Description of Japanese Internment Camps

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Granada War Relocation Center
Located in Amache (Granada) Colorado this camp had a peak population of 7,318 Japanese Americans mainly from California. This camp opened on August 24th, 1942 and closed on October 15th, 1945; within this time there were 120 deaths, and 31 volunteers to fight in the war. Conditions in this camp were primitive; there was no insulation or furniture in the barracks, and they were heated through coal-burning stoves. The Granada center became the tenth largest city in Colorado and had its own hospital, post office, schools, and stores.

Gila River
Out of all the Japanese internment camps the Gila River Relocation Camp was the most laidback and sympathetic to the evacuees, there was only one watchtower and the barbed-wire fences were removed early on. It was opened on July 20th, 1942 and closed on November 10th, 1945 and had a population of 13,348 at its peak. Camp administrators were so sympathetic to the thousands of Japanese Americans in this camp that they were lenient in giving them access to Phoenix and recreational activities in the surrounding areas, which was very rare. Gila River was a showplace compared to the other camps, with rougher conditions. Eleanor Roosevelt made a surprise visit in 1943 to look into allegations of special treatment to the evacuees.

Heart Mountain Relocation Center
Opening on August 12th, 1942; the Heart Mountain Internment in Wyoming held up to 10,767 evacuees at any point. Unlike the climate that the mostly Southern Californian Japanese-Americans were not used to the cold climate, which resulted in lots of illness and an overcrowding hospital. Dissimilar to the Gila River Relocation Camp with one watchtower, the Heart Mountain Camp had nine watchtowers with military police and searchlights. Within the camp, ran a garment factory, the produced silk would usually be made into posters for the navy and other camps. In early 1945 evacuees were allowed to return back to the West Coast with $25 and a train ticket, but by June 1945 only 2,000 people had left, It wasn’t until November 10, 1945 when the last trainload of evacuees left Heart Mountain.

Jerome Internment Camp
At its peak containing 8,497 Japanese Americans, Jerome Internment Camp was the shortest lasting relocation camp, only being open 634 days from October 6th, 1942 and closing June 30th, 1944. This camp in particular was very hard for the West Coast evacuees to adjust to due to rain which resulted in mud, humidity which caused mosquitos to flourish and spread malaria, there were also surrounded with snakes which contained some of the deadliest snakes in America. Jerome was also the only site to report shooting by civilians, which had happened several times at this camp. The first of the ten relocation camps to close, the Jerome Internment Camp was later used as a German POW camp until the end of the war and the remaining evacuees were sent to the Rohwer Relocation Center 30 miles away.

Manzanar Relocation Center
Located 5 miles south of independence California, Manzanar Relocation Center was open from March 21st, 1942 to November 21st, 1945. To help the war effort many worked at Manzanar’s camouflage netting factory, and others joined the army. The conditions of this camp were very similar to the others with no heating or furniture. Manzanar included an orphanage known as Children’s Village, for the Japanese American orphans half of who lived in Caucasian foster homes. On December 6th, 1942, the most serious of civil disturbances occurred in Manzanar, a man was charged for beating another man in his sleep and sent to jail. After this incident 1,000’s of evacuees protested for him to be released, Center director brought back the man to the camp jail, but this still angered the protesters. Administrators called for more military police because the protestors were now arming themselves with any weapons they could find. While the protestors kept pushing soldiers fired into the crowd and...
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