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Freedom Had a Price tells the little-known story of those Ukrainian immigrants who, described by the Canadian government as "enemy aliens" at the outbreak of World War One, found themselves subject to discriminatory and repressive measures for the next six years.


Between 1914 and 1920, about 80,000 Ukrainian immigrants were forced to register as "enemy aliens," report regularly to the police, and carry government-issued identity papers at all times. Over 5,000 of their compatriots suffered an even more severe fate, imprisoned in internment camps across the country. Treatment was often harsh, and conditions grim. Some died in the camps, many were sick or injured, and several were killed by guards while trying to escape.


By means of archival footage, vintage photographs, the compelling testimony of survivors, and the commentary of such prominent Canadian historians as Desmond Morton and Donald Avery, award-winning filmmaker Yurij Luhovy weaves a moving human story of Canadian history that has all but disappeared from public consciousness.


UCRDC provided critical funding for the film. It premiered on May 27,1994 at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts in Toronto and was later shown on the CBC. Freedom Had a Price constitutes an integral part of UCRDC’s travelling exhibit The Barbed Wire Solution.


1994, 55 min 05 s

Freedom had a Price

Directed by: Yurij Luhovy

Produced by: Yurij Luhovy

Production Agency: La Maison de montage Luhovy Inc.


Yurij Luhovy, producer and director of Freedom Had a Price, at the premiere of the film on May 27, 1994 at the St Lawrence Centre in Toronto. The film received widespread reviews in the Canadian press: "... extraordinary documentary..." (Toronto Star); "a powerful documentary (Edmonton Journal); "This film is not about Ukrainians, it is about Canada." (Montreal Gazette).