Ten thousand people lived here for a period of time. They began arriving on September 11, 1942 with the clothes on their backs and one suitcase each. From the blue waters of the San Francisco Bay to a big blue sky of Utah, families complied with President Roosevelt's Executive order 9066. They sold or gave away everything in their homes in only ten days' time.
Janiell voice is a gentle, sing song. She tells the story of Shigura Karomoto, a young man remanded to the camp. or "Shigs" as she referred to him, was a cowboy working at a local farm. While her family scrounged for enough to eat in a small shack on her family's farm, Shigs and the people of the camp "ate as good a diet as enlisted military." They had a hospital at the camp with good doctors, not the "kitchen table doctoring" of the town. She said that the people of the camp who worked were paid just under the rate of military personnel. "The wind blew on us just the same," she said, while searching for a sympathetic ear for the plight of her people. However, the differences were too great for me to feel such compassion for her and her family.
Jane, a tall, stoic-faced woman met us there. She's no-nonsense about her version of the internment camp story. Jane's version is quite different.
She defend's the very fact that 10,000 people came to a place far different from their home in California. She makes no bones about the living conditions and has skillfully compiled information regarding the housing, the latrines, the lines for food. With Jane, I feel the heaviness of U.S. Government decisions to keep the public safe.
Chiura Obata, as well as many people imprisoned at Topaz discovered the ability to flow with the current of their circumstances. There is a delicate balance to be reached between discipline and dissonance. We are tasked with such a journey now.
Chiura Obata, as well as many people imprisoned at Topaz discovered the ability to flow with the current of their circumstances. To share bathrooms and living spaces, be kept in areas by barb wire. And yet, Mr. Obata, like so many of the Americans interned at Topaz, sought beauty and usefulness every day. Some even went so far as to die for our country.
There is a delicate balance to be reached between discipline and dissonance. We are tasked with such a journey now.