Interview with Leonard Tenisci
Leonard Tenisci is the son of internee, Fioravante (Fred) Tenisci who was born in San Leonardo, Abruzzo. His wife, Emilia (Emily) Tenisci (née Barazzuol) was born in Abbotsford, BC. The Tenisci family had 10 children and remarkably took many family trips together, including a vacation to Italy in 1962 when the children ranged in age from 16 to 2. Leonard is the second eldest and went to the University of British Columbia for Zoology before pursuing a career in photojournalism and acting. Fred Tenisci was interned before he was married, and was sent to Kananaskis, then Petawawa — writing daily letters to his fiancé that were eventually destroyed. Leonard recounts that when his father was arrested, he owned a retail shop full of religious items. Since his father had received short notice that he would be arrested, he went to Father Balo at St. Anthony’s parish whom held onto some of the expensive items for him in the church basement. Leonard explains that his father spoke about the lighter side of life in the camp, including the choir that he started as well as his interaction with the Mayor Camillien Houde. Leonard is disturbed and shocked that despite many letters of reference from the Archbishop, his father’s work, and the President of the Business Association in Trail his internment continued. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) told Fred that in order to prove that he was not an enemy to Canada he would have to join the Canadian armed forces. Fred accepted on the condition that he would not be sent to Italy to fight against his relatives and friends; however the police could not guarantee this so he accepted his fate in the internment camp. Leonard mentions that his father thought the police were very polite and that he held no grudges about his internment experience, and upon his release continued to be a very productive and positive member of the Trail community. Leonard has dedicated 15 years of his life towards promoting world peace as a result of his father’s experience during the war, and continues his work with transcendental meditation in countries around the world.