Michael Bahry, Thomas Konyk, Alexander Martiniuk, Filip Rotinsky and Sam Zalusky. All were Ukrainian by nationality.
On the night of 22 June 1919 the “Russian Gang” donned masks, and raided a bunkhouse near Havelock, Ontario. One robber, Konyk, was carrying a loaded pistol. It discharged and a Macedonian worker, Philip Yanoff, was hit and bled to death.
Tried and found guilty, Martiniuk, Rotinsky, and Zalusky got life in Kingston Penitentiary. Bahry and Konyk received death sentences.
Nine clergymen appealed to the Minister of Justice, 8 December 1919, Their plea was rejected, as was a last-minute attempt to save Bahry from execution, Konyk’s lawyer, Mr P T Ahern, affirmed his client was holding the gun when it went off and that Zalusky — not Bahry It was not to be.
A double execution was carried out in the Peterborough County Jail, 14 January 1920, Ukrainian New Year’s Eve on the Julian calendar. Arthur Ellis, one of Canada’s most notorious hangmen, presided. The Peterborough Daily Review reported how this “gruesome spectacle” had “attracted a number of the morbidly curious.” Following their judicial execution the felons were laid in coffins, heads to the west, conforming
to an old belief that when our Saviour returns it will happen in the east, the geography of their placement allowing the dead to walk toward Him at the Second Coming.
Until August 1994 Michael and Thomas were all but forgotten, disinterred during an archaeological survey conducted 80 years after the Great War began. Their skeletons were removed to the University of Western Ontario, examined carefully.
When we discovered what befell these “enemy aliens” we passed no judgement on how others, long before our time, decided their fate. Yet we were determined to give these two young men, convicted criminals if you will, shelter in hallowed ground, for that is a Christian duty.
Bahry and Konyk will now rest in peace until that final Day of Judgement that awaits us all.
Lubomyr Luciuk serves as Director of Research for the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (www.uccla.ca)
For immediate release: Toronto, On. Oct. 16, 2012
Feature Film receives support from Ukrainian Foundation:
At a meeting in the Nation’s capital, Actor/Film Maker Ryan Boyko appealed to the executive of the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation (UCCLF) for support of a new Feature Film about Canada’s First National Internment operations of 1914-1920.
The film “Enemy Aliens” is a fictional account that takes historical events from 24 internment camps and the culture of hysteria at the time and weaves them into a fantastic tale of adventure, betrayal, love, injustice, hope and a struggle for survival against all odds.
In particular, “Enemy Aliens” tells the story of two brothers who leave Ukraine in 1913 for the promise of a better life in Canada, only to be swept up in the politics of the War Measures Act under which they are deemed “enemy aliens”. One alarming turn after another shapes an epic adventure that changes lives forever.
The members of UCCLF in attendance voted unanimously in favor of supporting the project. UCCLF contributed the sum of $25,000.00 toward the Feature Film. Further to their donation, UCCLF’s members took an extra step by earmarking “Enemy Aliens” as one of their supported projects. Donations to “Enemy Aliens” can now be made directly to UCCLF, a not-for-profit organization that will issue tax receipts for donations.
This project has also received support from the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund www.internmentcanada.ca.
For more information on this and other upcoming projects, please visit www.ryanboyko.com.
The Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation (UCCLF) is pleased to announce the recipient of this year’s fourth annual High School Civil Liberties Award writing competition.
Valued at $500.00, the High School Civil Liberties Award is given to the high school student who submitted the highest-quality research essay based on a civil liberties theme, an initiative undertaken in recognition of Ukraine’s Holodomor Famine-Genocide of 1932-33.
This year’s winner is Grade 10 student, Jane Sofia Last of Foam Lake, Saskatchewan, whose essay, “Misconceptions of the Ukrainian Genocide”, was adjudicated to have been the best researched, most convincingly argued and most powerfully written.
The UCCLF would like to congratulate Jane and all the students who submitted an essay. Each participant in this writing competition will be awarded a copy of Into Auschwitz, For Ukraine by Stefan Petelycky for their efforts.
The Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation would like to introduce two new awards focused on recognition of Canada’s first national internment operations of 1914-1920, during which thousands of Ukrainian Canadians were labelled “enemy aliens” and were interned in camps throughout the country.
The Internment Recognition High School Award requires high school students to submit an essay of up to 1500 words on the topic, while the Internment Recognition Opinion-Editorial Award requires high school or post-secondary students to have their opinion-editorial published in a major Canadian newspaper. Both awards have a deadline of April 30, 2011.
On 17-20 June 2010 the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund’s Endowment Council sponsored a weekend-long symposium in Kingston, Ontario at Queen’s University , bringing together some 50 community activists, scholars, archivists, museum curators, internee descendants and artists to develop initiatives that will commemorate and educate all Canadians about what happened during Canada’s first national internment operations of 1914-1920. It was only fitting that the symposium was held in “the Limestone City” where in 1978, the Ukrainian Canadian community’s campaign for acknowledgement and redress began with an interview between former internee Nykola Sakaliuk and Dr. Lubomyr Luciuk, then a geography student at Queens University. The symposium schedule, facilitated by Gail Lord, revolved around four major themes – A Crippling Legacy – The Affected Communities,” moderated by Paul Grod, president, Ukrainian Canadian Congress; Repositories of Memory – The Curators, Custodians and Collectors,” with comments by Mark O’Neill, chief executive officer of the Canadian War Museum; “Recovering Memory: Educating the Educators,” guided by Dr. Ruth Sandwell of the Ontario Institute of Education and “Reshaping Canada’s Cultural Landscapes – The Creators” with Marsha Skrypuch, author and internee descendant. The keynote address was by Professor Roger Daniels, professor emeritus, University of Cincinnati, USA, “Bringing Governments to Justice.”
The weekend long symposium ended with a memorial service at Fort Henry, Canada’s first permanent internment camp, hosted by this UNESCO World Heritage site museum curator, Ron Ridley. Wreaths were laid by Orest Kruhlak, chair of the Endowment Council and Andrew Hladyshevsky, president of The Shevchenko Foundation, and by diplomats representing a number of the homeland countries namely Dr. Ihor Ostash, Ambassador of Ukraine to Canada, Ms Vesela Mrden Korac, Ambassador of Croatia to Canada, Tamas Kiraly, deputy head of Mission for the Embassy of the Republic of Hungary. Ms Diane Dragasevich represented the Serbian Canadian community. An ecumenical prayer was given by the Reverend Dr Stanford Lucyk following comments by the Honourable Peter Milliken, Speaker of the House of Commons. The Ukrainian song, “Eternal Memory” concluded the event.
The symposium’s local organizer and chairman of the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Professor Lubomyr Luciuk, said: “This meeting represents the culmination of many years of effort on the part of many of those attending it. We hope the Kingston Symposium will lay the groundwork for helping the Endowment Council ensure that what happened to Ukrainians and other Europeans during this country’s first national internment operations becomes part of the educational curricula of every province and is recalled through film, artwork and historical markers across Canada. Our fellow citizens need to become better aware of what the internees suffered – not because of anything they had done, but only because of who they were, where they came from. This violation of the civil liberties and human rights of thousands of innocents remains an historical episode in Canadian history that is scarce known. We are beginning the process of recovering this historical memory to help ensure that, in future periods of domestic or
international crisis, no other ethnic, religious or racial minorities in Canada suffer needlessly as these “enemy aliens” of the First World War period did.”
For more information on the CFWWIRF please go to www.internmentcanada.ca (the Kingston Symposium schedule can be found under Media Releases) or phone toll free
Ukrainian News, 24 June 2010
Director, Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation
Her children did not believe her story. His nephew was frightened by how adamantly he refused to talk about it. Her grandchildren would only learn what happened when they read her diaries long after she passed.
Their children never learned about it in school. Most did not talk about it because they feared it would happen again or they were ashamed that it happened to them. Their stories were almost lost forever. The Government of Canada destroyed most of the paperwork. Perhaps a reasonable rationale could have been found. It is unlikely. These things do not happen when decision-makers use reasonable judgment.
None of them committed a criminal act to warrant such treatment. None of them asked for any of their belongings or property to be returned after they were freed. Over time, some feared no one would remember. Others only wanted acknowledgement from the government that betrayed them. None of them lived to witness that acknowledgement because it took almost 90 years to achieve. After almost a quarter of a century of effort, the acknowledgement was made by the Government of Canada along with a $10 million endowment fund, Canada’s First World War Internment Recognition Fund (the Fund), the means for the affected communities to commemorate and educate the general public about the injustice that was perpetrated.
The Kingston Symposium is the first significant endeavour by the Advisory Council of the Fund. On June 17-20, 2010, the Council gathered approximately 50 descendants, scholars, educators, artists and community activists from across Canada who have been committed to recalling Canada’s first national internment operations. The fact that there was so much enthusiastic discussion is evidence that the internee stories have not been lost. Moreover, the future of the stories looks bright as the attendees provided the Council with an overwhelming number of ideas to consider as they determine how to select projects to fund in the future and how to determine their own strategic initiatives.
The Kingston Symposium’s local organizer and Chairman of the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Professor Lubomyr Luciuk, said: “This meeting represents the culmination of many years of effort on the part of many of those attending it. We hope the Kingston Symposium will lay the groundwork for helping the Endowment Council ensure that what happened to Ukrainians and other Europeans during this country’s first national internment operations becomes part of the educational curricula of every province and is recalled through film, artwork and historical markers across Canada . Our fellow citizens need to become better aware of what the internees suffered – not because of anything they had done, but only because of who they were, where they came from.”
Sessions were facilitated by Gail Lord and Katherine Molineux of Lord Cultural Resources, a global business that collaborates with people and organizations in the visioning, planning and implementation of cultural places, programs and resources. Ms. Lord skillfully facilitated the four sessions of the Symposium whose themes and introductory speakers were as follows:
A Crippling Legacy – The Affected Communities. Paul Grod, National President, Ukrainian Canadian Congress, explained that the objectives of the Kingston Symposium were to elicit input into the development of a clear strategic plan of action for the Fund that would help explain the importance of the internment experience and how to transmit this importance to Canadians. He stressed that the Fund should focus on achieving clear, measurable objectives and not simply being a granting agency.
Repositories of Memory – The Curators, Custodians and Collectors. Mark O’Neill, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian War Museum , spoke to the significance and programming in today’s museums and how the internment story will emotionally appeal to a larger number of Canadians especially if it is incorporated into the larger context of civil liberties and human rights abuses nationally and globally.
Recovering Memory – Educating the Educators. Dr. Ruth Sandwell, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, explained the complexities and value of including the internment operations in the school systems in each province by navigating through the curriculum process compared to directly educating the teachers.
Reshaping Canada ’s Cultural Landscapes – The Creators. Marsha Skrypuch, author and internee descendant, facilitated a discussion about the challenges of communicating the story through various cultural media and criteria that existing arts granting organizations use to select projects that should receive funding.
The keynote address was delivered by Professor Roger Daniels, Professor Emeritus, University of Cincinnati entitled Bringing Governments to Justice. Professor Daniels shared his valuable perspective, knowledge, and experiences of researching and writing about the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Of great significance and relevance to the Kingston Symposium, was his time as a consultant to the presidential Commission on the Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians which resulted in the signed apology by then-President Ronald Reagan and a symbolic payment of $20,000 to Japanese Americans in 1988.
The Kingston Symposium concluded with a somber memorial service held at historic Fort Henry , Canada ‘s first permanent internment camp, hosted by Fort Henry Curator, Ron Ridley. Wreaths were laid by Orest Kruhlak, Chair, Endowment Council; Andrew Hladyshevsky, President, Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko; and by the following diplomats representing the countries of the affected communities: Dr. Ihor Ostash, Ambassador of Ukraine to Canada; Ms Vesela Mrden Korac, Ambassador of Croatia to Canada; and Mr. Tamas Kiraly, Deputy Head of Mission for the Embassy of the Republic of Hungary. Ms. Diane Dragasevich, Endowment Council member represented the Serbian Canadian community. An ecumenical prayer was given by the Reverend Dr. Stanford Lucyk following comments by Honourable Peter Milliken, Speaker of the House of Commons.
A summation of the discussions was that there is a need for the Fund to support the development and dissemination of research and cultural products through the education system in Canada and other cultural institutions including museums, art galleries, and libraries. The challenge will be to interest researchers, whether they are graduate students, professors, or students of high school age, to conduct the research and share their analysis. Moreover, the artistic community needs to be inspired to deliver their unique expressions of the internment story using media that are accessible and appealing to cultural consumers of all ages – especially given the popularity of social media like Twitter and YouTube.
The risk facing the Council is funding projects that only the creators and their immediate network or community will experience or consume. The Council must ensure it manages expectations within the affected communities in terms of not being able to financially or feasibly provide funding to all sorts of projects that are significant in intent but not in exposure or longevity.
The next steps for the Council include sorting through all of the input offered at the Kingston Symposium and strategically identifying priorities and criteria for future projects. The Endowment Fund is an exciting, long-awaited, and well-deserved opportunity to cement the traumatic saga of Canada ‘s first national internment operations in the Canadian, and in time, the global lexicon. It would be unfortunate if the opportunity was wasted.
More information about the Endowment Fund and activities of the Advisory Council can be found on the following website: www.internmentcanada.ca
Information about the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association can be found at www.uccla.ca.
For Immediate Release (Calgary, 22 September 2008)
The Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation (UCCLF) is pleased to announce Antin Stowell of Winnipeg, Manitoba as the recipient of this year’s inaugural High School Civil Liberties Award.
This award was to be given to a high school student who submitted the highest-quality research essay based on a Holodomor theme, an initiative undertaken in recognition of the 75th anniversary of Ukraine’s Famine Genocide.
Antin’s essay was among numerous submissions which were adjudicated by the award selection committee, which included Professor Ludmilla Voitkovska. It is deemed to have been superior in research, organization and presentation.
The UCCLF would like to congratulate Antin and all the students who submitted an essay. Each participant in this writing competition will be awarded a copy of Into Auschwitz For Ukraine by Stefan Petelycky for their efforts.
The UCCLF would also like to take the opportunity to remind high school and post-secondary students of the Civil Liberties Opinion-Editorial Award. Valued at $1000.00, this award is to be given to a student whose Holodomor-based opinion editorial appears in a major Canadian newspaper on or prior to the 1 October 2008 deadline.
For more information, please contact UCCLF at their email address: info@UCCLF.ca