November 17, 2011
Interview With Dino Di Maurizio, Mary Gasbarini & Mario Lorito
Mary Gasbarini, Dino Di Maurizio and Mario Lorito discuss life in St. Catharines as Italian Canadians during World War II. Dino and Mary are the children of Gabriele Di Maurizio, who was interned for two years during the war. Mario later became Gabriele’s son-in-law. Gabriele was born in Italy, where he worked with the Italian police force. He then immigrated to Canada with his wife where he worked as a labourer on the Welland Canal. He was instrumental in organizing the St. Catharines chapter of the Order Sons of Italy. Gabriele was arrested in 1940 when the family was sitting down for dinner. The police searched his home and found an Italian flag in his closet. His wife and children were able to visit him while he was held in Toronto, but not after he was transferred to Petawawa. Gabriele reported to his wife that he was interrogated and asked if he was willing to fight for Canada. After he came back, he had a lot of difficulty finding a job, because he had to disclose that he was in the camp for two years. Dino and Mary say that this incident still troubles them. Dino in particular believes that there should have been compensation for the two years that their father was interned.
Mary and Dino speak about the work their father found upon his migration to Canada. They also speak about the neighbourhood they grew up in.
Mary and Dino speak about the evening their father was arrested in their family home.
Mario, Mary and Dino speak about Gabriele Di Maurizio’s involvement in the Order Sons of Italy.
Dino and Mary discuss visiting their father while he was detained in Hamilton and Toronto.
Mary and Dino speak about their father’s experience in the internment camp and discuss the letters he wrote to their mom and the wooden objects he created while interned.
Mary Gasbarini briefly mentions that her father was asked if he was willing to fight for Canada in the war when he appeared before the camp tribunal.
Dino and Mary discuss how their family survived during their father’s internment.
Dino and Mary mention that when their father returned home from the internment camp he faced some discrimination and found it difficult to find work.
Dino, Mary and Mario speaks about the difficulty Gabriele Di Maurizio had finding work after his internment. They mention that he first found a job working on a farm and then worked for the city in the maintenance department.
Mary and Dino discuss how their father did not talk about his camp experience with the children upon his return home.
Mario, Dino and Mary discuss Gabriele Di Maurizio’s feelings regarding his internment. They also discuss the issues of compensation and a formal apology.
Mary, Dino and Mario discuss the relationships Gabriele Di Maurizio formed while in the internment camp.
Mary, Mario and Dino speak about how the family coped during the internment period.
Mario, Mary and Dino discuss the various Italian social clubs that were formed or reformed in the years after the war.