Monday, April 1, 2019

Hidden History: The Other Internment Camps

I just read Lisa See's wonderful novel China Dolls, and part of the story takes place in a Japanese internment camp. It brought to mind this story that I posted back in 2013.

I think everyone is familiar with the disgraceful legacy of internment camps for Americans of Japanese descent during World War II.  However, if you're like me, you probably didn't know that internment camps existed for German and Italian Americans, as well.  

Family of Ludwig Eberhardt. Eberhardt was interred at Camp Kenedy in Texas

The World War II experience of thousands of German Americans, to most,  is an unknown.  During World War II, the U.S. government and many Americans viewed German Americans and others of "enemy ancestry" as potentially dangerous, particularly immigrants.  The government used many interrelated, constitutionally questionable methods to control persons of German ancestry, including internment, individual and group exclusion from military zones, internee exchanges, deportation, repatriation, "alien enemy" registration, travel restrictions and property confiscation.
 The human cost of these civil liberties violations was high.  Families were disrupted, if not destroyed, reputations ruined, homes and belongings lost.  By the end of the war, 11,000 persons of German ancestry, including many American-born children, were interned. 
 Pressured by the United States, Latin American governments collectively arrested at least 4,050 German Latin Americans.  Most were shipped in dark boat holds to the United States and interned.  At least 2,000 Germans, German Americans and Latin American internees were later exchanged for Americans and Latin Americans held by the Third Reich in Germany.
Apparently, this is one of those historical facts shrouded in secrecy.  To learn more, as well as read personal stories,  visit The Freedom of Information Times.

Is this a part of history you're familiar with?  If so, how did you learn about it?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Originally posted 5/27/13

4 comments:

William Kendall said...

There were similar programs here.

Maria McKenzie said...

I had no idea there were internment camps (or something similar) in Canada!

Lydia Schoch said...

I didn't know there were internment camps for German and Italian Americans. Wow.

Maria McKenzie said...

@Lydia: I didn't know either until a few years ago. Shocking!