CM December 15, 
1995. Vol. II, Number 9

image Freedom Had a Price.

Producer/Director: Yurij Luhovy.
National Film Board of Canada: 1994. VHS, 55 minutes.

Subject Headings:
World War, 1914-1918-Canada.
Concentration camps-Canada.

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.
Review by Patricia Maruschak.

Towards the end of Freedom Had a Price, Professor Lubomyr Luciuk comments that Canadians have come to see the years of World War I as a time when Canada forged itself as a nation, yet the contributions of non-English or French Canadians have been almost completely ignored. Producer/director Yurij Luhovy's film is a first-rate attempt to expose the cracks in this vision.

Freedom Had a Price thoroughly documents the internment of five thousand Ukrainian immigrants, labelled enemy aliens by the Canadian government, between 1914 and 1920. The film effectively interweaves eye-witness accounts, narration, historical overviews, and lots of original photographs to provide a vivid picture of life in the internment camps.

This film would be an excellent supplement to junior or senior high units on World Wars I and II, but for students to truly benefit from the information provided some understanding of the issues of racism and prejudice and how they can be manipulated during times of war is necessary. Comments about the internees by "real Canadians," such as "They were in the place where they should be. They were prisoners and they were enemies of ours," and unbelievable photos of the looting of German-Canadian clubs are almost painful to sit through but, if carefully presented, Freedom Had a Price could help answer students' inevitable question about the Holocaust: "Why did people let this happen?"

Freedom Had a Price is an intelligent, well-made film that would be a valuable asset to any thorough history course.

Highly recommended.

Patricia Maruschak is a Winnipeg teacher.

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Copyright © 1995 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364

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