Interview with Paula Mascioli

Paula Mascioli talks about a portrait of her grandfather, Leopoldo (Leo) Mascioli, created when he was interned at Camp Petawawa. Paula's great-uncle, Antonio (Tony) Mascioli, was also interned at the camp. The portrait is dated August 1940 and signed by artist and fellow internee, Vincenzo Poggi. Paula says that the sketch is important to her because it is the only tangible memento she has of her grandfather's time in the camp, apart from the letters that he wrote to her father. Paula says the sketch is a good example of the kinds of people that were in the camp and how they used their skills to pass the time, entertain each other, and help each other out. In the camps, there were artists, writers, carvers, and cooks. Those internees who were literate would help others write letters to their families back home. Paula has her grandfather’s letters which feature three different styles of handwriting but always included his signature at the bottom. She suggests that a supportive community evolved within the camp. She also notes that the sketch shows a different side to her grandfather, a softer side that is not apparent in photographs.