Tule Lake Concentration Camp Pilgrimage

cicerone imposter
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 10:57 am
@cicerone imposter,
Klub Klondike.

Player piano; a few left.

Interior scene.

Poster in the men's restroom.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/P2050151.jpg The men will enjoy this one!

The Oregon Institute of Technology.

The first assembly of attendees.

Site of the dedication ceremony (prison in the background).

The plaque.

This is what reminded me of the camp.

Castle Rock.

This is the "other" mountain that was on the opposite side of our camp.
The locals called it "abalone mountain," but the prisoners called it "pancake mountain."

This is a picture of the backside of Castle Rock that we never saw while in camp. There are petroglyphs that are over 5,000 years old made by the Modoc Indians here. (I'll post a little history about the Modoc's later in this travelogue.)

Residence hall at OIT (our home for three nites).

Local newspaper article on the dedication.

I'll write up a bit more about the pilgrimage today, and post it by tonite.

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cicerone imposter
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 11:36 am
July 3 " continued:

We were bussed to the Tule Lake fire station for our lunch. They removed all the firetrucks from the building, and set up long tables with chairs to accommodate 410+ people to feed. It was buffet-style, but the offering were three different kinds of sandwiches and soft-drinks including bottled water. They had rented two huge air conditioners that measured about five feet square to keep the room relatively cool.

After lunch, we returned to the camp and was given an overview bus tour of the camp, and shown where the hospital, school and barracks were located. Each block had two latrines, a laundry room, and an iron room in the middle of the barracks. A messhall at one corner of the block were two barracks put together. We stopped at where block 74 stood, and looked at the foundation of where the men and women latrines once stood. The holes for the toilets without any partitions/privacy, the middle room where wash basins were located, and the last room where the showers were located. Adjacent to the shower room was the boiler room where a huge tank was located. Many of the prisoners in camp built Japanese-style wooden tubs, and our block 27 was no exception. Our room number was 2706D. It didn't matter how small or large the family was, they were assigned only one room. The end units were a bit larger than the two inside rooms. Because our uncle was active in the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) in Oakland, California, before the war, he managed the assignment of rooms for the families, and he gave us the end unit for our family of four (our mother with three children). The Buddhist minister from Sacramento with a family of five were assigned an inside unit, and they complained bitterly to the camp's administration.

Our next stop was the Tule Lake Camp, a prisoner of war (POW) camp where Japanese, German and Italian prisoners were held to help with the harvesting of produce because most of the local men were gone serving our country.

On our way to the Tule Lake Camp, we were able to see the backside of Castle Rock with the high cliffs that were used as part of the fence to keep the prisoners inside the camp, and the petroglyphs of the Modoc Indians.

Although we were informed about the Modoc Indians during our bus ride, I took the following from Wiki (with similar information):

The Modoc tribe is a group of Native American people who originally lived in the area which is now northeastern California and central Southern Oregon. They are currently divided between Oregon and Oklahoma. The latter are a federally-recognized tribe, the Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma. The Oregon Modocs are enrolled in the federally-recognized Klamath Tribes.[1]
Modoc County, California, and Modoc, Indiana are named for this group of people.

Main article: Modoc War
In November 1872, the U.S. Army was sent to Lost River to attempt to force the Keintpuash's band back to the reservation. A battle broke out, and the Modocs escaped to Captain Jack's Stronghold in what is now Lava Beds National Monument, California. The band of 60-90 warriors was able to hold off the 3,000 troops of the U.S. Army for several months, defeating them in combat several times. In April 1873, the Modocs left the Stronghold and began to splinter. Keintpuash and his group were the last captured on June 4, 1873 when they voluntarily gave themselves up, after assurances from the U.S. government that their people would be treated fairly and that all of the warriors would be allowed to live on their own land. Keintpuash and three of his warriors were hanged in October 1873 for the murder of Major General Edward Canby, after the general violated agreements that had been made with the Modocs, and the rest of the band was sent to Oklahoma as prisoners of war with Scarfaced Charley as their chief. The tribe's spiritual leader, Curley Headed Doctor also made the voyage to Indian Territory.[3]
In the 1870s, Peter Cooper brought Indians to speak to Indian rights groups in eastern cities. One of the delegations was from the Modoc and Klamath tribes. In 1907, the group in Oklahoma was given permission, if they wished, to return to Oregon. Several did, but most stayed at their new home.

I'm posting this section now, because there seems to be some problems with long posts on my computer.
cicerone imposter
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 11:53 am
The site of the latrines of block 74.

This picture shows both mountains taken during our way to the POW camp.

Inside one of the POW barracks shaped like a "U." This was also used by the Conservation Corp after the war. They had just finished putting in a new floor to this section of the barracks.

A picture of the German prisoners.

A national park ranger provided our group with some information, but I listened very little of what she said, and spent most of the time walking around the camp site. I read and looked at the information and pictures on the wall that provided enough info for my needs - or interest.

bbq for dinner at the Tule Lake fire station.

Our "dining hall."

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Merry Andrew
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 12:01 pm
Great pix and fine reporting, c.i. Keep it coming!
0 Replies
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 12:37 pm
I have lived in Modoc county (Tulelake area) for over 30 years and have passed by the camp more times than I can remember but will now pass it with a greater respect. I had the pleasure of working at OIT this past week preparing and serving meals to some 400 people each meal. I was so impressed with the group that attended the pilgrimage. I saw more smiles and was given more thank yous more than I ever deserved. It was so much more than a pleasure to serve all of you. Again I thank you for sharing your smiles with me. Thanks CC
cicerone imposter
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 12:55 pm
Some sidebar:

The attendees were made up of many age groups, and those 80 and over were provided this pilgrimage free of charge, because they are the ones able to provide us with the information of their experiences during the war years and camp life.

Although past pilgrimages were held every two years, the TLC has planned to make this an annual event to take advantage of those older people who are able to share their personal experiences.

Some attendees have participated in all 17 pilgrimages, and many were first-timers like my wife and I. Some have participated in several. It was also good to see some teenagers, and some who were born in the camps. Many couples of mixed marriages were also attendees that included Chinese, German and other European and Hispanic names.

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cicerone imposter
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 02:00 pm
July 4, Saturday:

The second and last day of the pilgrimage was spent on the campus for intergenerational discussion groups, shared remembrances at the OIT auditorium, workshops, and at the Klamath Falls theater for the farewell program.

Our intergenerational group had eleven participants with one moderator, Paul, who provided us with guidelines for our group which included the whole group followed by smaller groups. Our group had two people who were prisoners at Tule Lake, myself and another gentleman from the Los Angeles area. Both of us shared our experiences which were quite different because of our ages. His resentment about his imprisonment was the opposite from mine; he was angry, disappointed, and discouraged, whereas I saw it as an opportunity to play with many friends. It also explains the difference how age impacts our perception of our life experiences. Children are better able to accept and acclimate into our environment much easier, because we have very little responsibility to our families, and children readily accept how we live no matter how good or how bad our living conditions are.

We had one participant in our group from Southern California who was born in camp, married a Chinese woman, and had two children, a boy and a girl. Their daughter, a junior in high school, was in our small discussion group, and she told us about her perceptions about this pilgrimage.
She told us she learned a great deal about their father's background that was new to her, but since her father was but an infant in camp, that's not surprising. She also shared with us that she really didn't have any plans for college or a career path, so we suggested that she talk to her counselor at school to begin looking at her interests and career fields.

After lunch, we gathered in the OIT auditorium for Shared Remembrances. There were many interesting stories shared, but one especially from a 90-year old man who was sent to Japan after the war. He told us about the many hardships he suffered in Japan, because even his so-called family didn't want him to live with them. He ended up working at the US Army hospital for seven years, and became friends with the commander who in turn got him introduced to the the US Council General to get him repatriated back to the US because he was a US citizen. Through those contacts, he met many VIPs, and eventually was returned to the USA.

Another story was shared by a woman who was molested by a Japanese man when she was ten years old. After the war, she went for an interview as a telephone solicitor for a company, and at the interview was asked to demonstrate her ability to speak on the telephone to potential customers. After she ended with her name, I'm Marion Masada, the interviewer told her to use the name “Graves.” She just picked up her purse and walked out. She got the biggest ovation, because her potential employer was telling her to dismiss who she was as a Japanese, and she refused!

My wife and I attended the workshop titled “Concentration Camps vs. Relocation Centers, Internees vs. Prisoners.” The session was headed by James Hirabayashi, Emeritus Professor, SFSU; Don Hatta, Emeritus Professor at CSU Dominguez Hills; and George Nakano, former California State Assemblyman from Los Angeles.

What most of us have known during and after the war was the inaccurate terms used by the US government to minimize and distort what really happened to US citizens.

Some background on why the Japanese were imprisoned.

From Wiki:
United States Executive Order 9066 was a presidential executive order issued during World War II by U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on February 19, 1942 to send Japanese Americans to internment camps.
This order authorized the Secretary of War and U.S. armed forces commanders to declare areas of the United States as military areas "from which any or all persons may be excluded," although it did not name any nationality or ethnic group. It was eventually applied to one-third of the land area of the U.S. (mostly in the West) and was used against those with "Foreign Enemy Ancestry" " Japanese, Italians, and Germans.
The order led to the Japanese American internment in which some 120,000 ethnic Japanese people were held in internment camps for the duration of the war. Of the Japanese interned, 62 percent were Nisei (American-born, second-generation Japanese American) or Sansei (third-generation Japanese American) and the rest were Issei (Japanese immigrants and resident aliens, first-generation Japanese American).
In addition, 11,000 people of German ancestry were also interned as were 3,000 people of Italian ancestry, along with some Jewish refugees. The Jewish refugees who were interned came out of Germany and the U.S. Government didn't differentiate between ethnic Jew and ethnic German. Some of these internees of European descent were interned for a brief time and others were interned for several years beyond the War's end. Like the Japanese internees, these smaller groups had American born Citizens in their numbers, especially children. It is also reported that a few members of ethnicities of minor Axis countries were interned, but documentation is limited on that aspect.
According to Stephen Fox's Uncivil Liberties, Executive Order 9066 also forced uncounted thousand of Italian permanent residents and American Citizens to have to leave their homes through relocation.
Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson was to assist those residents of such an area who were excluded with transport, food, shelter, and other accommodations.
Americans of Japanese ancestry were by far the most widely-affected, as all persons with Japanese ancestry were removed from the West Coast and southern Arizona, including orphan infants. In Hawaii, however, where there were 140,000 Japanese nationals (constituting 37 percent of the population), only selected individuals of heightened perceived risk were interned. Even though such actions would have appeared even more congruent with strategic concerns, the political and economic implications of such a move would have been overwhelming. The Japanese were only vulnerable on the mainland. Americans of Italian and German ancestry were also targeted by these restrictions, including internment. As then California Attorney General Earl Warren put it, "When we are dealing with the Caucasian race we have methods that will test the loyalty of them. But when we deal with the Japanese, we are on an entirely different field."

My notes: Even those with 1/16th Japanese blood were considered enemy aliens. Also, I have become more aware of how articles such as this one in Wiki use the term “internment” rather than “concentration.” This is also perpetrated by many Japanese Americans who have become accustomed to using “internment” or “relocation” rather than the true term “concentration camp.” The German camps for Jews were really “death camps,” and not “concentration camps.” Some Jews, even today, tell us that our use of “concentration camp” is wrong. One of the speakers had a discussion recently with a Jew, and was told our use of the word was wrong, but he retorted, are you going to let Hitler determine the use of that word? He got no response. The term "concentration camp" was first used to describe the situation during the Boer War in Africa.

From Sulair:
Concentration Camps during the South African / Boer War, 1899-1902
I think the English used this term.

“Relocation” seems to imply that the government assisted Japanese Americans to move freely to the camps.

Earl Warren later became our state governor, and an advocate for the Japanese Americans when he became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. As a matter of record, the Japanese Americans during WWII served in the US military with honor, winning more presidential citations and medals of valor. Only recently did our government recognize the Japanese American Medal of Honor winners although one was given posthumously to Pfc Sadao Munemori during the war, and one was given recently to Daniel Inouye, the congressman from Hawaii who served on the 442nd Infantry in Italy and France. They were also the unit that freed the prisoners at Dachau. The Jewish community in and around the San Francisco Bay Area have welcomed the members of the 442nd to thank them in the past.

Our family and many families at Tule Lake stayed for the duration the camp was open for 3.5 years. It seemed longer to me as a child, but it also seemed much larger. Even the latrine we visited seemed so small today compared to when we lived there.
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cicerone imposter
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 03:02 pm
Some interim pictures during our two days.
Oral recording at OIT. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/P7040249.jpg

Inside the prison.http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/P2060196a.jpg http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/P2060199.jpg

Some more things we learned at the pilgrimage:
Don Herzig found government documents that lied about the incarceration of Americans, and found many top level government officials who used the correct term "concentration" when discussing the removal of citizens from the West Coast, but ended up using "relocation."

Because of the discrimination against Japanese Americans during WWII, many Chinese wore signs on their clothing that said "I'm Chinese." This was probably necessary because many businesses had signs that said "No Japs Allowed."

One of the bus drivers, Don, told some of us about the 1,000 cranes that were made by attendees at the pilgrimage. There was a young girl who was sent to Klamath Falls after she died from the camp, and her wish was that someone would make the 1,000 cranes for her wish to come true after she left this world to a better place. They were displayed at the dedication site and also at OIT.

Hiroshi Kashiwagi, a no-no attendee read a poem he wrote in Tule Lake.

Tule Lake Segregation Camp had 28 watch towers.

Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani was born in Sacramento, California, was discovered by Linda Hattendorf in the Soho District of New York City as a homeless artist after the war. She became his "sponsor" and eventually took him into her own apartment to live. She also became his advocate, and assisted him to apply for his social security benefits even though Jimmy first refused to accept government handouts, because our government took away everything they had to ship us off to the camp. The most amazing part of this story is that she filmed most of what happened since she first met up with Jimmy, and ended up making a documentary from it. They were both at the pilgrimage, their second. Jimmy had a table in the souvenir section selling his "cat" and other artworks of Tule Lake.

On our bus ride home, one of the TLC shared a show on the bus' tv screen about Jimmy that was produced by Linda Hattendorf. When 9-11 happened, that's when Linda took in Jimmy into her apartment, because the outside air was so polluted from the destruction of the twin towers.

Jimmy's art work on the cover of the pilgrimage booklet.


He also sang a Japanese song at the farewell program.

The last event at the Ross Raglan Theater in downtown Klamath Falls.

The first program was to give plaques and scrolls of appreciation for the Tule Lake Segregation Center National Monument to two individuals.

At our arrival in the early evening.

The MC for the evening.

Koto music by a master and teacher, Barbara Muramoto.

San Jose Taiko (Japanese drum corp) performed. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/IMG_2777.jpg

I'll post some after-thoughts after I post this one. I'm sure there are more pictures that I can find to post. I hope you enjoyed this pilgrimage as much as I.

Sayonara for now.

0 Replies
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 03:18 pm
CI I got chicken skin looking at these photos and your comments. Thank you.
cicerone imposter
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 04:03 pm
Canby, A huge thank you for posting on this thread. Your comment about how the attendees made an impression upon you made an impression on me also. It was a mixed feeling between pride, understanding, and how well everybody got along during this event - even between the diverse generations. I left this pilgrimage feeling more than just satisfied with an excellent event for myself, but it seemed it was successful for everybody there - including our bus drivers and the staff working at OIT. On our drive home, our bus driver, Jerry Kennedy, spoke to us and said how much he learned about the Japanese Americans of our country, and even apologized, and called us his friends. This was his first pilgrimage.

All the staff at OIT treated us very well, and I intend to write the school's administration about it. And thank you again for the great service we received for the four days we were at OIT.
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cicerone imposter
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 04:06 pm
Sglass, Glad you dropped by to peak at the too large blurred pictures. I'm not sure how to correct that problem, because the original pictures seems to be very clear.

I hope to see you and Merry Andrew in Austin come September.

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Merry Andrew
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 04:23 pm
Great stuff, Tak!

For those few of you not familiar with the history, the 442d Regimental Combat Team (which incorporated the all-Nisei 100th Infantry Battalion) was the most decorated combat unit of its size in the histyory of the US Army. Made up entirely of Japanese-Americans, most of them from Hawaii, some from the West Coast, it spearheaded the US assault across Italy and in the Vosges mountains of France. The 100th earned the nickname 'The Purple Heart Battalion' because of the high casualty rate it sustained, mostly due to the near reckless courage of these American soldiers of Japanese descent.

For many men of the right age, joining the US armed forces was a quick way out of the concentration camps. In the begining, however, they were not welcome. Following Pearl Harbor, there was a rush of Japanese-American men to Army recruitment offices in an effort to demonstrate their loyalty to the USA and their rejection of the policies and tactics of the current Japanese government. They were rebuffed. Only those already drafted were allowed to stay in the army and, in most cases, they were quickly disarmed and given menial jobs to perform. The original 100th Inf. Bn. (Independent) was forged from these semi-rejects. They were transported to the mainland with some secrecy and were trained first at an army base in Wisconsin, then in Mississippi. Those fluent in the Japanese language (and, believe it or not, these were a minority) were recruited to join the Intelligence Corps and were sent as interpreters And translators to Pacific bases. But the majority ended up in the ETO as part of the invasion force at Salerno.

Their casualty rate was so high that it became difficult to find replacements of the same ethnic group, something which, at the time, was considered desirable. Most of the replacements for the 100th came from the ranks of the 442d RCT, the main body of which was still stateside. Eventually, of course, the 442d was sent to North Africa and, from there, to Europe. The 100th was incorporated into the 442d as the 1st Battalion of this three-battalion regimental team. But, in recognition of its glorious record, the 100th was allowed to keep its original designation as the 100 Bn., rather than being redesignated 1st Bn., 442d RCT.

Sorry for interrupting your thread with this history lesson, c.i., but I think far too many haoles are unfamiliar with the patriotism and military courage of the Nisei during World War II.
cicerone imposter
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 04:23 pm
I tried to download the moving pictures of the Taiko drum playing, but couldn't do it.

Some of the speakers at the dedication ceremony:
The Mayor of Tule Lake.
National Park Service District Manager.

A Buddhist priest for the memorial service.

Some pictures from the POW camp.

PJ Hirabayashi (center) co-founder of San Jose Taiko.

Our intergenerational discussion group.

A view of Mt Shasta on our way home.

One of our rest stops.

Crossing a new bridge at Pinole (this was my first time crossing this bridge, because we usually travel a different route when we go towards Sacramento/Reno. We used to call this area "Pinch hole" because the cops gave out so many traffic violation tickets in the old days.)

The Oakland coliseum.

The Union City, Southern Alameda Buddhist Church, to drop off some passengers.

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cicerone imposter
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 04:34 pm
@Merry Andrew,
Merry Andrew, Thank you for your contribution to this thread. I've heard most of what you wrote, but you put it into words that wraps it up in just a few paragraphs. Appreciate the fact that a) you know the history, and b) you shared your knowledge here.
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Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 06:56 pm
I would like to think that at least the internees did not have to steal food from each other, as stories abound about the German camps. Did the people get decent meals? Enough food?
cicerone imposter
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 07:10 pm
It's interesting that you ask that question, because the people responsible for delivering the food to the camps stole a good deal of the food and sold them on the black market - especially the meats. I heard several older attendees complain about the quality and quantity of the food, but as a young child, I didn't know anything about quantity or quality.
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cicerone imposter
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 07:19 pm
I also need to make a correction; there were two camps in Arkansas. The camps were located at: 1) Manzanar, CA; 2) Tule Lake, CA; 3) Poston, AZ; 4) Gila, AZ; 5) Minidoka, ID; 6) Heart Mountain, WY; 7) Granada, CO; 8) Topaz, UT; 9) Rohwer, AR; and 10) Jerome, AR.

There were also four Justice Department Internment Camps at 1) Santa Fe, NM; 2) Bismark ND; 3) Crystral City, TX; and 4) Missoula, MT.

There were 15 Assembly Centers before the prisoners were sent to the concentration camps; one each in Washington, Oregon and Arizona, and the rest in California. Some were housed in horse barns at race tracks.
0 Replies
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 07:35 pm
Oh wow! This is amazing CI. Thank you!
cicerone imposter
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 07:38 pm
Several other issues of interest:
After 9-11, the JACL assisted the Arab Americans with both advocacy and legal representation.

During the war, 2,000 Japanese living in South America were brought to the US, and treated as enemy aliens. Some were used as prisoners of war to exchange them for the prisoners being held by the enemy. Some young Japanese Americans are now trying to advocate on their behalf for redress from the American government.

My wife's family escaped to Colorado before the action was taken to send us to the concentration camps, because Governor Carr of Colorado was the only top official of a state that welcomed the Japanese Americans to come to his state. He served only one term, because of this. About 25-years ago, the Japanese American community built a memorial for him in Denver.

Finally, I have always been thankful that I was born an American citizen, because of all the opportunities provided us in this country. As a youngster, I remember several Caucasians telling me to "go back home where you came from." My home is here in the USA, because I am third generation American - full blood, because our grandfather came to this country in 1893. I'm not sure how much more American we can be.

Some of our generation can still speak and write Japanese fluently, but I'm at the bottom rung of those who can still understand a little of the spoken and written Japanese language. Our children do not speak any Japanese.

Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 07:59 pm
@cicerone imposter,
cicerone imposter wrote:

Finally, I have always been thankful that I was born an American citizen, because of all the opportunities provided us in this country. As a youngster, I remember several Caucasians telling me to "go back home where you came from." My home is here in the USA, because I am third generation American - full blood, because our grandfather came to this country in 1893. I'm not sure how much more American we can be.

Hey, the folks that greeted Columbus, and other European explorers were of Asian descent, having originally come from Siberia. This country has yet to develop an American ethnicity in all locales, since it takes time for everyone in the country to mix and mingle. The diversity is what makes America strong.

Also, with the coming age of robots, Japan will become a closer ally, since they are on the cutting edge of robot technology. In my opinion, expect to hear of young educated Japanese being offered nice positions in the U.S.

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A history lesson about American government - Question by cicerone imposter
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