Tuesday July 05, 2016

Internment at Camp 33: unlocking one Italian-Canadian family's story

Francesco Scappatura was living in North Bay, Ontario in 1940 when he was taken by the RCMP and sent to an internment camp in Petawawa.

Francesco Scappatura was living in North Bay, Ontario in 1940 when he was taken by the RCMP and sent to an internment camp in Petawawa. (Scappatura Family Photos)

Fear is a nasty thing. It gnaws at our hearts, and minds … and it can bring out the worst in us.

During the Second World War, while blood spilled overseas, fear crept into homes of Canadians. And that fear wasn't just directed to enemies abroad. Canadians who happened to be born in the wrong country — like Germany, Japan or Italy — were viewed as enemies or potential threats, here, on Canadian soil.

Camp 33 Petawawa

Prisoners of Camp 33 in Petawawa, Ontario. (Petawawa Heritage Village)

The RCMP rounded-up close to 600 Canadian residents of Italian origin. One of them was Francesco Scappatura. In June of 1940 they entered his home, and — in front of his wife and children — took him away. He spent part of the war in an internment camp at Petawawa, Ontario. Earlier this year, his grandaughter, Angela, set out on a mission to understand why.

 

About the producer

Angela Scappatura

Angela Scappatura

Angela Scappatura is a producer and presenter with CBC National Radio News. She began her journalistic career with CBC Radio covering local news in northeastern Ontario. Since then, Angela has filed stories for regional and national radio, and worked as a reporter for newspapers and magazines. She is also an accomplished photographer and musician.