Interview with Doug Brombal

Douglas Nereo Brombal was born in Windsor, Ontario in 1930. His father Nereo Brombal was born in 1896 in Treviso, Italy. Doug recounts his father’s early life working in Northern Ontario, where he met his future wife. The couple married and moved to Windsor, Ontario where they built their family home and raised their two children. Doug’s mother was an accomplished seamstress, while his father joined the Windsor Police Department. It was at some point after Italy declared war on Britain and France that the Brombal family felt the effects of the war. Nereo Brombal was dismissed from the police force. Despite the fact that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) found no evidence that Nereo was a threat to Canada, he was no longer able to work for the police. Doug recounts that it was very difficult for his father and he took a number of odd jobs to support the family. Doug and his cousin also faced discrimination during the war. Both children often fought their way through school and avoided many of the children due to the bullying they faced. Despite these hardships, the family was able to make ends meet with the help of their Italian neighbours. Although Doug and his father understood the measures that the Canadian government took during World War II, Nereo never went back to the police force and refused to return to Italy. The family was given an apology by the police commission, where they were presented with a plaque honouring Nereo. The Windsor Police Commission also began a camp for underprivileged children, which they named Camp Brombal in honour of Nereo.