Internment Project

An Injustice to our Pioneers:

The Croatian Canadian Internment Project

From 1914 to 1920, hundreds of Croats were imprisoned, forced to do heavy labour and even died in 24 camps established by the federal government during Canada’s first national internment operations. Others had to report monthly to the police for the duration of the conflict and beyond.  They suffered not because of anything they had done but rather who they were and where they had come from.

During the period prior to the First World War, the Canadian government actively recruited Croats and other Europeans to assist in the nation’s development. However, within a few short years they became “enemy aliens”, had their meagre possessions confiscated and were placed in camps for years.

How could this have happened?

The Croatian Canadian Internment Project will uncover the injustices suffered by the pioneers of the Croatian community and reveal the truth behind this sad episode in our nation’s history.

Why is this project important?

Even though there were over 15 ethnic groups represented among the almost 6,000 prisoners from Austria-Hungary, the issue of internment in Canada during the First World War thus far has been told largely from the perspective of the Ukrainian community. The Croatian component of internment was complex and affected by many factors, both domestically and internationally. The project will allow our story to be told from a Croatian Canadian perspective and ensure that proper attention and sensitivity be given to the unique circumstances that led to the imprisonment of our pioneers.

Help us tell their story!

The Croatian Canadian Internment Project is accepting donations towards the realization of this important project. All contributions are eligible for a tax receipt as permitted under CRA guidelines from the Croatian Canadian Library and Cultural Society. For further information or to make a contribution to the Croatian Canadian Internment Project, please contact Frank Jankač at 647-290-8337 or via email at jankac@croatianinternment.com.

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