Diary of Nida Olivieri, Hamilton, ON, 1939-1940
Personal diary of Nida Olivieri, whose father, Antonio (Tony) Olivieri was interned in 1940. Select entries describe the mood and atmosphere of the Italian Canadian community in the Hamilton, Ontario area leading up to the declaration of Italian Canadians as enemy aliens on June 10, 1940.
Entries in the journal during her father's internment were intentionally left blank. Entries begin once again when her father returns home. She writes about her father’s mood and reintegration after his internment.
In an interview with Toni McDermott, Nida's daughter, she reads from these and other entries from the journal and describes what this journal personally means to her.
The journal is simulated leather bound with a locking metal clasp.
Transcribed entries include:
May 21. / Tues. 1941 Mikey[?] went home / last week. I do miss / the big blond giant. He / seemed so clean[?] and strong, / somehow, like a god.
May 22. / Wed. 1940 Italy might join / Germany. I hope she doesn’t. / It will go bad with us. / Mayor refused invitation to / Italian banquet.
May 25. / Sat. 1940 Worked hard all / day. Veterans parade tomorrow. / Italians not invited. Sodality[?] / meets tomorrow.
May 26. / Sun. 1940 Sodality[?] crowning / tonight. Not so hot today. / I realized my ambitions / …[unclear] / …[unclear] / …[unclear] Soldiers lined up…[unclear]…singing.
June 10. / Mon. 1940 Italy joins Germany in war / Police were here this aft & took Papa / away for investigation. He’s to say / the night. Three lieutenants in today one / sameone as Thurs. Steel plant men rejected.
June 11. / Tues. 1940 What a day! We ran around all / day long – [unclear, names individuals] /looking for our men! / Cops, Mounties, soldiers. What a bunch! / Yesterday [scribble] [unclear] ‘spy.’ Maybe Papa’s / [arrow leading to top of entry, entry continues] taken up North to a concentration camp. I / now realize what this war meant. For / the first time I know real sorrow. “Afraid” - box
July 17. / Wed 1940 Papa came home today. / We were out and what a surprise / we got! He is so tanned and / hard looking, but not the same. His / spirit seems broken, somehow.
July 18. / 1940 Thurs. I hope Uncle Don & / the rest could come out now. / Auntie seems hopeful. Papa / has many interesting things to / tell about the camp.
July 19. / Fri. 1940 [unclear] much for what / [unclear] papa & someday “he” will regret what he did / [unclear] We have lots of / company all the time now.
July 22. / Mon. 1940 I went to the dentist / this morning. He’s good. [unclear] / so interested & all [unclear] / [unclear]
July 23. / Tues. 1940 Papa is afraid to go outside [unclear]. / He is afraid still.