Ukrainian Canadian Internment Educational documents
Relics In The Shadows, Canadian Museum of History, October 22, 2021
In December 2021, the Canadian Museum of History will open an exhibition, Lost Liberties − The War Measures Act, generously supported by a grant from the Endowment Council of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund. The exhibition explores three periods in Canadian history when personal freedoms were curtailed. In this article, Professor Lubomyr Luciuk shares his thoughts on the importance of artifacts in presenting stories about Canada’s first national internment operations of 1914−1920.
Hooligans ignorant of internment history, Letters to the Editor, The Calgary Herald, July 7, 2021
The cretins who vandalized a Ukrainian Catholic church in Calgary also damaged a historical marker recalling the victims of Canada’s first national internment operations of 1914-1920. Thousands of Ukrainians and other Europeans were unjustly branded as ‘enemy aliens’ and many were forced to do heavy labour for the profit of their jailers, including in the national parks at Banff and Jasper.
Some died in captivity and were buried in unmarked graves, including those transported to Spirit Lake in Quebec’s Abitibi region.
To this day, Ottawa has ignored repeated pleas for restoring this internee cemetery, doing nothing to help hallow the remains of the men and children who were left there. The hooligans who spray-painted our plaque at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church obviously know little about Canadian history and demonstrated only cowardice as they perpetrated this hate crime.
Lubomyr Luciuk, Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association
CONFINED, Reflections on Internment in Canada during the First World War, Canadian Centre for the Great War
https://confines.greatwarcentre.com (French version)
Enemy Alien A True Story of Life behind Barbed Wire, a book by Kassandra Luciuk and Nicole Marie Burton, February 12, 2020
This graphic history tells the story of Canada’s first national internment operations through the eyes of John Boychuk, an internee held in Kapuskasing from 1914 to 1917. The story is based on Boychuk’s actual memoir, which is the only comprehensive internee testimony in existence.
The novel follows Boychuk from his arrest in Toronto to Kapuskasing, where he spends just over three years. It details the everyday struggle of the internees in the camp, including forced labour and exploitation, abuse from guards, malnutrition, and homesickness. It also documents moments of internee agency and resistance, such as work slowdowns and stoppages, hunger strikes, escape attempts, and riots.
Little is known about the lives of the incarcerated once the paper trail stops, but Enemy Alien subsequently traces Boychuk’s parole, his search for work, his attempts to organize a union, and his ultimate settlement in Winnipeg. Boychuk’s reflections emphasize the much broader context in which internment takes place. This was not an isolated incident, but rather part and parcel of Canadian nation building and the directives of Canada’s settler colonial project.
Paperback / softback, 96 pages
Coming March 2020
That Never Happened, Now on DVD, Armistice Films, December 6, 2019
The film reveals the story of Canada's first national internment operations between 1914-1920 when over 88,000 people were forced to register, and more than 8,500 were wrongfully imprisoned in internment camps across Canada, because of the country they came from. In 1954, the public records were destroyed, and in the 1980's a few brave men and women began working to reclaim this chapter in history and ensure future generations would know about it. THAT NEVER HAPPENED was released theatrically across Canada last year, and was the Official Selection of the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations in September 2018. The film screened for the Human Rights Council in Geneva, as part of celebrations marking the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Right
"Enemy Aliens: Internment in Canada 1914-1920" Fort Henry National Historic Site, St. Lawrence Parks Commission final project report, 2019
During the First World War, Fort Henry was used as an internment camp. Currently Fort Henry houses a travelling exhibit on permanent load titled "Enemy Aliens: Internment in Canada 1914 - 1920", which was developed by the Canadian War Museum in partnership with the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation.
The Stories Were Not Told: Canada's First World War Internment Camps' author Sandra Semchuk, Feb 7, 2019, CBC Radio Calgary, The Homestretch with Doug Dirks
From 1914 to 1920, thousands of men who immigrated to Canada from Europe were called 'enemy aliens' and sent to internment camps during the First World War. Some families were imprisoned as well. Sandra Semchuk explores that dark period in our history in her new book, 'The Stories Were Not Told: Canada's First World War Internment Camps' -- inspired by a stop at Castle Mountain near Banff. Sandra joined host Doug Dirks in studio.
Discoverying Rewritten History, by David McConkey, September 24, 2018 Brandon Sun
Exhibit sheds light on dark part of Jasper’s past, The Jasper Local, page B1, August 15, 2018 Issue 127
The Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives’ latest exhibit “Enemy Aliens” traveled from the Canadian War Museum and explores a part of the nation’s First World War history that’s not often discussed.
Video: First World War internment camp a little known part of Sask. history, The Star Phoenix, May 26, 2018
On February 25, 1919, 65 internees were forcibly relocated from the Munson Internment Camp in Alberta to the railway siding at Eaton, Sask., where a camp was constructed. On Friday, the Eaton Internment Camp Memorial Garden was officially dedicated with a reflection area and a bronze plaque. This event will also mark the beginning of a year of remembrance, recognizing 2019 as the centenary of the Eaton Internment Camp.
Canadian Heritage Minister Joly Asked for Help, An Appeal, The Internee Cemetery at Spirit Lake (La Ferme), Quebec. February 9, 2016
On February 9, 2016, the Minister for Canadian Heritage, Mélanie Joly, is being asked for help in saving a Great War cemetery holding the remains of at least 16 "enemy aliens."
Canada's internment of 'enemy aliens' during World War One. www.france24.com September 24, 2014
It's a piece of history unknown to many, even in Canada. During World War 1 thousands of people were interned in 24 camps across the country. Their place of birth was their only crime: being from the Austro-Hungarian Empire was enough for the Canadian government to consider them as subjects of an enemy country. But the stories of these men and women - most of them Ukrainian - have begun to resurface, thanks in part to the work being done at memorial sites like here in Spirit Lake, Quebec.
Ceremony honours those held in internment camps, Lethbridge, Global News, October 29, 2013
Tue, Oct 29: Southern Alberta is rich in history, and Lethbridge is no exception. Internment camps were set up in our city during the first and second world wars. From 1914 to 1916 an internment camp was set up at the exhibition grounds. Quinn Campbell reports.
The death of Mary Manko: Righting a historical injustice, Kingston Whig-Standard, Aug 1, 2007
DEATH OF MARY MANKO: RIGHTING A HISTORICAL INJUSTICE
COMMENTARY: By Lubomyr Luciuk, The Kingston Whig-Standard
Kingston, Ontario, Canada, Wednesday, August 1, 2007
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
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
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
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 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. -30-
NOTE: Dr. Lubomyr Luciuk is director of research for the Ukrainian
Canadian Civil Liberties Association (www.uccla.ca)
Kapuskasing Internment Camp Plaque, Ontario Heritage Foundation, July 2, 1996
At 2 p.m. on July 2, 1996, an Ontario Heritage Foundation provincial plaque commemorating the Kapuskasing Internment Camp was unveiled in the park outside the Ron Morel Memorial Museum, Macpherson Street at Hwy 11, Kapuskasing.