Interview with Esperando Razzolini

Esperando Razzolini was born in New Waterford, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia on November 9, 1923. His parents were Annabelle Razzolini (née Marsh) and Rodolfo Razzolini. Esperando’s paternal grandparents first immigrated to Canada before the two world wars and then moved to Buffalo, USA. His father, aunt and uncle remained in Canada. Esperando’s mother was born in Canada and was of Irish origin. According to Esperando, his mother belonged to one of the “first families” in Cape Breton that came over from very early on. Rodolfo belonged to the Italian nobility, but in Canada he was a small business owner operating in the business sector of New Waterford. It is in this non-Italian neighbourhood that Esperando lived with his parents and his five siblings. On June 10, 1940, Rodolfo was arrested and detained, before being sent to Petawawa where he was interned for 27 months. He was one of the 22 men interned from Nova Scotia. Esperando talks about growing up in the Jewish community, going to Mount Carmel (a non-denominational public school), and pursuing work as a coal miner during his father’s internment. He also speaks of the many interesting positions he held during his lifetime ― as coal miner, pilot, prospector, construction engineer and classification officer ― and his passion for learning, especially math and science.