Lethbridge: Internment Camp memorial unveiled at Exhibition Park

UCCLA’s latest internment plaque unveiled. Read the Global News story here.

UCCLA – Plaque recalls Lethbridge internment camp for “enemy aliens”

For immediate release (Lethbridge, Calgary, Ottawa) – Oct. 29, 2013

On Tuesday, 29 October 2013, at 1:30 pm, a commemorative plaque recalling the internment of Ukrainians and other Europeans during the First World War was unveiled at the Lethbridge Exhibition. One of 24 camps set up during Canada’s first national internment operations, most of the prisoners were civilians who had immigrated from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The camp was in operation from 30 September 1914 to 7 November 1916. Other camps remained open until the spring of 1920. Internees were forced to do heavy labour for the profit of their jailers and suffered other state-sanctioned indignities, not because they had done anything wrong but only because of who they were and where they had come from.

The commemorative plaque was placed by the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association, in cooperation with the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund and the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation. This is the 22nd such plaque placed by UCCLA. Just two more First World War-era internment camp sites remain to be memorialized: Montreal and Halifax.

UCCLA – Lethbridge WWI internment camp victims to be memorialized

For Immediate Release (Lethbridge, Calgary, Ottawa) – Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013

On the 99th anniversary of the start of the First World War and Canada’s first national internment operations, a permanent memorial to the civilian internees of the Lethbridge internment camp will be officially unveiled at the southwest Alberta city’s Exhibition Grounds on Thursday, Oct. 29 at 1:30 p.m. (MT).

UCCLA and city officials will unveil a trilingual (English, French, Ukrainian) plaque on the site where, between Sept. 30, 1914, and Nov. 7, 1916, hundreds of civilian internees cycled through following arrest and detention. Lethbridge was one of 24 such sites in Canada. The camp operations in total housed more than 8,000 men, women and children during the First World War and for two years following, simply for being born or for having parents who were born in what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

“UCCLA is steadfast in its commitment to mark each of the two dozen ‘concentration camps’ that dotted this land between 1914 and 1920,” said UCCLA’s chairperson R.W. Zakaluzny. “Thanks to the City of Lethbridge, Exhibition Park, the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund and the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation, the placement of this memorial plaque in Lethbridge means our work in permanently memorializing every site is nearly completed.”

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When: Thursday, Oct. 29 at 1:30 p.m (MT)
Where: Exhibition Park, 3401 Parkside Drive South, Lethbridge, Alta

For local directions, or on where to go in the event of inclement weather, please contact Rudy Friesen, General Manager, Exhibition Park, (403) 328-4491, rudy@exhibitionpark.ca.

For more information on the plaque or on the internment operations, please contact UCCLA at media@uccla.ca.