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Internment camps & Internees

World War II Internment camps & Internees.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: Prisoners-of-War, Nazi Memorabilia.

Colors of Confinement: Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II
They look like vacation photos at first glance. Women in flowery kimonos gossip together in a circle. A boy on ice skates takes his first steps on a crowded rink. But behind the smiles, the same shadowy presence looms in the background: the tar paper barracks that housed the thousands of Japanese-American prisoners of the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming. Bill Manbo took these photographs after he and his family were forced to move to a Japanese-American internment camp in 1942, just months after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. 70 years later, Manbo's pictures are compiled in a new book, Colors of Confinement: Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II.
(npr.org)

Japanese-American Joe Tada remembers being called a dirty Jap and a Nazi after Pearl Harbor
When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941 the collateral damage included more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans, who were forced to relocate to remote internment camps. Most of those forced to move were second-generation U.S. citizens, including Joe Tada, son of a Summerland, Calif,. gardener. But even before the move, Tada faced the vehemence of public opinion directed at Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor. Tada recently recalled the reaction of neighbors he once regarded as friends: "They called me a dirty Jap and a Nazi. That hurt. I never knew that people would turn against you so quickly."
(cleveland.com)

Japanese-American woman who was forced into an internment camp at 16 recalls talking with her friends through a barbed wire
Of all the anti-Japanese hysteria that swept the country after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, one painful memory seems to linger above the rest for Chiye Tomihiro, a Japanese-American who was forced into an internment camp. Tomihiro, then 16, remembers her high school friends visiting her at the site soon after she was taken from her home. Instead of appreciating their kind gesture, she felt ashamed as she talked with them through a barbed wire. "All I could think of was how humiliating it was. We pledged allegiance to the flag every morning 'for justice and freedom for all,' they said, but it did not apply to us."
(chicagotribune.com)

Tracing the forgotten history of Italian-Canadian internment camps
While most Canadians are familiar with the internment of Japanese Canadians, it's a lesser-known fact that many Italians also suffered a similar fate. Following its declaration of war on Italy, on June 10, 1940, the Canadian government designated Italian nationals as enemy aliens. Out of 4,500 Italians in Vancouver, 40% fell into this enemy alien status, and were forced to file monthly reports to the RCMP. With habeas corpus suspended under the War Measures Act, over 600 Italians were interned in camps across the country. Often, those interned were the breadwinners and the only thing keeping their families from poverty. Now, Vancouver`s Italian Cultural Centre is telling the story of this forgotten time in Canadian history with a 3-part multimedia presentation called A Question of Loyalty.
(straight.com)

In Photographs: Japanese-American internment
In Photographs: Internment of the Japanese-Americans.
(latimes.com)

Online resources On Japanese Internment In World War II
The Fred Korematsu Institute has a full, and free, online curriculum (korematsuinstitute.org/fredkorematsuday/curriculum/).

World War II: Internment of Japanese Americans is a photo gallery from The Atlantic (theatlantic.com/.../100132/).
(larryferlazzo.edublogs.org)

Gordon Hirabayashi, World War II Internment opponent, passes away at 93
Gordon Hirabayashi, who was imprisoned for defying the federal government's WWII internment of Japanese-Americans but was vindicated four decades later when his conviction was overturned, died at 93. When Hirabayashi challenged the wartime removal of 100,000 Japanese-Americans and Japanese immigrants from the West Coast to inland detention centers, he became a central figure in a controversy that resonated long after the war's end. Hirabayashi and his fellow Japanese-Americans Fred Korematsu and Minoru Yasui, who all brought lawsuits before the Supreme Court, emerged as symbols of protest against unchecked governmental powers in a time of war.
(nytimes.com)

Driving tour tells story of Japanese-Americans in concentration camps in Arkansas
Next spring, visitors to Desha County in Arkansas will be able to take a one-mile driving tour around the perimeter of the Rohwer Relocation Center and learn what life was like here. Beth Wiedower, Arkansas Delta field director for the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Rural Heritage Development Initiative, has interviewed former internees, members of the Japanese-American Citizens League, staff at the Japanese American National Museum, and area residents to piece together an audio narrative that will accompany visual panels. Push a button and you'll hear the familiar voice of actor and former Rohwer internee George Takei tell their stories.
(memphismagazine.com)

Japanese-Americanss internment-camp experience: "Ansel Adams: A Portrait of Manzanar" at the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum
"This is a voluntary migration. It is in no sense a concentration camp," the upbeat voice-over explains as the camera surveys a California internment camp for Japanese Americans. Those lines jump out at you when you watch "Remembering Manzanar," a 22-minute documentary that is part of the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum's exhibit, "Ansel Adams: A Portrait of Manzanar." The statement is in such contradiction to the sights depicted on film that you wonder how anyone could have bought into it at the time. "Ansel Adams: A Portrait of Manzanar," composed of photographs taken by the legendary American photographer in 1943, acknowledges the prejudices that led the U.S. government to confine American citizens behind barbed wire.
(nwsource.com)

Bob Fletcher saved the farms of Japanese-Americans when they were shipped to internment camps
When Bob Fletcher's Japanese-American neighbors were sent away from their grape farms and shipped off to internment camps, the Sacramento agricultural inspector couldn't tolerate the idea that innocent American families might lose their land. Fletcher agreed when his neighbors, the Tsukamotos, Okamotos and Nittas, asked if he'd look after their farms. "They were the same as everybody else, it was obvious they had nothing to do with Pearl Harbor," Fletcher stated. For his moral courage Fletcher endured sharp criticism and racist taunts, even an attempt on his life, from people who called him a "Jap lover".
(colorlines.com)

Roller skating teen was sent to the camps for three years - Japanese Americans in the U.S.
In 1941, Aiko Yoshinaga was 17, a senior at LA High School. She loved roller skating, swimming at Santa Monica Beach, and she was looking forward to prom. Then Imperial Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order that authorized rounding up the Japanese-American and sending them to internment camps. The government said it - locking up roller skating teens - was a military necessity. Now 86, Aiko - who spent years combing the National Archives in Washington, D.C. - is busy finishing a book of first-person remembrances of the Japanese American experience in WWII, which reveals the racial prejudice behind the forced relocation.
(latimes.com)

Story of Italian-American internment in WWII revealed in exhibit, forum in San Jose
During WWII the U.S. government sent thousands of its own citizens to internment camps as "enemy aliens." The Japanese American camps are well known. Less so are the camps that held Italian Americans and German Americans. For years a group of Italian Americans has been working to put a spotlight on Una Storia Segreta ("a secret story"). The Western Regional Chapter of the Italian Historical Association put together a traveling exhibit - at San Jose State University through the April - with that title and also supported the publication of "Una Storia Segreta: The Secret History of Italian American Evacuation and Internment during World War II." Now the group is working with the Italian American Heritage Foundation to gather more recollections at an open forum on April 10.
(mercurynews.com)

Frank Emi: The last surviving leader of the committee which wanted rights for the interned Japanese-Americans
"The military escorted us to the camp with their guns and bayonets, so there really wasn't much thought about standing up for your rights," Frank Emi, who has passed away, once recalled. After that the U.S. government began drafting detained Japanese-Americans into the military to fight for the country that had took away their rights. Detainees behind the barbed-wire fences and guard towers at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center set up a committee to organize a protest, stating that they would serve only after their rights had been restored.
(nytimes.com)

Inside America's Concentration Camps: Two Centuries of Internment and Torture (book review)
James L. Dickerson's "Inside America's Concentration Camps" consists of 3 parts. Part 1 deals with the treatment of Native Americans. Part 2 comprises the most of the text, and concerns the WWII internment of Japanese Americans and to some extent the imprisonment of Italian and German Americans. Part 3 considers the conditions at Guantanamo Bay. The chapter "Walking The Trail Of Tears" deals with the 1,200 mile march that the Cherokees were forced to take in 1838. Of the 22,000 who started out, only 2,000 (less than 10%) made it (the survival rate of the most famous Nazi death march was 75%).
(blogcritics.org)

Imprisoned in Paradise: Japanese Internee Road Workers at the World War II Kooskia Internment Camp   (Article no longer available from the original source)
For many, the forests and white-sand beaches of northern Idaho are a paradise, but for 265 Japanese immigrants they were the walls of a WWII prison. All the inmates of the Kooskia Internment Camp are now perished but their stories are told by historian Priscilla Wegars in "Imprisoned in Paradise." In the decade Wegars researched the book, she found two men still alive who had lived at the camp. In many cases families did not know of their relatives' WWII internment. "This is something people were very ashamed of. These were loyal citizens who were ... put in camps. ... Some of them had sons in the US Army."
(dailyme.com)

Japanese-Americans shipped to internment camps because Census Bureau gave confidential info to other agencies
The Census Bureau passed on confidential information to help Secret Service and other agencies identify Japanese-Americans during the Second World War. Documents found by two historians in Commerce Department archives and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library confirm - for the first time - that the bureau shared details about individual Japanese-Americans after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. The Census Bureau - which has always denied releasing names - was acting legally under the Second War Powers Act, which allowed the sharing of information for national security.
(usatoday.com)

UC Berkeley awards degrees to World War II internees
For a time, the Fujiokas lived a wealthy life: There were white mink stoles, beachfront property, money to sponsor an Indianapolis 500 racer. Then came Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor and the family lost everything, including their freedom. Fred Jiro Fujioka was dragged away by the FBI and other family members were sent to an internment camp. They lost the family's Oldsmobile dealership, trucking business, real estate and other possessions worth $18 million. And son William lost his chance to graduate from UC Berkeley. But now UC Berkeley awards honorary degrees to 100 Japanese Americans whose educations were cut off by the internment.
(latimes.com)

Toyo's Camera : Japanese American History during World War II   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Photographer Toyo Miyatake, who was sent to an internment camp in California during the Second World War, documented his time there using a makeshift camera. Now his photographs are featured in a documentary film about life in the camps and racism in the United States. "Toyo's Camera - Japanese American History during WWII" was premiered at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography in Meguro Ward. Using a lens Miyatake hid in his pocket and pipes found at Manzanar camp, he put together a camera with the help of other Japanese-Americans. He took about 1500 pictures with his "spy camera" before his release in November 1945.
(yomiuri.co.jp)

Re-creation of American internment camp takes shape
After years of planning and 5 months of construction, the first phase of an interpretive learning center at the site of a former internment camp near Heart Mountain is almost finished, incorporating a design that evokes two barracks from the original camp. It took only two months in 1942 for workers to build hundreds of barracks that would contain 11,000 Japanese-Americans until the fall of 1945. And with only a handful of original buildings and a lone chimney still standing on the site, backers of the new center hope to re-create for visitors the harsh details of camp life.
(billingsgazette.net)

Stigma of Japanese-American war internees in U.S. still present
20 years after the U.S. offered a national apology and compensations to Japanese-Americans for relocating them to WWII internment camps, those who fought against the injustice still bear a stigma. Haruo Kawate thought he knew everything about his father until the discovery of an old leather trunk - filled with old diaries and photos. Kawate was aware that his father had been held in an American internment camp. But he never guessed that he was sent to isolated prison camps for fighting against the legality of a questionnaire used for estimating whether Japanese-Americans were loyal to the U.S.
(japantimes.co.jp)

Outbreak of war with Japan meant 'relocation' for many in British Columbia
They began assembling at Hastings Park in east Vancouver on March 16, 1942. They arrived by car, street railway and truck, dragging their few belongings with them, holding their scared kids by the hand. They filed into the cattle stalls to wait for the trains that would transport them away from their homes. These bewildered refugees were the first victims of the most harsh public safety measure in British Columbia's history. In the wake of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the Canadian government panicked at the possibility of an invasion and ordered that all residents of Japanese ancestry leave the coast.
(vancouversun)

U.S. internment efforts went far beyond borders - Shipped to U.S. camps from South America
A month after Japan attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor the roundup of 110,000 Japanese-Americans began. A little-known fact is that internment crusades went far beyond U.S. borders. Father of 12 years old Augusto Kague, living happily in Peru, was carried away by security agents and shipped off to American camps. They were interned under the pretence of securing Western Hemisphere interests. Now, 20 years after Japanese-Americans won compensation for their imprisonment, a community of Peruvians continues to seek justice with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union and a grassroots activist effort.
(canadaeast.com)

Oral history project captures impact of Japanese American detention
Graduation was just a few weeks away in April 1942 when Jiro Sugidono was interned in the middle of anti-Japanese hysteria after Pearl Harbor. He and his family were living in horse stables when the principal visited to hand out diplomas at the detention center. Sugidono is being interviewed for an oral history project saving the stories of those who lived through one of the most gross violations of civil rights in American history: the imprisonment of 120,000 American citizens of Japanese ancestry. The videotaped interviews will be part of an online archive. The idea is to make sure nothing like this ever happens again in America, said Paul Kaneko.
(santacruzsentinel.com)

Prisoners of their Japanese heritage - Visiting Camp Amache
Block 10-E was home. "Gaman" (grin and bear) was their motto. That is how Gary Ono recalls his childhood, when he came to this abandon part of Colorado, a prisoner because of his Japanese ancestry. He traveled back to Camp Amache, which 1942-1945 was one of 10 War Relocation Centers that contained 120,000 Japanese-Americans out of fear they would sabotage the American war effort. Ono and his 16-year-old grandson came to the site to spend 2 weeks assisting a group of archaeology students, who are collecting items and studying the former camp - now a National Historic Landmark - which at its peak held 7,000 Japanese-Americans.
(gazette.com)

Former World War II Internees of Honouliuli camp have mixed feelings
Harry Urata traveled back to what was once Honouliuli Internment Camp - one of at least 5 Hawaii internment camps - where he and 320 people were kept on Oahu during World War 2. "Not so nostalgic. No buildings and only bushes. The place was an Army camp, right now all bushes." Urata was part of a pilgrimage to the former detention camp. The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii and the Japanese American Citizens League set up the pilgrimage and a summit afterward on WWII internment camps to prevent similar incidents from reoccurring. "My dad was very bitter. He wanted to go back to Japan."
(starbulletin)

Japanese-American Forced Labor on an American Indian Reservation
For Japanese-Americans, Feb. 19 marks the Day of Remembrance. That's the day in 1942 when Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 and started the forced removal and imprisonment of 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry: 60% of whom were American citizens. Military officials regarded anyone of Japanese descent to be a potential spy. Documentary "Passing Poston: An American Story" reveals a little-known secret about the Poston internment camp. It was built on the Colorado River Indian Reservation for a particular reason: Detainees were brought to the remote location to provide forced labor for the American government.
(abcnews)

Project uncovers stories of pre-WWII area Japantowns
66 years ago, Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, forcing 120,000 Japanese-Americans into internment camps - some refer to them as concentration camps - throughout the West. Communities were deserted as the Japanese-Americans were compelled to leave their homes and businesses. Today, a group is recapturing the tales and the communities they left behind. "Where were California's Japantowns and what was left of them?" asks Donna Graves, of Preserving California's Japantowns. The project discovered 400 Japanese-owned businesses and other sites in Oakland - 100 of those remain throughout Oakland today.
(insidebayarea)

World War II internees exiled to Uganda by the British still intact
Most of the internees deported to Uganda by the British were up early preparing to welcome 1944 in their camp in Bombo. They had hung to their beliefs all the time, keeping alive the Italianità that had landed them there originally. There were 43 Maltese exiles and they had been in Bombo since April 1944. Sir Arturo Mercieca and his family had got preferential treatment, unlike Nationalist Party leader Nerik Mizzi who were often put to carry out the most undignified of tasks. "Native servants stand surprised and confused... they have never seen white people doing lowly functions," Fr Patrick Perjes noted in a colonialist comment.
(timesofmalta)

Park Service seeks to preserve World War II internment camps
Bob Fuchigami was 12yo when his family were told to leave their 20-acre farm in California. It was May 1942, 5 months after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Now, the National Park Service is inquiring internees how it can preserve their stories and camps. The Service stands to get $38 million for educational programs. With its 7,000 internees Camp Amache became Colorado's 10th-largest city. Almost 1,000 men and women from Amache served in the military. 32 refused to serve and were jailed, then pardoned after WWII. Fuchigami's mother Tokuye had a stroke after a trunk containing kimonos and keepsakes arrived empty, with the lock broken.
(usatoday)

World War II Internment Records
1861-1940 roughly 275,000 Japanese immigrated to the U.S., but after the attack of the Japanese on Pearl Harbor their lives fell apart, as the U.S. Congress and the President gave in to pressure to move out individuals of Japanese descent (whether issei, first generation of Japanese in the U.S., and nisei, U.S. born, second generation Japanese Americans) from the West Coast states. On Feb. 19, 1942, Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 authorizing the exclusion. Records created during the relocation of "potentially dangerous persons" to 10 centers ran by the War Relocation Authority can be received from the National Archives.
(genealogy@about)

U.S. World War II Wartime Treatment of Germans Questioned
In 1943, 17yo Eberhard Fuhr was taken out of his school classroom, arrested by FBI agents, and sent off to an internment camp for "enemy aliens," where he spent the next 4 1/2 years. Thousands of Germans were detained in US. The stories of the Germans have gotten little attention so far, but the Senate took a step toward changing that, voting to look into the treatment of Germans and other Europeans in the US. "Congress and the U.S. government did the right thing by recognizing and apologizing for the mistreatment of Japanese Americans. That same respect has not been shown to the many German Americans, Italian Americans, and European Latin Americans."
(muzi.com)

Papers show Census role in WWII internment camps
The Census Bureau turned over confidential information to help Secret Service and other agencies identify Japanese-Americans, according to documents found by two historians in Commerce Department archives. The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library confirm for the first time that the bureau shared details about Japanese-Americans after Japan's Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. The Census Bureau played a role in the confinement of more than 100,000 Americans of Japanese descent who were rounded up and held in internment camps. The Census was acting legally under the Second War Powers Act, which allowed the sharing of information for national security.
(usatoday)

Site tracks life in World War II internment camps
The headlines seem so mundane, says Michelle Osborn. For two months, Osborn, a 4th-generation Japanese American, has spent 8-10 hours a week typing in headlines: "Lifeboat" is playing in Hall 15; "Show Boat," in Hall 33. Buildings were part of the Rohwer internment camp - one of 10 centers where 120,000 Japanese Americans were locked up during WW2. Another story in that day's Outpost: "Bronze Star Awarded S/SGT." It's a little blurb about Staff Sgt. Frank J. Yumasaki, who was awarded the Bronze Star medal by the Army. The non-profit organization Densho includes videotaped interviews with Japanese Americans on its site.
(seattlepi)

Thousands Japanese in Peru became pawns of America   (Article no longer available from the original source)
When Art Shibayama was 13 years old, his family led a comfortable life in Lima, Peru. But their lives took a drastic turn during World War II, when U.S. soldiers forced them out of their home in 1944. Armed with machine guns, soldiers stood by as 350 Japanese-Peruvian families boarded an Army ship en route to New Orleans. For 2 1/2 years, he spent his days in a camp surrounded by a barbed-wire fence, armed soldiers keeping watch. From 1941 to 1945 U.S., under agreements with Latin American governments, seized 2,264 Japanese and brought them to the US.
(starbulletin)

Demonizing Japan as a blood-thirsty, war-hungry nation
A few days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Nakahara family awaited Admiral Nomura. But the admiral sent a telegram: "Sorry, cannot meet you for dinner. Regret unable to eat samma." As reports streamed in on destruction in Pearl Harbor, newsreels began to demonize Japan as a blood-thirsty, war-hungry nation. The FBI intercepted the telegram and deemed the word "samma" to be treasonous. On Dec 7 Seiichi Nakahara was arrested. Family believe that he was tortured: When he arrived home he could no longer talk. His body was emaciated, his sharp mind had declined dramatically. Laying lifelessly he died just days after his release.
(ohmynews)

Rare 1942 color propaganda film of the U.S. internment camp   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Arizona Historical Foundation found the 1942 film documenting the building and receiving first inhabitants of the Poston internment camp. The history of the U.S.' relocation centers - where more than 100,000 people were forced to live during World War II - has been documented in reports and photographs. But, until now, it is not believed to have been seen in moving color. The foundation is working to share this unique footage of a dark period in the U.S. history. The 25-minute-long propaganda film has been copied into a digital file and shown to a select group, and the foundation is in talks to post the footage online for everyone.
(eastvalleytribune)

New name for American World War II internment site
More than 60 years after Japanese-American citizens were forcibly removed from their homes and placed in camps during World War II, the National Park Service is asking Congress to drop the word "internment" from the name of a monument. The agency says it's a term that does not accurately reflect the imprisonment of Americans simply because they were of Japanese descent. The new management plan also asks Congress to remove the word "monument," changing the name to "Minidoka National Historic Site." -- "It is a real dilemma: How politically correct do you want to be over what at the time was a civil rights atrocity?"
(deseretnews)

Wartime surprise imprisonments in US recalled
FBI received allegations about Worner couple in 1940. Informants told that Peter's wife Maria was "thoroughly imbued with Nazi doctrines." In 1936 Maria had to travel to Germany to see her dying mother. "Everyone was well aware of what Herr Hitler was doing. I`m sure at first blush Hitler looked like a good thing in terms of solving unemployment. There were people starving in the US, and Germany seemed to be solving the Depression." In 1941, Peter admitted that local Germans had been interested in the Nazi blitzkrieg, and that a picture of Hitler and swastika flag in his home were just souvenirs. Result: FBI launched Maria`s surprise capture.
(winonapost)

Internment's scars vanquished by resilience   (Article no longer available from the original source)
It was before Pearl Harbor. Before the U.S. government deemed Americans of Japanese descent to be likely spies. And it was before Sachiko Nishida's family was loaded onto a hot, dark train for an excruciating three-day trip to the eastern fringe of Colorado and dumped into a 10,000-acre barbed wire enclosure known as the Amache Internment Camp. Saturday former camp inmates and many from the town of Granada planned to gather as the Amache camp, now a dusty ghost town of concrete slabs where the barracks once stood, was to be designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.
(denverpost)

Decatur woman's WWII internment earns a spot on memorial
Japan had occupied the Philippines at the beginning of WWII. Internment camps were established by the Japanese throughout the Philippines. The largest were the University of Santo Tomas and Camp Holmes in Baguio. Koucky and her family were moved to Camp Holmes on April 23, 1942. "The men were separated from the women in the camp. The main work was gardening. During the first year, we fared pretty well with three meals a day. After the first year, we were cut to two meals a day. During the last year, we had only one meal a day, cornmeal. We were so hungry, we ate grass."
(herald-review)

Internee filmed WWII internment camps with a smuggled Bell and Howell camera
Dave Tatsuno used a smuggled Bell and Howell camera to film secret movies of the WWII internment camp where he spent three of his 92 years. He wasn't trying to spy, he said decades later, but document everyday life in the early 1940s at the Topaz Relocation Center in the Utah desert. In 1996, his 48 minutes of silent footage, called "Topaz," became the second home movie placed on the list of historically significant films kept by the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. The first was Abraham Zapruder's film of the assassination of President Kennedy.
(seattletimes)

WWII internment of Aleuts recounted in documentary
A new documentary film, Aleut Story, includes this testimony from Bourdukofsky and other Aleuts in chronicling the little-known internment of 881 Alaska Natives from the Pribilof and Aleutian Islands during World War II. Many in the film are speaking publicly for the first time about their experiences in the camps, where they were sent after troops from Japan invaded Alaska's western outposts in June 1942.
(usatoday)


See also:
Prisoners-of-War
Nazi Memorabilia.