Interview with Felicia Battigalli

Felicia Battigalli was born in 1912 in Montreal. Both of her parents were from Italy; however they met and were married in Montreal. Growing up Felicia had one brother and one sister—who died at the age of 22 from meningitis. As a youth, Felicia attended dances at il fascio as well as local processions in the community. She took her first job at Imperial Tobacco and enjoyed this position more than teaching, which she thought would be her career originally. Felicia met her future husband, Fiore Annibale Battigalli as a pupil in his classroom at the Institute of Italian Culture and later became his secretary. They were an engaged couple when Battigalli was arrested at the Institute; two officers came into the office and told Felicia that he “would be back in a few days.” The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) returned to the office the next day and confiscated all the papers, documents, and alcohol there. Felicia refused to let the police take her typewriter since it belonged to her. Annibale did not return and was taken to the internment camp at Petawawa, from where he sent Felicia letters and cards. The Battigallis were married in 1943 after Annibale returned home. He then found it difficult to find work as an Italian Canadian, but secured a job at a firm as a chemist. Annibale passed away at the age of 79, however Felicia is happy to have the company of their two daughters, Lydia and Anita.