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Interview With Esperando Razzolini


June 23, 2011


Columbus Centre



Interview With Esperando Razzolini

Esperando Razzolini was born in New Waterford, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia on November 9, 1923. His parents were Annabelle Razzolini (née Marsh) and Rodolfo Razzolini. Esperando’s paternal grandparents first immigrated to Canada before the two world wars and then moved to Buffalo, USA. His father, aunt and uncle remained in Canada. Esperando’s mother was born in Canada and was of Irish origin. According to Esperando, his mother belonged to one of the “first families” in Cape Breton that came over from very early on. Rodolfo belonged to the Italian nobility, but in Canada he was a small business owner operating in the business sector of New Waterford. It is in this non-Italian neighbourhood that Esperando lived with his parents and his five siblings. On June 10, 1940, Rodolfo was arrested and detained, before being sent to Petawawa where he was interned for 27 months. He was one of the 22 men interned from Nova Scotia. Esperando talks about growing up in the Jewish community, going to Mount Carmel (a non-denominational public school), and pursuing work as a coal miner during his father’s internment. He also speaks of the many interesting positions he held during his lifetime ― as coal miner, pilot, prospector, construction engineer and classification officer ― and his passion for learning, especially math and science.

Esperando Razzolini introduces himself and speaks about his parents.

Esperando Razzolini talks about his father’s arrest and internment. He also speaks about his experience while his father was interned.

Esperando Razzolini speaks about how the Italian community was affected by the internement period. He also speaks about how his father viewed his internment experience.

Esperando Razzolini describes how his family survived during his father’s absence. He discusses working in the coal mines and the authorities supplying groceries to his family. He also briefly speaks about his father’s return home.

Esperando Razzolini speaks about his father’s life in Italy and the reasons behind his migration to Canada.

Esperando Razzolini speaks about Mussolini and mentions that his mother donated her gold wedding band to support the Italian war effort in Ethiopia.

Esperando Razzolini speaks about his family’s experience at home compared to his father’s experience in the camp.

Esperando Razzolini speaks about the day his father was arrested and describes his family’s reaction and the general reaction of the community to the internments.

In this clip Esperando Razzolini shares the stories his father told him about life in camp upon his return home.

Esperando Razzolini speaks about supporting his family by working in the coal mines during his father’s internment.

Esperando Razzolini recalls his father’s return home.

In closing Esperando Razzolini states that his father understood the reasons for his internment.