2008 National Conference » Events

Enemy Alien Internment: Human/Civil Rights, the WWII Crystal City Camp, and Contemporary America

Karen Ebel, President, German American Internee Coalition

Yae Aihara
Grace Shimizu

Topic: Different Views on the Incarceration
Date: Saturday, July 5, 2008
Time: 2:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.
Location: Capitol 2 & 3, 4th Floor

Although not widely known, during World War II the Immigration and Naturalization Service, under the authority of the Justice Department, operated some twenty internment camps. Three of them were located in Texas: Seagoville, Kenedy, and Crystal City. Crystal City was the largest and, like the others, it interned not only Issei from the mainland and Hawai`i, but also Japanese, German, and Italians from twelve Latin America countries, who deported them to the United States for imprisonment. The population of Crystal City, which closed in December 1947, peaked at about 4,000 in May 1945. While this camp boasted family living units, Crystal City was characterized by governing policies and actions very much like the civil and human rights violations suffered by immigrant communities in the post-9/11 U.S. This session’s panelists, with roots in Crystal City’s multiple populations, will discuss the camp both from a grounded historical perspective and an enlarged contemporary frame of reference.

JANM_EnduringCommunities_20080705-enemy-alien-internment.mp3 (16.3 MB)