On Friday 22 August, 2014 at Holy Eucharist Cathedral Parish in New Westminster, British Columbia the Ukrainian Catholic Community of the Lower Mainland/Vancouver commemorated and recalled Canada’s First National Internment Operation 1914-1920 with a Panakhyda/Memorial Service and blessing of commemorative plaque. The memorial service was celebrated by Most Rev. Ken Nowakowski, bishop of New Westminster with concelebrants, Fr. Yuriy Vyshnevskyy, of Holy Eucharist Cathedral, Fr. Andrii Chornenkyy, of Holy Cross parish in Surrey, and Fr. Richard Soo sj, of Dormition of the Mother of God parish in Richmond.
Attending and speaking at the commemoration service was Hon. Mark Warawa, Federal Member of Parliament who brought greetings from Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, Ms. Lorrie Williams, deputy Mayor of New Westminster, Mirko Petriw, president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Vancouver branch and His Excellency Mir Huculak, Honorary Consul of Ukraine in Vancouver. The ceremony was attended by members of the Ukrainian Catholic Community in the Greater Vancouver area.
Thousands of Ukrainians in the World War I living in Canada who had recently immigrated to Canada and held Austrian passports were arrested and disenfranchised and classified as enemy aliens. The Canadian Government has recently recognized the great wrong that was committed to these men, women and children.
Photo courtesy Doreen Kostyniuk
CJAM Podcast — about Serbian Internment code 7081
During Canada’s first national internment operations of 1914-1920 thousands of men, women and children were branded as “enemy aliens,” and many were interned, forced to do heavy labour for the profit of their jailers, disenfranchised, and subjected to other state-sanctioned indignities, not because of any wrong they had done, but only because of who they were, where they had come from.
Twenty-four (24) camps were established across the Dominion, housing 8,579 men, women and children. Some 3,000 were Prisoners of War (POWs) but the majority were civilian internees.
Internment operations were authorized by The War Measures Act (22 August 1914) and continued until June 1920, nearly two years after the Great War with the Armistice (11 November 1918).
Ukrainians and other Europeans constituted the majority of the civilian internees – the so-called “Second Class” POWs – with Bulgarians, Croatians, Czechs, Hungarians, Rumanians, Serbians, Slovaks and others rounded up only because they came to Canada with passports identifying them as citizens of the multinational Austro-Hungarian Empire. As well some Armenians, Alevi Kurds and other citizens of the Ottoman Turkish Empire were interned. Most “First Class” POWs were Germans and Austrians.
Women and children were held in two camps, one in Vernon, British Columbia, the other in Spirit Lake (near Amos), Quebec.
Internees were obliged to do heavy labour under armed guard. What little wealth some had was confiscated upon their arrest, and not all of it was returned.
Racist and anti-immigrant attitudes in the pre-war period, coupled with wartime xenophobia and ignorance, were responsible for the internment operations although Ottawa was informed by the British Government (in January 1915) that many of the “races” being rounded up were “hostile to Austro-Hungarian rule.”
Most internees were single, young men, immigrants lured to Canada with promises of free land and freedom (e.g. 170,000 Ukrainians arrived between 1891 and 1914), although a few internees were naturalized British subjects or even Canadian-born. Some so-called “enemy aliens” served in the ranks of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) by lying about who they were.
In September 1917 passage of The War Time Elections Act disenfranchised many “enemy aliens.”
The first permanent internment camp was opened at Fort Henry, in Kingston, Ontario, 18 August 1914; the last to close was at Kapuskasing, 24 February 1920.
The campaign for recognition and symbolic redress was spearheaded by the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association, (www.uccla.ca), guided by the words of a survivor from the Spirit Lake internment camp, Montreal-born Mary Manko Haskett: any such effort, she counselled, must be “about memory, not money.”
Following passage of MP Inky Mark’s Bill C-331 (Internment of Persons of Ukrainian Origin Recognition Act) the Government of Canada established the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund (www.internmentcanada.ca), in 2008. Its Endowment Council represents all affected communities and internee descendants and supports commemorative and educational initiatives recalling the internment operations. Project CTO (One Hundred) is sponsored by the CFWWIRF, in association with the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation (www.ucclf.ca).
This is a first-ever event in Canadian history with over 100 plaques recalling an historic injustice being unveiled on the same date (Friday, 22 August 2014) and time, 11h00 (local time) from coast to coast, fittingly starting with Amherst, Nova Scotia and ending in Nanaimo, British Columbia, two of the 24 internment camp sites of the Great War period.
The same War Measures Act that was used against Ukrainians and other Europeans during the First World War would be deployed again during the Second World War, against our fellow Canadians of German, Italian and Japanese heritage, and in 1970, against some Quebecois.
With Project CTO we hallow the memory of all of the internees, and remind all Canadians of the need to remain vigilant in defence of human rights and civil liberties, particularly in times of domestic and international crisis.
— prepared by Project CTO Lead, Professor Lubomyr Luciuk (9 July 2014)
“What was done to us was wrong. Because no one bothered to remember or learn about the wrong that was done to us it was done to others again, and yet again. Maybe there’s an even greater wrong in that.”
– Mary Manko Haskett, survivor, Spirit Lake internment camp
UCCLF Media Release
Announcing CTO – the One Hundred Plaques Across Canada Initiative
Ottawa – For Immediate Release (26 January 2014)
To mark the 100th anniversary of Canada’s first national internment operations of 1914-1920, the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation (www.ucclf.ca) will be unveiling 100 plaques on Friday, 22 August 2014, the 100th anniversary of the War Measures Act.
This initiative, the CTO (“One Hundred”) project, enjoys the financial support of the UCCLF and of the Endowment Council of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund
All 100 plaques will be unveiled at 11 am (local time) in Ukrainian, Croatian, Serbian, German, and Hungarian churches and cultural centres, as well as in local and regional museums and other public venues, creating a “wave” of unveilings, moving from east to west, from coast to coast.
Dr Lubomyr Luciuk, the CTO project leader, said: “Beginning in 1994, the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (www.uccla.ca) began placing historical markers to recall the internment operations, hoping to eventually have a plaque at each of the 24 camp sites. We started with Kingston’s own Fort Henry, the location of Canada’s first permanent internment camp. Over the course of some 20 years our volunteers and supporters have made sure each internment camp location has been marked. The CTO project builds on UCCLA’s foundational work. These plaques will hallow the memory of all of the victims of the internment operations and help educate our fellow Canadians about a little-known episode in Canada’s national history. That fulfils the mandate of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund and of the UCCLF.
I want to add that this is the first time in Canadian history that any community has attempted to unveil 100 historical plaques from coast to coast at the same (local) time. This couldn’t happen without the enthusiastic support of hundreds of volunteers in 100 communities across the country, from Amherst, Nova Scotia to Nanaimo, British Columbia, and Grand Prairie, Alberta to Val D’Or, Quebec to name but a few. We’re also very grateful to our Patriarch, the two Metropolitans, the national executive of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, the representatives of the other affected communities and many of our internee descendants, for their help.
We’re calling on people to set aside 11 am (local time) on Friday, 22 August 2014 so that they can join us in witnessing a plaque unveiling in their own community or region. Be there to remember, and to learn.”
The UCCLF and CFWWIRF will be publishing a list of all CTO plaque locations before April 2014.
For more information please contact: Dr Lubomyr Luciuk
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.
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.”
– 30 –
When: Thursday, Oct. 29 at 1:30 p.m (MT)
Where: Exhibition Park, 3401 Parkside Drive South, Lethbridge, Alta
For more information on the plaque or on the internment operations, please contact UCCLA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Listen to this CBC Radio interview:
Оголошення від Cambridge Ukrainian Studies
Двохсотріччя від дня народження Тараса Шевченка надає нам привернути зацікавлення до цієї постаті міжнародних ЗМІ. Намагаючись представити двохсотліття як цілісну подію, щоб зосередити увагу громадськості, у жовтні 2013 року, Українськими студіями в Кембриджському університеті буде запущено веб-сайт www.Shevchenko2014.org. Основною функцією сайту буде надання відвідувачам швидкого доступу до оголошень заходів, пов’язаних з відзначенням двохсотріччя від дня народження Шевченка у всьому світі, з датами, місцями проведення подій та іншою інформацією, бажано англійською мовою. Для цього використовуватиметься інтерактивний календар.
Ми б хотіли, щоб Ваші заходи з нагоди святкування двохсотріччя також з’явилися у цьому календарі. Тому просимо надсилати новини та оголошення ваших заходів (бажано англійською мовою), до Вікторії Лeвер (Mrs Victoria Lever, адміністраторка відділу славістики Кембриджського університету) на електронну адресу email@example.com не пізніше 16 вересня 2013. Щиро дякуємо за співпрацю.
Announcement from Cambridge Ukrainian Studies
The Shevchenko Bicentennial is a special opportunity for us to cultivate the profile of one of the world’s great poets and capture the interest and imagination of the international media. In an effort to present the bicentennial as a cohesive event and focus the public’s attention, Cambridge Ukrainian Studies will be launching the website www.Shevchenko2014.org in October 2013. The site’s main function is to offer visitors quick, ‘one-stop’ access to listings of Shevchenko 2014-related events around the world, with dates, locations, and other information, preferably in English. An interactive calendar will be used for this purpose.
We would like to feature your Shevchenko 2014 events on this special calendar. Please send news and announcements of your activities (preferably in English) to Mrs Victoria Lever (Administrator of the Department of Slavonic Studies at the University of Cambridge) at firstname.lastname@example.org by 16 September 2013. Many thanks for your partnership and collaboration.