Ryan Boyko of Armistice Films has created a brilliant series of video vignettes on Canada's first internment operations from 1914-1920.
There were 26 camps from coast to coast, including one in Nanaimo on Canada's west coast.
I don't really consider myself an internee descendant. I am only the great-niece of an internee, and don't recall ever meeting my great Uncle Harry (perhaps as a young child). I only recently met his son, Ed (my dad's cousin) and his wife Josie in person when they were here visiting Nanaimo this past fall.
Still, I think the experience had an impact on the entire family, if not succeeding generations of Ukrainian Canadians descended from that time.
Maybe it explains how such a large family as ours became so disconnected in just a generation or two. Dad loves to tell stories of how close everyone was in his youth. Yet of all the cousins I have, including those I was so close to during my own youth, I am in (infrequent) touch with just a handful.
Who can really know the full extent of the consequences resulting from the cruelty and indifference that human beings are capable of manifesting?
Last November Ryan and his film crew came to Nanaimo to document the camp that existed here, in which Uncle Harry may have briefly been.
What wasn't included in this film is the discussion we had at the site with someone who had witnessed vandalism of the plaque from his apartment across the street.
Just as well, perhaps. Ryan tells a powerful story without it.