By Jennifer Weymark, Archivist
This summer the Oshawa Museum is undertaking a new and very important, oral history project. The focus of the project is to collect the memories of those who arrived in Oshawa as Displaced Person after the Second World War.
The conclusion of World War II saw mass movements of people like the world had never seen before. Canada opened its borders to help find homes for those who had no home to go back to. Oshawa was considered an enticing place for many from the Ukraine and Poland as there was already a large, established community from these countries in the city. It is these stories, memories and experiences of those who arrived in Oshawa that we at the Museum are working to collect and share.
While Oshawa is known for its industrial past, it has a rich cultural history that should not be overlooked. The people who arrived in Oshawa after the Second World War helped to create the Oshawa of today. They brought with them traditions, celebrations and of course food that are have become a part of Oshawa.
The aim is to learn about what life was like in Oshawa for those who came as refugees of World War II. Where did they live before the war? How was the boat ride over? Why did they settle in Oshawa? What were their experiences once they arrived in Oshawa? The answers to these questions and more, will help us to learn more about Oshawa during this pivotal time in history and to learn about the impact of the war on a more personal level.
The information collected will become a part of the archival record and will be the basis of a museum exhibit. If you came to Oshawa as a refugee after World War II or you know someone who did, please consider taking part in this project. We have developed a workbook to collect the memories and it is available to download. If you don’t wish to download the booklet, please contact the Museum and we will happily send one out to you. Museum staff is more than willing to come out and speak to people or groups about the project and to work together to collect these important memories.
Download the Displaced persons in Oshawa Memory Booklet.