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Interview With Mary Monaco & Michael Monaco


October 19, 2011


Columbus Centre



Interview With Mary Monaco & Michael Monaco

Mary Monaco and Michael Monaco are the children of Georgina (née Donatelli) and Donato Monaco. Their father owned a bakery and delivered bread to clients around Montreal. Mary started helping out at the bakery when she was a teenager by looking after the books. The family lived above the bakery. During World War II, Donato was interned. He was arrested at work along with his brother, Antonio, and both were taken to Petawawa. Mary and her future husband, Leo, with a bit of help from her mother, took over the bakery during Donato’s absence. Mary had the opportunity to visit her father at Petawawa while he was there. Eventually, the Monaco brothers were able to appear before the camp tribunal. Donato was found innocent of being involved in fascist organizations and was sent home on December 26, 1940. However, Antonio admitted to being a member of the Sons of Italy and was detained for two years. Mary and Michael suspected that Minister Augusto Bersani had given the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) a list of people to arrest. Mary and Michael talk about how their father never discussed his time at Petawawa and how they feel angry that there is nothing left at Petawawa to commemorate what happened there. 

Mary Monaco describes the events of June 10, 1940 when her father, Donato Monaco, was arrested.

Mary Monaco speaks about running the family bakery during her father’s absence. She also goes on to speak about testifying at her father’s trial.

Michael Monaco speaks about the return of his father and uncle from the internment camp. He also speaks about the discrimination his father faced for being interned.

Michael Monaco shares his memories of June 10, 1940. He also speaks about the bakery’s customers both during the internment period and after.

Mary and Michael Monaco state that their father Donato and uncle Vincenzo’s were not connected to the Casa d’Italia or Order Sons of Italy (OSI), but that their uncle Antonio was a member of the OSI and this is the reason he was kept in the internment camp until 1943.

Mary and Michael Monaco discusse their father’s reaction to his arrest. They also share the reaction of their family.

Mary and Michael Monaco speak about their father’s return from camp. They describe the changes they noticed in his demeanour and mention that he did not speak about his experience.

Michael Monaco speaks about his recent visit to Petawawa. He goes on the share his feelings regarding the internment period.

Mary and Michael Monaco discuss the effect the internment period had on their father.

Mary Monaco shares her experience of visiting her father at Camp Petawawa.

Mary and Michael Monaco share their feelings regarding the internment of Italian Canadians during WWII.