Interview with Fernada Colangelo

Fernada Colangelo is the wife of internee, Berlino Colangelo, who was interned in Petawawa by the Canadian government for roughly two years. Fernada was born and raised in Hamilton, where she met her husband. She recalls the events of Berlino’s internment, which occurred before they were married, and while she was still in high school. She describes the East End Hamilton community as being very closely involved with the church and notes that the community was very upset and people were afraid to mix in groups after war was declared. Fernada describes how Berlino was heavily involved in the community via various organizations which likely accounted for his arrest and internment. Although the family was never allowed to visit him at the camp, Berlino kept in contact with his father via letters. Fernada further describes the activities that the internees were involved in at the internment camp to keep themselves occupied. She believes that the internees were not treated badly, however after their release from camp many found it difficult to find work and had to rely on welfare and assistance from the Hamilton community churches. Fortunately, Berlino was able to get a job right away, and they were married a year after his release. Overall, Fernada notes that the emotional impact of the internment process for internees and their families alike was very difficult, but the will to survive and move forward prevailed.