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U.S. and Canadian WWII Concentration Camps
February 6, 2003 1:43 PM   Subscribe

Striking, panoramic photo collages of the ruins of U.S. and Canadian concentration camps used to isolate Japanese-Americans during WWII. Masumi Hayashi's rich site also features documents, personal stories and Shockwave interview clips, a discussion board and data on each camp. And, yes, this post was inspired by U.S. Congressman Howard Coble's recent comment.
posted by mediareport (34 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
There's also this thread from last August, about Ansel Adams' photos of the Manzanar camp.
posted by mediareport at 1:56 PM on February 6, 2003


Wow. The David Hockney technique somehow makes these images even more powerful. Great find.
posted by gwint at 2:30 PM on February 6, 2003




From what the article reports, it sounds like Coble got trolled.
posted by lampshade at 2:36 PM on February 6, 2003


I like the idea of trolls in congress.

"HR5632 iz h0t sh1z-n4t"
-Rep. Kenneth "r4z0r" Holmes, D-MA
posted by kaibutsu at 2:47 PM on February 6, 2003


This history is really not new history when you think about what was done to the American indians: reservations are concentration camps and Hitler, I have read, first got the idea for his from his reading of American history.
True it is that Germans and Italians did get put in camps, though the numbers I'm sure do not compare with the Japanese-Americans, but let us also recall that Gneral Eisenhower and Admiral Nimitz, the two highest ranking officers in our military were both of German descent.
posted by Postroad at 2:51 PM on February 6, 2003


I agree, gwint; it heightens the whole shattered, disruptive element of the internment story.

it sounds like Coble got trolled.

By whom, lampshade? This morning zoo guy? I doubt it. By the caller? Well, maybe, but if you seriously have doubts that a caller would actually suggest all Arab-Americans should be rounded up - and mean it - on talk radio, you probably haven't listened to much talk radio recently.
posted by mediareport at 2:58 PM on February 6, 2003


mediareport,
Not so much trolled by the host or caller, but by the whole situation - producer, caller, screener and host. It sounds like Coble was baited, and he fell for it. Maybe that is what he really believes, but I can't figure it out from one little article. Some of it sounds like he dug himself in a hole. I'd love to see the full transcript or hear the audio.

(Then again, it is a pretty damning answer that he did give. If he really believes what he says, he is one troubled person. I feel sorry for his constituents.)

you probably haven't listened to much talk radio recently
thanks for the assumptive conversational cheap shot.

To answer your other question, I have no doubts that a caller to a show called "The Morning Zoo" would make such a suggestion regarding the revival of said camps. In fact, I would expect it. Those shows selectively pull idiots in on the phone for ratings. I am always surprised when an elected official would agree to be interviewed in those environments and be so stupid to get drawn into those discussions.

I do not consider shows with names like that valid talk radio. So no, i do not listen to them.
posted by lampshade at 3:51 PM on February 6, 2003


concentration camps.

Was that where the US govt. gassed the Japs and stuffed them in ovens?

Get fucking real. They were internment camps. Stop using loaded terms.
posted by Ayn Marx at 4:15 PM on February 6, 2003


Get fucking real. They were internment camps. Stop using loaded terms.

Thank you. Some of my family would have considered those US and Canadian camps luxury accomodations.
posted by fried at 4:33 PM on February 6, 2003


a little late but - The Perilous Fight, lots of information, pictures, and videos related to WWII and life in the us, all different kinds of stuff.

Be kind to their poor pbs server, which is always a little slow...
posted by folktrash at 4:55 PM on February 6, 2003


Some of my family would have considered those US and Canadian camps luxury accommodations

Granted, we weren't firing up ovens and asking people to get into the showers, but the internment camps or whatever you want to call them were far from pleasant.

Manzanar, for example, is located down just over a ridge from Death Valley. A not entirely pleasant place to spend the next four years, especially in the home of the free. The place's very being is oppressive, even when the weather is not.

A PBS piece on the controversy of the use of "concentration camp" when applied to Manzanar
posted by Ogre Lawless at 5:09 PM on February 6, 2003


The internment of the Japanese in America (in Canada, specifically) disgusts me to no end. On the whole, these were our own citizens, sometimes in their third! generation, who had all their possessions stolen by our government and their families torn apart.

There are a few good books about their experiences. Snow Falling on Cedars is beautifully written and delves into it to some degree; a lesser-known book is Obisan (by Joy Kogawa).

posted by five fresh fish at 5:11 PM on February 6, 2003


Opps. damn html.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:11 PM on February 6, 2003


thanks fff I would love to read Obisan. Hadn't heard of it though I loved '..Manzanar'.
posted by SweetIceT at 5:22 PM on February 6, 2003


Get fucking real. They were internment camps. Stop using loaded terms.

Get fucking real yourself, Ayn Marx; your comment couldn't be more ignorant. Ogre Lawless' link is good, but this one provides the actual quotes:

===
1) In response to a reporter's question about the West Coast "evacuation," the President called Nisei "Japanese people from Japan who are citizens," and went on to state ". . . it is felt by a great many lawyers that under the Constitution they can't be kept locked up in concentration camps."
PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT, Press Conference, November 21, 1944, FDR Library, #982.

2) "They were concentration camps. They called it relocation but they put them in concentration camps, and I was against it. We were in a period of emergency, but it was still the wrong thing to do."
PRESIDENT HARRY S. TRUMAN, Interview with Merle Miller, 1961.

3) "I'm for catching every Japanese in America, Alaska, and Hawaii now and putting them in concentration camps. . . . Damn them! Let's get rid of them now!"
CONGRESSMAN JOHN RANKIN, Congressional record, December 15, 1941
===

Etc. Quotes I saw like those are exactly why I chose to use the phrase here when I decided to post about this. I was hoping it would spark an informed discussion - you know, something above the level of "get fucking real." In your case, it was my mistake.

fried: I lost members of my extended family to the Nazi holocaust, too, but comparing overall conditions is hardly the point here. Yes, the inmates were fed and schooled, but the U.S. and Canadian camps *were* surrounded by barbed wire and machine guns, and abusive beatings and murders by guards *did* occur.

lampshade, sorry for the patronizing cheap shot; I can see why it annoyed you. We do agree on this about Coble: "it is a pretty damning answer that he did give." But if you believe that, and have "no doubts" that a caller to a morning zoo would say it, then I really don't see why you're calling troll here.
posted by mediareport at 6:33 PM on February 6, 2003


On Preview, what Media Report said.

Some of my family would have considered those US and Canadian camps luxury accomodations

If I forced you out of your home at gunpoint and plunked you down in a tent in the desert, would you in all honesty exclaim, "This is much better than the tent I had in Boy Scouts!" ?

These people had homes, businesses, possessions and bank accounts that were all taken away and not returned.

Did your family live in conditions worse than tiny wood and tarpaper barracks in a small enclosure with armed guards in a desert, with no right of passage, where the temperature often approached 50 (125F) degrees?
posted by planetkyoto at 6:43 PM on February 6, 2003


MediaReport - I would guess that you are aware of this disturbing historical undercurrent

But have you encountered This?:

"The infrastructure is set up. There are at least 130 concentration camps quietly modified..."
posted by troutfishing at 7:17 PM on February 6, 2003


No prob Mediareport,

the troll call was not toward yout post - the commentaries and links are quite moving - but to the nature of shows like that radio show. I do not even question your motivations for the creation of the post, in this case, that radio interview. Quite valid!

I just believe that they (the shock radio shows) are loaded guns waiting for victims, in this case that particular politician. I just tend to question the circumstances behind any situation that arises with guest on a show like that - whether it be David Duke or Mother Theresa as the guest.

No dispersions cast upon you on my part. sorry if it seemed that way.

(if not for my recent broken wrist, I might be more articulate in my typing)


cheers
posted by lampshade at 7:18 PM on February 6, 2003


Thanks for the link, Ogre, and the quotes, mediareport, on the "concentration camp" terminology issue.

My paternal family was sent en masse from Hawaii to one, and my father was born in one (Tule Lake), and my feeling is the description fits. At least a bit better than "relocation camp," given the motives of those that created them.

I'm a bit confused by some of this early debate. Is the intent to minimize the impact of what happened to Japanese Americans? Comparing it to the Holocaust might certainly do that. But I think the underlying point is that it was wrong. That our "enlightened" government did it, eventually apologized for it, and supposedly learned from it.

And that's why Coble's remark is so troubling.
posted by pzarquon at 7:21 PM on February 6, 2003



(Oh, and I should have focused on the main intent of the post. Not the interview thing. For whatever reason, it caught my attention. It is a great collection of links that I want to go through. Thanks MR)
posted by lampshade at 7:32 PM on February 6, 2003


Etc. Quotes I saw like those are exactly why I chose to use the phrase here when I decided to post about this. I was hoping it would spark an informed discussion - you know, something above the level of "get fucking real." In your case, it was my mistake.

Indeed. Since you quoted a few people who picked the phrase "concentration camp" for specific effect, it must be the correct term, and anyone who believes the term has come to mean something different, and hence should be reserved for places created to kill people is, of course, mistaken.

Get fucking real indeed.
posted by Ayn Marx at 7:41 PM on February 6, 2003


It should be noted that concentration camps were first used by the British during the Boer War, and from 1899 until WWII the term did not have the underlying potential connotation of "death camp" which it has, rightfully, today. It is technically correct to call them concentration camps, because in the dictionaries of 1941 there was little difference between "internment", "concentration", and the term used by the US government, "relocation"; but one should be aware that -- like "ethnic cleansing" -- one is using a loaded and imprecise term.
posted by dhartung at 8:30 PM on February 6, 2003


absolutely stunning. thanks, mediareport.
posted by eddydamascene at 8:34 PM on February 6, 2003


"...Congressman Henry Gonzales (D, Texas) clarified the question of the existence of civilian detention camps. In an interview the congressman stated, "the truth is yes - you do have these stand by provisions, and the plans are here...whereby you could, in the name of stopping terrorism...evoke the military and arrest Americans and put
them in detention camps...." Congressmen will say just about anything, won't they?
posted by troutfishing at 9:54 PM on February 6, 2003


troutfishing, you either have to stop scaring me or start sending me free sleeping pills. :)

Btw, have you heard that part of the reason Japanese-American were interred was that FDR, despite his liberal icon status, was utterly racist against the Japanese throughout much of his life? [self-link]

Ayn Marx: Since you quoted a few people who picked the phrase "concentration camp" for specific effect,

Obvious nonsense, Ayn. Only one of the three quotes took place after the fact (Truman's) and might possibly have been an exaggeration for "specific effect."

...it must be the correct term, and anyone who believes the term has come to mean something different, and hence should be reserved for places created to kill people is, of course, mistaken.

Riiiight. *I'm* the one in this thread trying to tell someone else that "concentration camp" has only one meaning. Tell me another one, hon.

Get fucking real indeed.

Hee hee.
posted by mediareport at 11:48 PM on February 6, 2003


Just to add on to troutfishing's lure...Foundations are in place for martial law in the US
posted by dejah420 at 12:13 AM on February 7, 2003


I just believe that they (the shock radio shows) are loaded guns waiting for victims, in this case that particular politician. I just tend to question the circumstances behind any situation that arises with guest on a show like that

Fair enough, lampshade; I see your point. Still, from here in N.C. I find it hard to imagine that any mainstream FM station in Greensboro would lay that kind of trap for a 71-year-old Republican politician in a Republican-leaning district. I'll grant that the troll theory is generally a good one to consider in these situations; I just don't think it applies in this case.

Btw, MeFi'ers probably already know that Coble is a willing tool of the RIAA, but just in case anyone's forgotten...

Remember Mitch Glazier, the guy who "inserted the three sentences into the 1999 appropriations bill that changed the copyright law to read that sound recordings could be considered works for hire"? The guy who then left in February 2000 to become the RIAA's top lobbyist? Yeah, him. He was the former chief of staff to Howard Coble, who heads the House Subcommittee on Courts and [ahem] Intellectual Property.

Just in case anyone's forgotten.
posted by mediareport at 12:30 AM on February 7, 2003


ayn marx:

"Yet Auschwitz had not been created for theis ultimate role. The camp's complex history reveals a succession of purposes. At the beginning, it was an ordinary concentration camp established in a region seized from Poland and incorporated into Germany. Its original inmates were, in the main, Poles... Nothing in these early days indicated that Auschwitz would become something more than a relatively unimposing component of... Himmler's concentration camp empire...The initial function was enlarged in late winter 1940-41, when the IG Farben concern selected the area for the construction of major new plant facilities... there was an additional inducement: cheap concentration camp labor... The SS could look forward to income from the arrangment "

- well I won't quote the whole thing but later they're "restyled" as POW camps, and then in late 1941-42, the "final solution" is introduced. That's from "Auschwitz & the Final Solution" by Raul Hilberg, in the collection Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp ed. Yisrael Gutman, published by Indiana U Press, in assoc with the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Really it's the mistake of our calling the auschwitz death camps "concentration camps", not the mistake of using that phrase to describe what are actually concentration camps just because that's what auschwitz began as.
posted by mdn at 8:21 AM on February 7, 2003


Absolutely amazing. Good to see that the Canadian side of injustice is represented as well. My father and grandmother had to live through suddenly becoming an enemy in their own country. They were forced out of their homes into CONCENTRATION CAMPS. It doesn't make up for the hardship but in Canada we had redress.
posted by trillion at 8:49 AM on February 7, 2003


SweetIceT: there's a chance I still own the book. I'll mail it to you if you'd like.

Hmmm. Well, having made that offer, I suppose I'd best now root through the boxes. Back in a few minutes...

...er, right. I'm gonna leave this note here, as a reminder to myself to ask my wife...
posted by five fresh fish at 9:45 AM on February 7, 2003


trillion, survivors who had been interred by the U.S. got $20,000 each in the early 1990s.
posted by mediareport at 3:25 PM on February 7, 2003


SweetIceT: I can't readily locate the book. Sorry. It's painfully apparent, now, that I need to do some general tidying up and sorting-out.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:51 AM on February 8, 2003


Here's a a bit of a different take on the Japanese in the U.S. during WW2; imperial subjects, and 60% enemy nationals.
posted by hama7 at 3:21 PM on February 9, 2003


Eric Muller, a UNC law school prof and author of Free to Die for their Country: The Story of the Japanese American Draft Resisters in World War II, has eviscerated Sgt. Stryker's arguments (as linked by hama7) nicely. Seattle journalist David Niewert has also carefully butchered Stryker's points.

hama7, your "bit of a different take" is a bit different because it's ridiculous.
posted by mediareport at 1:01 AM on February 22, 2003


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