Interview with Phyllis Morreale & Rita Morreale

In this interview, Phyllis Morreale and her daughter, Rita, describe living in the Barton and Sherman area of Hamilton during and after World War II. Phyllis' father, Luigi Mascia, was interned at Camp Petawawa for 22 months. Phyllis was engaged to be married, and when Luigi was arrested, she had to postpone her wedding. In order to get Luigi out of the camp, Phyllis' mother had to pay a large fee, which Rita and Phyllis describe as extortion. They talk about women with large families who were left with nothing after their husbands were interned, and describe the experiences of Italian Canadians who had to register with the government every day or every week. They also talk about the discrimination Italians faced during that era, when it was difficult to get a job or buy real estate in certain areas. After the war, Rita describes how members of the Italian community began to build up the construction industry in Hamilton. They both describe how Luigi and the other internees rarely talked about their experiences in the camp after the war, preferring to return to their lives as they were before. The Morreales also show a portrait of Luigi that was painted while he was interned.