Welcomed but Unwanted: Baltic Refugees from Sweden and the Evolution of Post-War Immigration Policy

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WELCOMED BUT UNWANTED: BALTIC REFUGEES FROM SWEDEN AND THE EVOLUTION OF POST-WAR IMMIGRATION POLICY

BY

PAUL KENNETH HILLIER

Abstract

Canada’s post-war immigration policy sought to maintain the Anglo-European ethnic makeup of the country while encouraging the immigration of types that would promote economic growth and the expansion of industry. The voyages of ten “Viking Boats” departing from Sweden from August 1948 to August 1949 challenged Canada’s post-war immigration policy, but due to “desirable characteristics” they were largely granted entry on an ad-hoc basis after extensive security screening, and received a positive reception in the news media. However, with the arrival of the S.S. Walnut in December 1948 the perceptions of immigration officers changed for the negative, and subsequent arrivals to the present day have been met with much greater scrutiny. Unlike what was evident in Government discourse, the portrayal of Baltic refugees in Canadian news media remained consistent, focusing on their perception as “ideal types” and their stories of flight from Russian domination.

Table of Contents

I. Introduction.

II. Literature Review.

  • The Baltic States Under Occupation.
  • Post-War Immigration Policy in Canada.
  • Communism and Ethnic Radicalism.
  • The Baltic Boats.
  • Immigration and “Cold War Canada”.
  • Immigration and Ethnic Studies.

III. The Baltic States During World War II

  • Prelude to Occupation.
  • The First Soviet Occupation.
  • German Conquest and the Second Soviet Occupation.

IV. “Boat People” and the Evolution of Post-War Immigration Policy.

  • Post-War Immigration Policy in Canada.
  • Immigration Policy and Post-War Displaced Persons.
  • Displaced Persons and Soviet Pressure.

V. The Baltic Boats of 1948.

  • The Early Arrivals.
    • Astrid and Atlanta.
    • Capry and Östervåg.
  • The S.S. Walnut.
  • Preparation for Departure and the Perception of Government and Media.
  • The Arrival of the S.S. Walnut, Media Coverage and the Escalating Costs of Detainment.

VI. The Baltic Boats of 1949.

  • Government Discourse and Policy Changes for the Baltic Refugees.
  • The Last of the “Little Viking Boats”.
    • W.E. Gladstone and Parnu.
    • Sarabande and Amanda.
    • Victory.

VII. Conclusion.

VIII. Postscript- Later Arrivals and the Perception of Media.

IX. Bibliography.

  • Primary Sources.
  • Secondary Sources.

I. Introduction

The Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania experienced a great upheaval in the 1940s, with their independence shattered by periods of Russian and German occupation that subjugated these nations to the status of mere pawns in the overarching global conflict. Instances of violence, religious and political oppression, economic crisis and other factors motivated many Baltic nationals to flee their homelands for neutral countries, both in anticipation of the second Soviet occupation of 1944 and in the wake of war’s end. The vast majority of these refugees ended up in West Germany, the United Kingdom and other areas operating International Refugee Organization (IRO) Displaced Persons Camps. However, thousands more crossed the Baltic Sea in small boats to seek refuge in Sweden, a nation that had managed to remain neutral throughout World War II.

By 1948 many of the Baltic refugees in Sweden feared forced repatriation to their Soviet-dominated homelands, or even worse, deportation to the gulags of Siberia and certain death. Due to actions undertaken against Estonian refugees who had served in the German army, and Soviet attempts to convince Baltic peoples to voluntarily return to the lands from whence they came, many began making arrangements to leave Sweden for the safer political climates of the United States and Canada. In comparison to those residing in Displaced Persons Camps, the refugees in Sweden found it more difficult to immigrate legally. Sweden was not a member of the IRO, and thus refugees there were unable to take advantage of the efforts made by the Immigration Branch of the Canadian Department of Mines and Resources to facilitate the transport of DPs to our nation, in order to fulfill work contracts furnished by the Department of Labour that would allow them to gain permanent residency, and a chance to become Canadian citizens.

Therefore, a movement of Baltic refugees in small boats began in the summer of 1948, most of them departing without obtaining prior examination and authorization by the Canadian government. According to Lynda Mannik, there has yet to be conclusive research concerning the entire movement of refugees by boat from Sweden to Canada, and estimates of the total number of ships arriving in Canada vary.[1] However, by examining the records of the Department of Mines and Resources this author concludes that nine ships arrived on Canadian shores between August 1948 and August 1949.[2] In chronological order, these include: the Astrid, Atlanta, Capry and Östervåg in August 1948, the Walnut in December of 1948, the W.E. Gladstone in July of 1949, and the Pärnu, Sarabande and Amanda in August of 1949. The Victory set sail from Sweden in September 1949 with 372 refugees aboard but was detained in Cork, Ireland, forcing its passengers to apply for visas and enter Canada on authorized vessels. According to a report in the Halifax Herald dated December 13th, the ship was sold to pay the passage money of those who could not otherwise afford travel on sanctioned vessels, and most of the passengers were granted visas for entry to Canada.[3] Nonetheless, due to its close proximity of departure compared to other Baltic boats, the Victory can be considered as part of the overall group.

Estonians formed more than 75 percent of the total passenger base, and over 90 percent in the case of the S.S. Walnut. According to Mannik, other nationalities included: Latvians, Lithuanians, Ukranians, Polish, Russian, Finnish, Danish and “even a few from Australia and Ireland.”[4] Newspaper reports provide a valuable but inconclusive snapshot of the ethnic makeup of the individual ships, and one journalist reported the departure of the Östervåg under the headline “Swedes on Way to Halifax.”[5] Government reports also tended to make “blanket statements about “Estonian boats,”” irrespective of the actual ethnic makeup of the passengers.[6] Nonetheless, publicity surrounding the Baltic boats, and campaigning by Baltic peoples both in Canada and Sweden brought pressure upon the Canadian government to consider the immigration of these refugees, even though they were not part of the International Refugee Organization (IRO) resettlement project.[7]

Due to a lack of secondary sources examining the Baltic boats and their significance to the broader theme of immigration history, this honours thesis relies on Government correspondence found in the archives of the Department of Mines and Resources and contemporary news coverage to present its arguments. As first-hand accounts and their interpretation by Government officials and journalists are the dominant reference point to understand these refugee movements, a Foucauldian “understanding of the ways that power and knowledge work through discursive formations”[8] is central to this analysis. Sources such as these can provide the historian with valuable information, yet much of it is clouded by bias and the dominant ethno-racial perceptions of the time. By examining the shifting perception of Baltic refugees in small boats as evident in Government correspondence and news reports, the reader will obtain a broader understanding of the significance of these movements beyond the mere “facts” of their voyages.

It must be noted that IRO-sanctioned arrivals of refugees from the Baltic States dwarfed the numbers of those arriving by boat, though like the subjects of this honours thesis, IRO refugees benefited from a perception of their nationalities as “ideal types.”  Estonians began campaigning directly to the Canadian government in 1946 and continued their efforts throughout the late 1940s, focusing on their nation’s democratic traditions, their abilities at skilled labour, and their propensity for hard work.[9] Moreover, by 1948 thousands of Estonians had been living in German displaced persons camps for more than 2 ½ years, and as such were seen as desirable by officials tasked to “get to the DP camps…ahead of the Americans and the Australians in order to skim off the cream of the almost one-million strong labour pool.”[10] Moreover, within the camps and in the correspondence of the Immigration Branch, the discourse of the Canadian Government reinforced the benefits of admitting Baltic peoples as opposed to other European nationalities. For the first wave of Baltic refugees in small boats, nobody seemed to care which specific nations they came from. As long as they could be identified as “Balts,” they were welcomed with open arms and considered an acceptable class of immigrant.[11]

II. Literature Review

As it stands there has been no comprehensive published study of the Walnut and the other Baltic boats that arrived in Halifax from August 1948 to August 1949. However, their voyages have been memorialized in the press, are the subject of a display at Canada’s Immigration Museum at Pier 21, and have been touched upon in other studies regarding immigration and displaced persons (DPs). To better contextualize the history of these refugee movements, one must draw from broader studies of immigration policy, European displaced persons, the Baltic States, and the impact of Communism within Canada. In addition, studies focusing on specific ethnic groups in relation to Canadian immigration must also be consulted. Therefore, it serves this analysis to outline some of the key secondary sources that are of value to this study.

The Baltic States Under Occupation

The passengers of the Walnut and the other Baltic boats emigrated from Sweden, primarily refugees that left their homelands due to the see-saw occupation of their states by the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany during 1940-45. There have been numerous monographs and articles written on the Soviet and German occupation of the Baltic States, though much of the work is dated and could benefit from an update now that we have had two decades of Post-Soviet Russia. Clarence A. Manning’s The Forgotten Republics[12]attempts to provide a comprehensive survey of all three Baltic States from pre-history to present, but like many texts of the 1950s does not provide references to its source material. However, the monograph’s account of the Soviet and German occupations provides a valuable analysis that stands up to scrutiny. Rein Taagepera also contributes a valuable historical survey with Estonia: Return to Independence[13], though perhaps appropriately it is polemically anti-Soviet in its examination of 1939 to the early 1990s. A more recent study of Latvian history, The Case for Latvia: Disinformation Campaigns Against a Small Nation[14] by Jukka Rislakki, provides a unique approach to historical analysis by framing its chapters in the form of questions to be pondered. Her chapter titled “Why did the Latvians not resist the Soviet army’s taking over their country in 1940?” is of particular value to this thesis.

Two works that more specifically cover the period of Soviet occupation of the Baltic States are of relevance to this thesis. An early and often referenced work is Soviet Policy Toward the Baltic States[15] by Albert Tarulis. The monograph gives great detail of the diplomatic tête-a-tête between key players like Molotov, Ribbentrop, Kreve and others, and serves a valuable addendum to other, more concise surveys of the period. V. Stanley Vardys, a prominent historian of Lithuania, edited an essay collection titled Lithuania Under the Soviets: Portrait of a Nation, 1940-65[16] that provides an inter-disciplinary examination of conditions during the Soviet regime, and provides contrast to the post-war experience in Lithuania as compared to her northern neighbours.

Post-War Immigration Policy in Canada

Of course, since Canada was the final destination for the Baltic DPs, literature that focuses on post-war immigration policy within Canada must also be consulted, with consideration to both political and economic motivating factors. Freda Hawkins’ Canada and Immigration: Public Policy and Public Concern is often cited in studies of Canadian immigration history, as it provides a comprehensive and readable distillation of the major policy changes and their effects on public opinion from the end of World War II to the time of its publication, covering the provincial, federal, domestic and overseas spheres. As well, Hawkins provides a clear examination of the evolution of the Department of Mines and Resources in the wake of Prime Minister Mackenzie King’s 1947 statement, and introduces the key players responsible for immigration in the post-war period. Hawkins’ monograph illustrates how persons such as Deputy Minister Hugh Keenleyside were able to promote an ad-hoc interpretation of immigration policy based on the conditions outlined in Mackenzie King’s statement, and thus serves as a valuable source for this thesis.

Strangers at our Gates: Canadian Immigration and Immigration Policy[17] by Valerie Knowles has endured as a standard point of reference for students examining questions of immigration and ethnicity, due to both its breadth of scope and a readability that is altogether more accessible than a typical academic text. Her chapter entitled Immigration’s Postwar Boom (1947-1957) is particularly instructive, for its explicit references to the Estonian refugees of the Baltic boats and its analysis of how post-war displaced persons proved to be a key catalyst for change to Canada’s restrictive immigration policy. Knowles’ monograph also gives mention to “ad-hoc immigration machinery”[18] put in place to process the refugees in small boats.

Victor Malarek’s Haven’s Gate: Canada’s Immigration Fiasco[19] provides a journalistic investigation of the current (as of 1987) “sorry state of the nation’s immigrant system.”[20] Malarek’s monograph proves most valuable in its analysis of the government’s response to later arrivals of “boat people” in the 1980s, illustrating the gap between government policy, media coverage, and overall public opinion. Another text that further contextualizes Canada’s refugee policy is Canada’s Refugee Policy: Indifference or Opportunism?[21] This broad survey covers the concept of “refugees” coming to Canada from the time of the Loyalists through the 1970s, and offers an evaluation and critique of the actions of the immigration branch during the post-war period. In addition, Gerald E. Dirks provides an illustrative, although brief, account of public pressure to admit Estonian refugees in Sweden even though they were not part of the IRO resettlement plan, including actions undertaken by members of the Senate Committee on Immigration.[22]

Ninette Kelley and Michael Trebilcock’s The Making of the Mosaic: A History of Canadian Immigration Policy suggests that the post-war economic boom was a key causal factor in Canada’s willingness to accept a more diverse group of immigrants,[23] as well as Canada’s increased participation in world affairs coinciding with the establishment of the United Nations.[24] The evidence provided further supports the historical consensus that the majority of post-war DPs were from the professional class and settled in largely urban areas.[25] Interestingly, the Latvians and Lithuanians are mentioned as providing twelve percent of the total intake of DPs.[26] Of course, the Baltic boats that arrived from Sweden mainly carried Estonians, suggesting that they were the minority of total Baltic refugees admitted in the post-war period. Kelley and Trebilcock also give credence to the difficulties caused by increased security screening, causing delays and detention for the new immigrants and rooting out Communist sympathizers while admitting those with ties to Nazism and Fascism.[27]

As outlined in Donald Avery’s seminal work Reluctant Host: Canada’s Response to Immigrant Workers, 1896-1994, the wartime security screening system was continued at the end of hostilities in 1945, and tested the resources of all the Canadian security agencies.[28] We learn that initial wartime policy focused on excluding Nazis, collaborators, and war criminals, but all this changed with the defection of Igor Gouzenko and the revelation of a Soviet espionage ring within Canada.[29] Avery’s analysis is both comprehensive and valuable in its attempt to portray the reactions of Canadians directly involved in the administration of immigration policy, but neglects to provide any mention of the Baltic refugees. However, the arguments put forth by Avery can be corroborated by looking at other works of immigration history.

Communism and Ethnic Radicalism

In order to better understand the plight of the Baltic refugees in 1948-49, it is important to consider the historiography of ethnic radicalism in the preceding decade. During the 1930s, foreign workers, especially those aligned with the Communist Party of Canada (CPC), were considered by those in authority to be a threat to both free enterprise and the Canadian way of life.[30] Donald Avery also suggests in Dangerous Foreigners: European Immigrant Workers and Labour Radicalism in Canada, 1896-1932 that the Canadian government did little to encourage the integration of immigrant communities into the larger life of the Dominion, and left the process of ‘Canadianization’ to private agencies.[31] Issues such as these were a direct result of the continuation of closed-door immigration policy during World War II, and provided further barriers to the admittance of groups such as the Baltic refugees.

The deportation of foreign workers in the 1930s is also examined in Barbara Roberts’ Whence They Came: Deportation from Canada 1900-1935. From 1930 to 1934 between 24 and 36 of every 100 immigrants entering Canada were officially deported, due largely to an RCMP crackdown against those “identifying themselves with riots, or disturbances of a Communistic nature.”[32]  This period of course was the height of the worldwide Great Depression, and Roberts suggests that as unemployment became a mass phenomenon, the government response was the “mass production of economic deportation.”[33]  Therefore we can conclude that detention and scrutiny of new arrivals such as the Baltic refugees had precedent in the previous decade, and the fact that most eventually gained entrance ran contrary to the standard set prior to the outbreak of war.

The Baltic Boats

The Baltic refugees comprised only a small portion of the influx of more than 160,000 displaced persons between 1946 and 1952, and are thus relegated as a minor footnote in the key works of Canadian immigration history during the post-war period. To this author’s knowledge, the only academic study that covers the Baltic Boats in detail is Lynda Mannik’s as-yet unpublished dissertation “Photography, memory and refugee identity: The voyage of the S.S. Walnut, 1948.”[34] It is a work of philosophy, that examines the photographs of the Walnut’s passengers and other photographic sources to “emphasize their role as objects that bear witness to refugee movement between geographical places… where they continual[ly] provide new spaces for the performance and negotiation of refugee identity.”[35] Her monograph also provides a chapter on the historical context of the Walnut within the larger displaced persons movement, and has proven to be a valuable source of passenger accounts and translated Swedish and Estonian documents.

Most of the Baltic Refugees arriving in small boats, and indeed a major proportion of the total DPs arriving from Europe, were processed at the Pier 21 Immigration Office in Halifax. There is but one monograph that directly covers Pier 21 itself. Trudy Mitic and J.P. LeBlanc’s Pier 21: The Gateway that Changed Canada[36] has useful, albeit brief information on the arrival of post-war displaced persons, and mentions the Walnut in passing. Unfortunately, a much greater amount of space is devoted to the later arrivals of the Sarabande and the Amanda, even though these ships contained fewer passengers than the Walnut and received less press attention on their arrival. The book also glosses over the detainment of the refugees, stating that all were simply held “until their papers were in order.”[37]  Nevertheless, this book does provide valuable details regarding the operations of Pier 21 at the time.

Immigration and “Cold War Canada”

Reg Whitaker has proven to be one of the most prolific immigration and political historians in Canada, and much of his work focuses on the role of the Cold War and espionage in relation to foreign policy. In Double Standard: The Secret History of Canadian Immigration, Whitaker gives mention to the Baltic boats as a causal factor in the “peculiar deformations of public policy caused by the exaggerated security fears of this era,”[38] and the author describes those fleeing from Sweden as “refugees of less exalted status.”[39] Whitaker’s analysis provides an interesting overview of the secrecy involved in the processing of the DPs. Open processing of the refugees both in Sweden and in Canada was perceived as antagonizing to the USSR[40], and this supports what has been seen in the primary documents regarding the Baltic boats. This monograph also sheds light on the difficulties of security screening by suggesting that RCMP officers were unable to liaise with Soviet-bloc nations and there were no mechanisms in place for processing immigration or visa applications.[41]

Whitaker and Steve Hewitt condense the themes of Whitaker’s bibliography in chronological order in Canada and the Cold War. The authors prove that the anti-Communist purge within Canada was inspired by McCarthyism in America, and shows that not only immigrants were subject to the rising tide of the “red scare”.[42] A valuable section on “Cold War Immigration” states that unlike the U.S., Canada acted silently in its application of Cold War rules to immigration policy, and took every precaution against publicity.[43] During the late 1940s RCMP officers gathered intelligence on new immigrants and conducted security screening under the guise of Mines and Resources officers.[44] Evidence suggests that the security screening of the Baltic refugees was undertaken by the RCMP, and on these matters Immigration Officers and Police officially did not collaborate. It is unclear whether the officers at Pier 21 were “agents of the RCMP,” but this does shed light on the increased scrutiny of the refugees after the arrival of the Walnut in December 1948.

Franca Iacovetta’s Gatekeepers: Reshaping Immigrant Lives in Cold War Canada is particularly instructive in its examination of how anti-Communism shaped post-war immigration policy, and the overall lack of organization amongst pre-war ethnic communities. Iacovetta suggests that post-war refugees included more urban and professional people, whereas the earlier immigrants were largely of peasant stock.[45] This is of particular importance, as it corroborates the largely skilled occupations listed in the passenger records of the Walnut and the Sarabande. The author alludes to a cultural construction of new immigrants espoused by the Toronto institute and other organizations, promoting the social events and traditions of new immigrants to package them as “non-threatening ethnics.”[46] She also points to the ethnic press established by newcomers, including the Baltic refugees, as more interested in mobilizing support for revolutionary liberation movements in their home countries than promoting settling in Canada and adapting to Canadian ways.[47] However, according to Howard Palmer the post-war ethnic press reflected “the opinions, interests, grievances and aspirations of its intended clientele without exaggeration.”[48] Iacovetta also posits that the Toronto-based Latvian Information Centre of Canada and its leaders actively promoted the linking of Canada’s citizenship campaigns and anti-Communism.[49] Also instructive is the portrayal of “ethnic” murder and domestic violence in the early 1950s press, directly linked to the mass immigration of DPs from the Baltic States and Eastern Europe.[50]

Immigration and Ethnic Studies

Though its primary focus is on Jewish refugees from Europe in the period of 1933-1948, Irving Abella and Harold Troper’s None is Too Many provides evidence that DPs from the Baltic states were a preferred class of immigrant and were suggested to be “particularly suitable from the point of view of assimilation.”[51] The Baltic refugees are portrayed as lucky recipients of a kind welcome in comparison to the downtrodden Jews, and Abella and Troper suggest that the emerging open-door policy in 1948 was skewed in favour of the Baltic DPs.[52] The authors provide little evidence to support this claim, however, later studies have proven that those arriving on the Baltic boats had a better chance of gaining admittance than other marginalized groups, due to factors including racial comparisons to Western Europeans and sufficient landing capital. Nonetheless, Abella and Troper’s often cited monograph provides a valuable resource that contextualizes movements of displaced persons and government response in the context of ethnicity and race.           

Although Milda Danys’ DP: Lithuanian Immigration to Canada After the Second World War provides a thorough examination of Lithuanian DPs that arrived in the wake of World War II, this case study focuses on approved and sponsored migrants rather than the unsanctioned arrival of the Baltic boats. A contrast is provided to the dominant narrative regarding the perception of the DPs, as Danys suggests that ordinary Canadians were strongly opposed to relaxation of the closed-door immigration policies of the 1930s, and if it had been put to a vote only a trickle of displaced persons would have been granted entrance in the post-war period.[53] We learn that most of the Baltic DPs experienced downward social mobility due to the work contract sponsorship system. They were once professionals but spent their initial years in Canada as low-status workers ridiculed for their poor English skills.[54] However, it cannot be understated that the emergence of open-door immigration policy provided the refugees with a path to economic and social freedom, in spite of their limited choice of occupations.

Karl Aun’s The Political Refugees: A History of the Estonians in Canada[55] provides to this author’s knowledge the only complete historical survey of the Estonian people in Canada from their beginnings fishing at Prince Rupert, British Columbia in the 1890s through to the time of its publication. Aun provides only a brief section on the immigration experience itself, focusing instead on the organizations and cultural activities that have preserved the vibrant heritage of Estonia through the generations. The monograph describes the changing identity of the Estonian community, which, after realizing that Canada was home, made a considerable contribution in the Canadian economy and in areas such as architecture, music and athletics. Even so, Aun provides details regarding the experience of new immigrants and the formation of Estonian communities in Canada that have been omitted from other studies of immigration.

Lubomyr Luciuk has written a particularly valuable monograph titled Searching for Place: Ukrainian displaced persons, Canada and the migration of memory,[56] and by utilizing the lens of a singular ethnic group, Luciuk provides context for the post-war displaced persons movement as a whole. The monograph maps the Ukranian Canadian community’s efforts to rescue and resettle refugees, despite public indifference and the hostility of political opponents in Canada and abroad. Of particular value is an examination of negotiations undertaken by the Anglo-American Allies, Soviet Russia and the International Refugee Organization (IRO) regarding post-war displaced persons, suggesting that they were merely pawns in the eyes of the politicians tasked with their resettlement. The persecution of Ukranians under Soviet and Nazi occupation and their experiences in the DP camps shares many parallels with those of the Baltic peoples, giving credence to Searching for Place as a valuable source for this thesis.

III. The Baltic States During World War II

The three nations that make up the Baltic States, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, are remarkable examples of nation-states maintaining their cultural identity against the thrust of foreign domination.  Due to a host of factors, principally geographic, the Baltic States have been the objects of great power rivalries ever since the introduction of Christianity to northern Europe in the thirteenth century. For Estonia and Latvia, only in the past century, from 1918 to 1940 and from 1991 to present, have these nations been independent and free from foreign influence. Lithuania benefited from a position further away from the power centres of Germany and Russia and a long-standing alliance with Poland, sparing the territory from foreign control prior to the eighteenth century. To better understand the conditions in the Baltic States that forced many to become displaced persons, we begin in 1939, with Germany and Russia’s joint declaration of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (MRP).[57]

Prelude to Occupation

On the surface, the MRP was a straightforward non-aggression treaty, in which the two countries agreed not to attack each other or support any third party that might attack the other. However, the “secret protocols” to the pact proved to be the most important, with the two powers dividing the whole of Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence.[58] According to Donald Stoker of the US Naval War College, the MRP “had not only opened the door to Poland’s destruction, but also that of the Baltic States and their neighbor to the north, Finland.”[59] The Soviets claimed dominion over half of Poland roughly east of the Vistula river, along with Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland. The Western powers were not fully aware of the MRP’s significance, but enough was revealed to make it clear that no European state could prevent Hitler’s attack upon Poland.[60] Poland was of course invaded on September 1st, 1939, prompting British and French intervention and the outbreak of World War II.

According to a contemporary journalist reporting in the Bulletin of International News, Hitler made a considerable sacrifice in allowing Soviet control of the Baltic, as the region “had been an essentially German sphere of influence since the days of the Teutonic Knights.”[61] This was an overstatement, although especially in the case of Estonia, German barons had considerable sway over the populace. Lord Halifax, British Secretary of Foreign Affairs, later stated that “Hitler, by this Pact, bartered away what was not his property, namely the liberties of the Baltic peoples, a concession which England and France had refused to make.”[62] The Baltic States hoped for “the softest interpretation” of the MRP, as at its harshest the pact meant outright annexation of their territory.[63]

The Baltic States also hoped to avoid participation in the growing conflagration in Europe, and follow the Scandinavian model of neutrality in their political allegiance. According to Stoker, Estonia “proved to be the linchpin (albeit a weak one) of military cooperation in the Eastern Baltic.”[64] However, though they had made pacts of cooperation as early as 1934, the Baltic States were not effective collaborators. Further negotiations towards a defensive alliance were undertaken in the fall of 1936 and put into effect the following year. Unfortunately, their combined military capacity was still grossly inadequate to resist the expected Soviet invasion.[65] Neutrality laws based on Swedish precedent were adopted by the Baltic States during the winter of 1938. As such, it is clear that the Baltic States were eager to maintain independence against the onslaught of foreign aggressors. However, in the eyes of the Western powers, blocking the region from German influence was of primary concern, and preserving Baltic independence secondary.[66]

Especially after signing unilateral treaties of neutrality with Hitler in the spring and summer of 1939, the Baltic States administered their armed forces independently and without effective coordination with their neighbours.[67] Richard Langworth suggests that, “had there been a collective security agreement, the Balts just might have outnerved their enemy…but there was no unity.”[68] These agreements with Germany “served their purpose in encouraging isolationist neutrality on the part of each State and laid each of them open to the danger of oppression, with no hope of help from the others.”[69] According to Rein Taagepera, “paradoxically, precisely because they tried to be neutral, the Baltic States suddenly appeared nonneutral [sic] to both sides.”[70]

Late September and early October 1939 brought the imposition of “mutual assistance treaties” that allowed the USSR to construct military bases along the Baltic coast and establish Soviet garrisons in strategic locations.[71] According to Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, the region “had to be altered by securing naval and air bases along the Baltic coast that would enable Moscow to more efficiently defend Leningrad.”[72] During this critical period, there was virtually no military or political cooperation between the Baltic States, and they rapidly capitulated to the demands of the treaties.[73] For Estonia, the proposed number of Soviet troops to be garrisoned surpassed the size of their entire armed forces,[74] and their protection was assured by the Soviets on September 28th. According to Clarence Manning, from this date Germany relinquished their interest in the Baltic region, and indeed the majority of German nationals evacuated the region during the winter of 1939-1940.[75] Latvia was forced to agree to their “mutual assistance” on October 5th, and Soviet garrisons were established shortly thereafter that exceeded two and one-half times their peacetime army.[76] Lithuania had sealed its fate by declining to invade Poland and retake Vilnius. By remaining neutral and rejecting German “protection,” Lithuania was forced to submit five days later. Immediately, the Soviets began using their new bases.[77]

Baltic-Soviet relations further deteriorated following the termination of the Finnish-Soviet “winter war” and the beginning of the German conquest of France.[78] According to Albert Tarulis, annexation of the Baltic States had been decided upon by Stalin as early as August 1939.[79] Consequently, the Soviets moved swiftly beyond the terms of the previous treaties by falsely accusing the Baltic governments of belligerent actions, with the ultimate goal of unlimited occupation and the establishment of puppet governments. Molotov used the pretext of a fabricated Baltic military alliance against the USSR to set in motion a rapid chain of events. On May 30th 1940, Lithuania was accused of arresting and torturing Soviet soldiers, forcing them to betray military secrets.[80] The Lithuanians were unaware of the purpose of this accusation, and proposed a joint commission to investigate the case.[81] However, a week later Soviet intentions were made clear, and the Lithuanians were forced to accept an ultimatum requiring the formation of a new government acceptable to Moscow and the allowance of unlimited Soviet troops within their borders.[82] Latvia and Estonia received similar ultimatums on June 16th, and the Soviets did not even bother to provide evidence to back up their accusations.[83]

The First Soviet Occupation

Taggepera suggests that the Soviets sought to “prevent spontaneous popular uprisings by denying any intention of annexation and to present an external military occupation as an internal uprising.”[84] For the three Baltic States, fabricated popular uprisings allowed the USSR to quickly gain control of the political machinery and establish complete domination of Baltic society. New elections on July 14th and 15th, in which only members of a “handpicked United Workers Party” could stand, set the stage for a “petition of membership” in the Soviet Union.[85] The first meetings of the new Assemblies were held on July 21st, and resolutions were then passed demanding the incorporation of the States in the U.S.S.R.[86] Molotov presented this to the world as a referendum driven by “the people’s representatives,” the result of which the Soviets were glad to accept.[87] However, the American government was not convinced, and on July 23rd issued a statement condemning “the devious processes whereunder [sic] the political independence and territorial integrity of three small Baltic republics- Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania- were to be deliberately annihilated by one of their more powerful neighbors.”[88] Delegates of the new puppet states were subsequently sent to Moscow, and by August 5th all three states were accepted into the Soviet Union. Rapidly, the Baltic States were reorganized in the Soviet pattern, and Manning succinctly summarizes the process as follows:

In quick succession, all of the Soviet legislation was introduced. All land and buildings were confiscated and became the property of the state. Banks were closed, the universities were purged by the elimination of the vast majority of the professors, while a few Communists remained and Russian professors were brought in to take their places. The churches were put under the usual Soviet restrictions. The old newspapers were suppressed. The former upper and professional classes were treated as state enemies and the outstanding leaders were arrested and taken out of the country on the way to exile and death in Siberia and the far north.[89]

Estimates vary regarding the number of persons deported, tortured or killed under the first Soviet occupation, but it cannot be denied that this period was one of great turmoil for Baltic society. The Soviet authorities carried out deportations, mass killings, imprisonment, and Russification of the Baltic people. For the Soviet regime, “insecurity of the individual became a cardinal element in the maintenance of order.”[90] It is difficult to estimate what effect the occupation had on the living conditions of those that were left untouched, as practically no impartial information is available due to Soviet distortion of facts and figures.[91] However it is clear that the cost of living consistently outpaced increases in wages.

In all three Republics the press was completely Sovietized, and a daily paper in Russian and one in the local language were issued in each Republic by the Party and the Government. The legal systems of the three States were also abrogated in favour of the Soviet Civil and Criminal Law Code.[92] Early June 1941 saw a marked increase in arrests and deportations, with over 100,000 in Latvia alone.[93] Regardless, much of the reorganization and integration of the Baltic States into the Soviet system was yet to be completed when Germany reneged on its alliance and attacked the U.S.S.R. in June, 1941.

German Conquest and the Second Soviet Occupation

The U.S.S.R. declared war with Germany on June 22nd, a decision that Irina Saburova suggests “meant a hope of salvation for the Baltic population.”[94] Historians have placed varying degrees of emphasis on the fact that many welcomed the return of the Germans, focusing on the perception of the Nazis as the better “choice of barbarians.”[95] According to Langworth, “the first German motorcyclist entering Riga was garlanded with flowers, as people waved the Republic’s maroon and white flag and thanked god they were still alive.”[96] Taagepera suggests that in Estonia, within a year Stalin had succeeded the Baltic Germans as the greatest enemy of the people, with deportations creating an active patriotic resistance in the countryside.[97] The Germans evoked less local resentment because “they did not have to destroy the national elite-the Soviets had already done the dirty work.”[98] However Lithuania, a nation without a long-standing history of German domination, showed equal resistance to the coming Germans as they did during the first Soviet occupation, and briefly liberated the largest part of their territory.[99] In addition, about 4,000 Estonian men deserted the German army in 1942 and 1943, fled to Finland, and volunteered to serve in the Finnish army rather than conspire with their oppressors.[100]

The Germans proved to be scarcely an improvement on their Soviet predecessors. Langworth suggests that “as part of the Nazi slave colony Ostland, Latvia was ruled by the Gestapo and a few quislings,”[101] and indeed three and one-half years of Nazi occupation simply shifted the machinery of power to ethnic Germans and continued the oppression experienced under the Soviets, rather than facilitating the return of the Baltic States to the people. The Germans created open as well as underground resistance as they exploited the country economically, tried to impose their Nazi doctrines on the population, and began forcefully to conscript Estonian men into their armies.[102] A decree of August 19th, 1941 confiscated all nationalized property in the name of the “Reich Commissar for the Ostland.”[103] Latvia was granted the largest degree of autonomy; however all the native officials were appointed by Germans and had “no authority except by virtue of German decrees.”[104]

The populace was kept in check by propaganda promising “immediate and complete Bolshevization” if Germany was defeated, and many took heed of this and fought for the German army.[105] Many Baltic people fought fiercely against the Soviets on the eastern frontiers of their nations, in an effort to allow as many as possible to escape to less volatile regions of Europe and North America before Soviet reoccupation.[106] Karl Aun estimates that about 80,000 fled to Sweden and Germany during the autumn of 1944, and many more would have fled if the means of escape had been available.[107] Those that escaped to Sweden and later set sail for Canada in small boats were largely a part of this movement.

The return of the Soviets in 1944 brought the introduction of large masses of Russians and individuals from other Soviet republics in place of the murdered and deported, dismantling the homogeneous ethnic makeup of the Baltic States.[108] In Lithuania, by 1952 it is estimated that almost a third of their population was deported to the northern reaches of the Soviet Union, never to be heard from again.[109] Any pretext of religious tolerance was abandoned by the Soviets upon their reoccupation, especially in Catholic-majority Lithuania.[110] Churches, cathedrals and monasteries were transformed into Komsomol meeting halls and barracks for Russian soldiers, and in the Estonian capital of Tallin the famous Nikolaevsky cathedral was converted into a fish-canning factory.[111] The Soviet Union’s initial approach to the second occupation has been described as a “mix of ruthlessness and caution.”[112] However, it is clear that by the end of the war, though life continued to go on for those who remained within the borders of the Baltic S.S.R.’s, memories of independence died out and acceptance of subjugation persisted for the duration of Soviet rule. For those who fled the Baltic States during the internecine conflict between the Germans and the Soviets, the situation in the Baltic S.S.R.’s led many to remain in the stable political climes of Sweden, North America and other regions rather than return to their occupied homelands.

One aspect of the movements of Balts that is most instructive is that none of the post-war Baltic refugees were emigrating directly from their homelands. The Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania experienced a tumultuous succession of occupation, invasion and violence as Germany and the Soviet Union battled for control of their lands for strategic purposes. Concurrently with these movements of displaced persons, the Canadian government reinstated its lapsed Standing Committee on Immigration and Labour, in an effort to explore ways to admit “Europe’s homeless” for the mutual benefit of both parties.[113] In the case of the Baltic States, individuals and families became “homeless” due to political strife, poor economic conditions and the natural consequences of a decade of occupation and domination by foreign powers.

IV. “Boat People” and the Evolution of Post-War Immigration Policy

The late 1940s formed a defining period in world history, offering a brief respite between the end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War. This period saw a massive shift in populations as millions of displaced persons tried their best to establish new lives away from their ancestral homelands. Over 100,000 DPs were admitted to Canada from 1947 to 1950 following passport checks, RCMP security screenings and a “two year rule” for processing aimed at deterring communist sympathizers.[114] In conjunction with the new post-war immigration policy announced by Prime Minister Mackenzie King in 1947 was the inauguration of a Citizenship Act that “created a space for an ideal Canadian citizen to emerge- a social construct different from previous British-centric ideals.”[115] However, the historiographical consensus suggests that, compared to Great Britain, Canada was slow to react to changing trends in immigration policy and was reluctant to “open the gates” to new arrivals due to concerns of altering the “character” of the Canadian population.[116] Therefore, the movements of unsanctioned refugees by sea did not begin until 1948, a year following King’s statement.

The following pages will contextualize the arrival of the S.S. Walnut and other Baltic boats within the overall history of displaced persons who came to Canada in the twentieth century. It is necessary to outline the changes in immigration policy proposed by King in 1947, and Canada’s policy regarding the acceptance of European displaced persons. Those who arrived by boat from Sweden were admitted on an ad hoc basis and were overwhelmingly granted entry; this contrasts with more recent examples of “boat people,” including arrivals of Tamils, Sikhs, and Chinese from the 1980s to the present.[117]  Therefore, it is essential to illustrate why the Baltic peoples were considered to be “ideal immigrants,” and how they fitted in with the overall policy goals outlined by King in the wake of World War II. Finally, it is important to identify the key motivating factor for Baltic refugees fleeing first their homelands, and later their temporary homes in Sweden; the threat of repatriation to Soviet lands in the wake of the U.S.S.R.’s post-war domination of the Baltic region. Thanks to the liberalization of Canada’s immigration policy, large numbers of Baltic refugees followed the initial movements of boat people. However, for most of these displaced persons and political refugees their transportation and method of entry was far more conventional.[118]

Post-War Immigration Policy in Canada

According to Irving Abella and Harold Troper, “for most of its history Canada has had a restrictionist immigration policy and, from the outset, an immigration policy with unabashed ethnic and racial priorities.”[119] In other words, immigration policy between the wars created a general excluded class of immigrants deemed undesirable because of “climatic, industrial, social, educational, labour or other conditions or requirements of Canada, or because their customs, habits, modes of life and methods of holding property were deemed to result in an inability to become readily assimilated.”[120] Canada’s immigration policy in the interwar period sought to preserve the dominance of Anglo-Saxon race and Christian religion that had prevailed since the conquest of New France in the eighteenth century, and in this regard they were largely successful.

By 1919, “Nationality” was added to “race” in the official policy in order to provide the government more power and control over the ethnic composition of immigrants.[121] Prior to World War II, the “preferred” category included those from Great Britain, the United States and Western Europe. This policy reflected the prevailing belief that these groups were easily assimilated, with cultural, linguistic and racial similarities to the dominant group.[122] Matthew Jacobson Frye proposed that following the war “discourses about race were erased and “the cultural,” based on notions of ethnicity…[were] applied in its place.”[123] However, numerous studies of immigration and ethnicity have proven this statement to be an over-simplification of the cultural issues Canada has tackled since the late 1940s; Peter S. Li gave credence to this by stating that “Canada… is not yet free of racial discrimination and cultural stereotypes,”[124] a statement that still rings true today. Moreover, at present, the foundational principles supporting the regulation of immigrants and refugees entering Canada has never been explicitly expressed in legislation, and is rarely a topic of parliamentary debate.[125]

National identity as a form of discrimination was a common feature of Canadian immigration policy until the 1960s. For example, at the end of 1946 the classes of immigrants admissible to Canada were still governed by an order-in-council of 1931 limited to:

“…British by reason of birth, or naturalization in Great Britain or Ireland, Newfoundland, New Zealand, Australia and the Union of South Africa,” (2) U.S. Citizens, (3) the wife and unmarried children under 18 and fiancé(s) of legal residents of Canada, and (4) “agriculturalists having sufficient means to farm in Canada.””[126]

Most instructive was A.L. Jollife’s testimony to the Standing Committee on Immigration and Labour in 1946, where the Director of the Immigration Branch made it quite clear that “the government had no intention of reopening immigration offices in Europe until the remaining Canadian servicemen and their dependents had been brought back to Canada.”[127] It was not until mid-1947 when “emergency measures were announced to facilitate the movement of refugees and displaced persons from Europe”[128] that the categories were opened up. Though some immigrants were able to immigrate based on the fourth clause of the aforementioned order-in-council, their numbers were few. Only about one in 100 Estonian emigrants in the 1930s chose Canada as their destination, a result of poor economic conditions and government restrictions.[129]

Kelley and Trebilcock stated that “Canada’s increasingly active participation in world affairs led politicians, interest groups, and the general public to favour a selectively more open immigration policy.”[130] Historians often base their analysis of post-war developments on King’s often cited, and often misinterpreted 1947 statement on immigration.[131] Major changes were made to Canada’s official policy only in 1957, increasing the emphasis on the inflow of highly trained migrants and the gradual abandonment of ethnic discrimination.[132] However, King’s 1947 statement served as the de-facto official immigration policy until 1962, and reflected the “King mind in its sober and cautious tone, its firm sense of propriety, and its dislike of the world beyond the North Atlantic Triangle.”[133] Though King’s statement was perceived to be an improvement on the restrictionist policies of the 1930s, responses to new immigrants after World War II were largely still “conditioned by strident anti-Communism and an overriding desire to preserve and promote as much as possible the Anglo-Celtic, northern, white ‘character’ of the Canadian population.”[134]

According to Robert Vineberg, the first steps in breaking down explicit barriers based on race and ethnicity began with King’s statement, and the language of the text has been misused to represent the long-serving Prime Minister as a racist, contrary to his actual beliefs.[135] Regardless of its intention not to “distort the character of the Canadian population” and to limit immigration of undesirable groups, the 1947 policy was an improvement on previous exclusionary measures. For King, immigration policy as it stood at the end of World War II was out-dated and not illustrative of an advanced industrial society.[136] Vineberg expands upon this sentiment as such:

At the end of the Second World War, Canada was burdened with a discriminatory immigration policy that encouraged agricultural immigration, but the war had transformed Canada into an advanced industrial power, and people would be needed to develop the resources and work in the factories of the country…many Cabinet ministers were quite content with this narrow vision of immigration but some, including the Prime Minister, were not.[137]

Even though by current liberal-democratic standards the racialist undertones of 1947 seem antiquated, it did open the door for immigrants outside of the “desirable” states of North-western Europe. This relaxation of policy was largely spurred by concerns of economy rather than a change in public perception of persons of non-British descent. Iacovetta suggests that “another continuity that reemerged after the Second World War was the close connection between immigration policy and the economic needs of the country.”[138] Furthermore, King himself explicitly stated that “the government will seek by legislation, regulation, and vigorous administration, to ensure the careful selection and permanent settlement of such numbers of immigrants as can be advantageously absorbed in our national economy.”[139]

According to Mannik, “decisions regarding “who gets in” have been primarily precipitated by labo[u]r shortages and then allocated according to racial and religious preferences,”[140] a theme that is evident throughout the early 20th century. Since confederation, Canada selected immigrants on the basis of occupation, to the extent that from 1867 to 1892, immigration was administered as a branch of the Department of Agriculture and overseas agents sought to attract farmers more than any other group.[141] Moreover, during the post-war period immigration was under the umbrella of the Department of Mines and Resources, illustrating the ties that bound concerns of economy and labour to concerns regarding “who gets in” through the midpoint of the twentieth century.

Immigration Policy and Post-War Displaced Persons

At war’s end, Canada faced a peacetime shortage of workers for the first time in three decades.[142] As early as 1946, interest groups representing labour-intensive industries were lobbying Ottawa for a relaxation of the immigration restrictions put in place in response to the great depression.[143] There was a ready supply of labour in the Displaced Persons camps of Italy, West Germany and Austria, and businesses hoped that Canada would send representatives to the DP camps in advance of the Americans and Australians, in order to select the best-quality DPs from an “almost one-million strong labour pool.”[144] Examples of those displaced by the ravages of war extended beyond the camps and swelled to incalculable numbers as the conflict drew to a close. Indeed, by the close of 1943 it is estimated that over 21 million Europeans had been dislocated, either through voluntary decisions to flee their homelands or as a result of Germany’s policy of forcing conquered peoples to work within German borders.[145] This figure rose to approximately 30 million by the end of the European phase of World War II in May 1945.[146]

According to Deputy Minister of Immigration H.L. Keenleyside, the organized labour movement in Canada promoted rather than hindered the admission of new Canadians during the post-war years, particularly in the case of DPs.[147] Keenleyside also reported that the only interest group that voiced official opposition to a more relaxed stance on immigration was the medical profession,[148] as they were likely wary of the increased competition from immigrants hailing from western Europe and the Baltic States. The greatest obstacles for prospective immigrants from Europe were the policies of their homelands, which either discouraged outmigration or, in the case of the Soviet Union and its satellites, strictly forbid any relocation not authorized by the state.[149] Regardless, in 1947 the Canadian government authorized the entrance of up to 30,000 DPs who would be otherwise inadmissible under standard immigration regulations,[150] and used orders-in-council to allow the ad-hoc entrance of many thousands more throughout the late 1940s.

Valerie Knowles suggests that the public showed a desire for a more humane immigration policy in the wake of the war, regardless of fears of another economic depression.[151] In response to appeals from their constituents, many of whom represented ethnic organizations, “members of Parliament called on the government to admit Europe’s homeless.”[152] King also acknowledged in his often-quoted 1947 statement that Canada “should take account of the urgent problem of the resettlement of persons who are displaced and homeless, as an aftermath of the world conflict.”[153] Cabinet made a further declaration that same year that in “special individual cases” admission on “humanitarian grounds” would be permitted where the individuals might be otherwise inadmissible.[154] According to Reg Whitaker, the “dark underside” to these exceptions was that some enemies of Communism were also supporters of the Axis, and some of the refugees were potentially the kind of “undesirables” that security screening sought to filter out.[155]

Moreover, according to Milda Danys “ordinary Canadians were not quick to change their minds about the future and were strongly opposed to any relaxation of the closed-door immigration policies of the Thirties.”[156] However, if one observes media language as a barometer of public opinion, reports of refugees “with all their worldly belongings clutched in their hands, and with the encouraging prospects of a new life in a new country in their hearts”[157] suggest a more open stance to newcomers. Regardless of popular opinion, Canada had opened its doors to the DPs by mid-1947 and they were rapidly integrated into the populace. A year later, the Halifax Mail was reporting almost daily on the new arrivals, coming “from sunny Italy and northward to the chilly reaches of Latvia and Estonia- their total since the movement began is nearly one per cent of Canada’s total population.”[158]

Some of the earliest DPs selected by Canadian immigration teams sent to United Nations-run camps were refugees from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and they were identified as among the “most desirable” class of immigrants in the minds of Canadians.[159] A contemporary observer opined that “DPs…would be selected like good beef cattle with a preference for young men who could do manual labour and would not be encumbered by aging relatives.”[160] The Baltic peoples proved more than willing to accept jobs that were below the scope of their education, in exchange for a chance to emigrate to more politically stable climes. The large majority of Baltic peoples were also observant Protestants, and their status was enhanced by media reports describing the refugees as “devout churchfolk.”[161]There is evidence of Church groups lobbying for the importation of Estonian workers at the time of the Baltic boats, in an effort to obtain more labour of “good character” to work in the Kitchener-Waterloo area as domestics, farm workers, and woodcarvers, among other occupations.[162] This effort was spearheaded by the Canadian Lutheran World Relief Organization (CLWR), based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. According to Gerald E. Dirks, the CLWR was very active in promoting Baltic refugees throughout the post-war period and had ambitious plans for relocating thousands to Canada.[163]

Not everyone shared a positive perception of displaced persons as prospective immigrants. M.C. Border, second-in-command of the Eighth Army Corps’ Displaced Persons Section, expressed the following sentiments regarding the DPs under his charge:

It is absolutely true that a great deal of sympathy is wasted on DP’s…. We might have to take over our share of them but let us make that share as small as possible. They will make very poor settlers….These people might be the most worthy of our sympathy, but they certainly are the most undesirable people as immigrants. They will be a charge to the state from the very day they get in. Our police forces will have their work doubled. As for the Poles, they will be unemployed or in jail, and in either case, quite happy….the Lithuanians are as bad as the Poles. They are their close neighbours and have many points of similarity. They speak better German and have proven their superiority at the art of black marketeering.[164]

Border illustrates the innate distrust of German-speaking culture endemic in the wake of World War II, especially in the manner Lithuanians are dismissed as “as bad as the Poles.” Also instructive are his comments on the Latvian and Estonian DPs, as they are singled out as “honest, ingenious and good workers. They would make good immigrants.”[165] However, in most cases Lithuanians were perceived as “Balts” rather than “Poles” and enjoyed similar preference to the Estonians in the eyes of immigration officials.

As well, Estonians were described in the media as “attractive people who could easily be mistaken for Canadians,”[166] a comment that suggests that they were perceived as “sufficiently white” for assimilation. Reports of the early arrivals of Baltic boats offered subtly racial descriptions such as “children, white hair contrasting with nut-brown bodies, played along the decks,” and “a snowy-blonde, 2 and a half year old.”[167] Furthermore, the Halifax Herald reported on the imminent arrival of “rugged, raw-boned men, buxom women, pretty blonde girls, and grinning, fair-haired children”[168] in regards to the S.S. Walnut. Moreover, The Globe and Mail described the refugees of the Walnut as “blond Finns and black-haired Lithuanians,”[169] neglecting to acknowledge the predominance of Estonians in the group. According to Iacovetta, Estonians were perceived as “both anti-Communists and a northern race…supposedly well suited for northern nations like Canada.”[170] As illustrated in policy concerns of the preceding years, persons of “Anglo-Saxon and Nordic stock” continued to have preference in the eyes of both politicians and the public alike, and displaced persons were quick to seize whichever advantage they could.

In addition, the fact that the Baltic republics were under the grip of Soviet control proved to be an advantage rather than a hindrance to their chances; from 1945 to the early 1980s over 80 percent of refugees accepted in Canada were from states under the grip of Communism.[171] This statistic is even more exemplary when one considers the additional scrutiny faced by prospective immigrants from these states, such as the two-year rule and security checks upon landing. Wartime security policy initially focused on excluding Nazis, collaborators, and war criminals, but all this changed with the defection of Igor Gouzenko and the revelation of a Soviet espionage ring within Canada.[172] The refugees of the Baltic boats were certainly eager to start a new life abroad, as many feared being forcibly repatriated to the Soviet Union, just as many of their brethren were in the wake of war’s end.

Displaced Persons and Soviet Pressure

Under the terms of the Yalta agreement, persons identified as “Soviet citizens” were to be returned to the USSR, whether voluntarily or by force. By September 1945 over five million people had been repatriated, to the degree that the daily round-up and return of DPs into Soviet zones averaged between 11,000 and 12,000 people.[173] According to Mannik, “there were countless stories of suicide attempts amongst Russian citizens and individuals caught in-between Nazi and Soviet regimes…dragged out of DP camps at gun point by American soldiers.[174] Indeed, British government correspondence described scenes such as the “body-snatching” of DPs from the British and American zones, the executions of those returned to the Soviets, and mass executions by guillotine, widespread murder, rape and pillaging under the auspices of the Red Army.[175] By mid-1946 many DP groups were petitioning Western governments to provide humanitarian aid and protection from Soviet reprisals and forced repatriation. A typical response, written by Ukrainians at DP camp #751 in Düsseldorf, West Germany was as follows:

We are all homesick, but cannot return to our country, where there is no shade even of democratic liberty owing to the regime of red totalitarism [sic] and physical and moral oppression. That same regime of terror stretches his hands even here to reach us…in the name of high ideals of Christianity, humanity and democracy we call upon the whole Christian world to assure us human rights and democratic liberties.[176]

According to Lubomyr Luciuk, “Anglo-American authorities were also subjected to a hail of Soviet government memoranda and protests,” with the common theme being that all individuals who lived in Soviet territory prior to the attack of “Fascist Germany” must be considered Soviet citizens, and handed over “irrespective of their wishes and with the use of force if necessary.”[177] In addition, the consensus was that the terms of the Yalta agreement did indeed authorize the repatriation of all Soviet citizens, and that the Western powers had little recourse to stop the brutal interpretation of authority by the Red Army.[178] Moreover, it would be difficult to draw a line between political refugees and traitors to the state, and attempting to do so would aggravate relations with the Soviet Union and lead to further delays in processing the DPs.[179] Mannik infers that persons threatened by repatriation to their Soviet-dominated homelands referred to themselves as “the pawns of Yalta,” a colloquialism verified by accounts of the passengers of the Baltic boats.[180]

It is clear that the displaced persons of Europe feared their forcible return to Soviet hands, and the Soviets exerted this pressure beyond the DP camps to the Estonians who had fled to Sweden in the closing years of the war. According to Swedish media reports, approximately 20,000 Estonians had arrived on Swedish shores in small boats in 1944.[181] They were not on the official rolls of Displaced Persons; they fled their homelands on their own accord, by paying for their passage and exposing themselves “to the mercy of the Atlantic.”[182] Though they had effectively integrated themselves into the Swedish economy, learned the Swedish language and were provided with meaningful and gainful employment, politically the refugees felt insecure.[183]

In November, 1945, Sweden extradited 2,700 German soldiers, “among them 167 Estonian and Latvian men who had served in the German army.”[184] A front-page story in the December 1, 1945 edition of the Toronto Star reported that over 140 “Germans” were hospitalized for self-mutilation, undertook hunger strikes, and “tried to kill themselves with knives and glass rather than undergo extradition to the Russian occupation zone.”[185] As well, rumours that a new war could break out in which Sweden would ally with Soviets exacerbated the fears of the refugees.[186] Ernests Kraulis, a Latvian refugee who crossed the Atlantic on the Capry in the summer of 1948, suggested that “there were also fears that Sweden could easily be invaded by air…we had escaped from our countries of origin to Sweden and we viewed it as a rather dangerous way station on our way to safety.”[187]

According to Mannik, “the Soviet campaign that took place in Sweden was intensive and seemingly unregulated.”[188] Tactics such as sending letters to individual homes stating that they must return to their homelands, pamphlets handed out to factory workers, and newspaper advertisements claiming to be from the Soviet legation offices[189] further ignited the fears of Baltic refugees in the years after the war. A copy of one such newspaper ad is translated and reprinted in Mannik’s thesis. The full text is as follows:

Notice: The Soviet legation in Sweden notifies that they have begun organization to send off all existing “Soviet citizens” living in Sweden back to their homeland. In connection, hereby it is the duty of all “Soviet citizens” to appear themselves at the assembly at Hagastrom (six kilometers from Gavle), Lisma (in the vicinity of the Stuvsta railway station) or go to the Soviet Union Consulate address: Birger Jarlsgatan, 110, Stockholm, reception hours, every day between 9-6pm.

Persons, who for different reasons are not in the condition to come in personally, can write to inform the Consulate, so that they can be deported to their homeland. They shall on that occasion indicate their address.

In connection with numerous inquiries from the Baltic Republic earlier, about prior residents that are Soviet citizens, the Russians are proposing to get this made into a law. This notice is to all, according to the regulations of the Soviet Union government and will be sent directly to their republic (to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) – May 1945.[190]

The Baltic refugees in Sweden had by 1948 successfully integrated themselves into Swedish society and most had gainful employment, as a result of the Swedish government’s goal of preventing the apathy and laziness perceived to be present in displaced persons camps.[191] Conversely, according to refugee Ylo Korgemagi “refugees…were not treated well by the Swedes and were resented for entering the workforce.”[192] However, her testimony is an isolated example and this author concludes that it was not economic hardship or an inability to integrate that motivated their departure. One cannot deny that a “looming fear of repatriation”[193] was the primary motivator for those who escaped as illegal refugees, whether to North America or other continents. This is evident in the coverage of the Halifax Herald and Halifax Mail, where interviews with passengers and crew gave credence to their escape from Russian terror.

Captain Past of the Östervåg was reported to say before departure that “there are many Estonian refugees anxious to go to Canada from Sweden. It is too hot there near Russia.”[194] On their landing at Halifax, Captain Past elaborated on the refugees’ reason for leaving their homelands four years earlier. According to Capt. Past, “we saw the Russians once and we saw the Germans once, and we fled our homes because we knew when the Germans left, the Russians would come again and that would be bad. We know the Russians.”[195] Arvid Berendson, first mate of the S.S. Walnut, opined that in Estonia “a man cannot even talk unchecked to his own best friend.”[196] Berendson’s Captain, August Linde, told the Halifax Herald of an incident that motivated his own escape to Sweden, and later Canada:

…with my own eyes I saw things happen to my own countrymen that you would only believe if you saw it yourself…[my] old navigation teacher at the merchant naval college had been tortured by the Russians and lowered, along with seven other victims with their limbs broken into a 60 foot well where they were drowned like rats.[197]

Howard Wallace of the Halifax Mail reported that shortly after Linde’s escape to Sweden, “a sister who was an ordinary harmless housewife in Esthonia [sic] was whipped off to a Siberian camp upon occupation of the country by the Russians and has not been heard from since.”[198]

Indeed, the fears of refugees crossing the Atlantic to the democratic lands of Canada proved to be valid in hindsight, as Soviet pressure on nations harbouring “Soviet citizens” did not dissipate until well into the 1950s. The Swedish media documented “the Last Act in the Baltic Drama” regarding the movements in 1949 of a Russian transport Beloostrovs carrying both German and Baltic deportees to an uncertain future. The translated report is as follows:

On board were 227 German, 157 Baltic internees from camps in Sweden destined for an unknown harbour. This was the final scene of the Baltic/Swedish drama. The public opinion, which had been high in support of the Baltic dilemma initially, had waned, except in Telleborg where people were faced with the actual reality. In spite of strict surveillance, suicide and attempted suicide are proof of the desperation of the deportees, although generally speaking the deportation went smoothly.[199]

The title of the article “Last Act in the Baltic Drama” has proven to be prophetic, considering that the overwhelming majority of movements by boat occurred prior to its publication. It cannot be denied that those crossing the Atlantic in small boats were motivated by first-hand evidence of Soviet pressure. Thus, there is a clear link between fears of Soviet persecution to the migration of refugees from their homelands, as Captain Linde and Captain Past’s testimony clearly illustrates.

V. The Baltic Boats of 1948

The claims of Captain Linde, Captain Past and other Baltic refugees reflect the dominant narrative of the Baltic region during the mid to late 1940s, as the Soviet occupation dismantled the Baltic economy and sent the wealthy and educated classes to remote prisons in Siberia, if they were not murdered outright. It is in the wake of these persecutions, and Soviet pressure to repatriate Balts living in Sweden, that the initial movements of refugees in small boats occurred. These movements followed the debates and changes in policy and attitudes towards immigrants within Canada, and reflected the dominant perception of Baltic peoples, particularly Estonians, as “ideal types.”

Both media coverage and government discourse was positive towards the first group of small boats that arrived in the summer of 1948, and the language used in newspaper reports and government correspondence reinforces both a lack of concern with their small numbers and a willingness to forgive these “ideal Canadians” for foregoing standard immigration procedure. The positive perception of displaced persons is exemplified in the words of the Deputy Labour Minister Humphrey Mitchell, who stated that he was “very pleased with the success we have had with the movement of a large number of European immigrants to Canada. They have been given a good reception by Canadian employers, and they are fitting in wonderfully in the areas where they are settling.”[200]

The successful immigration of the passengers of the Astrid, Atlanta, Capry and Östervåg set the expected conditions for the much larger contingent aboard the S.S. Walnut in December. As with the earlier boats, the preparations for departure were made in a cooperative manner, with the passengers pooling their resources in order to purchase a seaworthy vessel. The hiring of the Captain was carefully considered, as he would essentially be their representative to the media and an interpreter and intermediary with immigration officials. The departure of the Walnut provoked a reaction within Sweden from both journalists and the staff of the Canadian legation, and their reactions travelled across the Atlantic at a faster pace than the vessel itself. The shift in language in government reports indicated a growing wariness of the increasing number of illegal refugees by boat, more due to concerns of economy than any other factors. As stated by Whitaker, “arrivals were apparently successful in executing an end run around normal procedures, although immigration officials were distinctly ill-tempered about the process.”[201]

The following section will contextualize the voyages of the first five Baltic boats within the larger movement of displaced persons, and provide a snapshot of how these refugees were perceived in the news media, and by the immigration officials that were tasked to consider their admittance. What is evident is that the early arrivals were “welcomed with open arms,” and treated in a much different manner than later arrivals of refugees by boat. The arrival of the S.S. Walnut provoked more intense scrutiny by immigration officials, but it cannot be denied that the same perceptions prevailed and the Walnut’s passengers were overwhelmingly admitted to Canada. Regardless, these early arrivals of refugees by boat gave rise to increased interest in immigration concerns both in parliament and the news media, and as a result, public awareness and interest also increased.

The Early Arrivals

A passenger on the Atlanta remarked in her diary that “the Customs Officer is very surprised to discover that instead of an American tourist boat they have 42 Estonians who have made the life threatening journey over the ocean, fleeing from Stalin’s terror,”[202] and indeed these early arrivals were a surprise to Immigration officials. August 1948 has been described as a “time of hectic confusion” for officials at Pier 21, with so many DPs arriving without money, sponsors and proper documentation.[203] Upon examining a Memorandum to the Cabinet Committee on Immigration Policy of September 1st, 1948, it is clear that the first wave of refugees was unexpected, and officials scrambled to set up the machinery to process them. The memorandum recommended that “admission be authorized in the case of individuals who can pass medical examination, are of good character and have been security screened by the R.C.M.P…aliens arriving at Canadian ports under circumstances such as these would make good settlers.”[204] The Astrid, Atlanta, Capry and Östervåg arrived in such quick succession that the Immigration Branch made their decisions on these vessels as a group, rather than as individual cases. An excerpt from the aforementioned memorandum reads as follows:

During the past ten days four small motor vessels have arrived at Canadian Atlantic ports, having brought from Gotenberg [sic], Sweden a number of displaced persons of Baltic origin with the intentions of these aliens being admitted to Canada…Press reports indicate that there may be several more arrivals shortly…The vessels are apparently purchased on a share basis by the personnel, with the intention of selling them on arrival in Canada. The aliens, so far arriving, are practically without funds and their food supplies, etc., are almost exhausted on reaching port…If admitted to Canada the Department of Labour has undertaken to find employment for the employable members of the various groups.[205]

The arrival of the Astrid, Atlanta, Capry and Östervåg in August 1948 followed an even smaller movement of Baltic refugees to the United States the preceding summer. Between August and September of 1947 four small vessels carrying mostly Estonian refugees arrived in the United States, carrying a total of 72 passengers.[206] Their arrival was fraught with difficulty, and the refugees spent months in detention on Ellis Island and were repeatedly threatened with deportation. The Edith was the fourth vessel to arrive, and had the assistance of the CLWR in lobbying for their entrance to Canada, in order to bypass the difficulties inherent in entering the United States.[207] Mannik suggests that the example of the Edith portrayed Canada as more humanitarian than the United States in the eyes of prospective refugees, established the positive language used by immigration officials in their memoranda regarding the Baltic boats and paved the way for later movements of refugees by boat.[208]

Pleas to admit refugees were tabled by Estonians already residing in Canada, as exemplified in the case of A. Weiler of Barons, Alberta. Mr. Weiler was active in the Estonian community in Alberta during the 1940s and 1950s, and has published editorial pieces in the Winnipeg Tribune, and the Globe and Mail.[209] The original copy of Weiler’s letter of August 23rd, 1948 is unavailable, but H.L. Keenleyside’s reply does illustrate that Estonians were considered to be “good types”, and were met with a positive reception by the officials tasked to consider their admission. Keenleyside noted to Weiler that “we are taking immediate action to examine the individuals in question, and I think that I can assure you that the Government fully appreciates the reasons which led to the departure of these people from Sweden.”[210] As well, in response to Weiler’s request to grant visas for Estonian fisherman, Keenleyside showed great interest, and assured Weiler that all “applications for admission to Canada will be reviewed with the greatest sympathy.”[211] Indeed, benevolence was exercised wherever possible, and very few of the refugees were denied for failing to meet the requirements of landed immigrant status.[212] Keenleyside further clarifies his sentiments in the following response:

No one, I am sure, is more anxious than the members of the Government and the officers of the Immigration Service to give recognition to those who have suffered and braved dangers in order to be able to live their lives in a democratic country. The people who have arrived in Canada in the small boats in question have been received with the greatest sympathy, and have been given a warm welcome.[213]

Astrid and Atlanta

The first small craft of Baltic refugees to arrive was the Astrid, disembarking at “Quebec” on August 14th, 1948. According to the Toronto Star, the Astrid first landed at St. John’s, Newfoundland after “a stormy Atlantic crossing of 26 days”, and then sailed onward to Montreal.[214] Government correspondence is unclear whether “Quebec” refers to the city or the province, but it can be presumed Montreal was the final destination due to the better facilities there. As a converted fishing boat, the Astrid was one of the smallest vessels to attempt the Atlantic crossing, and the 29 passengers spent their journey in cramped quarters. According to a report in the Halifax Herald, upon arrival the passengers were detained at the Quebec Immigration detention barracks for sixteen days, to “ensure that the refugees from Soviet domination were what they claimed.”[215] For the Astrid, as well as later arrivals, media reports tended to focus on the “escape narratives” of the refugees in order to elicit sympathy from the public; the perception of an escape from Russian domination was tempered with a heightened sense of fear of Soviet authorities inherent in passenger accounts.[216]

The Astrid arrived with little fanfare, as most media coverage in the Halifax dailies remarked upon her arrival well after the passengers disembarked at Quebec. For this reason, the discussion concerning the Astrid in the archives of the Immigration Branch generally treats the boat as part of a group, and provides little detail as compared to later arrivals. However, a report from the Winnipeg Tribune does shed some light on the processing of the Astrid refugees, stating that “five Canadian government departments have become involved in the arrivals [and] on Aug. 31 the 29 refugees- mainly Estonians- [were granted permission] to go where they wish in Canada and to stay as long as they observe its laws.”[217] According to the article, the Government departments involved included the Immigration Branch of the Department of Mines and Resources, the Justice Department (R.C.M.P.), External Affairs, the Department of Health and the Department of Labour.[218]

Five days later, the Atlanta arrived at Saint John, New Brunswick with a contingent of 42 Estonian refugees. Unlike some of the other early boats, one of the passengers, Lydia Sild, provided a written record of her voyage experience to representatives at Pier 21. From this first-hand account details such as the dimensions of the ship can be confirmed. According to Sild, the ship was small, but by no means unsuitable for trans-Atlantic travel:

The Atlanta had originally belonged to the Norwegians and had previously sailed across the open seas. The overall length of the Atlanta was 86’ 4; its length at the water line measured 59’ 0; it had a draft of 12’ 5 5/8.  The hull was of genuine mahogany, and the deck of spruce.  The main mast stood 82’ high and the mizzenmast was 56’ tall.  In our opinion, the Atlanta was a truly magnificent sailing craft.[219]

Due to the lack of facilities at the Port of Saint John, the refugees were quartered at the Lancaster Hospital, “pending investigation from the viewpoint of security.”[220] S.H. McLaren, Regional Superintendent of the Department of Labour in Moncton, was prompted by the arrival of the Atlanta to request from the Immigration Branch “competent employment officers from the Halifax and Saint John offices to interview each and every employable person in the group…to find suitable employment for these people should they be admitted into Canada.”[221] DPs were required to complete a one-year labour contract in a location of the government’s choosing, and upon completion of the contract were free to find employment where they wished. According to Danys, many former professionals were assigned low-skilled positions and experienced downward social mobility.[222] However, this was a reality that DPs were prepared to endure in order to gain Canadian citizenship.

McLaren also implored A.L. Jolliffe, director of the Immigration Branch, that “when your representatives interview these refugees in accordance with instructions that follow, [ensure] that they be kept ignorant of the security investigation. The matter must not be mentioned to them even by implication.”[223] This directive is most instructive, as it illustrates the multi-tiered processing these refugees underwent while in detention. Reg Whitaker and Steve Hewitt claim that during the late 1940s, RCMP officers gathered intelligence on new immigrants and conducted security screening under the guise of Mines and Resources officers.[224] However, the primary evidence appears to contradict this claim by illustrating an explicit separation between immigration officers and those tasked with examining the refugees for potential security risks.

It is clear that the passengers on the Atlanta were not of the labouring types considered most desirable by the Department of Labour, and though many possessed post-secondary education, they were not persons of wealth and had limited abilities in English. During the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, some of the passengers studied English with Captain Eugen Komissar, as he alone possessed fluency in the language of their destination.[225] In fact, while in detention, some passengers received deportation orders that were later rescinded, reflecting an initial literal interpretation of Canada’s immigration policy. Atlanta passenger Kalju Pullerits remarked in 1993 in a letter to Pier 21 that his arrival was not met with immediate approval:

My university studies were interrupted by war and we were penniless when we arrived in Saint John. Immigration Authority issued deportation order with statement that we would be most likely in public charge and did not have sufficient funds to support ourselves. While Atlanta was still in the harbour we prepared for the departure to Argentine since return to the country of birth, by the rule of the immigration, meant certain death to all of us. Finally we were accepted and allowed to stay and we travelled by train, paid by Canadian Red Cross to Montreal and most of the boat family to Toronto.[226]

Capry and Östervåg

In the days following the Atlanta’s arrival at Saint John, two small boats disembarked at Halifax, and further arrivals would also choose Pier 21 as their final destination. The Capry arrived first on the eve of August 20th, followed by the Östervåg on August 22nd. All of the passengers resided at the Immigration Detention Quarters at Pier 21, where medical checks and security screenings were undertaken and arrangements were made to find suitable employment. In the case of the Östervåg, media coverage during their stopover in Ireland ensured their arrival was expected. A report in the Halifax Herald described the party as comprising three Polish and “70 Estonians, including 15 children.”[227] However, an undated government report concerning the Baltic boats as a whole lists their total number at 75, and this can be regarded as the definitive source.[228] The Capry was the smallest of the early Baltic boats, and contained a contingent of 28 passengers including crew.

According to refugee Ernests Kraulis, the Capry passengers included “a Latvian family of six as well as Estonians.”[229] However, Mitic and LeBlanc wrote that the Capry “limped into Halifax with 23 Latvian and 5 Estonian DP’s on board,”[230] making this vessel the only boat of 1948 without a majority of Estonian passengers. The craft was formerly a German coastal military boat, and was the smallest of the four early arrivals at only 56 feet long.[231] To put this into perspective, Cunard White-Star’s RMS Aquitania, which began transporting DPs in April 1947[232] and was arguably the most recognized vessel used to transport post-war displaced persons to Halifax, was listed at 868.7 feet.[233] Indeed, the majority of the Baltic Boats were classified as coastal vessels, and ill-equipped for a long voyage on unpredictable high seas.[234] The passengers set forth at considerable risk; the Goteborg Seafaring Laboratories advised passengers and crew that theirs was “too small a boat with too small an engine.”[235] However, after 46 days at sea the Capry arrived at Halifax harbour, severely damaged with the passengers running low on food and water.[236] Their situation on arrival was the most dire of the first wave of Baltic boats; after 45 days at sea her food stores had been completely depleted, with a single barrel of fuel remaining.[237]

The Capry received media attention upon her arrival at Pier 21, and the Halifax Herald reported the arrival of “a smiling hardy group of Estonians and Latvians landed at Halifax last night after completing a six weeks voyage in a 44-ton 55-foot schooner from Sweden.”[238] However, the article was buried on page twenty-two following classifieds and advertisements, as coverage of the larger contingents of authorized refugees on ships like the Aquitania, Scythia, Samaria and Saturnia[239] proved to be more prominent. This is hardly surprising, as more than 80,000 immigrants “poured into Canada” during the first eight months of 1948,[240] of which 53,000 entered through the Port of Halifax.[241] Months later, the arrival of the S.S. Walnut proved to be more prominent in Halifax newspapers, largely a result of the greater number of passengers aboard the vessel.

The Östervåg was a 62 ton vessel, larger than the Capry but suited for coastal patrols rather than trans-Atlantic crossings. In what appears to be a common refrain for these early voyages, the Halifax media reported that they were “told not to attempt the Atlantic voyage with their frail craft and scanty equipment.”[242] The same article from an Irish source covering the “Soviet-shy refugees” claimed that the crew of this vessel navigated from Sweden to Scotland “by means of a watch, a compass and an old-fashioned sextant,”[243] illustrating the contrasting experience of these refugees compared to the vast majority that crossed the Atlantic on large vessels operated by Cunard-White Star and other major shipping corporations.

Interestingly, Minister of Mines and Resources J.A. MacKinnon had previously stated in the Toronto Star on September 22nd that “refugees who arrived here on the small vessels Capry and Ostervag will be admitted to Canada,”[244] even though security screenings were yet to be completed. Medical clearances also created further delay for a few of the refugees. The aforementioned October 13th report suggests that two families, including the family of Captain Past, were held for further examination by medical personnel.[245]

If the frontline immigration officers had their way, the first group of refugees would have been cleared more expeditiously; a memorandum was sent to the Privy Council by Keenleyside requesting approval to “expedite” the processing of the refugees, rather than wait for the results of the 20th Meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Immigration Policy.[246] However, it is evident that following the mid-September meeting, Immigration Officers were granted the authority to handle the clearance of immigrants through orders-in-council, paving the way for an ad-hoc interpretation of immigration policy for all subsequent arrivals.[247]

The S.S. Walnut

The four Baltic boats of August, 1948 were merely the humble beginnings of a larger movement of Baltic refugees best exemplified by the S.S. Walnut[248] in December of the same year. Far from being a “little Viking boat,” the Walnut was until the crossing of 490 Tamils in August, 2010 the largest single movement of illegal refugees by boat and the largest group to be placed in detention centres at Pier 21. The Walnut is memorialized by a display at the Canadian Museum of Immigration, and received the greatest amount of media coverage of all the Baltic boats. Furthermore, the greater number of refugees onboard, as well as reactionary reports of a massive wave of unsanctioned migrants in their wake, provoked a response of greater scrutiny from Government officials. According to Mannik, the focus of the Government “shifted dramatically within a few weeks from sympathy and humanitarianism to the immediate curtailment of all Estonians who might be planning to leave Sweden by boat.”[249] It was widely believed by security and intelligence agencies throughout the Western world in the late 1940s that persons who “left Communist countries were, ipso facto, high security risks,”[250] and this perception is evident in the increased concern over the screening process for the Walnut as compared to larger, sanctioned vessels. Nonetheless, the S.S. Walnut proved to benefit from the precedent set by earlier arrivals of Baltic boats, as the refugees received positive treatment and were overwhelmingly granted entry.

Preparation for Departure and the Perception of Government and Media

Even though those tasked with their admittance showed a positive reception to the initial groups of Baltic refugees, it must be noted that the Canadian Government naturally sought to control the arrival of displaced persons through official channels rather than deal with a wave of “Boat people” that required processing on an ad-hoc basis. According to Mitic and LeBlanc, the “sporadic arrivals” of unsanctioned refugees by boat left the government “grappling with the limitations of its own immigration policies.”[251] Word was received at the Canadian Legation in Stockholm in September of “the impending departure of two ships,” and a telegram was promptly sent to the Secretary of State for External Affairs. In response, the Legation was tasked to “place warnings in appropriate newspapers regarding Canadian Immigration regulations.”[252] There is no further evidence regarding the departure of a second ship, and it can be presumed that it was a fabrication or was unable to obtain the necessary clearances for departure. Mannik makes note of notices issued in Swedish newspapers on September 18th, warning Estonians “of the illegalities of boarding ships on their own volition.”[253] Data is unavailable to confirm where these warnings were published, however it is clear that the passengers of the Walnut were well aware of the consequences of landing without a visa but nonetheless made the perilous journey across the Atlantic.

In addition, unlike the earlier precedent set by the Edith in September 1947, the following autumn the Immigration Branch proved unwilling to extend the olive branch to Baltic refugees applying to land in Canada after being refused entry to the United States. An article in the October 24th, 1948 edition of the Toronto Star reported that a group of eighteen refugees at Miami attempting to enter Canada for farm work were denied because “they are not admissible under the [immigration] regulations and we are advising them to that effect.”[254] Immigration Director A.L. Jolliffe was of course providing the official stance to the media, and was able to exercise this authority on those refugees that did not land directly on Canadian shores. Nonetheless, the admittance of four groups of refugees by boat in August continued to provide motivation for Baltic refugees in Sweden that outweighed the disadvantages illustrated in reports such as these, and any warnings espoused by agents within Sweden.

The S.S. Walnut was purchased on a share-basis by its passengers in the months leading up to their departure, in a co-operative manner similar to the first four Baltic boats. Under the guise of the Panama-registered Compania Maritima Walnut S.A., shares of the ship were sold along with fares for adults and children.[255] According to Captain Linde, 200 shares were sold at a cost of 500 Kronor each, with the total divided amongst 40 shareholders including himself.[256] However, the Goteborgs Posten claimed that “all adults aboard are shareholders of the ship and each share costs Swedish Kr. 1,100.”[257] We can view Linde’s testimony as definitive, as his is a first-hand account. The cost of the S.S. Walnut was about 225,000 Kronor, and an additional 140,000 was spent refitting the ship for passenger travel and purchasing lifeboats.[258] Shareholders hoped to recoup most of their investment by selling the S.S. Walnut after arriving in Canada. This method of purchase was used for other Baltic boats as well, however this author was only able to determine the actual cost of the S.S. Walnut, due to lack of data regarding the Astrid, Atlanta, Capry and Östervåg.

The S.S. Walnut was a 700-ton former Royal Navy minesweeper, decommissioned at the conclusion of World War II and purchased by a Swedish company that converted the military craft into a cargo ship.[259] She was larger than those crossing the Atlantic the previous summer, but nonetheless accommodations were cramped for her 347 passengers. According to Tiiu Roiser-Chorowiec[260], the ship had designated living quarters for a crew of eighteen, leaving the remainder of the refugees to set up makeshift bunks in the cargo holds.[261] The “human cargo” of the S.S. Walnut shared bunks stacked three-high, with two feet of clearance between them, in a pattern that “resembled a honeycomb.”[262] Austrian passenger Gottlieb Mayrhoffer told the Globe and Mail that “We were packed in like Sardines…it was impossible to cook food with the ship tossing around…I wouldn’t want to make that trip again for all the money in the world.”[263] However, Mayrhoffer’s complaints are the exception rather than the norm. Most seemed to be satisfied with conditions aboard the ship, and their complaints were largely related to stormy weather and the unpleasantness it created.

Though the Walnut was a capable craft, it was dwarfed by sanctioned transport vessels such as the 45,647 ton RMS Aquitania.[264] However, the Swedish press reported that “Walnut differs from vessels of the same tonnage which have been used for similar purposes in that she is modern and completely sea-worthy,”[265] a statement that undoubtedly fuelled the confidence of the refugees preparing for departure. The Goteborgs Posten described the ship as “equipped with echo sounding apparatus, radio and gyro compass and officers and crew are all seafaring folk.”[266] A November 5th article in the Gothenburg daily Aftonbladet provides further detail regarding the specifications and history of the S.S. Walnut, with the full text as translated by the Canadian legation in Stockholm as follows:

The “Walnut” type (corvette) has been used a great deal in England and another ship of the same type is at present being re-constructed in Falkenberg as a freighter. In Norway there are fifty in regular traffic. The vessel which is to transport the Baltic refugees was completed in 1940 and was built at a ship-yard in Northern England… the vessel is in good condition and is constructed for North Atlantic traffic, though not as a passenger ship.[267]

Like many vessels used for clandestine purposes, the S.S. Walnut flew the flag of a third country instead of its country of origin. Though berthed at the small port of Lysekil, Sweden, the Walnut flew the flag of Honduras for reasons of expediency, as red-tape prevented the vessel from being registered in Sweden or Panama.[268] Other reports have also suggested that the vessel did not meet the requirements for Panamanian regulations, and her owners were able to obtain permission from Honduras only after lengthy negotiations and suspected bribery.[269] Unsurprisingly, the Gothenburg Communist weekly Ny Dag focused its coverage of the Baltic boats on the “mysterious boat purchases” made by a Swedish shipping firm on behalf of the refugees, and took offense that “AB E.R. Bohman, should lend its services to this mysterious business… regarding a gang, with its headquarters in Gothenburg, which has organized the smuggling of refugees.”[270] This distortion of facts provides clear evidence that the refugees were justified in their perception of political insecurity due to Soviet pressure.

August Linde, described as a “stocky, ruddy faced 47 year old,” by the Cape Breton Post[271], was placed in command of the ship. Linde was responsible for obtaining the necessary clearance papers for the S.S. Walnut, the selection of her crew, and day-to-day maintenance of the ship, in addition to navigating and piloting the vessel.[272] Linde and his family were of only a few passengers that had managed to obtain Canadian visas prior to departure. The Captain was summoned by the Canadian Legation in Stockholm in November after learning of their imminent departure from multiple news reports. He was advised that the planned Atlantic crossing was against regulations, but after much discussion the Legation approved the landing of Linde and his family.[273]

Furthermore, Linde served as a primary media contact due to his fluency in English. He was by no means the only English speaker aboard the ship. Other passengers, such as Mayrhoffer, First Mate Arvid Berendson and 28-year old Estonian medical student Walter Kasx[274] were interviewed in English by the Canadian news media, however most of the passengers possessed little knowledge of Canada’s mother tongue upon arrival. Most of the media reports from Canadian sources are based on Linde’s testimony, so it is hardly surprising that reporters focused on the refugees’ escape from Russian terror, considering that Linde himself told reporters he “saw things happen to my own countrymen that you would only believe if you saw it yourself.”[275]

The 17-man crew and 90 percent of the passengers of the S.S. Walnut were Estonian,[276] with the remainder composed of Lithuanians, Finns, Austrians, and one individual from Denmark. According to Howard Wallace of the Halifax Mail, four passengers in total left the ship at Sligo, including an Estonian couple that had visas for Australia, a sick woman put to hospital and a German who was forcibly removed because the Captain “didn’t trust him.”[277] However, on their arrival the total number of passengers included 154 men, 123 women and 70 children,[278] and the reported total of 347 passengers has proven to be accurate. Wallace described the multifaceted group as “escaped prisoners from Russian camps in Siberia, from Korea and political refugees, all from each walk of life were numbered among those aboard.”[279]

The Gothenburg daily Stockholms-Tidnigen reported “the eldest in the company is a man 80 years of age and the youngest is a two year old boy.”[280] However, upon landing at Sydney, Nova Scotia an intrepid reporter took a snapshot of eighty-two-year-old Anne Marie Stilskypo with her nine-month-old grandson cradled in her arms, and this author concludes this photographic evidence to be definitive.[281] The Gothenburg Aftonbladet report of November 5th did not hide its sympathy for the refugees, echoing the sentiments that would be expressed by the Canadian media upon her arrival:

It is miserable conditions which have forced these refugees to take the drastic step of purchasing a vessel in order to try and attain better living conditions on another continent. They are silent about their journey, and one can well understand them as until they have landed on the other side of the Atlantic they do not feel themselves secure, no matter how many sea-worthy certificates have been issued for “Walnut.”[282]

In October, 1948 the Cabinet approved the admission of 5,000 Estonians from Sweden.[283] Negotiations continued for months and were fuelled by letters sent from Estonian refugee organizations, the CLWR and officials of the Canadian Legation in Stockholm.[284] The Government was in general agreement that Estonians in particular were “ideal types” and would make good settlers. That they were considered separately from other refugees was due to bureaucratic red-tape; Sweden was not a member of the International Refugee Organization (IRO) and thus refugees departing from their shores could not be sponsored.[285] As well, the Swedish government sought to prevent “active steps taken by Canada to facilitate the emigration of Balts from Sweden” due to their fear of Soviet reprisal.[286] Mannik describes the difficulties inherent when dealing with Baltic refugees as follows:

It was deemed that publicity, at all costs, must be avoided because a movement of large numbers of “Balts” would not go unnoticed by the Swedish or the Russian press. There were different opinions over this matter. On the one hand, it was concluded that because these refugees were “entirely self-reliant,” there was no doubt that they could “arrange their own transportation, pay their own fares, and make their way to Canada without embarrassment to anyone concerned.” On the other hand, notices had been issued in September 1948, in appropriate newspapers throughout Sweden, warning Estonians of the illegalities of boarding ships on their own volition…Estonian refugees in Sweden became pawns again in international politics that were aimed at mediating the threat of Soviet reprisal.[287]

The 347 souls aboard the S.S. Walnut departed Sweden unaware of the result of the latest round of negotiations between their adopted home and their prospective destination, yet undoubtedly they benefited from its favourable conclusion. Their journey to Canada was not without incident, as the refugees experienced a force nine gale in the North Sea on their way to Sligo, and once more two days after their departure from Ireland. On December 6th, the S.S. Walnut weathered another storm that lasted for four days and left most of the passengers seasick and unable to eat until their arrival at Sydney.[288] Sydney itself was besieged by the first snowstorm of the winter, and Captain Linde was “ready to push on up the St. Lawrence [to Quebec] when no clearance for the displaced persons was available here.”[289] However, according to the Halifax Herald immigration authorities ordered the ship to Halifax, “where, an official said, facilities are available to handle a large crowd.”[290] Interestingly, Linde suggested that the change of destination was his own decision, as he had learned from authorities that “the [Quebec] port is closed for the winter.”[291]

The Arrival of the S.S. Walnut, Media Coverage and the Escalating Costs of Detainment

An unnamed immigration official reported to the Cape Breton Post that “his department had well known the day that the Walnut sailed from Gothenburg and that she was on the way.”[292] However, there was no way to predict their date of arrival or to which port she would call. The S.S. Walnut “unexpectedly arrived off North Sydney,”[293] Nova Scotia on December 10th and after refuelling “the passengers with food and the ship with coal”[294] sailed onward to Halifax, disembarking three days later. The first to step ashore were “the Captain, his wife Hilda, and two small daughters Heili, aged II [sic] and Luule, aged 7,”[295] and the English-speaking Captain was met by a host of prospective interviewers and photographers. There was a flurry of media activity regarding the Walnut arrival, and articles dated December 14th covering the plight of the refugees were evident across the country.

Some of the reports of the S.S. Walnut’s landing were rife with assumptions and inaccuracies, describing the entire group as “Estonian farmers and fishermen…living in Sweden since their escape from a Russian prison four years ago.”[296] The reports of the Halifax Herald and Halifax Mail have proven to be the most accurate when comparing their statistics with the correspondence of the Department of Mines and Resources, and show the broadest scope in their coverage of the Walnut, sourcing immigration officials, passengers, and local authorities to provide relatively balanced information to their readers. Nonetheless, the common perception of displaced persons “fleeing Russian domination” prevailed, evident in the headlines and copy of reporters and immigration officials alike.

Some journalists sensationalized the physical condition of the refugees on their landing in Nova Scotia, and photographic evidence taken by photographers and the passengers themselves belie written reports of “sunken cheeks and questioning stares of the children [that] told a story of hardship better than words.”[297] The Toronto Star described the passengers as “hungry and weak from seasickness when they arrived, but there spirits were high.”[298] However, Captain Linde reported that “food supplies were sufficient during the voyage…some food was left at the completion of the flight from Sweden.”[299] There is no doubt that the passengers were cold and hungry after a long journey at sea, and it is understood that they ate and slept in cramped quarters. Regardless, correspondents in Cape Breton especially embellished the plight of the refugees, as the following excerpt illustrates:

Emerging from the foul smelling, cramped quarters of below deck, today for the first time the crowd breathed fresh air…The courageous group lived under unbelievable conditions, a strictly rationed diet, and slept in four and five-tier bunks jammed into sections hardly big enough for three people to stand. Mothers, fathers and children of varying ages had priority to the compartments as high as 40 occupying the ill-fitted, airless sections, while many of the single men sat and slept on long tables, and the unmarried women quartered in improvised living sections…Such were the conditions endured during the 25-day Odyssey to Canada, a country new to them but a place where they felt would come peace and freedom after years of experiencing death and disaster.[300]

Both government correspondence and media coverage of the arrival of the S.S. Walnut placed particular emphasis on the number of women and children onboard the vessel. H.P. Wade, the Atlantic District Superintendent of the Immigration Branch, informed Ottawa that “we were a bit amazed to find so many women and children and this circumstance caused some inconvenience in the housing arrangements.”[301] Captain Linde also provided fodder to this by speaking of “four expectant mothers on board…my wife was one of them”[302] when asked about the refugees’ condition. Indeed, the majority of photographic evidence of the S.S. Walnut and other Baltic boats consists of images of women and children, which according to Mannik created a “powerless and docile” representation of the refugees,[303]that undoubtedly won them favour with immigration officials and the general public.

Immigration officers in Halifax scrambled to find housing, food and medical services for this large, diverse group, and much of the correspondence regarding their arrival was regarding the difficulties of taking care of so many women and children.[304] Thanks to the assistance of the Red Cross and other groups, it can be concluded that male and female, young and old were not left wanting for comfort, regardless of what H.P. Wade described as “inconvenience in the housing arrangements.”[305] According to Wade, care was taken to ensure unattached women and children were processed and housed separately from single men:

We registered some 200 family group persons with unattached women in our detention quarters – name only – and then proceeded to register the rest – 150 – full C. C. R. information for the Rockhead Hospital detail. These included single men, married couples with no children and some mother and daughter couples.[306]

Media coverage reflected the holiday season and notions of Christian charity by focusing much of their coverage on the refugees’ first Christmas while in detention at the Rockhead Hospital and the Immigration Detention Barracks at Pier 21.  Halifax Mayor J.E. Ahern promised the children of the Walnut that he would “personally telephone Santa to be at City Hall for a big Christmas party next Friday.”[307] Ahern encouraged citizens to provide gifts, stating that “these are new citizens and I would like them to be happy in this new land.”[308] However, it appears that immigration regulations somewhat thwarted the Mayor’s good intentions, as the refugees were feted in the same rooms they were detained in. The Toronto Star accompanied a short article dated December 28th with snapshots of passengers such as three-year-old Ene Pamerants, whose “first Christmas in Canada could be her last here, too.”[309] The role of Santa Claus was played by Captain Linde, and according to the Halifax Mail he was so convincing that “even Luule, his seven-year-old daughter, didn’t recognize him in Santa’s garb.[310] In addition to the usual “communal singing of carols,” the Halifax Herald reported that “some people donned the costumes of their native lands and engaged in folk dances.”[311]

Media coverage of Christmas parties were reportedly facilitated by the Mayor, the Press Club, the Navy Officers’ Wives Club, the Nova Scotia division of the Canadian Red Cross Society and others. Articles regarding a “Christmas made happy for Baltic refugee children”[312] can be found in both local Halifax dailies and larger publications such as the Toronto Star, and the Baltic refugees received a sympathetic perception in the media as “ideal Canadians.” According to the Toronto Star, Christmas was “as important as it was for Canadian children” for the youths detained at Halifax Immigration Detention Barracks, and the gift of a silver dollar was “the beginning of a fortune to be earned in Canada.”[313] Adult males “received a packet of cigarettes and each woman a gift of Candy, while the children received attractively wrapped toy gifts provided by the Naval Officers’ Wives and other interested citizens.”[314] Mayor Ahern hoped to prove to the refugees “that there is also a Santa Claus in this country,”[315] and based on what we can learn from media reports of the time, their Christmas Eve was indeed a memorable one.

The language used by reporters in their coverage of the arrival and Christmas celebrations as experienced by the refugees of the S.S. Walnut was merely an extension of the prevailing public attitude towards Estonians, and these “ideal types” were helped rather than hindered by positive news reports and the genuine concern shown by the officials tasked with their care. Both in actions and words the citizens of Halifax assisted the refugees of the “stubby former war boat”[316] and made their time in detention as comfortable as possible. However, concerns of economy, inadequate facilities and concern over their rising numbers soon altered the government’s perception of refugees attempting to enter Canada illegally by crossing the Atlantic in small boats.

Though evidence suggests the reception given to the S.S. Walnut was overwhelmingly positive in government and media correspondence in the wake of their arrival, within the Canadian Government positivity was quickly supplanted by concern over the increasing numbers of illegal refugees and the inherent costs associated with their detention and processing. According to Mannik, “the arrival of the Walnut had initiated a flurry of security checks, medical examinations and maintenance preparations, all of which ensued under a blanket of seeming acceptance.”[317] Government correspondence had little to say about the “character” of the refugees, and was focused on “facilitating the practical aspects of making sure they were healthy and finding them jobs.”[318] However, the logistical issues inherent in the detainment of 347 individuals proved to be overwhelming. Consequently, later arrivals of Baltic boats the following summer were not “welcomed with open arms” and the actions of the Government became further at odds with the public perception of the refugees as portrayed in the news media.

H.P. Wade’s report of December 15th, and indeed much of the correspondence found in the archives of the Department of Mines and Resources, expressed concern about the expected costs of detainment, and who is responsible for payment. For example, Dr. Reid of the Rockhead Hospital ensured prior to accepting the refugees that “all damage will be underwritten and all lost or damaged bedding, dishes, etc…[Dr. Reid] is not prepared to risk his valuable ranges, boilers, and other kitchen equipment in the hands of unknown refugee help.”[319] Consequently, Wade provided the Hospital with a cook and “Guards to make an effective patrol and keep the place under proper surveillance.”[320] Interestingly, more concern is shown for guarding kitchen equipment than for the potentially subversive refugees. Wallace reported that some of the refugees detained at Rockhead worked “as engineers, domestics and maintenance men around the hospital during their term of detention,”[321]so perhaps the concerns of Dr. Reid abated once the refugees proved themselves to be trustworthy. Indeed, by the second week of their detention Immigration officials relaxed guard duty and often only assigned one guard to watch over the two groups at Rockhead and the Detention Barracks.[322]

Wade also makes mention in his report of a Dr. A. Valdmanis, who was “mingling with the refugees very freely and no doubt will be able to furnish very interesting information on the backgrounds.”[323] The role of Valdmanis was no doubt beneficial to Immigration Officers tasked with performing background checks, as it was well known that refugees and displaced persons often distorted the truth in order to legitimize their claim for admittance.[324] According to Mitic and LeBlanc:

Many [refugees] had survived to this point only because of their cunning ability to take advantage of every situation, legal or otherwise. Although they risked deportation by doing so, they gave false information, invented street addresses of supposed sponsors in Canada, and generally tried to present as good a case as they could for themselves and for their families.[325]

However, it appears that the refugees of the S.S. Walnut proved honest and truthful in their declarations, and remained the “ideal types” sought by the Government. Though detained for a lengthy period of time, overall, immigration inspectors were left with a positive impression of their wards. One such inspector, A.G. Christie, spoke of the group as a “very fine lot” and that “with a few exceptions, will make good citizens.”[326] The “exceptions” noted by Christie were indeed only a few unlucky individuals, comprised of two men accompanied by three dependents, along with two persons under extended medical care at Rockhead Hospital.[327] The reason for their deportation is unclear. However, one can presume that the two males did not meet the standards set by the R.C.M.P. for security clearance, as this was the case for the majority of deportation orders.[328]

Mannik suggests that by the time security clearances were granted to the passengers of the S.S. Walnut on February 15th, 1949, “the total cost of their care, medical expenses, food and transportation up until that point was estimated to be $39,145.00 and discussions about who should be made responsible for this sum surfaced.”[329] This figure was later adjusted to $50,491.79 in an undated Mines and Resources report examining the costs of the Baltic boats, with the detention costs of 1948 altogether totalling $65,950.75.[330] Though Howard Wallace stated that “no additions to present staff at Immigration have been necessary to cope with the influx of refugees,”[331] the costs continued to add up during the lengthy period of detention and became a great concern when reports surfaced of a “flood” of departures from Sweden the following summer.

VI. The Baltic Boats of 1949

            In May 1949 a letter came to the Immigration Branch from the Canadian Legation in Stockholm advising that “four ships and approximately 300 Estonian passengers were preparing to leave Sweden for Canada within the next month.”[332] The Legation claimed that nothing could be done to prevent these ships from leaving, and A.A. Ewen, the Officer-in-Charge in Stockholm, showed sympathy for the refugees by stating that “in my opinion Canada will never be sorry for taking Baltic people as every last one of them are the best advertisement we will get in our country against Communism.”[333] Ewen advised that there were approximately 25,000 Estonians still in Sweden, and “many thousands of these have firmly decided that Canada will be their future home and they have made up their minds to get there somehow.”[334] According to Ewen, there were four main reasons for Estonians to choose the option of emigrating illegally:

1)      They wish to proceed with their families.

2)      The majority of those concerned are people unable to comply with existing regulations governing entry.

3)      Many are determined to live where they wish and seek whatever employment they wish in Canada, which is typical of Estonian independence.

4)      They have been encouraged by the entry of those aboard the WALNUT last fall.[335]

However, due to the great expense the Government incurred detaining the passengers of the S.S. Walnut and worries that continuing ad-hoc admittance of illegal refugees would spark an escalating flood of refugee claimants, discourse regarding Baltic refugees from Sweden shifted to present them no longer as “ideal types” but unwanted illegals and unable to meet the conditions required by Canada’s refugee policy. Indeed, Deputy Minister H.L. Keenleyside, previously a champion for the admittance of the refugees of the Astrid, Atlanta, Capry, Östervåg and Walnut, had determined by August 1949 that “the situation is rapidly getting out of hand and it has been decided that the continuation of this method of obtaining transportation and avoiding examination overseas must be stopped.”[336]

The following section will outline the discourse regarding the Baltic boats in the summer of 1949, with an emphasis on the changes evident in Government perception of unsanctioned refugees by boat, both in correspondence and in policy decisions. Officials concerned with the perceived effort to “transplant the entire Estonian nation”[337] struggled to find justification for denying entry beyond the mere fact they were landing without visas and foregoing “usual procedures”, but nonetheless memos circulated decrying their unsuitability for farm work and lack of commitment to labour contracts. Questions of economy continued to be the main reason attempts were made to discourage arrivals by boat, though it appears that many of the refugees assuaged these concerns by arriving with sufficient capital to support themselves and their families. Immigration officers were aware that the continuations of illegal departures were “mainly due to the filling of Textile and Hydro-Construction quotas and a gradual depletion of families consisting of sufficient members to transfer $2,000.”[338] However, rather than adjust policy to accommodate the refugees, the Immigration Branch undertook actions aimed at eliminating landings in small boats altogether.

Small boats carrying Baltic refugees from Sweden in the summer of 1949 were a major factor in promoting changes in refugee policy that all but eliminated illegal crossings by boat by the beginning of the 1950s. Moreover, within the Immigration Branch the Baltic boats continued to receive attention that belied their small numbers. However, the news media proved to be less interested in the W.E. Gladstone, Parnu, Sarabande, Amanda and Victory by comparison with the Baltic boats of 1948, though what was reported remained positive and focused on the refugees’ flight from “Russian domination.” Nonetheless, immigration of Baltic peoples had all but ceased by the following summer with the effective cessation of crossings from Sweden and the Soviet Union’s policy to keep all “Soviet citizens” virtually imprisoned within their borders.

Government Discourse and Policy Changes for the Baltic Refugees

The W.E. Gladstone, Parnu, Sarabande and Amanda arrived in quick succession, however unlike the events of the previous summer, immigration officials were made aware of their imminent departure well in advance. Intelligence was gathered through official channels rather than through the second-hand translations of Gothenburg news reports that precipitated the Baltic boats of 1948. The following cable from A.A. Ewen was received by the Immigration Branch in Ottawa on May 16th and presented to Deputy Minister H.L. Keenleyside on May 19th:

RELIABLE INFORMATION HAS BEEN RECEIVED THAT FOUR SHIPS CARRYING APPROXIMATELY THREE HUNDRED PEOPLE PLAN TO SAIL TO CANADA HOPING TO MAKE ILLEGAL ENTRY STOP SAILINGS ARE PLANNED FROM HERE IN NEXT MONTH OR SIX WEEKS STOP ADVISE IF ANY ACTION MAY BE TAKEN.[339]

The four ships mentioned in the telegram included the W.E. Gladstone, Parnu, M/S Laks and M/S Kalev. According to J.L. Anfossi, Officer-in-Charge of the Canadian Legation in Stockholm[340], the Captain of the M/S Laks abandoned his planned crossing as they were unable to secure enough investors to finance the cost of the vessel.[341] The Captain also stated that he “will likely go as a passenger on another ship, when he receives a visa himself under the $2,000 scheme,”[342] suggesting that he had sufficient capital to take the legal route. However, Anfossi feared that “some of his proposed passengers will likely turn up on other ships or arrange to buy another ship, and go illegally.”[343] Unfortunately, further data regarding these passengers is nonexistent, and it is unknown if the M/S Laks was purchased by another refugee group or used for another purpose altogether.

Regarding the M/S Kalev, at the time Anfossi prepared the June 17th memorandum it was believed that the vessel was “likely to sail with a large group of [approximately 150] illegal-immigrants” in early July.[344] It seems that Rev. Ondenteich, the leader of the refugee group, took heed of the warnings provided by the Legation, as there is no record of the M/S Kalev in the archives other than the reference in this memorandum. There is also  mention of a fifth ship that was unknown to the Legation in May, called the M/S Skagen, “reported to have sailed from Sweden approx. June 7th apparently destined for Canada with a probable 88 passengers.[345]Moreover, the Communist Gothenburg weekly Ny Dag reported on the imminent departure of the Ocean and Göran, two additional ships that were under the radar of Legation employees, as well as suggesting that “a number of craft [have] been bought on the west coast of Sweden, and two large boats are ready to sail off Uddevalla and Lysekil.”[346] Ny Dag continued their antagonistic stance towards the refugees, describing the boats as “chartered in order to carry over to Canada Baltic Fascist elements.”[347]

Furthermore, the Ottawa Citizen published a brief article investigating “the mystery of the missing refugee ship Briljant,” where apparently the passengers transferred to an unnamed vessel under the cover of night in order to avoid detection and fool Canadian officials who were expecting their arrival in late June.[348] The refugees successfully landed at Boston on July 7th, which according to the report was “their preferred destination,” and their status was not confirmed by Canadian authorities until weeks later.[349] It is clear that there was a much greater instance of proposed crossings than there were successful landings by boat, largely as a result of inadequate intelligence from Stockholm, a shift to legal means of immigration and the widening gap between the perceived threat of Soviet pressure and the actual reality.

Immigration Director A.L. Jolliffe opined in a memorandum to Keenleyside that “if these Baltic immigrants continue to come forward in small boats without medical and other examination overseas, the cost to this service will be extremely heavy.”[350] Indeed, Jolliffe went on to state that “we still have…Balts in Hospital at Halifax from the boats that arrived last Fall, they costing [sic] about $5.00 per head per diem, and it will likely be another six months before these people can be released.”[351] The Standing Committee on Immigration and Labour met on May 27th, and informed Jolliffe that “no change should be made in the Immigration Regulations to facilitate the admission of such small groups of European refugees arriving at Canadian ports aboard private vessels, and that Canadian immigration officers in Sweden are to warn prospective immigrants [they]… would be refused admission.”[352] According to the Committee, the purpose of this decision was to “control a developing movement of inadmissible displaced persons.”[353] This warning was passed on to the Secretary of State for External Affairs, and by June 3rd the following direction was provided to the Canadian Legation in Stockholm:

Begins. Your cable May 14. Warn immediately ships captains and refugee group leaders that persons presenting themselves for landing in Canada without passing through usual procedures will be refused admission and returned to the country from which they came. Ends.[354]

Jolliffe later reported to the Cabinet on November 4th that warnings were necessary because “while the Government has provided for the admission of these refugees, cognizance has had to be taken of the intentional evading of the regulations… and the serious risk of disaster in crossing the Atlantic in these small and ill equipped vessels… these endeavours to curtail the movement have so far been unsuccessful.”[355]

This communication explicitly illustrates the shift in attitude towards refugees by boat from being “ideal types” that were accepted in spite of circumventing “usual procedures” to unwanted wards of the state. However, it must be noted that the Canadian Legation had mixed results when urging “ships captains and refugee group leaders” to abort their imminent departure. The captains of the W.E. Gladstone, Parnu, Sarabande and Amanda all spoke to Legation Officers prior to departure, yet it is clear that none of these men took heed of explicit warnings to refuse passage to those without Canadian visas. Reflective of this conundrum, Anfossi reported to the Superintendent of European Immigration in London that he was “informed that they [Captains] know very well what they are doing and are relying on public sympathy etc… when they arrive in Canada.”[356]

Keenleyside later opined that “these warnings are not having the desired effect…it is essential that movements of this kind be promptly controlled and we are considering placing display advertisements in some of the Swedish newspapers, directing attention to the requirements of the Canadian immigration law.”[357] Discussions regarding where to place the advertisements and what language to use took some time. However, by mid-August the following advertisement was published “in the Balt papers printed in Sweden and in the larger papers in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo”[358]:

The Canadian Government desires to redirect the attention of all interested persons to the fact that the Canadian law requires that persons entering Canada for permanent residence must be in possession of a valid immigrant visa. Persons not complying with this requirement will be returned to the place from which they came.[359]

The impetus for Baltic refugees to choose to immigrate illegally in the summer of 1949 was largely the result of the incompatibilities between Canadian and Swedish regulations, and an unwillingness to break up their families and spend time apart as contract labourers. Anfossi, after only a few weeks as Officer-in-Charge, made the following observations:

It has become quite apparent from my experience in dealing with this movement that the Balts have little desire to sign a labour contract. In the majority of cases they will not proceed without their families and in brief would like the regulations governing entry dove-tailed to their satisfaction. They of course are different than other refugees in Europe in that they have capital at their disposal and because of their good treatment in Sweden are quite independent… Generally speaking many of the Baltic refugees are not in the labouring class and there are few bona-fide farmers and as a result they are seeking for a means of gaining entry to Canada to live particularly in the cities of Toronto and Montreal and seek whatever employment they can find.[360]

Indeed, A.A. Ewen reinforced these opinions in his own communiqué dated July 30th. According to Ewen, the Baltic refugees not only “have little desire to sign a labour contract,” but the Department of Labour experienced “much difficulty…in holding those already there to their contracts.”[361]

Baltic people seeking to leave Sweden had the means to immigrate legally and secure Canadian visas without a labour contract, as long their families had proof of sufficient capital prior to departure. Canadian policymakers had set a capital requirement of $2000 per family to qualify for visas, in order to ensure prospective immigrants had the means to support themselves in lieu of work contracts that were largely unsuitable for family groups.[362] Unfortunately, the Swedish Foreign Exchange Control Board allowed departing individuals to take only approximately $400 out of the country per capita.[363] Effectively, this prevented couples and families of less than five persons from meeting the requirements, regardless of their total wealth. It appears that the Canadian Legation in Stockholm recognized the folly of the landing capital requirements, but Immigration Officers’ hands were tied. A.A. Ewen had suggested in his May 16th report that landing capital requirements be reduced for “those who would be readily employable” to $400 per capita in order discourage illegal departures,[364] but this suggestion was promptly dismissed. Anfossi illustrated the difficulty these policies brought upon the refugees as follows:

From a purely economic point of view I should think that it would be easier for a childless couple to establish themselves in Canada on $800 (the Swedish allowance) than for a family with several children to establish themselves on $2000. In the former case both persons would probably be capable of working, whereas in the latter presumably only the male member of the family could work and he would have many more mouths to feed. I think that if the financial regulation could be made more elastic…there would be removed perhaps the strongest incentive to people to attempt to get into Canada illegally.[365]

Perhaps most instructive are claims made by the Swedish press in the summer of 1949, to the effect that the danger of remaining in Sweden had abated, and that Canada was not as desirable as originally perceived. An unnamed agent of Cunard-White Star Limited informed Joliffe on June 27th that “a statement appeared in a Swedish newspaper to the effect that some Esthonians [sic] who had emigrated to Canada, have returned to Sweden expressing dissatisfaction with the conditions they found here.”[366] The memorandum went on to suggest that “many of these are described as “intellectuals” and I suspect that some of them…arrived in Canada by small chartered ships without being in possession of a Canadian visa.”[367] Reinforcing this, an August 26th article in the Göteborgs Handels och Sjöfarts Tidningen titled “Baltic Refugees Now Dare to Stay Here” reported the following:

…a few years ago the Balts in Sweden… were often told that “their position might become awkward should the Red Army come to Sweden.” It goes on to say that the situation has now considerably improved “thanks to the fact that Denmark and Norway have joined the Atlantic pact.” As a result the illegal traffic over the Atlantic to the United States and Canada is dropping in volume. The Balts are now beginning to sell crafts of various kinds which they kept in Gothenburg as a kind of safety measure.[368]

Of course, facts such as these evidently were not disseminated to the majority of the officials dealing with refugees in small boats, nor were they given attention in the Canadian news media. In truth, discourse regarding the final wave of Baltic boats was still perceived as a harbinger of a much larger movement to come, rather than the beginning of the end.

The Last of the “Little Viking Boats”

Ultimately, four vessels were able to make their journey across the Atlantic and land safely in Canada, though their experience before departure and upon landing in Halifax differed markedly from that of the Baltic boats of 1948. Increasing scrutiny by the government combined with a reduced interest in the media provide fewer sources for the historian to contextualize the Baltic boats of summer 1949 for posterity. Moreover, the perception provided in government correspondence is less than favourable toward the refugees, and does not definitively reflect the attitudes of front-line Immigration Officers, the media and the general public. Nonetheless, it serves this analysis to examine discourse regarding the voyages and arrival of the W.E. Gladstone, Parnu, Sarabande, Amanda and Victory, and the inherent changes in comparison to the Baltic boats of 1948.

W.E. Gladstone and Parnu

The W.E. Gladstone was the first ship to arrive in Halifax that summer, breaking ground on July 16th with 23 passengers, “all Estonian citizens from Sweden.”[369] Mitic and LeBlanc described the Gladstone as “an old fishing schooner and perhaps the smallest of the vessels.”[370] Specifications regarding the dimensions of the ship are unavailable to verify this claim, but evidence shows that the boat was suitable for trawling.[371] In addition, the available photographic evidence indicates that the W.E. Gladstone was a dual-masted fishing vessel and scarcely greater than 50 feet long, and though the numbers of passengers were small, the vessel’s available space was stretched to its limits.[372] She was piloted by Captain Theodor Vompa, and his family was among her occupants.[373] Prior to departure, Captain Vompa was interviewed by the Canadian Legation in Stockholm and indicated to officials there that “he will not be carrying any passengers without visas as he realises that he will be responsible for their return and this will endanger his own chances of entry.”[374]

However, it is clear that Vompa’s statement was false, as five of the 23 passengers did not possess visas and medical clearances upon landing at Halifax. A memorandum prepared by P.T. Baldwin, Acting Commissioner at Pier 21 described the passengers as follows:

5 were without, one of these being Mrs. Marta Kabel, whose son was in possession of a visa under O.C. 2180. Of the remaining four, two were twin sisters, aged 45, with no visas and no money. One was a man, aged 36, a first mate and a farmer, in possession of $100. The last was Vaid Lind. She is 43 years of age, married, a housewife and teacher. Her husband is presently at sea on a ship bound for Australia. She was in possession of $470.[375]

Ultimately, no evidence has surfaced that these five passengers were denied admittance, but unlike those who were in possession of papers they would have likely been subject to a lengthier detention and greater scrutiny from Immigration Officers. Like earlier arrivals of Baltic boats, the passengers of the W.E. Gladstone were housed at the Pier 21 Immigration Detention Barracks and Rockhead Hospital.

It must be noted that the visas provided while the refugees were still in Sweden were provisional,  indicating only that they had been able to comply with initial admission regulations such as the “$2000 rule,” having a sponsor already resident in Canada and/or a pre-established labour contract.[376] Final admission would be granted only at the port of entry, and as such all passengers were subject to security screening and medical examinations regardless of their status upon landing. However, because most of the passengers had complied with Canadian regulations, they spent approximately twenty days in detention before being cleared for admittance.[377] This was markedly brief in comparison to the Baltic boats of 1948, as each of those five groups waited more than two months before being approved for entry.[378]

The W.E. Gladstone was also unique because Captain Vompa co-owned the vessel with a single partner, Jaan Lindpere. This contrasts with most of the other Baltic boats, which were jointly owned by a group of shareholder-passengers. Later in 1949 Vompa and Lindpere applied to transfer their vessel’s registration from Sweden to Canada, in order to obtain a license for trawling off the “East Coast.”[379] Jolliffe wrote on their behalf to the Deputy Minister of Transport, requesting an exception be made to existing regulations restricting the granting of trawling licenses to Canadian-built vessels.[380] Jolliffe phrased his appeal as follows:

The above restrictions will possibly limit the earning capacity of the W.E. Gladstone in the Canadian fishing industry through no fault of the immigrant owners. For this reason the Department of Fisheries has suggested that steps be taken to avoid the embarrassment of allowing immigrants into Canada with their boats only to have to tell them later that they cannot employ those vessels in the service for which they are fitted.[381]

Similar to the case of Captain Vompa, the Captain of the Parnu had sufficient capital and family size to acquire visas for himself and his family. However, in Anfossi’s aforementioned June 17th report, the Officer-in-Charge mentioned that he was “not as confident” that Captain Sukedorf of the Parnu would take heed of his warning to not proceed with unsanctioned passengers.[382] Unlike the W.E. Gladstone, the Parnu was owned by shareholders, and as most of them had no visas the Captain feared “he might have trouble leaving without them and may have to abandon the project and go as a passenger on some other ship himself.”[383] Unfortunately for Anfossi, Captain Sukedorf chose to ignore the warnings of the Legation and set sail from Malmo with a contingent of 154 mostly Estonian refugees. Of this group, 145 had not obtained visas prior to sailing.[384] Immigration Officers were much more vigilant in enforcing regulations and upon their landing at Halifax on August 2nd these individuals were examined by a Board of Inquiry and promptly issued Orders of Deportation.[385]

Minister of Mines and Resources Colin Gibson hoped to use the Parnu as an example for other groups planning to cross the Atlantic in small boats, and initially dismissed the appeals of the refugees. A draft statement for the Swedish press was prepared, though it is unclear whether this article was published. An excerpt from the press draft reads as follows:

The Honourable Colin Gibson, Minister of Mines and Resources stated today that he had dismissed the appeals of immigrants who arrived in Halifax by the motor vessel “Parnu” on August 2nd from Malmo, Sweden. During the past twelve months seven vessels have arrived at Canadian ports with a total of 696 passengers, most of them inadmissible. Several of these vessels sailed despite warnings given…the department has been advised of another vessel now crossing the Atlantic…[and] three other vessels being fitted out to bring additional passengers without prior examination overseas. The minister added that warnings having failed to stop this illegal movement, he has reluctantly concluded that the only course open is to refuse admission to Canada to immigrants found to be inadmissible on arrival at Canadian ports and to require the vessel bringing them forward to return them to the place from whence they came.[386]

Even though the above press draft indicates that all appeals were exhausted for the refugees of the Parnu, this was not the case as they remained in detention for more than two months and underwent security and medical screenings in the same fashion as their predecessors. During their detention, it is clear that the Immigration Branch fielded petitions from ethnic organizations concerned with the conditions endured under detention. The Pastor of the Estonian Lutheran Church in Toronto appears to have written to A.L. Jolliffe about “discriminatory treatment” and a claim that “one of our [Immigration Branch] employees is profiteering at the expense of the immigrants.”[387] Jolliffe’s reply was dated September 30th, and indicated that the passengers of the Parnu continued to be held “pending final disposition of their cases.”[388] The major points outlined by Jolliffe in his reply are as follows:

Your references to conditions in the quarters occupied by these immigrants have been duly noted and I believe you have been misinformed in at least some respects. The fact that these immigrants and a number of others came forward to Canada without prior examination…should not be overlooked. This procedure has necessitated detention…Immigration facilities at Halifax have been strained to the limit through the procedure adopted by these immigrants…The group on the “Parnu” is not subjected to any discriminatory treatment. Detained persons cannot be granted freedom such as suggested in your letter, but they are given every opportunity for recreation within the limits of the accommodation available.[389]

On August 31st, the Department of Mines and Resources decided, “notwithstanding its decision of May 27th, an exception be made in the case of 154 Baltic displaced persons who arrived in Halifax aboard the Motor Vessel “Parnu.””[390] It is evident that in the end all but seven of the 145 refugees of the Parnu without visas were approved for permanent residence in Canada, and the rationale for admitting the refugees proved to be identical to that used for previous arrivals, focusing on the perception of Estonians as “ideal types” and their abundance of capital. According to Jolliffe, “the officials of the Immigration Branch report[ed that] the passengers on this vessel, almost without exception, are of a particularly desirable type of Baltic immigrant.”[391] They were desirable due to their variety of trades that would suit them well in an urban environment, the fact that the group contained forty families of less than five persons, and the fact that “the amount of money in their possession totals approximately $15,000.00 and some claim they have funds now being transferred to them in Canada.”[392] Once again the Immigration Branch admitted Baltic refugees ad-hoc, in contravention of official policy, and against the judgement of policymakers in Ottawa.

This author was unable to locate newspaper reports on the W.E. Gladstone or the Parnu excluding a “press draft” prepared by the Department of Mines and Resources, suggesting that newsmakers were preoccupied with other matters or were unconvinced that these particular groups offered a compelling story. Regardless, the available information in the archives does provide sufficient data to contextualize the voyage, though personal accounts are sadly absent. However, due to larger numbers, or in the case of the Amanda, a very compelling voyage story, both the media and Government showed greater interest in the Sarabande and Amanda.

Sarabande and Amanda

The final wave of Baltic boats arrived at the Port of Halifax just over two weeks following the Parnu. As reported in the Halifax Herald, the Sarabande arrived on August 19th “with a load of 236 Latvians, Estonians, and other northern Europeans who had fled from their homelands during and following the war to escape the Russians.”[393] In contrast to the other Baltic boats that carried a cargo of more than 100 passengers, the S.S. Walnut and Parnu, the vessel was not procured by shareholders and was chartered for the first of what were expected to be “several voyages to Canada.”[394] Like the Captains of the other Baltic boats, Harald Mannik brought along his family and had arranged for visas prior to departure. Furthermore, Captain Mannik had been warned of the inadmissibility of his passengers under Canadian regulations both before departure “and on arrival at Cork, Eire, where he had called for fueling [sic].”[395] Nonetheless, he chose to ignore these warnings and proceed across the Atlantic.

According to an article cited by Mitic and LeBlanc, about a third of the group were Polish, with the remainder from Latvia, Estonia and Finland.[396] However, official records clearly state that Latvians were the dominant group. An Irishman who boarded the ship at Cork was among the group arriving at Halifax,[397] but it appears that upon landing he was deemed inadmissible and detained at Pier 21 along with twenty crew members.[398] A memorandum to the Cabinet dated September 20th offers a detailed breakdown of the passengers aboard the vessel:

Nationality

Latvian……………105

Polish……………..  91

Estonian…………. . 50

Russian……………   3

Ukrainian…………    3

Finnish…………….   3

Lithuanian…………   1

Roumanian[sic]……   1

Irish (Eire)…………   1

Groups

Number of family units…… 55

Number of individuals……. 99[399]

J.F. O’Connor, Immigration Inspector-in-Charge at Pier 21, notified the Atlantic District Superintendent that “although warning had been received regarding the sailing of the vessel it was not expected for some days after the date of actual arrival, and it was necessary to arrange for the opening of Rockhead Detention Quarters immediately.”[400] O’Connor’s memorandum illustrates the difficulties Immigration Officers faced when dealing with large groups of refugees, and most instructive are last-minute appeals for additional funds in order to hire temporary manpower, including caterers, stenographers, matrons and guards.[401] The fact that these refugees arrived at Halifax unexamined also caused logistical issues for Pier 21’s Chief Medical Officer, and it was suggested that undertaking X-Rays was impossible at Rockhead. Ultimately, it was arranged to bus the refugees in groups to Victoria General and the Halifax Tuberculosis Hospital.[402] In language that was altogether typical of the discourse between Government departments, initial correspondence had little to say regarding the character of the refugees, and remained concerned with logistical issues and the costs of detainment.

The refugees of the Sarabande were met upon arrival with equal scrutiny as those aboard the Parnu, and all but the Irishman were to face Boards of Inquiry on completion of medical of medical examinations which, according to O’Connor “it is anticipated will take several days.”[403] Due to limited manpower, the Inspector-in-Charge worried that “over two weeks, possibly three weeks, after completion of medical examination, will be needed to complete Boards of Inquiry.”[404] Perhaps most instructive were the findings of the Boards of Inquiry regarding the landing capital of the refugees, as their available funds were dwarfed by those of the Parnu. Of the 55 family groups, only six possessed an amount greater than $1000, and 20 possessed less than $100.[405] Minister Colin Gibson was undoubtedly unimpressed at the refugees’ lack of capital, and suggested in a report dated September 20th that “they will all be refused admission.”[406]

Returning such a large group “from whence they came” proved to be a logistical nightmare for the Immigration Branch, as they could not simply force overcrowded small boats to turn around and re-negotiate the Atlantic Ocean. According to Gibson, the Sarabande could not be “turned around…owing to the risk of disaster.”[407] Gibson estimated that the vessel could safely accommodate “less than 100 souls…this would leave 177 [sic] to be transported by other means, i.e., by regular passenger steamer.”[408] The Memorandum to the Cabinet went on to break down the estimated costs to the Government if the refugees were either admitted or deported. What are most instructive are points 3 and 4, estimating the “total cost of the movement.” These figures as estimated by Gibson are as follows:

3. If the aliens are deported the total estimated cost of the movement will be………………….    $70,000.00.

4. If the aliens are admitted the total estimated cost of the movement will be………………   $71,860.00.[409]

Evidently, the Government was subject to great expense in either case, and this undoubtedly was a factor in its final decision regarding the fate of the refugees. Therefore, even though they were no longer being championed as “ideal types,” the outcome of their journey proved to be favourable.

In early November the Government made a “surprise move” and announced the release of 267 detainees from the Rockhead Hospital, which included the bulk of the passengers of the Sarabande and the Amanda.[410] According to Mitic and LeBlanc, the release of the detainees “was met with public approval, yet generated a gnawing fear that the way had been made clear for many more boatloads of DP’s [sic] to come to Canada via Sweden.”[411] This fear, of course, belied reports in the Swedish press, that the fear of Russia was abating and that prospective refugees were selling their boats. The public announcement of their release was preceded by an internal memorandum of October 28th that provides a glimpse into the nature of the Government’s decision:

…the Minister has allowed the appeals of the passengers and crew members of the above named vessels, whose names appear on the attached lists. It is, therefore, requested that you take appropriate action to grant landing and when this has been completed, release these persons to the Department of Labour representative at your port for placement, except those destined to first degree relative who may be allowed to join them, provided they are in possession of sufficient funds to proceed to destination or transportation is furnished by the relatives. The necessary advice in this connection has today been sent to the Department of Labour. In some cases the aliens on these vessels applied to join friends and you have on your files copies of the settlement reports. Possibly this information would be of assistance to the Department of Labour in placement. A few cases have been omitted from the attached lists. These are being dealt with individually and you will receive further advice in due course.[412]

The move to release the refugees in early November did not extend to the organizers of the illegal voyage. Legal action undertaken by the Government clearly sought to make examples of Captain Mannik and Shipping Agent August Petravis-Zarens, in order to discourage others from attempting to cross the Atlantic. H.P. Wade ordered the pair to appear in Halifax Police Court on October 15th to be prosecuted for “the violation of the provisions of the Immigration Act in bringing these immigrants to Canada without prior examination and for arriving at a Canadian port with an overloaded ship.”[413] The announcement of these charges made the front page of the Halifax Herald, who presented this case as “the first charges of their kind since the Ottawa warning issued several weeks ago”[414] but did not offer any commentary on the matter.

According to the Halifax Mail, the pair werecharged under section 33 (8) of the Canadian Immigration Act which states that “any transportation company or persons… who shall bring into Canada by vessel any prohibitive immigrant …” shall be subject upon conviction to a fine not less than $50 and not exceeding $500 and /or six months imprisonment.”[415] Ultimately, they were fined four hundred dollars each and were not subject to imprisonment beyond their lengthy detention. Mannik, Petravis-Zarens and their families were released on December 12th, more than a month after the remainder of the refugees were granted admission.[416] The Halifax Chronicle-Herald reported that after their release, “the Estonians headed for Montreal.”[417] The article was buried on page 22 among advertisements and birth announcements, and proved to be inaccurate in its fact-checking, as Petravis-Zarens and his family were Latvians. Evidently, reporters continued to represent these Baltic refugees in the same manner as those of the Walnut, regardless of the differing ethnic makeup and circumstances of later groups.

The Amanda arrived at Pier 21 on August 23rd, five days following the Sarabande. Due to the short proximity of time between arrivals both vessels were often treated as a single group in government correspondence. According to J.F. O’Connor, the ship carried 31 refugees and was a mere “59 cross tons,”[418] a far cry from legal DP transports such as the Aquitania, or even the 700 ton S.S. Walnut. The vessel was described by Mitic and LeBlanc as “a converted fish packer,” and interestingly their monograph states that “the tiny boat was skippered by three Latvians and carried twenty Baltic refugees.”[419] Multiple primary sources list the number of passengers at 31, leading this author to question the sources referenced by Mitic and LeBlanc.[420] According to O’Connor, on board were “20 Latvians, 11 Polish, 18 men, 9 women and 4 children.”[421]

Their crossing of the Atlantic was fraught with difficulties and poor weather, due to a “breakdown of their auxiliary engine and damage by storms.”[422] As stated by the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, the refugees of the Amanda endured “a crossing which left their ship disabled for several days before being rescued.”[423] Mitic and LeBlanc wrote that Amanda “had been found adrift 500 miles off the coast of Nova Scotia,” where it was towed into Halifax Harbour by the R.C.M.P. cutter French.[424] However, it must be noted that in actuality the vessel was found by the United States Coast Guard, who assisted the vessel until the French took over about eighty miles from shore.[425] The vehicle was out of fuel, necessitating the assistance of the Royal Canadian Navy in order to dock the Amanda at Pier 21.[426]

Like so many of the refugees that preceded them, none of those aboard the Amanda possessed valid Canadian visas. However, according to O’Connor “there were several cases where visas had been granted overseas but had expired.”[427] It is clear that none of the refugees met the landing capital requirements, and subsequently all except for five crew members “were conveyed to the Detention Quarters at Rockhead by bus furnished by the Royal Canadian Navy [and] after medical examination…these passengers [were] examined by Board of Inquiry.”[428] Following O’Connor’s report of August 24th, documents discussing the Amanda separately from the Sarabande are not evident, giving credence to this author’s claim that boats arriving in close proximity of time are treated as a single group.

Other than the calamitous landing, the experiences of the refugees aboard the Amanda were similar to those of the Baltic refugees that had preceded them. The public took great interest in the Christmas parties held for the detainees of the S.S. Walnut, and indeed, in the case of the Sarabande and Amanda, social and religious groups held a Thanksgiving service where “a venerable mahogany table served as the altar, decorated with old egg crates, pieces of lace, branches and flowers.”[429] Though there was a lack of media interest in these later arrivals, what was reported continued to reinforce the public perception of “fair-haired” refugees fleeing from the Russians. Debate flourished within Government circles about whether to deport them to set an example for others considering an illegal crossing, or to show compassion and admit them for permanent residency. Moreover, it is evident in the discourse from the arrival of the Astrid in August 1948 that actions of the Government were motivated primarily by simple economics rather than security concerns or a fear of Communist infiltration. Regardless, the Sarabande and Amanda were the final ships to succeed in landing at Pier 21 in 1949, and the interception of the Victory at Cork, Ireland drew to a close an influential chapter of post-war immigration history.

Victory

The Canadian Legation received intelligence regarding the Victory in advance of her departure from Gothenburg, as evident in a July 30th report produced by A.A. Ewen for the Commissioner of Immigration, Overseas Service. According to Ewen, he “asked the Captain of this ship to visit me at the Legation but he has failed to do so…I have sent him a letter and pointed out quite clearly our regulations.”[430] In language similar to what was expressed when reporting on earlier arrivals, Ewen expressed little confidence that warning the Captain would have any effect and believed that “this ship will undoubtedly sail in the near future.”[431] As illustrated by first-hand testimony from refugee Ylo Korgemagi, the journey of the Victory was cut short and the vessel never reached the open Atlantic:

My parents sacrificed exceedingly to save enough to purchase a share in a freighter (the Victory), which was going to take us to Canada. I remember seeing a chain gang of men loading holds with rocks for ballast since the only cargo was passengers. I remember being cautioned by my parents not say anything of this venture to anyone. I suspect due to the illegality and foolhardiness of what this group were going to attempt. We sneaked out at night with no lights and in silence, but were either stopped by the British Navy or made for land due to mechanical and safety reasons. This ship was definitely not capable of crossing the Atlantic Ocean.[432]

The media showed greater interest in the Victory than the other Baltic boats of 1949. This was probably due to the greater number of passengers onboard the vessel, similar to the precedent set by the S.S. Walnut. One article that was published in newspapers across Canada was titled “Refugee Ship’s Voyage to Halifax Experiment to Move Whole Nation,”[433] and the claims made by refugee spokesperson Paul Emori undoubtedly sparked concern among officials tasked with considering the refugees for admittance.[434] According to Emori, “our little ship…is making a test journey for a big fleet to follow…more isolated trips like this will be made to test our acceptability to Australia, New Zealand and other countries.”[435]Emori’s comments hopefully were taken with a grain of salt, as the article also quoted statements that were undoubtedly false. For example it was reported that, “125,000 Estonians in Sweden are waiting to be moved,” and “our organization already has bought a fleet of 140,000 tons to transplant our little country,”[436] both of which claims are easily disproven by the reports of A.A. Ewen and other Immigration Officials in Sweden, and Swedish news reports suggesting that the desire to emigrate from Sweden was abating.

At the time of the Victory’s landing at Cork, the vessel was overloaded with at least 372 refugees, on a craft that “had been designed to carry a maximum of 50 people.”[437] While the refugees awaited their fate, they were “distributed to various displaced persons camps.”[438] There was much discussion within the Department of Mines and Resources over whether the ship should be allowed to proceed, and the passengers of the vessel were evidently kept in limbo for quite some time. A report in the Halifax Herald dated October 6th stated that “a government spokesperson in Cork, Ireland, indicated last night that the refugee ship Victory, bound for Halifax with 402 Baltic refugees would be permitted to continue the voyage if it is found seaworthy” and that “the Canadian High Commissioner’s Office warned the Captain…he faced a heavy fine if he went to Canada.”[439] In an internal communication the same day, Jolliffe suggested to Keenleyside that the views of Prime Minister Louis St-Laurent were to “admit those immigrants who are in good health and who pass security examination…the ‘Victory’ now at Cork will be arriving at Halifax within the next two weeks and we propose to deal with her passengers in accordance with the above.”[440]

However, as Minister Colin Gibson advised the media on November 1st, the Victory would not be permitted to leave, and the refugees would be examined by Irish and Canadian officials at Cork in order to “prevent lengthy detention at Halifax and the hardship involved in returning inadmissible immigrants to Europe.”[441] Corroborating this, a November 4th memorandum written by Jolliffe stated that “following discussion between the Irish and the Canadian Governments, arrangements [were]… made for Canadian Immigration officials to examine these refugees at Cork to determine those who may be admissible.”[442] Subsequently, those passengers that passed examination were granted permission to leave the makeshift camps and travel to ports serviced by transports such as the Aquitania, Franconia, Scythia, and Samaria. Korgemagi described her experience once leaving Ireland as follows:

With the assistance of English and Canadian Immigrant Officials and the sponsorship of our rich baker relative we were on the move again, first to Liverpool, England. I remember being awed by the bomb damage to Liverpool. We sailed to Canada on the Cunard White Star Liner R.M.S. Franconia early December 1949…My poor mother was seasick during the entire passage. We landed in Halifax, [and I] became a landed immigrant on December 10, 1949. All I remember of landing at Halifax was the sense of finally having arrived safely.[443]

According to the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, thirteen Baltic refugees from the Victory ended up aboard the Franconia[444], including Ylo Korgemagi and her parents. As of December 13th  “thirty of the refugees [had]… already continued their journey to Canada, 200 more [were]… granted visas for entry to Canada and the remaining 150 await[ed] Canadian official decision on their applications.”[445] Many of the refugees were also shareholders in the Victory, and in order to afford passage on sanctioned vessels for those who otherwise had insufficient capital, a unanimous decision was made to sell the vessel while it remained docked at Cork.[446] This decision marked the end of the road for the Victory, and the effective cessation of large groups of Baltic refugees crossing the Atlantic in small boats.

VII. Conclusion

The ten “little Viking boats” that are the subject of this study have proven to be remarkable examples of the experiences endured by post-war displaced persons. Considering the flurry of discourse evident in the news media and government documents, it is surprising that historians have often relegated these small boats to mere footnotes in the broader treatment of post-war immigration history.  Their significance lies far beyond their status as the earliest examples of “boat people” to land on our shores. As with later arrivals of unauthorized immigrants by boat, the Baltic boats of 1948-1949 spurred increased media and public interest in refugees, ignited heated debate between government officials tasked to consider their admittance, and ushered in changes in immigration policy that all but eliminated illegal crossings by boat until the early 1980s.

According to Lynda Mannik, there were two final voyages by Baltic refugees in small boats, including the Göran in June 1950 and the Aura in July 1951.[447] However, in the case of the Aura, the 23 refugees departed from Cork, Ireland rather than Sweden, and had “bought their little ship with their savings while doing odd jobs in the British Isles since the war.”[448] Moreover, in the case of the Göran, all passengers had obtained visas prior to departure,[449] and thus this ship does not fit in with the ten boats that are the subject of this honours thesis. From the first arrival of 29 souls aboard the Astrid in August, 1948 to the dispersal of the 372 Baltic refugees of the Victory in the fall of 1949, the “little Viking boats” challenged Canada’s policy regarding post-war displaced persons and illustrated the Immigration Branch’s prerogative to contravene official policy and admit refugees on an ad-hoc, case-by-case basis.

The actions of the Immigration Branch were motivated by a racially-driven perception of Baltic people, particularly Estonians, as “ideal types,” ideal because of their fair complexion and blond hair, above-average education and wealth, and propensity for hard work. That Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians spoke different languages and had unique and distinct cultural heritages was not of concern to Canadian politicians, Government officials and journalists. What the three Baltic States shared in the minds of Canadians was their recent history, a period of unending conflict as pawns in a strategic tug-of-war between Germany and Russia. For the first arrivals in the summer of 1948, it is clear that Canada welcomed them with open arms, and was willing to overlook their flagrant disregard for proper procedures and provide refuge for those “fleeing Soviet domination.”[450]Ultimately, Canada treated the passengers of the Astrid, Atlanta, Capry and Östervåg in the same way as DPs “arriving here through the International Refugee Organization.”[451]

Of course, the arrival of the S.S. Walnut in December 1948 was cause for concern, as the cost of detaining and processing a group of 347 refugees proved to be more than the Department of Mines and Resources was willing to bear. However, the combination of public and media approval and a desire not to let “ideal types” suffer triumphed over a hope to“control a developing movement of inadmissible displaced persons,”[452] and so the Immigration Branch allowed the ad-hoc admittance of all but five of those who crossed the Atlantic aboard the Walnut. On the other hand, the escalating costs associated with detention and processing of illegal refugees caused a shift in discourse regarding the Baltic boats that affected the W.E. Gladstone, Parnu, Sarabande, Amanda and Victory the following summer, and it cannot be denied that these later movements were met with much greater scrutiny.

When reports began surfacing that more refugees were attempting to depart Sweden the following spring, Immigration officers in Sweden sought to prevent their departure, warning prospective refugees that they would be returned from whence they came. Some believed that these small boats were part of a movement to transplant an entire nation, and the opinions of officials who had previously championed the Baltic refugees shifted towards rejection of those who could not meet the requirements of capital, visa, sponsor and/or labour contract as outlined in Canada’s refugee policy. Moreover, the Government proved unwilling to modify capital requirements that were at odds with Swedish policy, effectively denying Baltic refugees in Sweden the path to legal immigration. However, actions speak louder than words, and once again after a period of detention and extensive medical checks and security screening, those who arrived in the summer of 1949 were authorized to begin their new lives in Canada.

The departure of the Victory proved to be the last gasp of the movement, as the overloaded craft was unable to complete her transatlantic voyage, and no further departures from Sweden followed in her wake. Far from being “the vanguard of a much bigger enterprise which will touch the heart of the world,”[453] the Victory ushered in a shift in strategy for Baltic refugees in Sweden to comply with existing regulations and pursue legal methods of immigration. This shift, combined with the risk of prosecution upon landing in Canada and a reduction of Soviet pressure to repatriate DPs to their homelands, signalled the end of the movement of unauthorized refugees by boat.

By the time the refugees of the Victory began dispersing to various European ports and crossing the Atlantic in authorized transports, the overall movement to relocate those displaced by the ravages of war was largely completed. As well, during the 1950s Canada’s immigration policy continued to evolve towards a system that sought to admit those with skills that satisfied the needs of an advanced economy, regardless of their national origin. Furthermore, the governments of the Soviet Union, the Baltic SSRs and other Soviet-dominated satellite nations effectively closed their borders and disallowed emigration to the west. Hawkins estimates that between 1946 and 1955, 31,112 Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian nationals immigrated to Canada.[454] For the period of 1956-1967, a mere 190 immigrants were of Baltic origin, and the vast majority of these had already been expatriates.[455] Until the collapse of the Soviet Union at the dawn of the 1990s, Baltic immigration to Canada was effectively at a standstill, and those few who were able to immigrate did so legally. Those that were part of the Baltic boats movement largely became exemplary Canadians, and to this day the passengers of the S.S. Walnut, the other Baltic boats and their descendants remain a valuable part of Canada’s cultural mosaic.

VIII. Postscript- Later Arrivals and the Perception of Media

Examples of refugees who have landed or attempted to land on Canadian shores in boats since years immediately following World War II are few and far between. Though early examples such as the Komagata Maru[456] set a precedent for exclusion on the basis of race, other factors were at play for later arrivals. Excluding the Baltic boats that are the subject of this honours thesis, there have been only eight other unsponsored landings,[457] and according to Mannik their portrayal in the media proved to be very different from those “little Viking boats” of Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians arriving in the wake of World War II.[458] However, it must be stated that both the Baltic boats and later arrivals provided impetus for officials to discuss policy changes, contrary to Mannik’s assertion. Later arrivals of “Boat People” [459] prompted media scrutiny, public debate and critical reviews of refugee policy by government officials.[460]  According to Ashley Bradmore and Harold Bauder, the arrival of “boat people” happens so rarely, less than once a decade, that “by the time a new boat arrives, memories of the previous boat have all but faded.”[461]

In 1986, 151 Tamils from Sri Lanka attempted to land in two lifeboats off the coast of Newfoundland.[462] Initial media reports and government responses were humanitarian in nature, showing empathy for these “Castaways rescued by Fisherman after 5 days adrift off Newfoundland.”[463] However, after it was discovered that the Tamils had not arrived from Sri Lanka directly, but had paid human traffickers to assist their passage from a West German refugee camp, there was considerable public backlash.[464] The fact that they had lied about their journey was used by the media to identify the asylum seekers as a societal threat, and was perceived to demonstrate that they did not share Canadian values and customs.[465] Regardless of this perception, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney granted them asylum and stated that “my government will do anything but allow refugees in lifeboats to be turned aimlessly around in the ocean and turned away from our shores.”[466]

A year later, 174 Sikhs arrived on a freighter off the coast of Nova Scotia. Though the local Nova Scotian townspeople responded in a humanitarian fashion by “feeding their guests peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,” there was an overall negative perception of their arrival.[467] The initial response of the media was markedly different from the humanitarian depiction of the previous year, with headlines such as “Coast easily penetrated, Canadian officer says” and “Are they migrants or refugees?”[468] According to Mannik, the press claimed the Sikhs were “illegal economic migrants that posed a threat to Canadian sovereignty.”[469] In response to this perceived “uncontrollable threat to national security,”[470] Bill C-84 was tabled in the summer of 1987, providing immigration officers the power “to turn back ships in international waters that were suspected of carrying claimants, impose new fines for carriers, and institute new power[s] of search and seizure and detention.”[471]

Four additional boats arrived between July 20th and September 9th, 1999, containing a total of 599 Chinese from Fujian province. The first arrival was met with suspicion and by the fourth boat the media was proclaiming an imminent crisis, spurring debates over state sovereignty, citizenship, and failing immigration and refugee policies.[472] Bradmore and Bauder suggest that the harsh reception to these refugee claimants reflected “Canada’s growing trepidation with an increasing Chinese population in Vancouver and its suburbs and Canadian immigration policies in general.”[473] Most instructive as to the overall public opinion is a poll taken by the Victoria Times-Colonist, in which 97 percent of respondents felt that the Fujians should be sent back to China.[474] These refugees were most definitely not welcomed with open arms. In the end, only 24 of the Fujians were granted refugee status and the rest were deported the following year.[475]

The most recent arrivals of “boat people” were again Sri Lankan Tamils, with a contingent of 76 refugees arriving on October 17th, 2009 and 490 more on August 13th, 2010. Their migration stemmed from a particularly bloody period in the ongoing civil war between the Sri Lankan state and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elaam (LTTE). Once again the media and public predicted a crisis, and opinion polls showed that more and more Canadians believed immigration was having a negative effect on the country.[476] Major news outlets predictably expressed concerns over the migrants’ identity and the validity of their refugee claims, but this time, these concerns were countered by human rights agencies and media watchdogs that expressed outrage at human trafficking, illegal smuggling, and human rights violations in Sri Lanka.[477]

What is often ignored amid all this heated discussion and perceived crisis is the insignificant impact of those arriving by boat in comparison to Canada’s overall acceptance of refugees per year. For example, in 2008, approximately 36,000 people made refugee claims within Canada or at a Canadian port-of-entry, and about 45 percent of these claims were approved.[478] Refugee claimants arriving clandestinely by boat clearly represent a very small percentage of a “continuous movement of people that are smuggled into Canada on a daily basis through land borders and airports.”[479] Nonetheless, both the Baltic boats and later arrivals of Tamil, Sikh and Chinese refugees were the subjects of government concern, public debate and media coverage that grossly belied their numbers and this kind of reaction may well be repeated in future cases.

IX. Bibliography

Primary Sources

 

Cape Breton Post

CBU MFM 149 October 21- December 31/48

11/12/48 “Converted Minesweeper Brings 347 Refugees to this Port”

13/12/48 “Immigration Aware Refugee Boat Was On Way To Canada”

14/12/48 “Refugee Laden Ship Walnut Reaches Halifax”

Globe and Mail

Canada’s Heritage from 1844 – The Globe and Mail

24/10/48 “Estonians Must Set Sail Again As Canada Can’t Admit Them”

14/12/48 “487 in ‘Sardine Pack’ Cross Sea to Freedom”

10/10/49 “Refugee Tells Aim to Transplant Entire Estonian Nation”

Glasgow Herald

Google News Archive Search

15/3/49 “New Note to Sweden: ‘Stop Persecuting Soviet Citizens’”

Halifax Herald / Halifax Chronicle Herald

NSARM MFM 7004 June 1-30/48

12/6/48 “Must Wait to Use Brains But New Settlers Happy”

NSARM MFM 7005 July 1-30/48

26/7/48 “Two Transports Here From Europe”

28/7/48 “Greek Ship Lands 722 New Settlers”

NSARM MFM 7006 August 1-30/48

3/8/48 “Swedes on Way to Halifax”

4/8/48 “Ship to Land 273 Refugees Today”

9/8/48 “Saturnia Brings 800 Passengers”

21/8/48 “Flee Russians; Make Way to Halifax in Schooner.”

23/8/48 Keenleyside, H.L. “Canada’s Stand on Immigration”

23/8/48 “Early Decision on Refugees

26/8/48 “57,275 Move to Canada”

26/8/48 “More Refugees En Route Here?”

28/8/48 “10,000 more DPs for Canada Says Mitchell”

31/8/48 “First Group of Refugees are Admitted”

NSARM MFM 7007 September 1-30/48

9/9/48 “Farm Workers Among DP’s”

24/9/48 “Transport Brings 822 Immigrants”

NSARM MFM 7008 October 1-30/48

20/10/48 “Says Immigrants Seek To Escape Communism”

20/10/48 “Displaced Persons May Be Bulwark Against Communism”

22/10/48 “Claims Immigrants Will Make Good Canadian Citizens”

29/10/48 “Immigrants Quit Ship For Train”

NSARM MFM 7010 December 1-31/48

11/12/48 “Immigration Authorities Order Ship to Halifax”

13/12/48 “Refugee Ship Delayed by Snowstorm”

14/12/48 “Baltic Refugees Seek Free Life in Canada”

18/12/48 “Christmas Party for Refugees”

27/12/48 “DPs Entertained Christmas Eve”

NSARM MFM 5751 January 17 – March 31/49

31/1/49 “Abandon Hope for Refugees”

1/2/49 “Estonians arrive at Montreal”

NSARM MFM 5755 October 1 – Nov31/49

6/10/49 “May Permit Refugee Ship To Leave”

11/10/49 Refugee Ship’s Voyage To Halifax Experiment to Move Whole Nation”

15/10/49 “Charged With Bringing Prohibitive Immigrants”

1/11/49 “To Examine Refugees”

2/12/49 “Baltic Refugees Sail For Halifax Aboard Franconia”

13/12/49 “Will Sell Vessel To Pay Passage”

16/12/49 “Permit Refugees to Remain Here”

Halifax Mail / Mail Star

NSARM MFM 7352 May 1- June 30/48

18/6/48 “Halifax Port Deluged By Influx of Immigrants”

NSARM MFM 7353 July 1- August 31/48

14/7/48 “Sailing Here In Tiny Craft”

18/8/48 “Soviet-Shy Refugees Sail Safely Across Atlantic”

25/8/48 “Third Refugee Ship On Way To Halifax”

NSARM MFM 7355 November 1- December 31/48

11/12/48 “347 Refugees, Fleeing Reds, Believed on Way to Halifax”

13/12/48 “Crowded Refugee Ship in Halifax”

14/12/48 “Baltic Refugees Seek New Life in Dominion”

21/12/48 “Refugees Long for Chance To Become Canadians”

27/12/48 “Christmas Made Happy for Baltic Refugee Children”

NSARM MFM 7360 March 1-31/49

12/3/49 “Permits to Aliens Are Tabled”

NSARM MFM 7368 October 1-31/49

1/10/49 “Need Visas In Order To Land Here”

15/10/49 “Hearing Into Immigration Charges Being Delayed”

Library and Archives Canada RG76 (Immigration Branch) Volume 668 File C4860.

24/8/48 Canadian Lutheran World Relief to A.L. Jolliffe.

24/8/48 S.H. McLaren to A.L. Jolliffe.

25/8/48 A.L. Jolliffe to A. MacNamara (Deputy Minister, Department of Labour).

27/8/48 H.L. Keenleyside to A. Weiler.

1/9/48 Memorandum to the Cabinet Committee on Immigration Policy, “Immigrants Arriving at Canadian Ports in Small Boats from Europe”

1/9/48 H.L. Keenleyside to Clerk of the Privy Council.

15/9/48 H.L. Keenleyside to C.E.S. Smith. Memorandum Regarding Small Boat Refugees.

15/9/48 A.D.P. Heeney (Secretary to the Cabinet, Privy Council) to H.L. Keenleyside.

18/9/48 Telegram from Secretary of State for External Affairs to Charge D’Affaires, Canadian Legation, Stockholm.

13/10/48 Department of Mines and Resources Acting Commissioner to Atlantic District Superintendent.

18/11/48 “Extract of an Article in “Goteborgs Posten””

23/11/48 Robert Palmer, Charge D’Affaires Canadian Legation, Stockholm to Secretary of State for External Affairs.

23/11/48 Canadian Legation, Stockholm to Secretary of State for External Affairs, Ottawa. Re: “Aftonbladet- November 5th, Gothenburg.”

11/12/48. Canadian Ambassador, Rome, Italy to Secretary of State for External Affairs.

15/12/48 H.P. Wade, Atlantic District Superintendent. Department of Mines and Resources Report Regarding the S.S. Walnut. (x2)

16/5/49 A.A. Ewen to Commissioner, Immigration Branch, Overseas Service, Ottawa.

19/5/49 A.L. Jolliffe. Memorandum Regarding Small Boats.

2/6/49 A.L. Jolliffe Memorandum “For File.”

3/6/49 Telegram from Secretary of State for External Affairs to Charge D’Affaires, Canadian Legation, Stockholm.

15/6/49 Ny Dag (Comm.) “Gothenburg Representing Main Base for Baltic Emigration.”

17/6/49 J.L. Anfossi to Superintendent of European Emigration, Stockholm.

27/6/49 Cunard White Star Limited to A.L. Jolliffe.

Date Unknown. Nyman & Schultz Resebureau A/B, Stockholm to Cunard White Star Limited, General Passenger Department.

7/7/49 Canadian Immigration Service Certificate of Landing, Johannes Rivas.

12/7/49 A. MacNamara to H.L. Keenleyside.

15/7/49 H.L. Keenleyside to Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs, Ottawa.

18/7/49 Memorandum Regarding W.E. Gladstone.

18/7/49 Immigration Investigation Officer, Saint John to Eastern District Superintendent, Ottawa.

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Endnotes

[1] Lynda Mannik, “Photography, memory and refugee identity: The voyage of the S.S. Walnut, 1948,” (PhD thesis, York University, 2009), p. 119.

[2] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File 4860, “Immigrants from Sweden Who Arrived in Small Boats,” Date Unknown.

[3] Unknown, “Will Sell Vessel To Pay Passage,” Halifax Herald, December 13, 1949, p. 3.

[4] Mannik, “Photography, memory and refugee identity,” p. 120.

[5] Unknown, “Swedes on Way to Halifax,” Halifax Herald, August 3, 1948, p. 3.

[6] Mannik, “Photography, memory and refugee identity,” p. 120.

[7] Karl Aun, The Political Refugees: A History of the Estonians in Canada, (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1985), p. 27.

[8] Mannik, “Photography, memory and refugee identity,” p. 111.

[9] Mannik, “Photography, memory and refugee identity,” p. 120.

[10] Ibid., p. 116.

[11] Ibid., p. 120.

[12] Clarence A. Manning, The Forgotten Republics, (New York: Philosophical Library, 1952).

[13] Rein Taagepera, Estonia: Return to Independence, (Oxford: Westview Press, 1993).

[14] Jukka Rislakki, The Case for Latvia: Disinformation Campaigns Against a Small Nation, (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2008).

[15] Albert N. Tarulis, Soviet Policy Toward the Baltic States: 1918-1940, (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1959).

[16] V. Stanley Vardys, ed., Lithuania Under The Soviets: Portrait of a Nation, 1940-65, (New York and London: Frederick A. Praeger, 1965).

[17] Valerie Knowles, Strangers at our Gates: Canadian Immigration and Immigration Policy, (Toronto: Dundern Press, 1997).

[18] Knowles, Strangers at our Gates, p. 134.

[19] Victor Malarek, Haven’s Gate: Canada’s Immigration Fiasco, (Toronto: MacMillan of Canada, 1987).

[20] Ibid., p. xiii.

[21] Gerald E. Dirks, Canada’s Refugee Policy: Indifference or Opportunism?, (Montreal and London, McGill Queen’s University Press, 1977).

[22] Ibid., p. 165.

[23] Ninette Kelley and Michael Trebilcock, The Making of the Mosaic: A History of Canadian Immigration Policy. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998), p. 311.

[24] Kelley and Trebilcock, The Making of the Mosaic, p. 312.

[25] Ibid., p. 314.

[26] Ibid., p. 313.

[27] Ibid., p. 314.

[28] Donald Avery, Reluctant Host, p. 143.

[29] Ibid., p. 141.

[30] Donald Avery, Dangerous Foreigners: European Immigrant Workers and Labour Radicalism in Canada 1896-1932. (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1979), p. 116.

[31] Ibid., p. 142.

[32] Barbara Roberts, Whence They Came: Deportation from Canada 1900-1935, (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 1988), p. 158.

[33] Roberts, Whence They Came, p. 159.

[34] Mannik, Lynda. “Photography, memory and refugee identity: The voyage of the S.S. Walnut, 1948,” (PhD thesis, York University, 2009), 388 pages; AAT NR51741.

[35] Ibid., p. iv.

[36] Trudy Mitic and J.P. LeBlanc, Pier 21: The Gateway that Changed Canada, (Hantsport: Lancelot Press, 1988).

[37] Ibid., p. 95.

[38] Reg Whitaker, Double Standard: The Secret History of Canadian Immigration. (Toronto: Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1987), p. 74.

[39] Ibid., p. 78.

[40] Ibid., p. 79.

[41] Whitaker, Double Standard, p. 80.

[42] Reg Whitaker and Steve Hewitt, Canada and the Cold War. (Toronto: James Lorimer and Company, 2003), p. 25.

[43] Ibid, p. 26.

[44] Ibid, p. 27.

[45] Franca Iacovetta, Gatekeepers: Reshaping Immigrant Lives in Cold War Canada. (Toronto: Between the Lines, 2006), p. 87.

[46] Ibid., p. 97.

[47] Ibid, p. 105.

[48] Howard Palmer, Immigration and the Rise of Multiculturalism, (Toronto: Copp Clark Publishing, 1975), p. 164.

[49] Franca Iacovetta, Gatekeepers, p. 122.

[50] Ibid, p. 206.

[51] Irving Abella and Harold Troper, None is too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe 1933-1948. (Toronto: Lester and Orpen Dennys, 1983), p. 251.

[52] Ibid., p. 277.

[53] Milda Danys, DP: Lithuanian Immigration to Canada After the Second World War, (Toronto: Multicultural History Society of Ontario, 1986), p. 68.

[54] Danys, DP: Lithuanian Immigration to Canada After the Second World War, p. 25.

[55] Karl Aun, The Political Refugees: A History of the Estonians in Canada, (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1985).

[56] Lubomyr Y. Luciuk, Searching for Place: Ukrainian displaced persons, Canada and the migration of memory, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000).

[57] The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, colloquially named after the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, was an agreement officially titled the “Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union” and signed in Moscow in the late hours of August 23rd, 1939. It was a non-aggression pact under which the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany each pledged to remain neutral in the event that either nation were attacked by a third party. In addition to stipulations of non-aggression, the treaty included a secret protocol dividing Northern and Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence, anticipating potential “territorial and political rearrangements” of these countries.  The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact remained in effect until June 22nd, 1941, when Germany invaded the Soviet Union.

[58] Toivo Miljan, Historical Dictionary of Estonia, (Lanham and Oxford: The Scarecrow Press, 2004), p. 335.

[59] Donald Stoker, “The Naval War in Baltic: November 1939- March 1940,” Baltic Security and Defense Review, Vol. 11, No. 2 (2009), p. 60.

[60] Georg Von Rauch, The Baltic States: The Years of Independence, (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1974), p. 207.

[61] C.M.C., “The Baltic States During the War: I- As Members of the Soviet Union,” Bulletin of International News, Vol. 21, No. 24 (Nov. 25, 1944), p. 992.

[62]Herbert A. Grant Watson, The Latvian Republic: The Struggle for Freedom, (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1965), p. 91.

[63] Taagepera, Estonia: Return to Independence, p. 59.

[64] Stoker, “The Naval War in Baltic: November 1939- March 1940,” p. 60

[65] Irina Saburova, “The Soviet Occupation of the Baltic States,” Russian Review, Vol. 14, No. 1 (January 1955), p. 38.

[66] Taagepera, Estonia: Return to Independence, p. 59.

[67] C.M.C., “The Baltic States During the War: I”, p. 991.

[68] Richard M. Langworth, “The Once and Future Republic,” National Review, Vol. 42, No. 13 (July 9 1990), p. 37.

[69] C.M.C., “The Baltic States During the War: I,” p. 991.

[70] Taagepera, Estonia: Return to Independence, p. 59.

[71] Tarulis, Soviet Policy Toward the Baltic States: 1918-1940, p. 154-156.

[72] Stoker, “The Naval War in Baltic: November 1939- March 1940,” p. 67.

[73] Ibid., p. 68.

[74] Taagepera, Estonia: Return to Independence, p. 60.

[75] Manning, The Forgotten Republics, p. 211.

[76] Tarulis, Soviet Policy Toward the Baltic States: 1918-1940, p. 155.

[77] Stoker, “The Naval War in Baltic: November 1939- March 1940,” p. 68.

[78] Tarulis, Soviet Policy Toward the Baltic States: 1918-1940, p. 170.

[79] Ibid., p. 185.

[80] Stoker, “The Naval War in Baltic: November 1939- March 1940,” p. 74.

[81] Manning, The Forgotten Republics, p. 214.

[82] Manning, The Forgotten Republics, p. 215.

[83] Taagepera, Estonia: Return to Independence, p. 61.

[84] Ibid., p. 61.

[85] Langworth, “The Once and Future Republic,” p. 37.

[86] C.M.C., “The Baltic States During the War: I,” p. 994.

[87] Tarulis, Soviet Policy Toward the Baltic States: 1918-1940, p. 249.

[88] V. Stanley Vardys, “Aggression, Soviet Style, 1939-40,” in V. Stanley Vardys, ed., Lithuania Under The Soviets: Portrait of a Nation, 1940-65, (New York and London: Frederick A. Praeger, 1965), p. 58.

[89] Manning, The Forgotten Republics, p. 218.

[90] Taagepera, Estonia: Return to Independence, p. 67.

[91] C.M.C., “The Baltic States During the War: I,” p. 997.

[92] Ibid., p. 998.

[93] Saburova, “The Soviet Occupation of the Baltic States,” p. 46.

[94] Ibid., p. 16.

[95] Langworth, “The Once and Future Republic,” p. 37.

[96] Ibid., p. 37.

[97] Taagepera, Estonia: Return to Independence, p. 67.

[98] Ibid., p. 72.

[99] Arunas Stašaitis, “Lithuania’s Struggle against Soviet Occupation 1944-1953,” Baltic Defense Review, Vol. 3, No. 1 (January 2000), p. 115.

[100] Aun, The Political Refugees, p. 9.

[101] Langworth, “The Once and Future Republic,” p. 37.

[102] Aun, The Political Refugees, p. 9.

[103] C.M.C, “The Baltic States: II.- Under German Occupation,” Bulletin of International News, Vol. 21, No. 26 (Dec. 23, 1944), p. 1090.

[104] Ibid., p. 1087.

[105] Ibid., p. 1088.

[106] Saburova, “The Soviet Occupation of the Baltic States,” p. 48.

[107] Aun, The Political Refugees, p. 9.

[108] Manning, The Forgotten Republics, p. 235.

[109] Saburova, “The Soviet Occupation of the Baltic States,” p. 48.

[110] Ibid., p. 48.

[111] Ibid., p. 48.

[112] Taagapera, Estonia: Return to Independence, p. 77.

[113] Valerie Knowles, Strangers at our Gates: Canadian Immigration and Immigration Policy, p. 128.

[114] Applied History Research Group. The Peopling of Canada: 1946-1976, Copyright 2001,University of Calgary, http://www.ucalgary.ca/applied_history/tutor/canada1946/chapter1.html (accessed 30 March 2011); The “two-year rule” required Iron Curtain applicants subject to security screening to reside in a country with a visa post- i.e., one where Canada had a diplomatic presence and an RCMP security officer was attached- for two full years before their application for entry to Canada would be processed. Officials were aware of the extreme hardship the two-year rule imposed, however the policy line was enforced in the overwhelming majority of cases and few special exemptions were granted. As cited in Whitaker, Double Standard, p. 80-81.

[115] Mannik, “Photography, memory and refugee identity”, p. 109.

[116] For further study on the development of Canada’s post-war immigration policy, consult David C. Corbett, Canada’s Immigration Policy: A Critique, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1957); Alan G. Green, Immigration and the Postwar Canadian Economy, (Toronto: MacMillan of Canada, 1976); Alan G. Green and David Green. “The Goals of Canada’s Immigration Policy: A Historical Perspective,” Canadian Journal of Urban Research, Vol. 13, No. 1 (August 2004), pp. 101-139; Freda Hawkins, Canada and Immigration: Public Policy and Public Concern, (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1972); Ninette Kelley and Michael J. Trebilcock, The Making of the Mosaic: A History of Canadian Immigration Policy. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998); Valerie Knowles, Strangers at our Gates: Canadian Immigration and Immigration Policy, (Toronto: Dundern Press, 1997); Howard Palmer, Immigration and the Rise of Multiculturalism, (Toronto: Copp Clark Publishing, 1975); Angelika E. Sauer “A matter of domestic policy? Canadian immigration policy and the admission of Germans, 1945-1950,” Canadian Historical Review, Vol. 74, No. 2 (June 1993) pp.226-264; Harold Troper “Canada’s Immigration Policy Since 1945,” International Journal, Vol. 48, No. 2 (Spring 1993), pp. 255-281; Vineberg, Robert. “Continuity in Canadian Immigration Policy 1947 to Present: Taking a Fresh Look at Mackenzie King’s 1947 Immigration Policy Statement,” Journal of International Migration and Integration, Online: Springer Science+ Business Media (March 15, 2011), pp. 1-18; Reg Whitaker, Canadian Immigration Policy Since Confederation: Canada’s Ethnic Group Series Booklet No. 15, (Ottawa: The Canadian Historical Association, 1991).

[117] See VIII. Postscript: Boat People in Context- Later Arrivals and the Perception of Media, pp. 113-116.

[118] Knowles, Strangers at our Gates, p. 134.

[119] Irving Abella and Harold Troper, None is too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe 1933-1948, (Toronto: Lester and Orpen Dennys, 1983) p. x.

[120] Victor Malarek, Haven’s Gate: Canada’s Immigration Fiasco, p. 11.

[121] Alan G. Green and David Green, “The Goals of Canada’s Immigration Policy: A Historical Perspective.” Canadian Journal of Urban Research, Vol. 13, No. 1 (August 2004), p. 108.

[122] Applied History Research Group, The Peopling of Canada: 1946-1976, Copyright 2001, University of Calgary, http://www.ucalgary.ca/applied_history/tutor/canada1946/chapter1.html (accessed 30 March 2011).

[123] Matthew Jacobson Frye, Whiteness of a Different Colour: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), p.95, as cited in Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 115.

[124] Peter S. Li, The Chinese in Canada: Second Edition, (Toronto and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), p. 8.

[125] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 108.

[126] Freda Hawkins, Canada and Immigration: Public Policy and Public Concern, (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1972), p. 90.

[127] Valerie Knowles, Strangers at our Gates: Canadian Immigration and Immigration Policy, p. 128.

[128] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 116.

[129] Karl Aun, The Political Refugees: A History of the Estonians in Canada, (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1985), p. 18.

[130] Kelley and Trebilcock, The Making of the Mosaic, p. 312.

[131] A summary of the “six major premises” outlined by Mackenzie King are as follows: 1) The objective of Canada’s immigration policy must to be enlarge the population of the country. 2) If properly planned, immigration will improve the Canadian standard of living, develop Canada’s resources, enlarge her domestic market, and reduce her dependence on exports. 3) It is essential that immigrants be selected with care. 4) It is of the utmost importance to relate immigration to absorptive capacity. 5) Immigration is a matter of domestic policy and is subject to the control of Parliament. Objectionable discrimination should be removed, but Canada is perfectly within her rights in selecting the immigrants she wants. 6) Immigration must not distort the present character of the Canadian population. The government is therefore opposed to large-scale immigration from the Orient, which would certainly give rise to social and economic problems, and lead to serious international difficulties. As cited in Hawkins, Canada and Immigration: Public Policy and Public Concern, p. 92-93.

[132] Alan G. Green, Alan G. Green, Immigration and the Postwar Canadian Economy, p. 35.

[133] Hawkins, Canada and Immigration: Public Policy and Public Concern, p. 91.

[134] Franca Iacovetta, Paula Draper and Robert Ventresca, eds., A Nation of Immigrants: Women, Workers, and Communities in Canadian History 1840s-1960s, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998), p. 449.

[135] Robert Vineberg, “Continuity in Canadian Immigration Policy 1947 to Present: Taking a Fresh Look at Mackenzie King’s 1947 Immigration Policy Statement,” Journal of International Migration and Integration, Online: Springer Science+ Business Media (March 15, 2011), p. 3.

[136] Ibid., p. 2.

[137] Ibid., p. 3.

[138] Franca Iacovetta, Paula Draper and Robert Ventresca, eds., A Nation of Immigrants: Women, Workers, and Communities in Canadian History 1840s-1960s, p. 449.

[139] Anthony H. Richmond, Post-War Immigrants in Canada, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1967), p.3.

[140] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 115.

[141] David A. Green “Intended and Actual Occupations of Immigrants,” in Don J. DeVoretz, ed., Diminishing Returns: The Economics of Canada’s Recent Immigration Policy, (Toronto: C.D. Howe Institute, 1995), p. 33.

[142] Harold Troper, “Canada’s Immigration Policy Since 1945,” International Journal, Vol. 48, No. 2 (Spring 1993), p. 257.

[143] Ibid., p. 259.

[144] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 116.

[145] Dirks, Canada’s Refugee Policy: Indifference or Opportunism?, p. 100.

[146] Ibid., p. 100.

[147] H.L. Keenleyside, “Canada’s Stand on Immigration,” Halifax Herald, August 23rd, 1948, p. 4.

[148] H.L. Keenleyside, “Canada’s Stand on Immigration,” Halifax Herald, August 23rd, 1948, p. 4.

[149] Ibid.

[150] Ibid.

[151] Valerie Knowles, Strangers at our Gates: Canadian Immigration and Immigration Policy, (Toronto: Dundern Press, 1997), p. 128.

[152] Ibid., p. 128.

[153] David C. Corbett, Canada’s Immigration Policy: A Critique, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1957), p. 3.

[154] Whitaker, Double Standard, p. 77.

[155] Ibid., p. 77.

[156] Danys, DP: Lithuanian Immigration to Canada After the Second World War, p. 68.

[157] Unknown, “Greek Ship Lands 722 New Settlers,” Halifax Herald, July 28th, 1948, p. 3.

[158] Unknown, “Halifax Port Deluged By Influx Of Immigrants,” Halifax Mail, June 18, 1945, p. 6.

[159] Knowles, Strangers at Our Gates, p. 134.

[160] Aun, The Political Refugees, p. 24.

[161] Unknown, “Baltic Newcomers Here Are Devout Churchfolk,” Halifax Herald, September 28, 1948, p. 10.

[162] Library and Archives Canada RG76 Volume 668 File C4860, Canadian Lutheran World Relief to A.L. Jolliffe, August 24th, 1948.

[163] Dirks, Canada’s Refugee Policy: Indifference or Opportunism?, p. 133.

[164] Abella and Troper, None is too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe 1933-1948, p. 225-226.

[165] Ibid., p. 226.

[166] Franca Iacovetta, Gatekeepers: Reshaping Immigrant Lives in Cold War Canada, (Toronto: Between the Lines, 2006), p. 28.

[167] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 127.

[168] Unknown, “347 Refugees, Fleeing Reds, Believed On Way To Halifax,” Halifax Herald,  December 11th, 1948, p. 1.

[169] Unknown, “487 in ‘Sardine Pack’ Cross Sea to Freedom,” The Globe and Mail, December 14th, 1948, p. 2.

[170] Iacovetta, Gatekeepers: Reshaping Immigrant Lives in Cold War Canada, p. 28-29.

[171] Whitaker, Double Standard, p. 290.

[172] Donald Avery, Dangerous Foreigners: European Immigrant Workers and Labour Radicalism in Canada 1896-1932, p. 141.

[173] Lubomyr Y. Luciuk, Searching for Place: Ukrainian displaced persons, Canada and the migration of memory, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000), p. 132.

[174] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 117.

[175] Luciuk, Searching for Place, p. 133.

[176] Ibid., p. 140.

[177] Ibid., p. 133.

[178] Luciuk, Searching for Place, p. 133.

[179] Ibid., p. 133.

[180] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 117.

[181] Ibid., p. 118.

[182] Trudy Mitic and J.P. LeBlanc, Pier 21: The Gateway that Changed Canada, (Hantsport: Lancelot Press, 1988), p. 94.

[183] Aun, The Political Refugees, p. 25.

[184] Ibid., p. 25.

[185] Trelleborg, Sweden. “6 Die, Many Hurt But 1,500 Nazis On Way To Russia,” Toronto Star, December 1, 1945, p. 20.

[186] Aun, The Political Refugees, p. 25.

[187] Ernests Kraulis, “Latvian Refugee, Baltic Refugee Out of Sweden on One of the ‘Little Boats’,

Capry, August 20, 1948,” Canada’s Immigration Museum at Pier 21, http://www.pier21.ca/wp-content/uploads/files/stories/displacedrefugee/Latvian_Refugee_and_Baltic_Refugee_Out_of_Sweden_on_Little_Boat_Ernests_Kraulis.pdf (accessed 1 June 2011).

[188] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 118.

[189] Ibid., p. 119.

[190] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 119. According to Mannik, “Copies of this notice were given to me by my informants. It was printed in Swedish, Russian, Estonian and Latvian and dated 25 May 1945.”

[191] Dirks, Canada’s Refugee Policy: Indifference or Opportunism?, p. 164.

[192] Ylo Korgemagi, “Estonian Displaced Person, Franconia, December 10, 1949,” Canada’s Immigration Museum at Pier 21, http://www.pier21.ca/wp-content/uploads/files/stories/displacedrefugee/Estonian_Displaced_Person_Ylo_Korgemagi.pdf. (accessed 15 June 2011).

[193] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 119.

[194] Unknown, “Swedes on Way to Halifax,” Halifax Herald, August 3, 1948, p. 3.

[195] Unknown, “Flee Russians; Make Way to Halifax in Schooner,” Halifax Herald, August 21, 1948, p. 22.

[196] Howard Wallace, “Baltic Refugees Seek New Life in Dominion,” Halifax Mail, December 14th, 1948, p. 3.

[197] Unknown, “Baltic Refugees Seek Free Life in Canada,” Halifax Herald, December 14, 1948, p. 1, 6.

[198] Howard Wallace, “Baltic Refugees Seek New Life in Dominion,” Halifax Mail, December 14th, 1948, p. 3.

[199] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 158.

[200] Unknown, “10,000 More DPs for Canada Says Mitchell” Halifax Herald, August 28th, 1948, p. 1.

[201] Whitaker, Double Standard, p. 79.

[202] Lydia Sild, “Estonian Displaced Person, Atlantic, August 19, 1948,” Canada’s Immigration Museum at Pier 21, http://www.pier21.ca/wp-content/uploads/files/stories/displacedrefugee/Estonian_Displaced_Person_Lydia_Sild.pdf

(accessed 1 June 2011).

[203] Mitic and LeBlanc, Pier 21: The Gateway that Changed Canada, p. 93.

[204] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668, File C4860. Memorandum to the Cabinet Committee on Immigration Policy, “Immigrants Arriving at Canadian Ports in Small Boats from Europe,” September 1st, 1948.

[205] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668, File C4860. Memorandum to the Cabinet Committee on Immigration Policy, “Immigrants Arriving at Canadian Ports in Small Boats from Europe,” September 1st, 1948.

[206] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 121-122.

[207] Ibid., p. 122.

[208] Ibid., p. 122-123.

[209] A. Weiler, “Refugee Tells Aim to Transplant Entire Estonian Nation,” The Globe and Mail, October 10th, 1949, p. 6.

[210] Library and Archives Canada RG76 Volume 668 File C4860, H.L. Keenleyside to A. Weiler, August 27th, 1948.

[211] Ibid.

[212] Mitic and LeBlanc, Pier 21: The Gateway that Changed Canada, p. 92.

[213] Library and Archives Canada RG76 Volume 668 File C4860, H.L. Keenleyside to R.W. Mayhew, September 2nd, 1948.

[214] Unknown, “On Their Way to Canada,” Toronto Star, August 9th, 1948.

[215] Unknown, “First Group of Refugees Admitted,” Halifax Herald, August 31st, 1948, p. 1.

[216] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 122.

[217] Library and Archives Canada RG76 Volume 668 File C4860, “Baltic Refugees Free to Stay; Canada to Find Jobs for Them,” Winnipeg Tribune, August 31st, 1948.

[218] Ibid.

[219] Lydia Sild, “Estonian Displaced Person, Atlantic, August 19, 1948,” Canada’s Immigration Museum at Pier 21, http://www.pier21.ca/wp-content/uploads/files/stories/displacedrefugee/Estonian_Displaced_Person_Lydia_Sild.pdf

(accessed 1 June 2011).

[220] Library and Archives Canada RG76 Volume 668 File C4860, S.H. McLaren to A.L. Jolliffe, August 24th, 1948.

[221] Library and Archives Canada RG76 Volume 668 File C4860, S.H. McLaren to A.L. Jolliffe, August 24th, 1948.

[222] Danys, DP: Lithuanian Immigration to Canada After the Second World War, p. 68.

[223] Library and Archives Canada RG76 Volume 668 File C4860, S.H. McLaren to A.L. Jolliffe, August 24th, 1948.

[224] Whitaker and Hewitt, Canada and the Cold War, p. 27.

[225] Lydia Sild, “Estonian Displaced Person, Atlantic, August 19, 1948,” Canada’s Immigration Museum at Pier 21, http://www.pier21.ca/wp-content/uploads/files/stories/displacedrefugee/Estonian_Displaced_Person_Lydia_Sild.pdf

(accessed 1 June 2011).

[226] Kalju Pullerits, “Estonian Displaced Person, Atlantic, August 19, 1948,” Canada’s Immigration Museum at Pier 21, http://www.pier21.ca/wp-content/uploads/files/stories/displacedrefugee/Estonian_Displaced_Person_Kalju_Pullerits.pdf (accessed 1 June 2011).

[227] Unknown, “Swedes on Way to Halifax,” Halifax Herald, August 3rd, 1948, p. 3.

[228] Library and Archives Canada RG76 Volume 668 File C4860, “Immigrants From Sweden Who Arrived in Small Boats,” Date Unknown.

[229] Ernests Kraulis, “Latvian Refugee, Baltic Refugee Out of Sweden on One of the ‘Little Boats’,

Capry, August 20, 1948,” Canada’s Immigration Museum at Pier 21, http://www.pier21.ca/wp-content/uploads/files/stories/displacedrefugee/Latvian_Refugee_and_Baltic_Refugee_Out_of_Sweden_on_Little_Boat_Ernests_Kraulis.pdf (accessed 1 June 2011).

[230] Mitic and LeBlanc, Pier 21: The Gateway that Changed Canada, p. 94.

[231] Ernests Kraulis, “Latvian Refugee, Baltic Refugee Out of Sweden on One of the ‘Little Boats’,

Capry, August 20, 1948,” Canada’s Immigration Museum at Pier 21, http://www.pier21.ca/wp-content/uploads/files/stories/displacedrefugee/Latvian_Refugee_and_Baltic_Refugee_Out_of_Sweden_on_Little_Boat_Ernests_Kraulis.pdf (accessed 1 June 2011).

[232] Ninette Kelley and Michael J. Trebilcock, The Making of the Mosaic: A History of Canadian Immigration Policy. Second Edition, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2010), p. 343.

[233] Cunard Archives, “RMS Aquitania,” The Cunard Archives, http://www.ocean-liners.com/ships/Aquitania.asp (accessed 1 June 2011).

[234] Mitic and LeBlanc, Pier 21: The Gateway that Changed Canada, p. 92.

[235] Ernests Kraulis, “Latvian Refugee, Baltic Refugee Out of Sweden on One of the ‘Little Boats’,

Capry, August 20, 1948,” Canada’s Immigration Museum at Pier 21, http://www.pier21.ca/wp-content/uploads/files/stories/displacedrefugee/Latvian_Refugee_and_Baltic_Refugee_Out_of_Sweden_on_Little_Boat_Ernests_Kraulis.pdf (accessed 1 June 2011).

[236] Ibid.

[237] Mitic and LeBlanc, Pier 21: The Gateway that Changed Canada, p. 94.

[238] Unknown, “Flee Russians; Make Way to Halifax in Schooner,” Halifax Herald, August 21, 1948, p. 22.

[239] For further information on trans-Atlantic liners carrying DPs, see Trudy Duivenvoorden Mitic and J.P. LeBlanc, Pier 21: The Gateway that Changed Canada, (Hantsport: Lancelot Press, 1988).

[240] Unknown, “80,000 Immigrants in Eight Months,” Halifax Herald, October 21st, 1948, p. 3.

[241] Unknown, “Claims Immigrants Will Make Good Canadian Citizens,” Halifax Herald, October 22nd, 1948, p. 24.

[242] Unknown, “Soviet-Shy Refugees Sail Safely Across Atlantic,” Halifax Mail, August 18th, 1948, p. 1.

[243] Ibid.

[244] Unknown, “Admit 100 Refugees Held for Screening,” Toronto Star, September 22nd, 1948, p. 16.

[245] Library and Archives Canada RG76 Volume 668 File C4860, “Department of Mines and Resources Acting Commissioner to Atlantic District Superintendent,” October 13th, 1948.

[246] Library and Archives Canada RG76 Volume 668 File C4860, “H.L. Keenleyside to Clerk of the Privy Council,” September 1st, 1948.

[247] Library and Archives Canada RG76 Volume 668 File C4860, “H.L. Keenleyside to C.E.S. Smith. Memorandum Regarding Small Boat Refugees,” September 15th, 1948.

[248] Primary documents refer to the boat as S.S. Walnut, Walnut, or both. This thesis uses both names interchangeably to provide better readability.

[249] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 128.

[250] Whitaker, Double Standard, p. 74.

[251] Mitic and LeBlanc, Pier 21: The Gateway that Changed Canada, p. 97.

[252] Library and Archives Canada RG76 Volume 668 File C4860, “Telegram from Secretary of State for External Affairs to Charge D’Affaires, Canadian Legation, Stockholm,” September 18th, 1948.

[253] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 130.

[254] Ottawa, “Estonians Must Set Sail Again As Canada Can’t Admit Them,” The Globe and Mail, October 24th, 1948, p. 17.

[255] Tiiu Roiser-Chorowiec, “The Walnut Voyage Story,” Copyright 2009, 2010, 2011, http://walnut1948.cwahi.net/Walnut_Ship_Estonian_Refugees_Story_of_the_voyage.htm (accessed 1 June 2011).

[256] Tiiu Roiser-Chorowiec, “S.S. Walnut Voyage- Captain August Linde,” Copyright 2009, 2010, 2011, http://walnut1948.cwahi.net/Walnut_ship_Estonian_Refugees_Captain_linde.htm (accessed 1 June 2011).

[257] Library and Archives Canada RG76 Volume 668 File C4860, “Extract of an Article in “Goteborgs Posten,”” November 18th, 1948.

[258] Ibid.

[259] Tiiu Roiser-Chorowiec, “The Walnut Voyage Story,” Copyright 2009, 2010, 2011, http://walnut1948.cwahi.net/Walnut_Ship_Estonian_Refugees_Story_of_the_voyage.htm (accessed 1 June 2011).

[260] Tiiu Roiser-Chorowiec, “S.S. Walnut- A Voyage to Freedom, 1948.” Copyright 2009, 2010, 2011, http://walnut1948.cwahi.net/ (accessed 1 June 2011). . Tiiu Roiser-Chorowiec is the daughter of Walnut passengers Eduard and Koidula Roiser and niece of Hilda, Viktor and Helmi Valberg.

[261] Ibid.

[262] Tiiu Roiser-Chorowiec, “The Walnut Voyage Story,” Copyright 2009, 2010, 2011, http://walnut1948.cwahi.net/Walnut_Ship_Estonian_Refugees_Story_of_the_voyage.htm (accessed 1 June 2011).

[263] Unknown, “487 in ‘Sardine Pack’ Cross Sea to Freedom,” The Globe and Mail, December 14th, 1948, p. 2.

[264] Cunard Archives, “RMS Aquitania,” The Cunard Archives, http://www.ocean-liners.com/ships/Aquitania.asp (accessed 22 June 2011).

[265] Library and Archives Canada RG76 Volume 668 File C4860, “Canadian Legation, Stockholm to Secretary of State for External Affairs, Ottawa. Re: “Aftonbladet- November 5th, Gothenburg,” November 23rd, 1948.

[266] Library and Archives Canada RG76 Volume 668 File C4860, “Extract of an Article in “Goteborgs Posten,”” November 18th, 1948.

[267] Library and Archives Canada RG76 Volume 668 File C4860, “Canadian Legation, Stockholm to Secretary of State for External Affairs, Ottawa. Re: “Aftonbladet- November 5th, Gothenburg,” November 23rd, 1948.

[268] Ibid.

[269] Ibid.

[270] Ibid.

[271] Unknown, “Bound for Halifax Converted Minesweeper Brings 347 Refugees to this Port,” Cape Breton Post, December 11th, 1948, p. 3.

[272] Tiiu Roiser-Chorowiec, “S.S. Walnut Voyage- Captain August Linde,” Copyright 2009, 2010, 2011, http://walnut1948.cwahi.net/Walnut_ship_Estonian_Refugees_Captain_linde.htm (accessed 1 June 2011).

[273] Ibid.

[274] Unknown, “347 Refugees, Fleeing Reds, Believed on Way to Halifax,” Halifax Mail, December 11th, 1948, p. 1, 5.

[275] Unknown, “Baltic Refugees Seek Free Life in Canada,” Halifax Herald, December 14, 1948, p. 1, 6.

[276] Unknown, “Refugee Ship Delayed by Snowstorm,” Halifax Herald, December 12th, 1948, p. 1.

[277] Howard Wallace, “Baltic Refugees Seek New Life in Dominion,” Halifax Mail, December 14th, 1948, p. 3.

[278] Tiiu Roiser-Chorowiec, “Immigration,” Copyright 2009, 2010, 2011, http://walnut1948.cwahi.net/Walnut_passengers_Estonian_Refugees_at_Pier_21.htm (accessed 1 June 2011).

[279] Howard Wallace, “Baltic Refugees Seek New Life in Dominion,” Halifax Mail, December 14th, 1948, p. 3.

[280] Library and Archives Canada RG76 Volume 668 File C4860, “Canadian Legation, Stockholm to Secretary of State for External Affairs, Ottawa. Re: “Aftonbladet- November 5th, Gothenburg,” November 23rd, 1948.

[281] Unknown, “Bound for Halifax Converted Minesweeper Brings 347 Refugees to this Port,” Cape Breton Post, December 11th, 1948, p. 3.

[282] Library and Archives Canada RG76 Volume 668 File C4860, “Canadian Legation, Stockholm to Secretary of State for External Affairs, Ottawa. Re: “Aftonbladet- November 5th, Gothenburg,” November 23rd, 1948.

[283] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 129.

[284] Ibid., p. 129.

[285] Ibid., p. 130.

[286] Ibid., p. 130.

[287] Ibid., p. 130.

[288] Tiiu Roiser-Chorowiec, “Immigration,” Copyright 2009, 2010, 2011, http://walnut1948.cwahi.net/Walnut_passengers_Estonian_Refugees_at_Pier_21.htm (accessed 1 June 2011).

[289] Unknown, “Immigration Authorities Order Ship to Halifax,” Halifax Herald, December 11th, 1948, p. 2.

[290] Ibid.

[291] Howard Wallace, “Baltic Refugees Seek New Life in Dominion,” Halifax Mail, December 14th, 1948, p. 3.

[292] Unknown, “Immigration Aware Refugee Boat Was On Way To Canada,” Cape Breton Post, December 13th, 1948, p. 3.

[293] Ibid.

[294] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 131.

[295] Howard Wallace, “Baltic Refugees Seek New Life in Dominion,” Halifax Mail, December 14th, 1948, p. 3.

[296] Unknown, “Refugee Laden Ship Walnut Reaches Halifax,” Cape Breton Post, December 14th, 1948, p. 3.

[297] Unknown, “347 Refugees, Fleeing Reds, Believed on Way to Halifax,” Halifax Mail, December 11th, 1948, p. 1, 5.

[298] Unknown, “300 in Ship Built for 14 ‘Worst Cargo,’ Says Captain,” Toronto Star, December 14th, 1948, p. 6.

[299] Howard Wallace, “Baltic Refugees Seek New Life in Dominion,” Halifax Mail, December 14th, 1948, p. 3.

[300] Unknown, “Converted Minesweeper Brings 347 Refugees To This Port,” Cape Breton Post, December 11th, 1948, p. 3.

[301] Library and Archives Canada RG76 Volume 668 File C4860, “H.P. Wade, Atlantic District Superintendent. Department of Mines and Resources Report Regarding the S.S. Walnut,” December 15th, 1948.

[302] Unknown, “300 in Ship Built for 14 ‘Worst Cargo,’ Says Captain,” Toronto Star, December 14th, 1948, p. 6.

[303] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 137.

[304] Ibid., p. 131.

[305] Library and Archives Canada RG76 Volume 668 File C4860, “H.P. Wade, Atlantic District Superintendent. Department of Mines and Resources Report Regarding the S.S. Walnut,” December 15th, 1948.

[306] Ibid.

[307] Unknown, “Christmas Party for Refugees,” Halifax Herald, December 18th, 1948, p. 24.

[308] Ibid.

[309] A.O. Tate, “Press Club Stages Party for 70 Young Esthonians,” Toronto Star, December 28th, 1948, p. 6.

[310] Ibid.

[311] Unknown, “DPs Entertained Christmas Eve,” Halifax Herald, December 27th, 1948, p. 16.

[312] Unknown, “Christmas Made Happy for Baltic Refugee Children,” Halifax Mail, December 27th, 1948, p. 3.

[313] A.O. Tate, “Press Club Stages Party for 70 Young Esthonians,” Toronto Star, December 28th, 1948, p. 6.

[314] Unknown, “DPs Entertained Christmas Eve,” Halifax Mail, December 27th, 1948, p. 3.

[315] Unknown, “Christmas Party for Refugees,” Halifax Herald, December 18th, 1948, p. 24.

[316] Unknown, “Refugee Ship Delayed by Snowstorm,” Halifax Herald, December 13th, 1948, p. 1.

[317] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 134.

[318] Ibid., p. 131.

[319] Library and Archives Canada RG76 Volume 668 File C4860, “H.P. Wade, Atlantic District Superintendent. Department of Mines and Resources Report Regarding the S.S. Walnut,” December 15th, 1948.

[320] Ibid.

[321] Howard Wallace, “Refugees Long for Chance to Become Canadians,” Halifax Mail, December 21, 1948, p. 2.

[322] Ibid.

[323] Ibid.

[324] Mitic and LeBlanc, Pier 21: The Gateway that Changed Canada, p. 92.

[325] Mitic and LeBlanc, Pier 21: The Gateway that Changed Canada, p. 92-93.

[326] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 131.

[327] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File 4860, “Immigrants from Sweden Who Arrived in Small Boats,” Date Unknown.

[328] Ibid; According to Mitic and LeBlanc, “An individual could be denied entry into Canada because of a criminal record or the presence of communicable disease, or on the grounds of ‘moral turpitude.’ However, a deportation order was always preceded by a hearing at which time an individual could appeal his case.” As cited in Mitic and LeBlanc, Pier 21: The Gateway that Changed Canada, p. 92.

[329] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 132.

[330] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File 4860, “Immigrants from Sweden Who Arrived in Small Boats,” Date Unknown.

[331] Howard Wallace, “Refugees Long for Chance to Become Canadians,” Halifax Mail, December 21, 1948, p. 2.

[332] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 132.

[333] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “A.A. Ewen to Commissioner, Immigration Branch, Overseas Service, Ottawa,” May 16th, 1949.

[334] Ibid.

[335] Ibid.

[336] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “H.L. Keenleyside to Leslie Chance,” August 11th, 1949.

[337] Don Gilbert, “Refugee Tells Aim to Transplant Estonian Nation,” The Globe and Mail, October 10th, 1949, p. 9.

[338] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “A.A. Ewen to Commissioner, Immigration Branch, Overseas Service, Ottawa,” May 16th, 1949.

[339] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “A.L. Jolliffe. Memorandum Regarding Small Boats,” May 19th, 1949.

[340] It appears that J.L. Anfossi replaced A.A. Ewen, as they both share the same title. However, correspondence from Anfossi indicates that Ewen remained involved in discussions regarding the Baltic refugees. Based on a July 30th report produced by Ewen, this author concludes the Officer-in-Charge may have been on sabbatical or on leave for an undocumented reason.

[341] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “J.L. Anfossi to Superintendent of European Emigration, Stockholm,” June 17th, 1949.

[342] Ibid.

[343] Ibid.

[344] Ibid.

[345] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “J.L. Anfossi to Superintendent of European Emigration, Stockholm,” June 17th, 1949.

[346] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “Ny Dag (Comm.) “Gothenburg Representing Main Base for Baltic Emigration,”” June 15th, 1949.

[347] Ibid.

[348]Unknown, “84 Refugees Reach Port,” Ottawa Citizen, August 2nd, 1949.

[349] Ibid.

[350] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “A.L. Jolliffe. Memorandum Regarding Small Boats,” May 19th, 1949.

[351] Ibid.

[352] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “A.L. Jolliffe Memorandum “For File,”” June 2nd, 1949.

[353] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “Memorandum to the Cabinet. Re: Displaced Persons at Halifax ex the S.S. “Sarabande” and S.S. “Amanda” Having Arrived from Sweden Without Obtaining Visas Prior to Embarkation,” September 20th, 1949.

[354] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “Telegram from Secretary of State for External Affairs to Charge D’Affaires, Canadian Legation, Stockholm,” June 3rd 1949.

[355] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “Memorandum. Re: Refugees Proceeding to Canada by Small Boats from Sweden,” November 4th, 1949.

[356] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “J.L. Anfossi to Superintendent of European Emigration, Stockholm,” June 17th, 1949.

[357] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “H.L. Keenleyside to Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs, Ottawa,” July 15th, 1949.

[358] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “H.L. Keenleyside to Leslie Chance,” August 11th, 1949.

[359] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “J.L. Anfossi to Leslie Chance, Department of External Affairs, Ottawa,” July 25th, 1949.

[360] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “J.L. Anfossi to Superintendent of European Emigration for Canada,” July 28th, 1949.

[361] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “A.A. Ewen to Commissioner of Immigration, Overseas Service, Ottawa,” July 30th, 1949.

[362] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “J.L. Anfossi to Superintendent of European Emigration, Stockholm,” June 17th, 1949.

[363] Ibid.

[364] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “A.A. Ewen to Commisioner, Immigration Branch, Overseas Service, Ottawa,” May 16th, 1949.

[365] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “J.L. Anfossi to Leslie Chance, Department of External Affairs, Ottawa,” July 25th, 1949.

[366] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “Cunard White Star Limited to A.L. Jolliffe,” June 27th, 1949.

[367] Ibid.

[368] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 669 File C4860, “Stockholm to Secretary of State for External Affairs, Ottawa. “Baltic Refugees Now Dare to Stay Here.,” September 3rd, 1949.

[369] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “Memorandum Regarding W.E. Gladstone,” July 18th, 1949.

[370] Mitic and LeBlanc, Pier 21: The Gateway that Changed Canada, p. 94.

[371] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “A.L. Jolliffe to J.C. Lessard, Deputy Minister of Transport,” November 4th, 1949.

[372] See Mitic and LeBlanc, Pier 21: The Gateway that Changed Canada, p. 96.

[373] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “J.L. Anfossi to Superintendent of European Emigration, Stockholm,” June 17th, 1949.

[374] Ibid.

[375] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “Memorandum Regarding W.E. Gladstone,” July 18th, 1949.

[376] Mitic and LeBlanc, Pier 21: The Gateway that Changed Canada, p. 92.

[377] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File 4860, “Immigrants from Sweden Who Arrived in Small Boats,” Date Unknown.

[378] Ibid.

[379] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “A.L. Jolliffe to J.C. Lessard, Deputy Minister of Transport,” November 4th, 1949. The exact area in which Vompa and Lindpere wished to trawl is not specified.

[380] Ibid.

[381] Ibid.

[382] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “J.L. Anfossi to Superintendent of European Emigration, Stockholm,” June 17th, 1949.

[383] Ibid.

[384] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “Memorandum to the Cabinet. Re: Displaced Person Immigrants Proceeding to Canada from Sweden by Small Boats Without Obtaining Visa Prior to Embarkation,” Date Unknown.

[385] Ibid.

[386] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “Press Draft to be Published in Swedish Newspapers,” Date Unknown.

[387] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “A.L. Jolliffe to Pastor of the Estonian Ev. Lutheran Church of Toronto,” September 30th, 1949.

[388] Ibid.

[389] Ibid.

[390] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “Memorandum to the Cabinet. Re: Displaced Persons at Halifax ex the S.S. “Sarabande” and S.S. “Amanda” Having Arrived from Sweden Without Obtaining Visas Prior to Embarkation,” September 20th, 1949.

[391] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “Memorandum to the Cabinet. Re: Displaced Person Immigrants Proceeding to Canada from Sweden by Small Boats Without Obtaining Visa Prior to Embarkation,” Date Unknown.

[392] Ibid.

[393] Unknown, “Charged With Bringing Prohibitive Immigrants,” Halifax Herald, October 15th, 1949, p. 1.

[394] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “Memorandum to the Cabinet. Re: Displaced Person Immigrants Proceeding to Canada from Sweden by Small Boats Without Obtaining Visa Prior to Embarkation,” Date Unknown.

[395] Ibid.

[396] Unknown, “Tired Baltic Refugees Reach Halifax After Month Long Ocean Trip,” Halifax Chronicle-Herald, August 20th, 1949. As cited in Mitic and LeBlanc, Pier 21: The Gateway that Changed Canada, p. p94-95.

[397] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “Memorandum to the Cabinet. Re: Displaced Persons at Halifax ex the S.S. “Sarabande” and S.S. “Amanda” Having Arrived from Sweden Without Obtaining Visas Prior to Embarkation,” September 20th, 1949.

[398] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “J.F. O’Connor to Atlantic District Superintendent, Halifax. S.S. Sarabande,” August 22nd, 1949.

[399] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “Memorandum to the Cabinet. Re: Displaced Persons at Halifax ex the S.S. “Sarabande” and S.S. “Amanda” Having Arrived from Sweden Without Obtaining Visas Prior to Embarkation,” September 20th, 1949.

[400] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “J.F. O’Connor to Atlantic District Superintendent, Halifax. S.S. Sarabande,” August 22nd, 1949.

[401] Ibid.

[402] Ibid.

[403] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “J.F. O’Connor to Atlantic District Superintendent, Halifax. S.S. Sarabande,” August 22nd, 1949.

[404] Ibid.

[405] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “Memorandum to the Cabinet. Re: Displaced Persons at Halifax ex the S.S. “Sarabande” and S.S. “Amanda” Having Arrived from Sweden Without Obtaining Visas Prior to Embarkation,” September 20th, 1949.

[406] Ibid.

[407] Ibid.

[408] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “Memorandum to the Cabinet. Re: Displaced Persons at Halifax ex the S.S. “Sarabande” and S.S. “Amanda” Having Arrived from Sweden Without Obtaining Visas Prior to Embarkation,” September 20th, 1949.

[409] Ibid.

[410] Mitic and LeBlanc, Pier 21: The Gateway that Changed Canada, p. 97.

[411] Ibid., p. 98.

[412] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “Acting commissioner to Atlantic District Superintendent, Halifax. Re: Passengers and Crew of Refugee Ships “Sarabande”’ and “Amanda”,” October 28th, 1949.

[413] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “Memorandum to the Cabinet. Re: Displaced Persons at Halifax ex the S.S. “Sarabande” and S.S. “Amanda” Having Arrived from Sweden Without Obtaining Visas Prior to Embarkation,” September 20th, 1949.

[414] Unknown, “Charged With Bringing Prohibitive Immigrants,” Halifax Herald, October 15th, 1949, p. 1.

[415] Unknown, “Hearing into Immigration Charges Being Delayed,” Halifax Mail, October 15th, 1949, p. 5.

[416] Unknown, “Permit Refugees to Remain Here,” Halifax Chronicle-Herald, December 16th, 1949, p. 22.

[417] Ibid.

[418] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “J.F. O’Connor to Atlantic District Superintendent, Halifax. M.V. “Amanda,”” August 24th, 1949.

[419] Mitic and LeBlanc, Pier 21: The Gateway that Changed Canada, p. 95.

[420] “Questioning the sources” has proven to be difficult, as the authors neglected to cite sources following academic convention. They provide citations for lengthy block quotations, however these are often incomplete and do not direct the student to their physical location. See Mitic and LeBlanc, Pier 21: The Gateway that Changed Canada, pp. 185-190. To locate the definitive total of 31 passengers, see Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “J.F. O’Connor to Atlantic District Superintendent, Halifax. M.V. “Amanda,”” August 24th, 1949; “Immigrants from Sweden Who Arrived in Small Boats,” Date Unknown.

[421] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “J.F. O’Connor to Atlantic District Superintendent, Halifax. M.V. “Amanda,”” August 24th, 1949.

[422] Ibid.

[423] Unknown, “Charged With Bringing Prohibitive Immigrants,” Halifax Herald, October 15th, 1949, p. 1.

[424] Mitic and LeBlanc, Pier 21: The Gateway that Changed Canada, p. 95.

[425] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “J.F. O’Connor to Atlantic District Superintendent, Halifax. M.V. “Amanda,”” August 24th, 1949.

[426] Ibid.

[427] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “J.F. O’Connor to Atlantic District Superintendent, Halifax. M.V. “Amanda,”” August 24th, 1949.

[428] Ibid.

[429] Mitic and LeBlanc, Pier 21: The Gateway that Changed Canada, p. 97.

[430] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “A.A. Ewen to Commissioner of Immigration, Overseas Service, Ottawa,” July 30th, 1949.

[431] Ibid.

[432] Ylo Korgemagi, “Estonian Displaced Person, Franconia, December 10, 1949,” Canada’s Immigration Museum at Pier 21, http://www.pier21.ca/wp-content/uploads/files/stories/displacedrefugee/Estonian_Displaced_Person_Ylo_Korgemagi.pdf (accessed 15 June 2011).

[432] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 119.

[433] Don Gilbert, “Refugee Ship’s Voyage to Halifax Experiment to Move Whole Nation,” Halifax Herald, October 11th, 1949, p. 22; Don Gilbert, “Refugee Tells Aim to Transplant Estonian Nation,” The Globe and Mail, October 10th, 1949, p. 9; Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “Refugee Tells Aim to Transplant Estonian Nation,” Ottawa Citizen, October 10th, 1949, page unknown.

[434] Indeed, a copy of the Ottawa Citizen version of this article was located in Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860.

[435] Don Gilbert, “Refugee Tells Aim to Transplant Estonian Nation,” The Globe and Mail, October 10th, 1949, p. 9.

[436] Ibid.

[437] Mitic and LeBlanc, Pier 21: The Gateway that Changed Canada, p. 97.

[438] Ylo Korgemagi, “Estonian Displaced Person, Franconia, December 10, 1949,” Canada’s Immigration Museum at Pier 21, http://www.pier21.ca/wp-content/uploads/files/stories/displacedrefugee/Estonian_Displaced_Person_Ylo_Korgemagi.pdf (accessed 15 June 2011).

[439] Unknown, “May Permit Refugee Ship to Leave,” Halifax Herald, October 6th, 1949, p. 2.

[440] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “A.L. Jolliffe. Memorandum to the Deputy Minister,” October 6th, 1949.

[441] Unknown, “To Examine Refugees,” Halifax Herald, November 1st, 1949, p. 18.

[442] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “Memorandum. Re: Refugees Proceeding to Canada by Small Boats from Sweden,” November 4th, 1949.

[443] Ylo Korgemagi, “Estonian Displaced Person, Franconia, December 10, 1949,” Canada’s Immigration Museum at Pier 21, http://www.pier21.ca/wp-content/uploads/files/stories/displacedrefugee/Estonian_Displaced_Person_Ylo_Korgemagi.pdf (accessed 15 June 2011).

[444] Unknown, “Baltic Refugees Sail For Halifax Aboard Franconia”,” Halifax Herald, December 2nd, 1949, p. 24.

[445] Unknown, “Will Sell Vessel to Pay Passage”,” Halifax Herald, December 13th, 1949, p. 3.

[446] Unknown, “Will Sell Vessel to Pay Passage”,” Halifax Herald, December 13th, 1949, p. 3.

[447] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 120.

[448] Unknown, “Estonians Set Sail Hope Canada Haven,” Toronto Star, July 3rd, 1951, p. 1.

[449] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File 4860, “Immigrants from Sweden Who Arrived in Small Boats,” Date Unknown.

[450] Unknown, “Third Refugee Ship on Way to Halifax,” Halifax Mail, August 25th, 1948, p. 10.

[451] Ibid.

[452] Library and Archives Canada RG76, Volume 668 File C4860, “Memorandum to the Cabinet. Re: Displaced Persons at Halifax ex the S.S. “Sarabande” and S.S. “Amanda” Having Arrived from Sweden Without Obtaining Visas Prior to Embarkation,” September 20th, 1949.

[453] Don Gilbert, “Refugee Tells Aim to Transplant Estonian Nation,” The Globe and Mail, October 10th, 1949, p. 9.

[454] Hawkins, Canada and Immigration: Public Policy and Public Concern, p. 58.

[455] Ibid., p. 58

[456] The Komagata Maru arrived off the coast of Vancouver on May 23rd, 1914 carrying a load of 376 Indians hoping to make a new life in Canada. Despite official sympathy, due to restrictive immigration regulations their entry was denied and after two months they were forcibly removed from the harbour at gunpoint by “one-half of Canada’s two-ship navy.”  All but twenty were returned to Punjab province, and the incident still resonates to this day for Indo-Canadians. For a contemporary analysis of the Komagata Maru, consult Hugh J.M. Johnston, The Voyage of the Komagata Maru: The Sikh Challenge to Canada’s Colour Bar, (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1989).

[457] Mannik stated that there were six other instances of boats containing unsanctioned refugee claimants. However, since the publication of Mannik’s thesis, a group of 76 Tamil refugees arrived off the coast of Victoria, British Columbia on October 17th, 2009, and a larger contingent of 490 Tamils arrived on August 13, 2010. See Ashley Bradmore and Harold Bauder, “Mystery Ships and Risky Boat People: Tamil Refugee Migration in the Newsprint Media,” Metropolis British Columbia 2011 Working Papers (January 2011). This author deliberately excludes two Baltic boats that are reported to have followed the initial movement, the Goran in June of 1950 and the Aura in July of 1951.

[458] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 113.

[459] For many Canadians, the word “boat people” is associated with the over 50,000 Vietnamese that settled in Canada in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They are excluded from this list as most of them were sponsored, and the Canadian government sanctioned their arrival.

[460] Bradmore and Bauder, Mystery Ships and Risky Boat People, p. 8.

[461] Bradmore and Bauder, Mystery Ships and Risky Boat People, p.8.

[462] Reg Whitaker, Double Standard: The Secret History of Canadian Immigration, (Toronto: Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1987), p. 286.

[463] Scott Watson, “Manufacturing Threats: Boat People as Threats or Refugees?” Lecture presented at ISA Conference 2006, San Diego (March 2006), p. 8.

[464] Whitaker, Double Standard, p. 286.

[465] Watson, Manufacturing Threats, p. 13.

[466] Malarek, Haven’s Gate: Canada’s Immigration Fiasco, p. 145.

[467] Watson, Manufacturing Threats, p. 14.

[468] Watson, Manufacturing Threats, p. 16.

[469] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 113.

[470] Ibid., p. 114.

[471] Marie Lacroix, “Canadian Refugee Policy and the Social Construction of the Refugee Claimant Subjectivity: Understanding Refugeeness,” Journal of Refugee Studies, Vol. 17, No. 2 (June 2004), p. 150.

[472] Bradmore and Bauder, Mystery Ships and Risky Boat People, p. 8.

[473] Ibid., p. 9.

[474] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 114.

[475] Ibid., p.  114.

[476] Jane Taber, “Canadian view of immigration sours in wake of Tamil ship,” The Globe and Mail, September 9, 2010, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/canadian-view-of-immigration-sours-in-wake-of-tamil-ship/article1701127/ (accessed 30 March 2011).

[477] Bradmore and Bauder, Mystery Ships and Risky Boat People, p. 6.

[478] Ibid., p. 8.

[479] Mannik, Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity, p. 113.

About paulkhillier

I am technical writer with a wealth of experience in education and design. Currently, I am furthering my advanced knowledge by studying Technical Communication at Seneca College in Toronto. Producing effective, readable documents is my passion, and I take pride in producing quality work.

Posted on September 26, 2011, in History. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Alister McMEEKIN

    i have a poscard of the W.E.Gladstone a two masted trawler from captain thanking my father for his kindness while he stopped over in Ireland dated 4/9/49 I can send it if you would like a copy enjoyed your article by the way the walnut stopped hear the year before

  2. Valdemars (Woody) Zvanitajs

    I was a nine year old on the Sarabande, brother, mother, stepfather. Translated my mother’s manuscript Journey to Freedom flight from Latvia to Sweden then Canada. Reunion of passengers a few years ago.many memories and stories. retired High School teacher with interest in WW2 and postwar E. European & Can. history.

  3. Colleen Kahara

    My father, Eero Kahara is from a small village near Narva, Estonia. He was an 9 year old passenger on the Victory, along with his 2 brothers, 2 sisters and his mother and father. They were detained in Cork for less than a year, then were permitted passage to Canada on the Cunard liner “Samaria”. Their journey to freedom in Canada is an epic adventure, with many hardships along the way. My dad’s family’s farm was between Soviet and German lines and he remembers sleeping in a trench that his family dug on their farm to avoid being shot from either side. Then there were refugee camps in Finland, tuberculosis, settling in Finland, bombing in Finland, fleeing to Sweden, fear of deportation in Sweden. Thanks for posting your thesis. It helped me understand my family history.

    • alister mcmeekin

      My father remembered helping the walnut and gladstone in sligo ireland and kept postcard from capt. Of gladstone thanking the irish people for their help. she was built in 1894 71.7 feet sail powered trawler first fitted with40 hp engine in1919 and in1942 fitted with 150hp engine

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