2008 National Conference » Events

Betrayal on Trial: Japanese American 'Treason' in World War II and the 1944 Trial of the Shitara Sisters

Eric Muller, Dan K. Moore Distinguished Professor, University of North Carolina School of Law

Topic: Passing It Forward
Date: Friday, July 4, 2008
Time: 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: Capitol 4, 4th Floor

We often hear that there was not a single documented incident of pro-Axis subversive activity by an American citizen of Japanese ancestry during the war. This is almost entirely true -- but not entirely. In a federal court trial in Denver in 1944, three Japanese American sisters were convicted of conspiracy to commit treason for helping two German prisoners-of-war escape from a POW camp. In this talk, Professor Eric Muller will tell the remarkable story of this now-forgotten trial, and will show how the prosecutor's case against the three sisters depended on the very sorts of dangerous stereotypes that had led to the incarceration of all Japanese Americans in 1942.

An article written by Eric Muller about this topic is available on-line.

JANM_EnduringCommunities_20080704-betrayal-on-trial.mp3 (21.9 MB)