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Temporary Detention Centers

Obeying "evacuation" notice orders, Japanese Americans boarded trucks, buses, and trains. They were transported to what the Army called "Assembly Centers." Fifteen transit detention camps were set up in converted racetracks and fairgrounds.

Children of the Camps
:33 Min.


"And I remember the soldiers marching us to the army tank. I looked at their rifles and I was just terrified because it had this long knife at the end."

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Many families lived in horse stalls under unsanitary conditions, often by open sewers. Others occupied hastily constructed barracks. Toilet and bathing facilities were communal and devoid of privacy.

Barbed wire fences and armed guard towers with guns facing toward the inmates surrounded these compounds. They were, in fact, prisons.

Inmates stood in line for everything, including meals, latrines, supplies and services. Meals were nutritionally inadequate, medical care, minimal.

But as prison life evolved, inmates helped organize essential services. They worked in the camp offices, canteens, mess halls, hospitals, and schools, among other places, and earned wages, paid with script, of $8 to $16 per month for a 44-hour week.

next topic Permanent WRA Camps



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