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Enemy Aliens Presentation Package

These images are to be used in conjunction with the Enemy Aliens and Racial Prejudice lesson plans. Copies should be printed so that students may individually consult three of the documents. The images can also be used in presentations.

The material here can be found in Series 4 of the City Archives.  

Document 1: TBA 0002, Austrians Letter

A letter sent on behalf of Slavic Austrians in Fort William to the Mayor and council outlining the difficulties the war and racism have placed on them, affirming their loyalty to Canada, and expressing their willingness to assist the war effort.

Letter representing Slavic Austrians

Document 2: TBA 0002 Committee letter (4 pages)

A letter from the Committee to the Mayor and Council presenting their findings on the Enemy Alien problem. The proposal advocates increased controls over “enemy aliens” in Fort William, and provides statistical information along with a summary of the concerns. Since this document is longer than others in the presentation package, consider allowing it to count for two in the assignment.  

Report of Committee

Report of Committee

Report of Committee

Report of Committee

Document 3: TBA 0002 Letter regarding withdrawal of funding (2 pages)

This letter from the Federal government (in charge of internment) argues that enough has been done already for “enemy aliens”, and raises doubt as to the necessity of further aid.

Withdrawal of government funding

Withdrawal of government funding

Document 4: TBA 0002, Letter regarding housing

This letter is from a military official responding to a complaint about immigrants who, being put out of work, are now unable to pay for their housing. Though the letter offers no real solution, the writer notes that if immigrants were turned out of their homes the financial burden on the Fort William would be considerably increased.

Letter to Relief Committee

Document 5: TBA 0002, Letter to the Minister of Justice regarding internment (2 pages)

A letter from the Mayor and council to the Minister of Justice with a number of suggestions regarding enemy aliens, balancing basic human rights with civic protection, and asking that jobs be provided to them whenever possible.

Internment of enemy aliens

Internment of enemy aliens

Document 6: TBA 0002, Letter from the City Relief Officer (2 pages)

This letter is from the City Relief Officer establishing his personal experience with seeing poverty first-hand in Fort William, including conversations he had with enemy aliens.

Personal anecdote, enemy aliens in poverty

Letter, enemy aliens in poverty

Document 7: TBA 0002, Enemy Aliens newspaper clipping

A short 1915 article from the Globe, discussing the popularity of a petition in Northeastern Ontario to intern enemy aliens, and some of the reasons they are considered a danger.

Newspaper clipping, 1915

Document 8: Enemy Aliens request (2 pages)

This letter contains statistical information about enemy aliens along with various fears to support their proposal to force internment. This letter was apparently incorporated in large part into Document 2, and thus may be used a shorter replacement to that longer piece. This document was prepared bythe Committee on Alien Enemies.

Request and Information Letter

Request and Information letter 

Document 9: TBA 0002, Committee recommendations (2 pages)

This letter contains another set of recommendations to the city on what to do with enemy aliens, citing both the threat they may pose as well as an appeal for their general welfare by removing them from the unhealthy conditions of poverty.

Letter of Recommendations, 1915

Letter of Recommendations

Document 10: TBA 0002, Constable's Response to Committee Letter (3 pages)

This document responds directly to many questions posed regarding enemy aliens in Fort William, giving practical answers relating to feasibility of some proposals and highlighting misconceptions and impractical ideas.

Fort William's Response to the Committee on Aliens

Response to Committee

Response to Committee Letter

Document 11: TBA 0005. Letter regarding C.P.R.'s employment policies (1 page)

This letter was written several years before the outbreak of war, and it details a counter-argument against the C.P.R.'s policy of not employing Italians or Greeks.

Letter regarding CPR employment policies 

Document 12: TBA 0005, Wesley Institute Report (3 pages)

These scans come from a brochure advertising the charitable work of the Wesley institute. It focuses on “Canadianizing” immigrants by teaching English, basic reading and writing, and various other employment skills. This is an example of a positive community response but with some historical nuance and racial baggage evident.

Cover, Wesley Institute Report 

Wesley Institute Report, pages 1 and 2

Wesley Institute Report, pages 3 and 4


Note that some images on this page have been enhanced for better readability.