April 27, 2012

Friedrich Gerull

Between 1914 and 1920, thousands of Canadians of Ukrainian and Eastern European descent were imprisoned in internment camps across Canada, simply on the basis of their origins. For decades, their stories were buried under fear and shame

  Friedrich Gerull was one of these thousands. Who was Friedrich?   The first we learn of Friedrich being interred is by a post card that was sent to him in 1917 to Fort Henry Kingston Ontario that was in my grandfather's possession.  Was Friedrich a brother or Uncle?  He was obviously much cared about because family wrote to him.

  Internees at Fort Henry were removed by the end of 1917; however, it seems Friedrich was not released and instead ended up at another camp in Kapuskasing.  On October 27, 1919 he was Repatriated and sent back to Germany on the ship Pretorian.   His journey to come to the Americas for a better life came to a disheartening end.

If Friedrich was grandpa's brother they kept in touch up until WWII after which he heard nothing about anyone in his family.  What happened to Friedrich and the rest of the family?

click on image to take you to newspaper archive

What it was like for Internee's

April 25, 2012


When one speaks of Internment Camps they think of WWII and Japanese Americans but Internment Camps existed before. In WWI, Canada interred Ukrainians and others considered a threat including Germans, women weren't interred. One of those interred was a relative named Friedrich Gerull. We do not know who Friedrick was to my grandfather but he was a relative because a post card sent to Friedrich while interred is currently in our possession as well as other photos we thought didn't exist. Photos to follow soon.

Most of the POWs of German nationality and German-speaking Austrians were separated from the other internees and placed into a "first-class" category. This meant that they were generally kept in relatively more comfortable camps, such as the one established in Fort Henry, near Kingston, Ontario However, the majority of those described as "Austrians" (on lists of prisoners these men were often more precisely categorized as "Galicians" of "Greek [Ukrainian] Catholic" religious affiliation or as "Ruthenians", although the word Ukrainian was also used in some official reports) were sent to work sites in Canada's hinterland, to places like Spirit Lake, Quebec; Castle Mountain, Alberta; and Otter Creek, British Columbia There they were obliged not only to construct the internment camps but to work on road-building, land-clearing, wood-cutting, and railway construction projects As the need for soldiers overseas led to a shortage of workers in Canada, many of these "Austrian" internees were released on parole to work for private companies, the federal and provincial governments, and the railway companies. Their pay was fixed at a rate equivalent to that of a soldier, which was less than what they might have expected to make if they had been able to offer their labour in the marketplace. As General Otter dryly noted, this "system proved a great advantage to the organizations short of labour". Thus, the internment operations not only uprooted families but also allowed for exploitation of many of the internees' labour.

April 1, 2012

1940 Census

 The 1940's Census becomes available starting tonight at midnight.  Ancestry.com will begin to input the data and make it available as quickly as possible but to research once available you will need a subscription.   FamilySearch Record Search will start making it available for free.  Why not help them out and volunteer to index https://the1940census.com/?cid=fsHomeT1940Plt.  The more people indexing the quicker it becomes available for searching.