Letter from C. Sauro to Mr. Perkins, September 22, 1940
Letter from C. Sauro to Mr. Perkins, September 22, 1940.
Rev. Libero Sauro was arrested on September 7, 1940 and held at Don Jail before being transferred to Petawawa Internment Camp.
From his arrest, Clementina was relentless in her mission to have her husband released. She wrote many letters on his behalf, including in one example, a letter to M.J. Coldwell, a Social Democratic politician and a fellow clergyman. As a result, Coldwell raised the issue of Libero’s internment in the House of Commons, pointing out that Sauro’s sons were in the Canadian services.
Under the DOCR (Defence of Canada Regulations), after 30 days, internees could formally object to their detention to an advisory committee appointed by the Minister of Justice. The Minister of Justice then appointed a judge to review the internee’s case. This meant an examination of the RCMP’s evidence against the internee, meetings with the internee, and interviews with witnesses who could attest to the internee’s character. After this, the judge either recommended an internee’s release or continued internment to the Minister of Justice.
In this letter, Clementina refers to the belief at the time that many men had been singled out for arrest by informants. There is supporting evidence. The motivations of community informants varied, but it would appear that some did so for personal reasons. She does not name the priest and communist referenced in the letter, and not enough information is provided to pinpoint their identities. There have been accusations that Antonio Spada, a known communist, was an informer. An active member of the Order Sons of Italy, he was involved in the schism in that organization in Quebec which resulted in the formation of the Order of Italian Canadians. Spada himself denied that he ever acted in such a capacity.
This document forms part of a collection of documents and other materials donated by the Sauro family.