond the usual expectations for even the best editors.” Judges’ comments, Tom Fairley Award

“In The Third Little Reich on Lake Superior, Leslie Peterson impressively demonstrates that while the work of an editor may be hidden, it can require advanced skills in tact, diligence and patience. While the author had completed the manuscript just before his death, it still had to go peer review, and two academics became its champions throughout the publishing process. With many competing interests in the posthumous work, Peterson had to do far more than the thorough copy edit required. She developed a set of principles to which all parties had to agree, before suggesting changes to the manuscript. For example, to assure she retained the author’s voice, she stipulated that she would use the author’s words, phrases and ideas whenever possible, and thus had to thoroughly identify what characterized the author’s writing. Every edit required justification. Peterson is patience with a capital P.” Judges’ comments, Tom Fairley Award

"The study shines light on the lesser-known Canadian prisoner of war (POW) camps in World War II. In this well-researched study, Zimmermann describes not only Camp R, but the inmates, guards, military command structure, politicians, and general political environment in Canada and Britain.... Zimmermann offers an important study of the unjust imprisonment of German and Austrian refugees during World War II. The work is easy to read and deftly supported by a broad array of sources. Zimmermann’s analysis encompasses Canadian and British history, making it of interest to a wide audience. It can also serve as a comparison to the internment of Japanese Americans in the United States. The Little Third Reich on Lake Superior sets a high standard for future research into civilian internment camps."

Anna Marie Anderson, The Journal of Military History

#8 on Canada's History Bestseller List, November 02, 2016

"Zimmermann's thorough research, along with numerous photos of daily life in Camp R, paints a vivid picture of life at the camp and the political context that spawned it... [A] fascinating look into the politics of wartime internment camps and the role Canada played as host to the unique group of internees at Camp R."

Sandy Klowack, Canada's History

"An impressive work...[this book] is a substantial and unique contribution that is very highly recommended for academic library 20th Century Canadian History reference collections in general, and World War II supplemental studies reading lists in particular."

Paul T. Vogel, MBR Bookwatch

"... [Camp R] became a unique encounter between high-minded German-speaking dissidents, sent to North America by mistake at a time of military panic, and rather uninformed Canadians who had no clue as to the exact meaning of such a detention process.... [A] story that has no parallels almost anywhere else in our national record, and which is revealing of the absurdities and biting ironies that warfare can bring to unsuspecting human beings. To present this narrative, the author has done very serious and convincing research, has questioned numerous survivors, and has written an excellent study that I recommend strongly." [Full review at doi: 10.3138/utq.86.3.162]

Pierre Anctil, University of Toronto Quarterly

Tom Fairley Award / Editors' Association of Canada (Editors Canada), Canada
Lois Hole Award for Editorial Excellence, Alberta Book Awards, Book Publishers Association of Alberta, Canada
Floyd S. Chalmers Award, Canada
M. Elizabeth Arthur Award, Canada
ISBNs: 9780888646736 978-0-88864-673-6 Title: the little third reich on lake superior ISBNs: 9781772120295 978-1-77212-029-5 Title: the little third reich on lake superior ISBNs: 9781772120301 978-1-77212-030-1 Title: the little third reich on lake superior ISBNs: 9781772120318 978-1-77212-031-8 Title: the little third reich on lake superior