Civilian Internment in Canada

Histories and Legacies

Rhonda L. Hinther (Editor), Jim Mochoruk (Editor)


Civilian Internment in Canada initiates a conversation about not only internment, but also about the laws and procedures—past and present—which allow the state to disregard the basic civil liberties of some of its most vulnerable citizens. Exploring the connections, contrasts, and continuities across the broad range of civilian internments in Canada, this collection seeks to begin a conversation about the laws and procedures that allow the state to criminalize and deny the basic civil liberties of some of its most vulnerable citizens. It brings together multiple perspectives on the varied internment experiences of Canadians and others from the days of World War One to the present.

This volume offers a unique blend of personal memoirs of “survivors” and their descendants, alongside the work of community activists, public historians, and scholars, all of whom raise questions about how and why in Canada basic civil liberties have been (and, in some cases, continue to be) denied to certain groups in times of perceived national crises.


“Readers are challenged to reconsider internment’s significance and to accept that it embraces a variety of cultural, ethnic, political groups and individuals and the differing manner with which they were dealt. […] These essays bring refreshing approaches to the subject matter and a promise of dynamic future research.”

Keith Regular, The Ormsby Review

“Hinther and Mochoruk believe this searing tale—in addition to others—serve as a “powerful reminder” of the “fragility of civil liberties and human rights,” as well as a stand-in for a larger, more contested discussion on internment over the span of Canada’s history. […] The editors very much want readers to understand that Canada, despite all of the adulation it often receives in global diplomatic circles these days, had a “rich and shameful” record on these very civil right and liberties via civilian internment—defined as the detention as a prisoner without formal charge and conviction, almost always for political or military reasons.”

Britta Crandall & Russell Crandall, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books

“Many of the chapters—including Christine Whitehouse’s on the ambivalent sexualities of Jewish refugees, Judith Kestler’s on the positive reminiscences of interned German merchant marines, and Franca Iacovetta’s on the “risky business” of complicating a community’s understanding of its internment—are fascinating and, at least to this reader, novel.”

Jordan Stanger-Ross, BC Studies


Margaret McWilliams Book Award for Scholarly History, Manitoba Historical Society (2020)

About the Authors

Rhonda L. Hinther is a professor in the Department of History at Brandon University, and an active public historian. Prior to joining BU, she served as Director of Research and Curation at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and, before that, as Curator of Western Canadian History at the Canadian Museum of History. She is the co-editor of Civilian Internment in Canada: Histories and Legacies.

Jim Mochoruk has taught at the University of North Dakota since 1993. His books include Formidable Heritage: Manitoba’s North and the Cost of Development, 1870 to 1930.

Other contributors: Mikhail Bjorge, Ed Caisse, Todd Caissie, Emily Cuggy, Paula Draper, Dennis Edney, Aya Fujiwara, Jodi Giesbrecht, Franca Iacovetta, Judith Kestler, Kassandra Luciuk, Marinel Mandres, Art Miki, Myron Momryk, Kathleen Ogilvie, Sharon Reilly, Clemence Schultze, Grace Eiko Thomson, Travis Tomchuk, Christine Whitehouse

Table of Contents


Part 1 - Metanarratives
Part 2 - Internment and the Ukrainian Left in Two World Wars
Part 3 - Authorities, Internment, and Community Interventions
Part 4 - Gender, Identity, and Internment in the Second World War
Part 5 - Japanese Canadians: Resistance and Internment by Other Means
Part 6 - Personal Reflections and Documents of the Internment Experience
Part 7 - Commemorating Internment: Museums, Memory, and the Politics of Public History
Part 8 - International Internees: Canada as “Host”
Part 9 - The Politics of Redress