June 14, 2011
Interview 1 With Rino Albanese
Rino Albanese was born on November 12, 1924 in Thunder Bay, Ontario (formerly Port Arthur). Rino is the son of enemy alien Giovanni Albanese, who was born in Mammola, Italy and moved to Thunder Bay where he married and raised seven children with his wife. Rino speaks about his early childhood and family life. He adds that all the community members got along quite well and that his first encounter with discrimination was from Italian children at St. Joseph’s elementary school, where he and his twin brother were asked: “What are you?” From what Rino remembers, there was no fascist activity in the community in general, but he does concede that his father was a fascist but kept his opinions to himself so that he was never interned by the government. Rino says that he was upset by the fact that the local Italian language school in Thunder Bay was shut down by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) during the time he was taking classes there. At the age of 18 Rino Albanese enlisted in active voluntary service with the Canadian military along with his twin brother and some of his friends. They were trained at Petawawa and were sent overseas where they served with the Canadian forces in Holland, Germany, and England.
In this opening clip, Rino Albanese introduces himself and speaks about his family and their migration to Canada.
Rino Albanese speaks about his parents and memories of them while he was growing up.
Rino Albanese speaks about his school experiences. In particular he mentions that his first experience with discrimination occurred when he and his twin brother began attending elementary school.
In this clip Rino Albanese speaks about his experience working for Canada Car after he was discharged from the Canadian military in 1943.
Rino Albanese discusses the neighbourhood he grew up in Thunder Bay. He also mentions that he never experienced problems with discrimination in his neighourhood.
Rino Albanese speaks about the house he built with the money he received from his service in the Canadian military.
Rino Albanese discusses the types of social activities he participated in while growing up in Thunder Bay.
In this clip Rino Albanese speaks about his involvement with the young Liberals. He also mentions that there were a number of Italian organizations in Thunder Bay, but that to his knowledge the Italian government was not directly involved with these organizations.
Rino Albanese discusses attending Italian language classes in Thunder Bay in the years preceding the war. He recalls that the school was shut down by the RCMP around the time of Mussolini’s war declaration and shares his feelings about the school being shut down.
Rino Albanese mentions that there were very few problems between the Italian community and the non-Italian community in Thunder Bay both prior to and after the war. He also mentions that there were a large number of Italian Canadians in Thunder Bay who enlisted in the Canadian military and this is perhaps why there was little hostility in the community.
In this clip Rino Albanese speaks about his father’s enemy alien designation. He mentions that his father was a confirmed fascist and believed in the early work accomplished by Mussolini in Italy. Rino believes that his father was not interned, as other members of the community were, because he did not share his personal beliefs about fascism freely in the community. Rino also mentions an incident that occurred during World War I when his father was briefly detained by the local police.
In this brief clip Rino Albanese mentions that his father never spoke about his experience, or the experiences of other Italian Canadians, during World War II.
Rino Albanese speaks about enlisting in the Canadian military during World War II.
In this clip Rino Albanese shares stories about his experience in the Canadian military during World War II.
Rino Albanese discusses the possibility of him fighting Italians in Italy while serving in the Canadian military during World War II.
Rino Albanese describes what it was like to return home after serving in the Canadian military.
In this final clip Rino Albanese shares his views on the internment period and the issue of apology and compensation for the Italian Canadian community. In his opinion, the Japanese Canadians suffered more than the Italian Canadian community during World War II.
September 15, 2011
Interview 2 With Rino Albanese
In his follow-up interview, Rino Albanese discusses his job at Canada Car, where he was constantly bumped from one department to the next. He was laid off from Canada Car, and was then hired by Day Company, which specialized in air pollution in grain elevators. He worked his way up in the company, and did surveys of grain elevators and flour mills across Canada. In his initial interview, Rino had discussed attending Italian classes, which were arbitrarily shut down by the school board. Rino remembers that there were rumours that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had closed it because of the fascist insignia on the textbooks. Rino’s father was a fascist sympathizer, who was sympathetic to Mussolini’s ideology, and credited him with putting Italy on the map. Even after the war, his opinion never changed on fascism.
In this opening clip Rino Albanese speaks about his parents.
Rino Albanese talks about the closing of an Italian language school during the war.
Rino Albanese speaks about his father’s support of Mussolini and fascism in the years leading up to the war.
Rino Albanese briefly speaks about the Italian Canadian men who joined the Canadian military during World War II.
In this clip Rino Albanese talks about serving in the Canadian military and his father’s unwavering faith in Mussolini.
Rino Albanese discusses what drew his father to fascism.
Rino Albanese talks about how life in Thunder Bay became difficult for Italian Canadians after Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia.
In this final clip Rino Albanese mentions that his father remained a supporter of fascism throughout his life.