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Interviews With Gloria Giroux (Costantini)


May 14, 2011


Columbus Centre



Interview 1 With Gloria Giroux (Costantini)

Gloria Giroux (Costantini) is the daughter of Giuseppe (Joe) Costantini who was detained on June 10, 1940 and interned on June 12, 1940. He was released on January 29, 1941. She was about nine years old and at home on the day the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) came to search their house and take away her father. Nine months passed before the family was able to see him again. Gloria recalls a lot of crying that day. She also recalls trying to run away with a statue of Mussolini hidden under her shirt. This was the second tragedy to befall this family as in 1938 their mother Teresina Sabetti had passed away. Giuseppe (Joe) Costantini was devastated at the loss of his wife but because he needed to care for his seven children he quickly became both mother and father to them. When he was interned, his eldest daughter Kay took over this role, making a decision to leave school in order to get a job to help support her siblings. Additionally, she was entrusted with the role of lobbying for her father’s release. Gloria, like her niece Trina Costantini-Powell, also feels that it is important to make sure what happened to their family is never forgotten.

In this opening clip Gloria Giroux (Costantini) introduces herself, speaks about her parents and discusses her early life at home.

Gloria Giroux (Costantini) mentions that her mother passed away just prior to her father’s internment in 1940.

In this clip Gloria Giroux (Costantini) describes the day her father was arrested and mentions that the family did not know where he was until three days after his arrest.

Gloria Giroux (Costantini) mentions that there were a few other students in school whose father’s were arrested on June 10, 1940. She remembers a particular nun at the school taking those students aside and trying to help them cope with the situation.

Gloria Giroux (Costantini) recounts the events that unfolded at the house the day her father was arrested. She remembers trying to run away with a statue of Mussolini and that the RCMP confiscated a number of items from the house. Gloria also mentions that her father was the president of the Sons of Italy in Ottawa and that the RCMP confiscated paper’s related to his involvement with this organization.

In this brief clip, Gloria Giroux (Costantini) recalls how she felt the day her father was arrested and the reactions of her siblings.

Gloria Giroux (Costantini) mentions that her father was interned for approximately nine months and that the family was not able to see him during his time in the internment camp.

In this clip Gloria Giroux (Costantini) discusses how she and her siblings survived during the period that her father was interned.

Gloria Giroux (Costantini) describes how home life was affected by her father’s absence. Without any parents to look after the children Gloria’s eldest sister Kay dropped out of school and took on the role of mother.

Gloria Giroux (Costantini) discusses how the family hired a lawyer to deal with her father’s case and that her sister Kay, along with another family member of an internee, would go to Parliament Hill to continually check in on the cases of their interned family members.

Gloria Giroux (Costantini) describes her father’s homecoming and how the internment affected him physically.

In this clip Gloria Giroux (Costantini) recalls the few stories that her father shared with her and her siblings once he returned from the internment camp.

In this brief clip Gloria Giroux (Costantini) mentions that her father was able to get his job back quite easily once he returned from the internment camp.

Gloria Giroux (Costantini) discusses how the internment period continued to have negative effects on her father’s life even after his release from camp.

Gloria Giroux (Costantini) recalls that her father attempted to start a business in the months after his release from camp, however he quickly became frustrated and gave up on the business when he was refused due to his internment.

Gloria Giroux (Costantini) briefly describes how her father and other internees from the Ottawa area would refer to their internment as the time they spent at the college.

Gloria Giroux (Costantini) discusses how her father was more concerned with getting his good name back in the years after his release than he was with issues of compensation.

Gloria Giroux (Costantini) mentions that her family rarely spoke about the internment or issues surrounding redress. She feels that perhaps if there had been more dialogue around the issue then perhaps something would have been done.

Gloria Giroux (Costantini) mentions that after her father’s release from the camp he once again resumed his involvement with the Order Sons of Italy. She also mentions that her father remained a Liberal supporter after his release and resumed his interest in the politics of the day.

In this clip Gloria Giroux (Costantini) reflects on the internment period and shares her opinions. She mentions that while it is important for her to contribute to projects that help to educate the public on this period, she has no interest in receiving compensation for what her family endured during World War II.

In this final clip Gloria Giroux (Costantini) describes her father and shares how he was perceived in the community.


August 17, 2011


Columbus Centre



Interview 2 With Gloria Giroux (Costantini) 

This object story features Gloria Giroux (Costantini) at her home in Ottawa, Ontario on August 17, 2011. The object story is in regards to a small bone carving that her father, Giuseppe Costantini, created during his internment at Petawawa. Gloria explains that the carving was made from a soup bone after her father and some other internees began cooking in the kitchen at Camp Petawawa, and that he brought the object home with him after his release. Gloria is surprised by the artistic quality of the piece as she states that he was not known as a particularly creative individual. When asked what this object means to her, Gloria responds that it represents, “A life that was taken away.” The skilled and delicate carving features a floral motif on the front side and the inscription “P/W 189 Petawawa” on the reverse.

Gloria Giroux’s object story.