Monday, March 26, 2007

The city witout women

Have you ever heard of Petawawa? The word sounds a little bit like Ottawa, and, as for the National Capital, the name of this city comes from the Algonkin language. Petawawa means something close to "where one hears the noise of the water", and it's in the middle of the Canadian woods and nature.

This is where an internment camp for Italians, Germans (civilians) and other Canadian "enemies" was based during the IIWW. I've learnt about this place chatting with some people from the local Italian community, and had a chance to learn a new chapter of the history of the Italians abroad, but also of Canada and the Second World War. Most of the people were interned there because of their origine and fear, they were not guilty of something, they did not have right to a trial and did not know how long their permanence far from their families would last. What they thought it would be weeks or months, ended up being years.

I'm reading a book about this story ("The city without women/La ville sans femmes/La citt√° senza donne" by Duliani). The interesting thing is that the interned people were often people born in Canada but with Italian origin or Canadian-naturalized citizens.

The book is very interesting to read and it makes me think in more than one point to the book written by Primo Levi, "Se questo é un uomo". Even if the reality was very different in this two stories and the internees of the Petawawa camp were treated in a very human way, the comments on human nature are very common in this two authors that nothing knew about each other.

After starting to read this book, I discovered that also in Peru things were not easy during the WW2 for Italian nationals. I don't know the details yet, but my mum told me that following these troubles the Italian school had to change its name from "Scuola Italiana" to Antonio Raimondi and the "Italian Bank" had to change its name to "Banco de Credito".

This issue it's not only history, but also present. It is at the centre of an argument between the Italian Canadian Community and the Minister of Canadian Heritage Bev Oda.


At 5:06 AM , Blogger Verena said...

Hey Chiara,

Cool to read your blog!

When are you coming back to Europe?

At 10:55 AM , Blogger Chiara's wonderful world said...

Hey Verena!

Thanks! I go to your blog from time to time too :)

I will be probably coming back in August, to enjoy the summer hehe

I've read you're planning to move to the UK, awesome!

Hugs and thanks for your message :)


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