Letter from Antoinetta Visocchi, to T.W. Laidlaw, Date Unknown
This handwritten letter by Antoinetta Visocchi is addressed to T.W. Laidlaw, Counsel for the Office of Custodian. Although the date is not known, given the contents, it would appear to have been written within a few months of her husband's internment on June 10, 1940.
With seven minor children to support, Visocchi writes that she finds herself in financial hardship. She has no income -- having been pulled from government relief. Enemy aliens were not entitled to government relief. However, the families of interned men could apply for relief. It appears the Visocchi family (like several others) may have been caught in this bureaucratic red tape. Further, Visocchi's landlord seems to have threatened eviction. She writes to the Custodian of Enemy Property for assistance.
The Custodian of Enemy Property (CEP), a branch of the Canadian government, oversaw the administration of assets belonging to internees and other enemy aliens. This government office served a dual function. Acting as a trustee for the internee/enemy alien, the office and its agents also protected the interests of the creditors. The CEP would pay off an internee’s debts by selling his or her property or businesses. It also collected money owed to internees by others. Families of internees often did not have access to the husband's assets and bank accounts. As a result, families often had to negotiate with the CEP for stipends for daily subsistence or use of assets like an automobile. In some cases, where assets were lacking, the CEP divested itself of any interest and left the families to fend for themselves.