Story: Second World War

New Zealand prisoners of war, 1945

New Zealand prisoners of war, 1945

A group of New Zealand prisoners of war await repatriation in Brussels, Belgium, in May 1945. For nearly all of them it had been a long wait for freedom. Most of the 8,348 soldiers captured had been held since the early setbacks in Crete, Greece and North Africa in 1941 and 1942. Many were held in Italy until the Italian armistice in September 1943, when over 3,000 New Zealand POWs were transferred to Germany. Although the prisoners suffered from boredom and depression, in general the Axis observed the Geneva conventions and the men were adequately cared for. 716 succeeded in escaping. There were also 575 airmen captured and 194 sailors.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, War History Collection (DA-01514)
Reference: DA-11543-F
Photograph by Stuart Wilson

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Ian McGibbon, 'Second World War - Final victory', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 21 October 2021)

Story by Ian McGibbon, published 20 Jun 2012, updated 10 May 2016