Prisoner of war mail, from Nello Pataracchia

Prisoner of war postcard featuring Christmas and New Year's greeting sent from internee Nello Pataracchia.

Pataracchia was arrested on June 10, 1940. According to government documents the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) searched the family home at 239 Park St. North in Hamilton on the day of his arrest and seized funds and a number of documents. He was interned at Camp Petawawa and Camp Fredericton.

While interned Pataracchia, along with the other internees, was allowed to write three letters and four postcards per month. Letters could only be twenty-four lines in length while postcards were limited to eight lines. Exceptions to this limit were made for those who ran businesses and had to respond to letters from the Custodian of Enemy Property.* All camp letters had to be read by a censor before they could be mailed, and if some of the contents was deemed inappropriate, the offending material was blacked out with ink. The same applied to incoming mail. Camp letters written in Italian were translated into English before being read by a censor. Internees were allowed to receive parcels sent by family members. These packages were searched thoroughly by camp guards before being distributed. Most often, the internees received foodstuffs and clothing.

The postcard features a black and white illustration on the front showing three internees walking through the snow. Two of the internees are pulling a tree on a sled, while the third internee carries an axe and boughs of holly under his arm. The internees are wearing typical camp clothing: a winter jacket with a circle on the back, pants with a strip down the pant leg, work boots and a heavy cap.

Nello has hand written a greeting on the front of the postcard.