Ukrainian Canadian historian Lubomyr Luciuk will hold the “Lest They Forget: Canada’s First National Internment Operations and the Redress Movement” lecture. The event will be held online on December 5 as part of the Sawchen Lecture Series project of the University of British Columbia.
“Between 1914-1920 thousands of Ukrainians and other East Europeans were rounded up as “enemy aliens” and transported to24 “receiving stations” and internment camps across the Dominion, some of which were kept open until the spring of 1920. What little wealth the internees had was confiscated, they were forced to do heavy labour for the profit of their jailers, disenfranchised and subjected to other state-sanctioned censures, not because of anything they had done wrong but only because of who they were, where they had come from,” the organizers of the lecture write.
The United Kingdom joined the First World War in August 1914. Then the Canadian government, as part of the British Empire, introduced the War Measures Act. The document provided for the registration and, in certain cases, the internment of citizens of “enemy nationality”. Because of this, many Ukrainians, even those who have already created mixed families with Canadians, unexpectedly found themselves on the lists of “enemy foreigners”. Over the next six years, various brutal repressive measures were directed against them.
“Providing an overview of this still little-known episode in Canadian history this lecture will also detail how the Ukrainian Canadian community organized and articulated a redress campaign that, starting in 1987, resulted in the formation of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund in 2008. An endowment that subsequently funded various commemorative and educational projects about Canada’s first’ national internment operations of 1914-1920,” the lecture organizers add.
Lubomyr Luciuk is a professor of political geography at the Royal Military College of Canada, a Fellow of the Chair of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Toronto, and the author of numerous publications dealing with the political history of the Canadian Ukrainian community and contemporary Ukraine. A founding member of the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Dr. Luciuk was distinguished in 2019 with Ukraine’s Cross of Ivan Mazepa. He has been a GIC (Governor in Council) appointee to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada and the Parole Board of Canada and was, for many years, active on the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund, which his efforts helped establish. Dr. Luciuk is currently writing his memoirs and completing a monograph on the REDress campaign. His most recent book (with Dr. V. Viatrovych) is Enemy Archives: Soviet Counterinsurgency Operations and the Ukrainian Nationalist Movement – Selections from the Secret Police Archives (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2023).
Anyone can join the event. However, you need to register using the link. The lecture is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Toronto time on December 5.
Cover: Elliot Ferguson / The Whig-Standard