UCL Institute of the Americas


Leon Trotsky and Canadian POW camps in the First World War

04 February 2019, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

UCL Institute of the Americas blue logo

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Daisy Voake


Institute of the Americas
51 Gordon Square
United Kingdom

SoundCloud Widget Placeholderhttps://soundcloud.com/ucl-arts-social-science/leon-trotsky-and-canadian...


For 26 days in April 1917, Leon Bromstein Trotsky was known in Canada as POW #1098. On 29 April 1917, he and four fellow POWs were transferred from their internment camp in Amherst, Nova Scotia, and placed on board a steamer bound for Petrograd. World history might have been very different if Trotsky had not been released in 1917 but remained a POW in Canada until 1919, when many remaining POWs were repatriated to their country of origin. Relying on Canadian military archives, this presentation discusses Trotsky’s internment within the context of Canada’s First World War internment camps, revealing who was interned with him, how his wife and children were treated and describing the camp conditions where he was interned.  Since 2016 Mark Minenko has reviewed tens of thousands of criminal case files, including the file of Leon Trotsky which forms the basis of this evening’s presentation.

About the Speaker

Mark Minenko

King’s College London at PhD (Law) candidate

Mark Minenko is a PhD (Law) candidate at King’s College London. His thesis topic is civilian rights during war and conflict, more specifically how emergency powers legislation during the First World War affected civil liberties in the United Kingdom and Canada. He was a Canadian barrister and solicitor for more than 30 years, served in the Canadian military reserves for over 36 years, including service in Bosnia as the assistant to the NATO Political Advisor during the NATO to EU transition period, and worked in government in legislative drafting and policy development. He was also a Member of the Legislative Assembly in Manitoba and he became a footnote in Parliamentary history in 1988 as the first member from the Opposition to be elected as a Speaker or Deputy Speaker in the Commonwealth.