Remembering the Internment of Croatians and other Eastern Europeans During the First World War

Internment

The Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund (www.internmentcanada.ca) held a symposium in Kingston, Ontario from June 18 to 20, 2010 to coordinate and craft initiatives intended to commemorate the tragic episode of internments in Canada from 1914 to 1920 and educate the public about what happened. The event was followed by a commemorative and wreath laying ceremony on June 20, 2010 at Fort Henry, location of Canada’s first permanent internment camp.

 

During the First World War, more than 8,500 people were unjustly disenfranchised and interned in 24 internment camps across Canada as “enemy aliens”, of which almost 6,000 were members of Austro-Hungarian communities. It is believed that over 500 Croatians were among the “enemy aliens”. The Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund was established in 2008 in order to carry out research and promote commemoration of the events. Ivan Grbešić, who is a director and member of the Committee on Education, Culture, and Heritage of the Canadian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce and who represents the Canadian-Croatian community on the Endowment Council of the Fund, took part in the symposium. Another member of the Committee on Education, Culture, and Heritage of the Canadian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce, historian and researcher Frank Jankač also participated in the symposium.

 

The Embassy of the Republic of Croatia was represented at the commemorative and wreath laying ceremony by Ambassador Vesela Mrđen-Korać, which was also attended by the Hon. Peter Milliken M.P., speaker of the House of Commons, as well as the Ambassador of Ukraine and the Deputy Head of Mission of Hungary.