Monday, May 27, 2013

Hidden History: The Other Internment Camps

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!


Old Kitty said...

Oh this totally happened in the UK too - many were thought of as spies etc. Some were interned or deported. It's certainly a very sad and traumatic part of both world wars. Take care

Jennette Marie Powell said...

Don't think I ever heard about these specifically, but I guess I expected there would have been something for those suspected to be sympathizers of the other Axis nations as well. I remember reading that in Dayton, people with German names were often viewed with suspicion during WWI, even though Germans had begun immigrating to the area in the 1830s!

shelly said...

I have no doubt about any of this. There are a lot of things our government shrouds in secrecy.

Hugs and chocolate,

Shelly said...

I've heard only a little of this, and your post makes me want to dig deeper and find out more. My goodness- I just googled Camp Kenedy and it is not far from where I live- wow! I am going to be researching. Thank you for the post~

Maria McKenzie said...

@Old Kitty: I didn't realize that happened in the UK, but it doesn't surprise me. So sad.

@Jennette: Lots of Germans immigrated to Cincinnati too way back in the 1800's. I've read that many changed their names during WWII to hide their German ancestry.

@Shelly: Isn't it the truth! Sometimes I feel that ignrance is bliss. Sometimes I learn things that I wish I hadn't known:(.

@Shelly: That's amazing! Not something you'll read about in the local Chamber of Commerce material.

Romance Book Haven said...

Hmmm...Interesting! I want to find out more now.


Maria McKenzie said...

Hi, Nas! Yeah, this isn't something you hear about every day.

Maria said...

My goodness. I know well about the concentration camps in during WW2. As a child, many of the novels I read and films and television programmes I watched featured WW2 stories so I've long known about the horrible side of the war even though my own country, Ireland, was neutral. My has just done a project on WW2 in her school holidays and with the proliferation of information on the internet, I have read some very upsetting stuff indeed about concentration and internment camps in Europe. It's a horrible thing to happen to families. I admire you for tackling such difficult subjects on your blog.

Maria McKenzie said...

Thanks, Maria. After posting this, I leanred about the internment camps in Europe. Very sad.

William Kendall said...

We had internment camps and other restrictions placed on those of descent of Japanese, German, and Italian descent here during the war... and similar sort of restrictions based on the configurations of the first world war as well.

Haddock said...

Don't remember reading about this. Will look up at the link given about personal stories.

Intangible Hearts said...

I've seen the Japanese interment camp on the way to the mountains in California. Manzanar or something like that.