On Tuesday, 22 August 2017, hundreds of people from France and a sizeable delegation of Ukrainians from the Diaspora attended the public unveiling of the Battle of Hill 70 Memorial, at Loos-en-Gohelle, France. Included in the ceremony was an official opening of the Konowal Walk. Corporal Konowal’s valour at the Battle of Hill 70 one hundred years ago (22 August 1917) was recognized with the highest medal of the British Empire, the Victoria Cross, the only Ukrainian ever so distinguished. The naming of the central pathway at the Hill 70 memorial after Konowal was made possible through the generosity of the Temerty Family Foundation, the Ihnatowycz Family Foundation, the Petro Jacyk Education Foundation, the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation, Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund, Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation, Ukrainian Canadian Veterans Fund, Shevchenko Foundation and other Ukrainian Canadian organizations and individuals, with the support of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain. Shown from left to right are Paul Grod (president, Ukrainian Canadian Congress), Professor Lubomyr Luciuk (chairman, UCCLF) and the presiding officer, Lieutenant-General Paul Wynnyk (Commander, Canadian Army). Commenting, Dr Luciuk said: “This is a very fitting tribute to a Canadian hero, 100 years to the day on which his valour in a fierce battle won him the Victoria Cross. Almost two decades ago the chairman of Branch #360 of The Royal Canadian Legion, the late John B Gregorovich, initiated our community’s efforts to honour Cpl Konowal, the honourary patron of that branch. Being here today to see John’s vision finally realized, on the site where Konowal fought so bravely, is a privilege. This Ukrainian Canadian hero will now always be remembered.”
By George W. Foty, Ukrainian Weekly
KYIV – The first-ever bilingual historical marker recalling Canada’s national internment operations of 1914-1920 was unveiled at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ on October 28 and blessed by Patriarch Sviatoslav.
On a previous visit to Canada, Patriarch Sviatoslav agreed it would be appropriate to display a commemorative plaque in Ukraine, and specifically in a Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church (UGCC), as most of those interned during Canada’s first national internment operations of 1914-1920 were of that faith.
Thus, on October 28 – marked by the Ukrainian community in Canada as the official day of recognition of these internment events – the UGCC primate presided over a memorial service (panakhyda) and the consecration of such a plaque in the great cathedral. Also present were Bishop Joseph Milian of Kyiv, Canada’s Ambassador to Ukraine Roman Washchuk, and clergy and faithful of the UGCC from Ukraine and Canada.
The patriarch addressed the audience saying: “The Patriarchal Cathedral is the core of our Church and of the Ukrainian people. To this cathedral flow both the joy and the pain of the Ukrainians in Ukraine and throughout the world. Today we blessed a plaque that commemorates the thousands of Ukrainians interned in Canada at the beginning of the first world war. They were suddenly viewed as enemies of the state.”
Patriarch Sviatoslav continued by noting that a few years ago, while visiting Alberta, he had the opportunity to visit one of the concentration camps in which, to this day, some of the camp’s barbed wire remains in its original position. He said it was enlightening to see how the internees in these extreme conditions professed their faith: “A picture in this memorial complex captured the punishment of an internee refusing to work on Christmas day (January 7)… Today we aspire that this suffering of our Ukrainian community in Canada be known around the world … The installation of these memorial plaques on the centenary of this unfortunate event has taken place in all our cathedrals of Canada, in Europe and Ukraine. It is important that we as Ukrainians preserve our historical memory … “
The patriarch expressed gratitude to Ambassador Washchuk, as well as to the government of Canada for its sensitivity and support not only for Ukrainians in Canada, but for Ukraine itself. Patriarch Sviatoslav said that all countries should follow Canada’s example in respecting the dignity of individuals and be responsive to the will of their citizens.
Ambassador Washchuk stated: “I am very grateful that the Patriarchal Cathedral agreed to commemorate this painful but important moment in Canadian and Ukrainian history. We cannot forget those who suffered, nor the errors committed a hundred years ago… These mistakes can be learned from, and adapted to the events in present-day Ukraine. We need to ensure the rights of all Ukrainian citizens, even in times of armed conflict… We should unite, and not allow ourselves to be divided. …These lessons help pave a path to a better future.”
Present from Canada, along with the ambassador, were Dr. Lada Roslytsky, Bohdan Kupych and this writer.
These memorial plaques are sponsored by the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation with assistance from the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund.
From Canada, Prof. Lubomyr Luciuk added: “We attempted to have a second plaque installed by the Kyiv Patriarchate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. As yet we are unable to confirm this arrangement… We still hope to have a plaque placed at St George Cathedral in Lviv and perhaps somewhere in Bukovyna, where internees of the Ukrainian Orthodox faith originated.”
After the consecration, all present prayed for the eternal rest of Ukrainians who died or suffered a hundred years ago behind Canadian barbed wire. The faithful departed, chanting “Vichnaya pamiat” (Memory eternal).
Translated from Ukrainian and edited from an original press release from the Kyiv Archeparchy of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church.
The first-ever bilingual historical marker recalling Canada’s first national internment operations of 1914-1920 was unveiled at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ (vul. Mykilsko Slobidska 5) on Wednesday, 28 October 2015 at 11 am (local time) with his Beatitude, Sviatoslav, Patriarch of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
Photos courtesy Ambassador Washchuk and Twitter.
For Immediate Release – 27 October 2015
The first-ever bilingual historical marker recalling Canada’s first national internment operations of 1914-1920 will be unveiled at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ (vul. Mykilsko Slobidska 5) on Wednesday, 28 October 2015 at 11 am (local time). It is expected that His Beatitude, Sviatoslav, Patriarch of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, will be participating in this event, organized by the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation with the assistance of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund.
Commenting, UCCLF’s chairman, Andrew Harasymiw, said:
“We are very pleased to have the people of Ukraine join us in remembering this episode in Ukrainian Canadian history, when thousands of Ukrainians and other Europeans were needlessly imprisoned, forced to do heavy labour for the profit of the jailers, disenfranchised, and subjected to other state censures, not because of any wrong they had done but only because of where they had come from, who they were. When His Beatitude visited Canada a few years ago, he paid a special visit to the internment campsites in Banff National Park, demonstrating his personal interest in hallowing the memory of all of the internees. With his co-operation we are now unveiling a marker in Ukraine’s capital city, recalling what was once an almost forgotten story both in Canada and in Ukraine.”
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For media coverage please contact Rev. Ihor Yaciv, head of press office, (mobile – 00380506648184), firstname.lastname@example.org
For organizational issues please contact Rev. Nikanor Loik (00380974428874)
For more information on UCCLF, please visit www.ucclf.ca
Darren Handschuh – Oct 25, 2015 / 4:17 pm | S
On Wednesday, a bilingual (Ukrainian/English) plaque will be unveiled in Kyiv at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Resurrected Christ, recalling Canada’s first national internment operations of 1914-1920.
During the Great War, thousands of Ukrainians and other Europeans were imprisoned as “enemy aliens,” not because of any wrong they had done but only because of who they were, where they had come from.
In 2008, after years of community effort spearheaded by the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association the Government of Canada provided support for the creation of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund tasked with developing commemorative and educational projects recalling this little-known episode in Canadian history.
An interment camp was opened in Vernon in September, 1914 to house the so called enemy aliens. The camp, located in what is now MacDonald Park next to WL Seaton Secondary School, housed hundreds of people.
Eleven men died while at the camp.
The Vernon camp was one of 24 across the nation that confined thousands of people between 1914 and 1920.
From our archives:
"The death of Mary Manko: Righting a historical injustice," by Lubomyr Luciuk, 1 August 2007, The Kingston Whig-Standard We buried her under a maple. Seeing Mary’s grave sheltered by a tree whose leaf symbolizes our country was comforting. Nearby stands a spruce. That evergreen would have reminded her of the boreal forest she knew as a young girl. Even though she was born in Montreal, Mary was branded an “enemy alien” and transported north to the Spirit Lake concentration camp, along with the rest of the Manko family. Thousands of Ukrainians and other Europeans like them were jailed, not because of anything they had done, but only because of where they had come from, who they were. What little wealth they had was taken, and they were forced to do hard labour for the profit of their jailers. The Mankos lost something even more precious, their youngest daughter, Nellie, who died there. Mary Manko Haskett passed away 14 July, the last known survivor of Canada’s first national internment operations. She was 98. For years she lent her support to the Ukrainian Canadian community’s campaign to secure a timely and honourable redress settlement. Disappointingly, she did not live to see that happen, despite the Honourable Stephen Harper’s own words. On 24 March 2005 he rose in the House of Commons to support fellow Conservative Inky Mark’s Bill C 331 – The Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act, saying: “Mary Haskett, is still alive…. I sincerely hope that she will live to see an official reconciliation of this past injustice.” The Prime Minister might now ask the bureaucracy why his wish was ignored. The government did, at least, send a representative to Mary’s funeral, Conservative MP Mike Wallace, (Burlington) who read a prepared statement, subsequently added to the website of the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney: “ We were saddened to hear of the death of Mrs. Mary Manko Haskett, the last known survivor of Canadian internment camps during the First World War and the postwar period. On behalf of Canada's New Government, I would like to extend my condolences to Mrs. Haskett's family, as well as the Ukrainian-Canadian community. Born and raised in Montreal, Mary was six years old when she and her family were detained in the Spirit Lake internment camp. Despite advice from British officials that ‘friendly aliens’ should not be interned, Ottawa invoked The War Measures Act to detain 8,579 ‘enemy aliens’ including Poles, Italians, Bulgarians, Croats, Turks, Serbs, Hungarians, Russians, Jews, and Romanians - but the majority (perhaps as many as 5,000) were of Ukrainian origin. Many were unwilling subjects of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and thus not ‘enemy aliens’ at all. For years. Mrs Haskett and others argued that ‘Canada's first internment operations’ herded together individuals based on nationality - many of them Canadian-born - and compelled them into forced labour. Despite the original wartime justification for these measures, many were kept in custody for two years after the Armistice of 1918. We are all grateful for Mrs. Manko Haskett's dedication to the cause of remembering and commemorating this important event in Canada's history.” Official condolences for those recently deceased, for example Bluma Appel and Ed Mirvish, can be found on the Canadian Heritage website. The innocuous text cited above wasn’t included, however, being deemed “too political.” And so yet another indignity was heaped upon Mary, posthumously. Remembering her means recalling what was done to her and by whom. That’s a no-no. While this gaffe may be corrected, even if Mary wasn’t rich or a patron of the arts, it’s too late. We got the message. Years ago Mary provided a prescription for the redress campaign. She insisted we should never demand an apology, or compensation for survivors, or their descendants. Instead we should ask, politely, for recognition and the restitution of what was taken under duress. Those funds, to be held in a community-based endowment, would underwrite commemorative and educational projects that, hopefully, will ensure no other ethnic, religious or racial minority suffers as Ukrainian Canadians once did. While no survivors remain, and even their descendants are senior citizens, a new generation of Canadians of Ukrainian heritage took up Mary’s cause nearly two decades ago, even though none of us had any ties to the victims. That changed on the day of Mary’s funeral, when my mother and sister returned from western Ukraine. They knew about Mary but, being away, did not know she had died. They brought the news that my cousin, Lesia, had married Ivan Manko, himself distantly related to Mary’s parents, Katherine and Andrew, whose graves are found in Mississsauga’s St. Christopher’s Catholic cemetery, not far from Mary’s mound. This crusade was always about righting an historical injustice and, in that sense, is political. It just got personal too. ---------------- Dr. Lubomyr Luciuk is director of research for the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (www.uccla.ca)
Kim Pawliw, internee descendant, cuts the ribbon opening the ‘Enemy Aliens’ exhibit at the Canadian War Museum, 2 October 2014 –
Left to Right: Dr L Luciuk (UCCLA), Mark O’Neill (CEO, Canadian Museum of History), Ambassador of Ukraine Vadym Prystaiko, Kim Pawliw, Rev Dr Petro Galadza, Jim Whitham (CEO, Canadian War Museum) and Dr John Maker CWM).
Interactive Map of Internment sites
Talk during the Brantford Ontario CTO plaque unveiling and the launch of Dance of the Banished.