Memo signed by the female Italian and German internees at Kingston Penitentiary
Memo issued from the Prison for Women in Kingston, ON, signed by female Italian and German internees giving thanks for gift of 10 Nestle chocolate bars. The memo contains the signatures of 12 internees. During World War II, 21 women were interned: 17 German Canadians and 4 Italian Canadians. Two of the four Italian Canadian women who were interned have signed the memo, they are Verna Lo Bosco and Maria Pressello. They were the last two Italian Canadian internees to be released from the camp in July 1941.
Verna Lo Bosco was born in Welland, ON; both of her parents had been born in Italy. At the time of her arrest, Lo Bosco was 29 years old and single. She had been working as a bookkeeper in the Brewers Warehouse in Welland since 1927 and also taught at the local Italian school. She was also active in her community. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) kept a file on Lo Bosco pulled mostly from articles published in the fascist newspaper Il Bolletino. She was arrested on August 30, 1940 and was interned on September 14, 1940. She objected to her internment; and her case was heard by Justice JD Hyndman. In her testimony before him, she admitted her membership in the Order Sons of Italy but denied being a fascist.
Maria Pressello arrived in Canada in 1920. At the time of her internment in 1940, she was widowed with four adult children. During her internment, Pressello had all of her teeth removed and was given a set of dentures. She worked in the kitchen at the Kingston Prison for Women. She tried to stay away from other prisoners as much as possible. Her behaviour was exemplary. Pressello was accused of being a fascist, but no proof of this was uncovered. Although among the last of the Italian Canadian females interned, the case against Pressello was the weakest. Her signature is shaky and reinforces the claim of her being poorly educated and not involved in political or social circles -- in particular, fascism or fascist clubs.