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Remembering the 100th year since the end of Canada’s first national internment operations

UCCLF For immediate release (Calgary, June 19, 2020)

On Saturday, June 20, 2020, Canadians will mark the 100th anniversary of the conclusion of the internment operations of Ukrainian and other Europeans that began during the First World War and continued for nearly two years after the war ended.

More than a century ago, thousands of “enemy aliens” were arrested, then herded into camps scattered across this country, from Halifax, N.S., to Nanaimo, B.C. The 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 because of who they were and where they had come from.

All this month, culminating tomorrow, the Ukrainian Canadian Civil liberties Foundation (UCCLF) and the broader Canadian Ukrainian community have hallowed all victims of this injustice. To help commemorate, UCCLF spearheaded a postcard campaign reaching thousands of Canadians, recalling the internment operations and calling attention to the importance of this date, and it has also placed informational advertisements in the national news media to help educate and commemorate the event to the broader Canadian public.

Commenting, UCCLF’s chairman, Borys Sydoruk, said:

"Six years ago, we commemorated the 100th anniversary of the start of internment operations in Canada with CTO, where we unveiled 100 plaques across the country."

“This year, we remember the 100th year since the final prisoner, unjustly arrested in a country to which he or she was invited, was finally paroled. On Saturday, June 20, 2020, please join us in remembering these men, women and children. Only in knowing and learning from Canada’s darker historical episodes can we help prevent future such injustices from happening again.”

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