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The WW-II Japanese-American Relocation Camps

The roadside marker just east of Jerome, Idaho

February 19, 1942-Executive Order 9066
President Franklin D. Roosevelt this day signed Executive Order 9066, ordering all Japanese persons living on the West Coast of the United States relocated from their homes to relocation camps in the western part of the United States and as far east as Arkansas. Most of those ordered to relocate were US citizens and some were Japanese Nationals.

Active entry into WW-II for the United States had begun two months earlier on December 7, 1941, with the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan. Pearl Harbor became the rallying point for the entire United States and sentiment toward the Japanese people hardened. Amid cries that the "only good Jap was a dead Jap", the large Japanese community living on the West Coast was considered a special threat. This attitude was spurred on by fears that the Japanese were next expected to attack the West Coast. Japanese submarines had been spotted off the coast of California and the West Coast was closest to Japan and the same enemy fleet that had attacked Pearl Harbor. As a result, the entire ethnic Japanese community on the West Coast was ordered evacuated to relocation camps inland.

Evacuees were told to report on a specified day and time to Civilian Control Stations, where they were tagged and later transported to their assigned evacuation center. They were permitted to bring only bedding, toiletries and limited personal items. In many cases they were forced to leave behind their homes and businesses or forced to sell to bargain hunters at a pittance.

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Minidoka Internment Camp, Hunt, Idaho

9318 Interned at the Minidoka Relocation Center
There were ten major internment camps. One camp, the subject of this brief photo-essay was the Minidoka Internment Camp near the Hunt, Idaho Post Office 13 miles due east of Jerome, Idaho. Contrary to many reports, the camp was not at Minidoka, Idaho. Occupation of the Minidoka Internment Camp began on August 10, 1942 and continued until October 28, 1945. Most of the Japanese sent to the Minidoka Camp were from the Seattle and Portland area. At its peak, 9,318 (Takeuchi) ethnic Japanese lived here. Life at the Minidoka Japanese Internment Camp can be summed up by scorching heat and billowing clouds of dust in the summer and freezing cold, snow and wind in the winter. The sagebrush desert near Hunt, Idaho in 1942 was not a hospitable place, especially in a tarpaper barracks with no insulation.

This webpage in not intended to be a lengthy treatise on the subject of the WW-II Japanese internment but only a place to display some photos. The tarpaper shacks and harsh conditions shown in the photos will allow site visitors to understand how difficult living conditions were and how painful the internment was for those involved.

No charges were ever filed against them.

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