Interview with Elisa Germano Pillarella & Joyce Pillarella
Video interview in Italian and English with Elisa Germano Pillarella and her daughter/interivewer Joyce Pillarella. Elisa speaks about her father, Nicola Germano, who was interned during World War II and shares her own reflections of the internment experience. Joyce also shares her opinions about this event.
Elisa was born on March 21, 1920 in Ururi, an Albanese speaking town in Campobasso, Italy, and had three brothers one of whom died at an early age. Elisa grew up in Italy under the fascist regime and learned marches, songs, and activities while in school. Her father Nicola Germano was born on March 5, 1887 and immigrated to Montreal, Quebec in 1920. He became a citizen (naturalized British subject) on January 7,1924. According to Elisa, her father was strict and a strong fascist supporter in Italy and in Montreal, where he openly showed his support through organizations such as Casa d’Italia and the dopolavoro. In Montreal, he worked at Canadian Tube and Steel and sent money back to his family, who he had left behind in Ururi. Nicola visited and corresponded with his family until he was rounded up on June 10, 1940. He was taken first to Bordeaux Jail and then to the internment camps in Petawawa and Fredericton. For months the family did not know that Nicola was interned. Correspondence and financial support to the family ceased after Nicola’s arrest. During this time Elisa’s mother became sick and died as there was no money for medicine. Her father was eventually released on February 9, 1943. After the war, Elisa immigrated to Montreal and became a teacher and a writer. Her father never discussed the internment experience or politics with his family, only with friends. Nicola’s story was brought to life via extensive research by his granddaughter and local researcher Joyce Pillarella.