Barbed Wire and Mandolins

This documentary introduces us to Italian-Canadians whose lives were disrupted and uprooted by seclusion in internment camps during the Second World War. On June 10, 1940, Italy entered WWII.
 Overnight, the Canadian government came to see the country's 112,000 Italian-Canadians as a threat to its national security. The RCMP rounded up thousands of people it considered fascist sympathizers. Seven hundred of them were held for up to three years in internment camps, most of them at Petawawa, Ontario. None were ever charged with a criminal offence. Remarkably, the former internees are not bitter as they look back on the way their own country treated them.


Nicola Zavaglia
Sam Grana
executive producer
Don Haig
Sam Grana
Nicola Zavaglia
Serge Giguère
Marcel Fraser
Hannele Halm
sound editing
Serge Fortin
Nathalie Fleurant
Shelley Craig
Geoffrey Mitchell
Nathalie Fleurant
Hannele Halm
Mark Trafford
Logistica Atmospherica
Antonio Capobianco
Andrea Cimichella
Anita Cocomile
Fernanda Colangelo
Tony Danesi
Benny Ferri
Sina Ferri
Osvaldo Giacomelli
Attilio Girardi
Dan Iannuzzi
Mary Lou Melillo
Domenico Nardoccio
Eugene Pavan
Dora Scozzafave
Laura Pancaro
Anna Dieni


  • abookguy

    “my published letter in G&M March 7,2012) re Can's WW!! human rights stain=an intelligence failure re alleged fascists; better re mobsters by James R Dubro on Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 6:56am · Historical stain The internment of more than 600 Italian Canadians during the Second World War was not entirely “a dark chapter” (Shining Light On A Dark Chapter: The Internment Of Italian Canadians – Arts, March 6). The documents that had to be filed on each internee and signed by government officials and civil servants make it clear that the Mackenzie King government's original aim was to imprison Italian Fascist Party members and Italian gangsters. But government documents show they often deliberately erred if there was the slightest intelligence that a proposed internee was either a Fascist or supporter of Benito Mussolini. Many innocent people were arrested and interned because of serious lapses in intelligence (notably the case of wealthy contractor James Franceschini). The intelligence on organized crime was a bit better researched, as the RCMP had made a list of the top gangsters in Ontario just before the war started. But the fact that many internees such as Mr. Franceschini had no connection to fascism or the mob was not only an intelligence failure but a stain on Canada's wartime human-rights record. James Dubro, Toronto” — abookguy, 7 Mar 2012

  • alegriherencia

    “Thank you Canada, and thank you Nicola. this theme is never addressed. Enjoy it here, it is beautifully written and filmed.” — alegriherencia, 11 Jan 2012

Discuss this film Please sign in to add your comment
Not a member ? Click here