Canada's First National Internment Operations: 1914-1920

Professor Lubomyr Luciuk teaches political geography at The Royal Military College of Canada, in Kingston, Ontario. He also serves as director of research for the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which has spearheaded an educational campaign aimed at securing government recognition of what happened during Canada's First National Internment Operations.

Royal Ontario Museum
Dr. Lubomyr Luciuk, Department of Politics and Economics, Royal Military College and director of research for the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association

© 2006, Royal Ontario Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Well, right now you’re standing in the interior courtyard of Fort Henry in Kingston, Ontario. And really this is the most important artifact I could present to give you a sense of what Canada means to me because here, during the First World War, during the period known as Canada’s First National Interment Operations, many men and in other places women and children were held not because of anything they had done but only because of where they’d come from and who they were. And I’m particularly of course interested in the Ukrainians that were held here as enemy aliens in that period. Most of us don’t know very much about this period because very often the internees were labeled Austrians or Austro-Hungarians or Germans or Turks but in fact the population of these 24 concentration camps was overwhelmingly so called Austrian of whom the majority were Ukrainians but there were also Croatians and Serbs and some Jews and others who were also interned. So this was actually a multicultural multinational, multi-confessional population of internees, some genuine prisoners of war but the majority civilian internees who had done nothing wrong.

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