May 18, 2011
Interview 1 With Elio Salciccioli (Al Salci)
In his first interview, Elio Salciccioli (Al Salci) speaks about the experiences of Italian Canadians during World War II. Coming from a family of musicians, he speaks about his father and brothers, who played with the Sons of Italy band. He also recalls his mother taking him to the Casa d’Italia in Hamilton from a very young age to attend meetings and a rally. Soon after Benito Mussolini declared war on the Allies, Salciccioli recalls the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) raiding the Casa d’Italia and incarcerating members who were suspected of being fascists. He was also present when the RCMP searched his entire home in an attempt to discover evidence of fascist support. Although Italians faced discrimination, he recollects the Hamilton community he grew up in as being close-knit and friendly, and that despite the circumstance, life was good. He outlines his views on the internment experience, and believes that the internees got along well with each other. With regards to his own music, he notes that he has played at a number of venues in and around Hamilton, and has had a good musical career overall. Sadly, Elio Salciccioli passed away suddenly a few days after his second interview was recorded in August 2011.
In this opening clip Elio Salciccioli introduces himself and mentions that he comes from a musical family.
Elio Salciccioli mentions that his father was involved with the Sons of Italy band and with Casa d’Italia in Hamilton. He recalls being at the Casa while a meeting was being held and also recalls his father and brothers practicing with the band on Sundays.
In this clip Elio Salciccioli recalls attending a rally held at the Casa d’Italia to support Benito Mussolini’s campaign in Ethiopia. He mentions that after Mussolini declared war on the Allies in 1940 that the Casa d’Italia was raided and that many of the individuals involved were arrested and interned.
Elio Salciccioli mentions that even though his father was not a member of the dopolavoro, he still faced felt the effects of the war declaration. The RCMP searched the family home for evidence to link him to fascism. His father was not permitted to return to work until the RCMP had cleared his name.
Elio Salciccioli briefly mentions that one of his brothers was drafted into the Canadian army in 1940. In 1942 his brother was sent to Petawawa for sentinel duty, watching the men who were interned there, many of whom he knew.
Elio Salciccioli speaks about Alfonso Borsellino who was in the Sons of Italy band and interned at Camp Petawawa. Salciccio began taking music lessons from Borsellino once he was released.
In this clip Elio Salciccioli briefly describes the Hamilton neighbourhood he grew up in.
In this short clip Elio Salciccioli mentions that his father was not required to report the the authorities after they searched the family home.
Elio Salciccioli mentions that while his brother was on sentinel duty in Petawawa he would often talk to the Italian Canadian men he knew from Hamilton.
In this clip Elio Salciccioli and Chester Capponi discuss the activities that the internees engaged in while interned. Capponi mentions that his father Girolamo (George) Capponi often sent home wooden objects.
August 11, 2011
Interview 2 With Elio Salciccioli (Al Salci)
This is the second interview with Elio Salcicioli (Al Salci). Elio Salciccioli grew up in Hamilton, the son of Teofilo Salciccioli, an Italian who immigrated to Canada in 1907, and Antonina Salciccioli, who came to Canada in 1917. They had five sons. Teofilo and Antonina were not members of any of the Italian fascist organizations that were formed during Mussolini’s rise to power. However, Teofilo and three of his sons were musicians who played with the band at the Casa d’Italia, and were part of the Italian community in Hamilton. None of Elio’s family members were arrested as enemy aliens in 1940, but they knew people in their community who were interned, including Alfonso Borsolino, who was the leader of the band at Casa D’Italia. Elio’s father was under suspicion, but was cleared after a few weeks without being sent to an internment camp. Elio’s brother, Dolindo, worked at the internment camp at Petawawa and was responsible for guarding Italians there, some of whom he knew personally. In this interview, Elio mentions a degree of discrimination against Italians in Hamilton during his childhood. He also mentions that those who were interned tended to keep their experiences private after they were released. He also mentions Italian cultural activities that were promoted before the war, such as Saint day processions and Italian lessons, were no longer practiced after the war broke out. Elio Salciccioli passed away suddenly a few days after this interview was recorded.
In this opening clip Elio Salciccioli introduces himself and speaks about his parents and their migration to Canada.
Elio Salciccioli speaks about the Casa d’Italia and other clubs in Hamilton that helped the Italian community keep their ties with Italy. He also discusses how after Italy’s war declaration those who belonged to these clubs were interned.
Elio Salciccioli briefly mentions that during the war his brother was stationed in Petawawa and performed sentinel duties.
In this clip Elio Salciccioli briefly talks about the church processions they used to have in Hamilton prior to the war.
Elio Salciccioli speaks about the band at Casa d’Italia and mentions that all of the instruments were confiscated during the war.
In this clip Elio Salciccioli recalls attending the Casa d’Italia as a child with his parents. He recalls that some of the Italian Canadians sent money to aid in Italy’s war in Ethiopia and believes this lead to many of the internments.
Elio Salciccioli mentions that the RCMP investigated his father for ties to the fascist party, but that his father was cleared and not declared an enemy alien.
In this clip Elio Salciccioli mentions Donato Olivieri who was interned because he was the president of the dopolavoro.
Elio Salciccioli speaks about the Hamilton neigbourhood he grew up in and talks about the ethnic make-up of the neighbourhood.
Elio Salciccioli speaks about the school he attended as a child.
Elio Salciccioli mentions that the Italian band never reformed after the internment period and also mentions that the instruments were never returned to the community.
In this clip Elio Salciccioli speaks about the return of his brothers after the war was over.
In this final clip Elio Salciccioli speaks about his own career as a musician and plays a number on the piano.