UKRAINIAN

INTERNMENT IN CANADA

The Ukrainian Canadian Internment was a period of confinement of "enemy aliens" during and after the First World War, spanning from 1914 - 1920, under the terms of the War Measures Act.​

EDUCATIONAL DOCUMENTS

Vandals ignorant of Canadian History, Respect, July 13, 2021

Remember the Ukrainians found in Spirit Lake cemetery, The Whig Standard, July 9, 2021

UCCLA condemns hate crimes against Ukrainian churches in Canada, The Ukrainian Weekly, July 8, 2021

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

Two Ukrainian churches vandalized in Canada, New Pathway - Ukrainian News, July 6, 2021

The Prisoner of War Diet: A Material and Faunal Analysis of the Morrisey WWI Internment Camp, Sarah Beaulieu, Journal of Conflict Archaeology, May 3, 2021

Canada's tragic history of war-time internment, The Toronto Sun, February 22, 2021

Internment campaign about memory – not money, says Dr. Luciuk. New Pathway - Ukrainian News. February 10, 2021

Spotlight put on dark internment camp history at Vernon school, Kelowna Capital News, February 8, 2021

Artifact likely created by First World War prisoner at Fort Henry discovered, The Kingston Whig Standard, January 9, 2021

‘Fear of the barbed wire fence’: remembering Nanaimo’s WW1 internment camp, by Kevin Forsyth, Oceanside News, November 11, 2020

UCC Calgary commemorates 25th anniversary of internment monument, New Pathway - Ukrainian News, September 1, 2020


Remembering the 600 internees of Castle Mountain Internment Camp, Crag and Canyon, August 24, 2020

Gravestone of Ukrainian Canadian First World War vet restored, Whig Standard, August 13, 2020

Who died at Burwash? When the 1918 flu epidemic collided with Canada’s ‘enemy aliens’ policy, Sudbury.com, July 6, 2020

Centenary of the End of Canada's First World War Internment Operations, UCC Saskatchewan Visnyk, Summer 2020

A forgotten piece of Canadian History, by Peter Manastyrsky, Winnipeg Sun, June 20, 2020

The Hon. Andrew Scheer, Leader of Canada’s Conservatives and of the Official Opposition, issues statement to mark 100 years since the end of Canada’s first national internment operations during the First World War, June 20, 2020

James Bezan, MP, issues statement to mark 100 years since the end of Canada’s first national internment operations during the First World War, June 20, 2020

Yvan Baker, MP, Remembering the 100th Anniversary of the End of Canada's First National Internment Operations, June 20, 2020

Canada marks a most unsettling centenary, by Lubomyr Luciuk, Winnipeg Free Press, June 19, 2020

Marking the centenary of Canada’s first national internment operations, by Marco Levytsky, The Ukrainian Weekly, June 19, 2020


The story of Nick Sakaliuk, by Lubomyr Luciuk, The Ukrainian Weekly, June 12, 2020

Internment Centenary commemorated, New Pathway - Ukrainian News, June 11, 2020

Internment centenary provides lessons for today, by Marco Levytsky, New Pathway - Ukrainian News, June 8, 2020

End of Mara internment camp to be commemorated, Salmon Arm Observer, June 7, 2020

BC’s Internment Camps, Royal BC Museum

June 20, 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the closing of the first wave of internment camps in Canada and British Columbia.

CONFINED, Reflections on Internment in Canada during the First World War, Canadian Centre for the Great War

Online exhibit focuses on internment of Ukrainians during World War I, The Ukrainian Weekly, May 29, 2020

A war prisoner’s story, by Benjamin Weistra, The Lethbridge Herald, March 24, 2020

Vernon part of end of internment camp ceremonies, Vernon Morning Star, February 24, 2020

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

ISBN 9781771134729

Coming March 2020


It happened, son of interned Ukrainian says, St. Albert Today, January 10, 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

The troubling story of internment in Canada, St. Albert Today, November 29, 2019

"That Never Happened" on CBC Documentary Chanel, November 20, 2019

Film looks at Canadian Internment Camps, Yorkton This Week, November 16, 2019

Internment monument unveiled in St. Paul, New Pathway/Ukrainian News, October 8, 2019

Sculpture, ceremony preserve the memory of Ukrainian Canadian internment, Jeff Gaye, Respect News, October 8, 2019

Looking through the wire, Opinion, Jeff Gaye, Respect News, October 8, 2019

A history of Canada's first national internment operations, Respect News, October 8, 2019

Internment monument unveiled in St. Paul, Alberta, The Ukrainian Weekly, October 4, 2019

21 Strands represents Ukranian-Canadian history, St. Paul Journal, October 2nd, 2019

New monument honours unlawfully imprisoned immigrants, St. Paul Journal, September 24, 2019

"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.

Amherst museum gets exhibit about First World War internment camps, The Chronicle Herald, July 21, 2019

Local artist of Ukrainian descent tells story of Canada’s immigrant internment camps, by Angela Brown, The Battlefords NOW, July 5, 2019

Remembering a forgotten piece of Nova Scotia history; 100th anniversary of POW camp’s closure commemorated, The Chronicle Herald, Amherst, NS, July 3, 2019

Amherst event will mark 100 years since POW camp closed, CBC News, July 1, 2019

'We can't forget' Honouring thousands held in Canadian concentation camps, Rocky Mountain Outlook, June 27, 2019 by Tanya Foubert

Yoho WWI internment camp site memorialized and consecrated, New Pathway - Ukrainian News, June 24, 2019

Strike casualties were immigrants searching for brighter future, Peter J. Manastersky, Winnipeg Free Press, June 21, 2019

Digital technology brings local history chapters to life, Dave Mabell, Lethbridge Herald, June 13, 2019

Концентраційні табори Канади / Canada’s First World War Internment Camps, Ukrainian People Journal 2019

Thinking about Labour and the Carceal State in Canada, March 14-15, 2019 Workshop, Brock University

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.

Left in the Cold, Canada's First Internment Camps, Calgary Journal, January 29, 2019

Imprisoning Our Own: First World War Internment in Winnipeg (Part 1) Dr. Leah Morton, Assistant Curator (History), Manitoba Museum, January 2, 2019

Imprisoning Our Own: Caught At Emerson (Part 2) Dr. Leah Morton, Assistant Curator (History), Manitoba Museum, January 9, 2019

Канадійска неволя: Canada’s Internment of Ukrainians, 1914–1920, Poster by Orion Keresztesi, Essay by Kassandra Luciuk

'Yes, this happened': How Lubomyr Luciuk found out about the internment camp in his hometown, CBC News, November 8, 2018

Saskatchewan-raised filmmaker Boyko explores a 'shocking' Canadian history, The Saskatoon Star Phoenix, November 8, 2018

Ukrainian Internment Documentary, Ottawa Morning with Robyn Bresnahan, CBC Listen, November 8, 2018

Did you know Ukrainian Canadians were interned during the First World War? The little known story is now the subject of a film, Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press, The Toronto Star, November 7, 2018

Fernie marks 100th anniversary of internment camp closure, October 27, 2018 The Free Press, Fernie, British Columbia

"That Never Happened" Tue, Oct 23, 2018: Ryan Boyko joins Global News Morning Calgary to talk about a documentary he directed charting Canada’s first national internment operation.

Documentary reveals Fernie’s role in WWI internment operations, October 17, 2018, The Free Press, Fernie, BC

Documentary "That Never Happned" fights to have audiences remember the shameful past of Canada's first national internment operations, Calgary Herald, October 19, 2018

Discoverying Rewritten History, by David McConkey, September 24, 2018 Brandon Sun

Prisonniers de la terre promise, 8 septembre 2018, LEDEVOIR

“That never happened:” Film reveals the hidden history of Canada’s First World War internment operations, September 6, 2018, Canadian Geographic

Uncovering a Canadian Injustice, Interview with Dr. L. Luciuk, MUSE Magazine, Canadian Museums Association, Sep-Oct 2018

Spirit Lake: l’assemblée publique est reportée, 22 Août 2018, De La Vallee-De-L'or Le Citoyen

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.

The Internment of Ukrainian Canadians During the First World War, The Vintage News, Aug 11, 2018 Patricia Grimshaw

New museum exhibit shows history of Canada’s internment camps, Jasper, Alberta, August 8, 2018

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.

Memorial Garden Opened at Site of World War 1 Internment Camp, New Pathway - Ukrainian News, June 7, 2018

"Saving Heritage": Stakeholders, Successes, and Project SUCH, Nadya Oneschuk, 2018

Internment fund’s legacy project. The Ukrainian Weekly, June 23, 2017

Priest, Patriot, Prisoner of War, and Prelate: Petro Kamenetsky (1891–1973), Religious Information Service of Ukraine, September 13, 2016

Priest, Patriot, Prisoner of War, and Prelate - Petro Kamenetsky (1891 - 1973), Annales Ecclesiae Ucrainae, September 11, 2016

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.

Tribute to Spirit Lake Internment Captured in Musical Compositions, March 27, 2016

Campaign revived to designate Quebec wartime cemetery a historic site, February 19, 2016

Cemetery Almost Lost To The Forest, February 16, 2016, The Whig Standard

Un bâtiment historique sous le pic des démolisseurs, February 16, 2016

Spirit Lake Internee Cemetery Almost Lost To The Forest, March 27, 2016

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."

Ukrainian association seeks to protect Spirit Lake Internment Camp cemetery, February 22, 2016, The McGill Daily

Remembering Laurier's support, The Kingston Whig Standard, November 19, 2015

100 years since first death in Kapuskasing internment camp, CBC News, June 1, 2015

Render unto Ceasar, The Greek Catholic Church's Reaction to the Internment of Ukrainians in Canada during WWI, A. McVay, Logos, Vol 56, 2015

This is what happened to our people', Surrey North Delta Leader, January 13, 2015

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.

An Open Letter to Mr. Stuart Murray, CEO, Canadian Museum For Human Rights, 15 September 2014

Recalling Canada's First National Internment Operations, 1914 - 1920

First World War exhibit opens in Banff National Park, CTV Calgary, September 13, 2013

NDP Statement on the 100th Anniversary of The War Measures Act, August 25, 2014

Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch: Author interview for Dance of the Banished, August 23, 2014

Fulfilling Mary's Dream, The Kingston Whig Standard, August 22, 2014

Grave restoration shines spotlight on dark period of Vernon history, Global News, August 11, 2014

Project CTO advertisement in the Globe and Mail, August 16, 2014

Internment camp memorial unveiled at Exhibition Park, Lethbridge Global News, October 29, 2013

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.

WWI Saskatchewan internment victims honoured almost a century later, Global News, October 29, 2014

Federal internment camp exhibit opens in Banff, Global News, September 13, 2013

Munson Internment Camp, Alberta Internment Camp unveiling program, August 5, 2002

Marsha Skrypuch presentation at Banff Public Library, June 19th, 2013

First World War internment camps a ‘difficult scar’ for Canadian Ukrainians, Global News, September 2, 2012

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
postwar period.

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
forced labour.

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
message.

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)
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LINK: www.thewhig.com

Mary Manko Haskett on righting an injustice, page 4, The Ukrainian Weekly, July 22, 2007

Ukrainian Canadians reject Community Historical Recognition Program, page 4, The Ukrainian Weekly, July 22, 2007

Mary Manko Haskett, 98, last survivor of Canadian internment operations, dies. Page 4, The Ukrainian Weekly, July 22, 2007

Bill C-331, Internment of Persons of Ukrainian Origin Recognition Act, November 25, 2005

The last survivor finds peace, Globe and Mail, August 26, 2005

Armoury plaque marks 'enemy aliens' internment. Niagara Falls Review, November 1, 2004

Memorial dedication to Ukrainian internment camp at 2 Mile (Mara Lake Internment Camp), 2002, British Columbia Regional Digitized History,

Ukrainian Canadians press Chretien for justice, Calgary Herald, June 26, 1997

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.

Kapuskasing Internment Camp 1914-1920

Plaque Location: The District of Cochrane, The Town of Kapuskasing. At the Ron Morel Memorial Museum, on McPherson Avenue just south of the Trans-Canada Highway

Banff Internees Still Wonder Why by Bob Bergen, Calgary Herald, August 13, 1995

Ukrainians Recall Brutalities by Lubomyr Luciuk, Calgary Herald, August 11, 1995

Castle Mountain Internment Camp, Banff National Park, Topical Survey, July 1994

Sir William Otter and Internment Operations in Canada during the First World War, Desmond Morton, The Canadian Historical Review, March 1974

Internment Operations 1914 - 1920 Report by Major General William Otter, Director of Internment Operations

Canada's First National Internment Camps Opening and Closing Dates

Map of Canada's First Internment Camps

Canada's First National Internment Operations, 1914 - 1920 pamphlet

La première campagne nationale d'internement au Canada, 1914-1920 brochure

Перші всенаціональні операції інтернування в Канаді, 1914-1920 брошура