April 29, 2011
Interview 1 With Nellie Cavell
Nellie Cavell was born Nellie Pitton in the province of Pordenone in the Italian region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Her father arrived in Canada first to establish a life for when Nellie and her mother Antonia arrived. When they came to Canada they moved to Paul River, BC when they stayed until Nellie was in grade four and then moved to Strathcona. Nellie’s two sisters were both born in BC. After finishing her schooling, Nellie began her first job as a stenographer with the Italian Consulate in Dr. Brancucci’s Vancouver office. Nellie recounts her fond relationship with Dr. Barncucci and explains that she did not share his fascist views although she did join the Circolo Roma when he asked her to. On June 10, 1940, Dr. Brancucci came bursting into the office saying, “Siamo in Guerra!” He then proceeded to ask his staff, including Nellie, to burn some documents and papers in the building’s furnace. Two days later, Nellie arrived at the office to find that it had been closed, and Dr. Brancucci and his family had been placed under house arrest. Nellie was told by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) that she was an enemy alien and was forced to report monthly—a process which Nellie describes as mortifying. She and her family members strongly considered themselves to be proud Canadians and had no interest in fascist organizations.
In this opening clip Nellie Cavell introduces herself and speaks about her parents. She also describes her migration to Canada and her early impressions of Canada.
Nellie Cavell speaks about moving to Vancouver during the Depression. She also talks about the schools she attended.
Nellie Cavell speaks about her first job working for Dr. Brancucci at the Italian Consulate in Vancouver.
In this clip Nellie Cavell speaks about her involvement in various Italian social organizations in Vancouver that were linked to fascism.
Nellie Cavell talks about her working relationship with Dr. Brancucci and the various social functions she would attend.
Nellie Cavell talks about Dr. Brancucci and the various Italian social organizations in the Vancouver area. She also recalls a confrontation between her father and Dr. Brancucci that occurred after her father expressed anti-fascist remarks at a public event.
Nellie Cavell recounts the events of June 10, 1940.
In this clip Nellie Cavell speaks about events that occurred after June 10, 1940. She speaks in particular about Dr. Brancucci and his family leaving Vancouver after being put under house arrest for a period of time. She also mentions that Ms. Forte left Vancouver.
In this clip Nellie Cavell speaks about being declared an enemy aliens and having to report monthly to the RCMP.
Nellie Cavell mentions that some of the Italian Canadians who were interned had family members fighting for the Allies in the war. She also recalls that the Italian Canadian were treated better than the Japanese Canadians during World War II.
Nellie Cavell discusses how she feared not being able to find work during the war years due to her enemy alien designation.
Nellie Cavell recalls how everyone in the Strathcona area of Vancouver got along when she was growing up.
Nellie Cavell elaborates on the things she learned while working for Dr. Brancucci in the years prior to the war.
In this clip Nellie Cavell talks about the local Italian Canadian paper L’Eco italo-canadese and what she remembers about Bruno Girardi and Alberto Boccini.
June 06, 2011
Interview 2 With Nellie Cavell
Nellie Cavell was born in Italy and was forced to report to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) as an enemy alien during World War II. In this second interview, Nellie explains her job in greater detail as a stenographer with the Italian Consulate in Dr. Brancucci’s Vancouver office. Nellie recounts her relationship with Dr. Brancucci in greater detail, and explains that she did not share his fascist views although she did join the Ciccolo Roma when he asked her to. She and her family members were very patriotic and proud Canadians, and had no interest in fascist organizations. Nellie and the interviewer Raymond Culos discuss many individuals in the Italian-Canadian community during the war years, as well as family friends and Japanese Canadians in the Vancouver area. She shares her opinions on the treatment of the Japanese Canadians in the Vancouver area, and expresses her views about enemy alien internment during World War II.
In this opening clip Nellie Cavell speaks about the ethnic make-up of the Strathcona neighbourhood she grew up in.
Nellie Cavell talks about her job working for the Consulate and speaks about the Vice Consul Dr. Brancucci.
Nellie Cavell talks about her involvement with a few of the Italian ladies organizations in Vancouver.
Nellie Cavell mentions that her father was a member of the Order Sons of Italy. In this clip she recalls a confrontation between her father and Dr. Brancucci after her father made some anti-fascist comments at an event.
Nellie Cavell briefly speaks about Mrs. Forte, an Italian teacher from Italy.
In this clip Nellie Cavell recalls many of the members of the Italian community she came in contact with while working at the Consulate. She also speaks about some of the social events she would attend.
In closing Nellie Cavell speaks about her enemy alien designation and expresses that she has no interest in being compensated for her treatment during World War II. She also speaks about the experience of the Japanese Canadians.