The author of The Stories Were Not Told: Canada’s First World War Internment Camps will be in Vernon March 26. (Photo submitted)

Internment stories shared in Vernon, a century after First World War

Author and photographer brings Talks of Internment Camps to town

The untold stories of war are coming to Vernon.

University of Alberta Press has published an important new book by Sandra Semchuk, a photographic, text, and video artist, and the winner of a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2018). Semchuk will be touring Canada in the coming months to create a discussion around The Stories Were Not Told: Canada’s First World War Internment Camps. She stops in Vernon on Tuesday, March 26 from 7-9 p.m. at the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives.

“Using photography, cultural history, and personal history, Semchuk presents this largely unrecognized event as part of the process toward reconciliation and healing,” says Emil Yereniuk, Chair of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund and sponsor of the tour.

See also: Penticton man recalls war experience, through Lake Country author

In The Stories Were Not Told, Semchuk highlights Canada’s internment operations during the First World War, in which many immigrants from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Germany, and the Ottoman Empire were unjustly imprisoned as enemy aliens.

In her cross-Canada tour, Semchuk will create a space for the internees and their descendants to tell their stories after a century of suppression. Through photography, she will show the contemporary sites of the 24 internment camps, adding historical images and documents to allow readers a fuller glimpse of the past. Finally, Semchuk will describe how lives and society have been shaped by acts of legislated racism and help people understand the cross-cultural and intergenerational consequences of Canada’s first internment camps.


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