Canada’s participation in WWI gave “fifth column” label to 8,579 citizens interned in hard labor concentration camps in the hinterland until war ended, where records show at least 107 died.
Although the term “fifth column” was still not invented until much later during the horrible Spanish Civil war, these innocent immigrants whose only crime was they originated from Austria-Hungary and Germany therefore becoming “enemy aliens”.
Hysteria and unsubstantiated rumors swirled around that these unfortunates were dangerous and they infiltrated Canada to cause mayhem during the war years.
As depicted in my photo and as the legend in the picture taken at the Canadian War Museum says the vast majority were ethnic Ukrainians along with a sprinkling of Germans, Croatians, Serbians, Turks, and Bulgarians.
These ordinary hardworking immigrants represented a threat to certain established Canadians who called for something to be done.
The same sort of exercise would happen again during WW2 with the Japanese as well as Italians and Germans when Canadian Internment Camps housed a total of over 34,000-35,000 internees and POWs.
Sadly, the WWI internees had their properties confiscated by an all-powerful state most receiving no compensation whatsoever even after the war ended however, recently Canada’s Parliament finally recognized injustice done gave a token several million lump sum establishing funding to commemorate the bitter experiences these unfortunate Canadians went through.
This my contribution for WP single word prompt:”LABEL”.