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Banff opens first permanent WWI Internment exhibit Sept 13th

September 10th, 2013 No comments

Postponed back in June due to the horrific flooding in Alberta, the opening of the first permanent WWI Internment continues on Friday:

Of the many WW1 Internment sites across Canada, there has yet to be a permanent site where visitors can come and learn about this dark chapter of Canadian history year round. The Castle Mountain Internment Camp, which later moved down to Cave & Basin (home of the original hot springs), was one of the harshest and most abusive camps which helped build Banff National Park, Canada’s most historic national park. On June 20th, this site will open the first permanent exhibit to WW1 Internment. Restored to its condition as a forced labour camp, the site is central to the Canadian parks experience, as well as Canadian and Ukrainian-Canadian history.

Cave & Basin WW1 Internment Exhibit

Date: Sept 13, 2013

Time: 2:00 pm

Where: Cave & Basin National Historic Site
Cave and Basin
Banff National Park,311 Cave Avenue,Banff,AB T0L 0C0
Canada

RSVP to Parks Canada: steve.malins@pc.gc.ca

Also check out the Facebook event page.


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imageimage

Kontakt was on hand back in June to film the area:

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Controversy at WW1 Internment exhibit’s opening in Banff

June 16th, 2013 2 comments

For those who are planning to check out the new WWI Internment exhibit in Banff on Thursday, The Globe and Mail recently ran a story on the controversy around the exhibit. Parks Canada is white washing the injustices faced by people previously invited to immigrate to this country only to be interned and forced to build the local infrastructure – including part of Banff itself. Anyone attending the exhibit may see a family-friendly tourist destination, rather than a testament to a great injustice. The article noted:

Harsh terms, such as the phrase “concentration camps,” won’t appear. Racism has been played down, while other issues of the day, such as labour and global conflict, are highlighted. And the suffering felt in the camps is muted. A newspaper photograph of an escapee who was shot dead, for instance, will not appear.

In light of the absences of these important points that deserve to be noted, but will not at this exhibit – I decided to dig up information on these points and highlight them here:

Harsh terms, such as the phrase “concentration camps,” won’t appear.

Even the Globe article notes at that the time they were called “concentration camps”. More instances were found in the book ‘In Fear of the Barbed Wire Fence’ available for free at the UCCLA site:

Troubling as it may be for some, the term “concentration camp” was officially and
widely used at the time. See, for example, the Officer Commanding 5th Military Division, Quebec to Major General Otter, 4 January 1915 in the National Archives of Canada (NAC) Record Group 24, Volume 4513, File 2. For another example, see the Charge d’Affaires of Austria-Hungary to the Secretary of State, Washington, dated 24 May 1916:
According to newspaper reports a riot is said to have occurred in the concentration camp of Kapuskasing, Ont.,

Writers who considered the internment operations likewise concluded that they had a
negative impact on the Ukrainian Canadian community. Thus, in her classic study, Men in Sheepskin Coats, Vera Lysenko wrote, pages 115-116:
One repressive measure followed another, directed against the bewildered Ukrainians. Thousands of harmless “Galicians” were rounded up by the police and herded into concentration camps.

For other instances when the term “concentration camp” was used see “Interned
Germans,” Morning Albertan, 5 January 1915, page 1, which reported that 1,800 Germans and Austrians had already been jailed in Canadian concentration camps, and hundreds more registered. The next day the same paper reported, page 4, that 7,300 aliens had been registered at Montreal and 2,500 at Toronto. See also the Victoria Daily Colonist, “Aliens to register,” 1 November 1914, page 3 and “Bear German names,” 26 November 1914, page 2; “Government plans for interning the aliens maturing,” Sault Daily Star, 28 November 1914, page 5; “Aliens in concentration camps refuse to work,” Winnipeg Telegram, 5 January 1915, page 5; "Concentration Camp Practically Ready For The Prisoners," Amherst Daily News, 18 January 1915“30 Austrians arrive at Fort from Petawawa,” Daily British Whig, 5 October 1915, page 1;
“Are being employed along the line of the C.P.R.”, Sault Daily Star, 5 September 1916, page 5 and “No compulsion of the Aliens,” Globe, 17 February 1918, page 14. On 24 June 1915 in “Aliens clear land,” Vernon News, page 5, there is an account of how 2,000 enemy aliens had already “entered in the big concentration camps at Kapuskasing and Spirit Lake” in each of which about 1,000 acres of good land had been cleared, with another 2,000 acres set aside for further improvement.

Clearly many instances of that term have been used.

Racism has been played down

Even prior to WW1, Ukrainians and other foreigners were not being welcomed in their new homeland – recruited en masse by Primer Minister Lauier and others to take on the rough terrain and dangerous labour shunned by their Anglo counterparts in order to build this country:

As for the Galicians I have no met a single person in the whole of the Northwest who is sympathetic towards them. They are from the point of view of civilization ten times lower than the Indians – Alberta Tribune, Feb 4th 1899

The National Film Board even documented the sentiment in a film called ‘Teach me to Dance’, which is available to watch for free.

As WW1 started, these Galicians, Ruthenians and Bukovynians who previously hailed from Austro-Hungary, would be chastised by their newly-adopted homeland as enemy-aliens, and traitors.

the suffering felt in the camps is muted

There are too many accounts to highlight here, but some are available to read in this ‘Affirmation of Witness’ pamphlet, at the UCCLA site.

A newspaper photograph of an escapee who was shot dead, for instance, will not appear

The photograph is of Ivan Hryoryshchuk, who tried to escape the internment camp at Spirit Lake.

This photo captures a sombre moment at the internment camp. Ivan Hryhoryshchuk, lying dead on the rail cart, was killed while attempting to escape from the Spirit Lake, Quebec, internment camp, June 7, 1915. Photo by Sergeant William Buck from the collection "In My Charge."

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Banff opens first permanent WWI Internment exhibit June 20th

May 26th, 2013 No comments

Editors Note: Postponed back in June due to the horrific flooding in Alberta, the opening of the first permanent WWI Internment continues on Friday:

Of the many WW1 Internment sites across Canada, there has yet to be a permanent site where visitors can come and learn about this dark chapter of Canadian history year round. The Castle Mountain Internment Camp, which later moved down to Cave & Basin (home of the original hot springs), was one of the harshest and most abusive camps which helped build Banff National Park, Canada’s most historic national park. On June 20th, this site will open the first permanent exhibit to WW1 Internment. Restored to its condition as a forced labour camp, the site is central to the Canadian parks experience, as well as Canadian and Ukrainian-Canadian history.

Cave & Basin WW1 Internment Exhibit

Date: June 20, 2013

Time: 2:00 pm

Where: Cave & Basin National Historic Site
Cave and Basin
Banff National Park,311 Cave Avenue,Banff,AB T0L 0C0
Canada

Also check out the Facebook event page.


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Ukrainian Internment Exhibit in Fort St. John, BC

August 4th, 2011 No comments

The travelling exhibit, The Barbed Wire Solution: Ukrainians and Canada’s First Internment Operations, 1914-1920 is now on display in Fort St. John, BC through October 31st:

During the First World War, over 8000 men, women, and children, mostly Ukrainians, were interned. This exhibit explores the economic, political, and social circumstances that led to Canada’s first use of the War Measures Act.

Learn about Ukrainian immigration and farming, daily life and conditions in internment camps, and life following internment.

This exhibit was developed by the Ukrainian Canadian Research and Documentation Centre.

 

June through October 2011 at the

Fort St. John North Peace Museum

9323 – 100th Street, Fort St. John

Mon. – Sat. 9 am to 5 pm

 

For more information please contact

250-787-0430.

And it has been recently featured on the local news:

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Canadian Museum for Human Rights won’t have permanent Holodomor or WW1 internment exhibits

December 14th, 2010 2 comments

image There are two secrets the upcoming Canadian Museum for Human Rights doesn’t want you to know: First, it’s not Canadian – that is, it’s not a federal institution but rather owned by the Asper family (who runs CanWest Global – Global TV, the right-wing NationalPost, Astral Media, etc.) and wants operating funding from the government too! Second, it’s not even a museum – it will not contain any artifacts or other objects of importance but rather only two permanent exhibitions which has upset the Ukrainian community and others in the Winnipeg area:

The committee calls for only two permanent galleries in the museum: one for the Holocaust and the other for Canada’s indigenous people.

The (Ukrainian Canadian) Congress wrote to several Cabinet ministers to complain that the genocide-famine in Soviet Ukraine and the national internment of Canadians during the First and Second World wars aren’t getting permanent exhibits.

The Congress is urging people to write to their MPs and federal Heritage Minister James Moore and demand a change in the makeup of the museum’s governance and advisory committees.

"We’ll only get one chance to make sure it’s done right," said Mr. Zalusky.

The national umbrella group that represents 1.2-million Ukrainian-Canadians said it supported the new museum politically and its members have donated to it. But when the final content advisory committee report was made public this fall, members of the congress were disappointed.

"It makes only one minor, passing reference to Canada’s first national internment operations,” the Congress report said. The Congress also says there is only one reference to the Holodomor.

Survivors of the Holodomor shared some horrific recollections of the genocide with the museum committee as it elicited input across Canada, said Mr. Zalusky.

"There were some absolutely stomach-churning issues and events that took place," said Mr. Zalusky. None of the witnesses’ information and input was included in the content advisory committee report, though, he said.

"We don’t believe their report is balanced," said Mr. Zalusky. "Nor does it reflect a Canadian approach to human rights issues," he said.

the Ukrainian Canadian Congress says the museum’s board and committees are "dominated by friends and supporters of the Asper Foundation" and lack objectivity.

You can read the UCC’s full report on this issue

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