Did You Know: George Takei Grew Up in Japanese American Internment Camp during World War II

Here's something I didn't know about Star Trek star George Takei: he and his family were sent to live in a Japanese internment camp during World War II.

Takei wrote in Huffington Post:

Over seventy years ago, my family and I were forced from our home in Los Angeles at gunpoint by U.S. soldiers and sent to Rohwer, all because we happened to look like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor. I was just five years old, and would spend much of my childhood behind barbed wire in that camp and, later, another in California called Tule Lake. One hundred twenty thousand other Japanese Americans from the West Coast suffered a similar fate.

I was the keynote speaker at the dedication ceremony of the museum. [...] After the dedication ceremony, we moved on to the actual Rohwer camp site about 20 minutes away.

One of the audio kiosks is placed just about at the site of the crude barrack that housed my family and me -- block 6, barrack 2, unit F. We were little more than numbers to our jailers, each of us given a tag to wear to camp like a piece of luggage. My tag was 12832-C.

Read more over at HuffPo | YouTube clip - via Neatorama's Facebook page (Thanks Adam Liston!)


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Are you insane? It's like saying that the descendants of black slaves now enjoy the benefits of the American life, so it's all good! The internment of Japanese Americans (I emphasize that these were citizens, many born in the U.S.A.) was an act unbecoming and unworthy of the ideals that we cherish in this country. Citizens of Italian and German descent were not put under official blanket suspicion or placed in camps en masse. Concerns over sleeper agents among Japanese Americans were clearly prompted as much by racism as military considerations. This last statement is in agreement with the official U.S. position on the internment, signed by President Reagan.
The internment also involved forfeiture of property, including valuable farmland and businesses on the West Coast. With few exceptions, in which friends and neighbors purchased property at auction and held it in trust against the return of their interned neighbors, property was transferred to others and never returned at the end of the internment. The unsafe, impoverished and harsh environment of the camps resulted in many deaths of innocent and loyal citizens. Many of the internees proved up their loyalty with their lives by fighting in the most decorated military unit deployed in the war: the 442nd Infantry Regiment. Even while their families languished unjustly in primitive and dangerous conditions in the mountains of California, the Japanese-American fighters of the 442nd advanced the cause of the nation that turned against them.
The infamous Executive Order 9066 should serve as a reminder to all that war hysteria will make monsters of us all. The shameful acts surrounding the internment must not be minimized.
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