December 09, 2010
Interview 1 With Antonia Maria (Ninetta) Ricci
Antonia Maria (Ninetta) Ricci (née Frenza) was born in Ripabottoni, Campobasso, Molise, Italy in 1926. She immigrated to Montreal, Quebec (via Ellis Island) with her mother, Assunta Frenza (née Sauro), to join her father, Leonardo Frenza. Leonardo immigrated to Canada six years earlier. In this first interview, Ninetta recounts the time when her father was arrested and interned at Camp Petawawa during World War II. Ninetta vividly discusses the effects that her father’s absence had on the family, and the lengths her mother had to go to in order to provide for her and her younger sister, Edda. When their relief (welfare) was cut off completely, Ninetta tells some interesting stories of neighbours who stepped in to help her struggling family. Notably, Ninetta recounts the story of her father’s return from the camp. After the war, in 1946, Ninetta married Galileo Ricci, designated an enemy alien during World War II and ordered to report monthly.
In this opening clip Ninetta Ricci speaks about her father’s migration to Canada. She also speaks about her voyage to Canada through Ellis Island with her mother.
Ninetta Ricci discusses how her father found it difficult to maintain work during the Depression and thus the family was on relief. She also speaks about her father’s arrest on June 10 and mentions that after his internment the family’s relief was suspended.
Ninetta Ricci recounts the events surrounding her father’s arrest on June 10, 1940. She also speaks about how her mother struggled during his absence.
In this clip Ninetta Ricci talks about her father’s stay in the internment camp, communicating with him through letters and having the opportunity to visit him in Petawawa. She also mentions that three months after his internment their relief was reinstated.
Ninetta Ricci talks about how there was no clear reason why certain men were interned. She mentions that her father was not a fascist and also mentions that there was a stigma attached to being Italian in those days and that she feared her classmates would find out about her father’s internment.
Ninetta Ricci describes how it was relatively easy for her father to find work once he was released from the internment camp.
Ninetta Ricci mentions that her father never expressed any resentment or bitterness over his internment experience.
In this closing clip Ninetta Ricci speaks about how the internment period was not as devastating an experience for her as it was for her mother. She says that she was young and she moved on from the events.
June 20, 2011
Interview 2 With Antonia Maria (Ninetta) Ricci
Antonia Maria (Ninetta) Frenza was born in Italy in October of 1926. In 1932, Ninetta and her mother, Assunta Frenza (née Sauro), came to Canada via Ellis Island to join her father, Leonardo Frenza, who came to Canada six years earlier. The Frenza family settled in Montreal, Quebec. Leonardo was a shoemaker by trade and worked sporadically at factories during the Depression. He was active in the Order of the Sons of Italy. Assunta was a housewife. Ninetta talks about living with her neighbours who were well off before moving across the street to a two-room apartment on Cartier Street. In 1940, Leonardo was arrested and interned at Camp Petawawa for 22 months. He worked in the kitchen while he was there. During Leonardo’s internment, Assunta earned money by doing chores for other people and cleaning a church. After Leonardo’s release from the camp, he worked for Tarsales, a shoe manufacturer, and eventually opened up his own men’s clothing shop. At age 20, Ninetta married Galileo Ricci, who during World War II, was designated an enemy alien and ordered to report monthly. The couple moved to Dorval and then to Toronto in the late 1960s, because of Galileo’s job. Ninetta finishes her interview talking about some of the people on the street where she grew up: the neighbours that helped them out during her father’s internment and the landlady who almost evicted the family. She also speaks a bit about her family changing their religious affiliation from Catholic to Protestant when they came to Canada.
In this opening clip Ninetta Ricci introduces herself, speaks about her family and her migration to Canada.
Ninetta Ricci speaks about her life in Canada shortly after her migration.
Ninetta Ricci speaks about the ethnic make-up of her Montreal nieghbourhood and describes how her family coped during the Depression.
Ninetta Ricci speaks about her father’s involvement with the Order Sons of Italy and recalls attending various functions at the Casa d’Italia.
In this clip Ninetta Ricci describes how her family lived with close friends upon their arrival to Montreal. She then goes on to describe the home her family eventually moved into.
In this clip Ninetta Ricci recalls the events of June 10, 1940 when her father was arrested.
Ninetta Ricci recalls how she found out where her father had been taken when he sent a letter from Petawawa. She also recalls that her father was extremely concerned as to how the family would survive in his absence.
Ninetta Ricci shares her feelings about the internment period. She describes how she was afraid to speak to her schoolmates about her father’s internment.
Ninetta Ricci speaks about going to visit her father while he was interned at Camp Petawawa.
Ninetta Ricci speaks about the reasons behind her father’s internment.
Ninetta Ricci describes the day her father returned from the internment camp. She goes on to speak about the work her father was able to obtain after his release.
In this clip Ninetta Ricci shares her father’s feelings on the internment period.
Ninetta Ricci briefly speaks about the family dynamic and her father’s business after his return.
Ninetta Ricci speaks about the importance of remembering the internment period.
In this clip Ninetta Ricci speaks about the internment of her uncle Libero Sauro, who was a minister in Toronto at the time of his internment.
Ninetta Ricci recalls how neighbours assisted her family during her father’s internment.
In this last clip Ninetta Ricci speaks of how her mother coped during the internment period.