July 06, 2011
Interview With Italo Tiezzi
Italo Tiezzi was born in Ottawa, ON on March 12, 1933. His mother, Rosa Tiezzi (née Di Nardo), was born in Canada on September 8, 1911 and his father, Gino Tiezzi, was born in Florence, Italy on July 1, 1904. Gino grew up in Italy, with his mother working as a governess for the Marchese Guadagni. He then immigrated to Canada with his mother and the Marchese who hoped to become a gentleman farmer. Unfortunately they arrived in Quebec in the middle of winter and life in Canada was not what the Marchese expected. The farm failed and Gino and his mother moved to Montreal and then to Hull. Due to Hull’s close proximity to Ottawa, Gino soon became affiliated with the Ottawa community and St. Anthony’s Church where he met his wife, Rose. Italo recounts his father’s early introduction to and admiration of fascism and Mussolini and his father’s involvement in various social organizations in Ottawa. He recounts the events in and around June 10, 1940 when his father was arrested. Italo’s father was one of the few internees who was interned at Petawawa, released and then re-interned. Upon his re-internment his father was held in jail for 60 days before being transferred to Petawawa and then Fredericton. During this time, Italo’s family struggled to make ends meet, but due to the strong will of his mother and assistance from the community they were able to survive. Italo’s mother took a job at a bakery and then with the government where she was able to save 7000 dollars. His mother also took it upon herself to lobby for her husband’s release speaking to various agents and judges on his behalf. Gino was one of the last internees to be released on September 8, 1943. When he returned home he was not able to go back to his old job and instead had to take a number of menial jobs until young Italo suggested his parents buy a store that was for sale. His parents were able to do so using the money his mother had saved up and the family grocery store soon became an important gathering place on Preston Street and for the Italian community. After his return Gino would recount stories of his internment and seemed to understand the government’s rationale for interning him. However, Italo notes that stories about the internment ceased four years after his release when Italo’s brother Silvio, the oldest son, died in a car accident. Despite these hardships the family succeeded and Italo recounts a happy life, however, he notes that he had a much harder time accepting the internment and the suffering it brought than his parents.
In this opening clip Italo Tiezzi introduces himself and speaks about his family.
Italo Tiezzi speaks about his father’s migration to Canada with is mother and the Marchese Guadagni.
Italo Tiezzi discusses his father’s feelings toward Italy after his migration to Canada.
Italo Tiezzi speaks about his father’s involvement in the community and his participation in the Catholic Action.
In this clip Italo Tiezzi briefly speaks about his father’s work with the Ottawa Electric Company in the years prior to his internment.
Italo Tiezzi speaks about his father’s involvement with the Order Sons of Italy and the Italian Consulate in Ottawa.
Italo Tiezzi shares his father’s views on Mussolini. He also describes the fear that permeated his Ottawa neighbourhood when Italy declared war.
Italo Tiezzi speaks about the day his father was arrested by the RCMP.
Italo Tiezzi shares stories from his father’s internment experience.
Italo Tiezzi speaks about his father’s internment and re-internment. He also speaks about the rights that were denied to his father as a Canadian citizen.
Italo Tiezzi speaks about his father’s re-internment and the reasons used to justify his internment.
Italo Tiezzi speaks about his father’s internment experience in Fredericton. He also shares his family’s fear at not knowing where his father was being held.
In this clip Italo Tiezzi speaks about visiting his father while he was interned at Camp Petawawa.
Italo Tiezzi speaks about his mother and discusses at length how the family coped during his father’s absence.
Italo Tiezzi shares how his mother took it upon herself to lobby for her husband’s release speaking to various agents and judges on his behalf.
Italo Tiezzi speaks about Augusto Bersani and his role as informant. He also describes the day his father was released and returned home from the internment camp.
In this clip Italo Tiezzi speaks about his father’s return home and difficulty finding work. He also speaks about the tragic death of his brother Silvio in 1950.
Italo Tiezzi speaks about the enemy alien designation and reflects on the internment years.
Italo Tiezzi speaks about his father’s involvement in the Italian community after the war. He also speaks about his father’s role in assisting new immigrants.
Italo Tiezzi shares his father’s feelings on the internment period. He then continues by sharing his own feelings on the period and on issues such as apology and compensation.
Italo Tiezzi shares his views on why the Italian Canadians immigrants were sympathetic toward Mussolini and fascism in the years prior to the war.