Materials Related to World War II Control and Internment of Civilians in the United States and Latin America
Presidential Proclamations and Executive Orders
Presidential Proclamations, Dec 1941:
Executive Order 8985, 19 Dec 1941 — establishes Office of Censorship
Executive Order 9066, 19 Feb 1942 — authorizes Secretary of War to Prescribe Military Areas
Executive order 9095, 11 Mar 1942 — establishes Office of Alien Property Custodian
Executive Order 9142, 21 Apr 1942 — authorizes certain transfers from Department of Justice to Alien Property Custodian
Presidential Proclamation 2685, 10 April 1946 — authorizes removal of alien enemies
Presidential Proclamation 2655, July 1945 — authorizes removal of alien enemies
Presidential Proclamation 2662, 8 Sept 1945 — authorizes removal of alien enemies
Congressional Hearing Reports
19 March 2009 Hearing—“Treatment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent, European Americans and Jewish Refugees during World War II” by the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law of the Committee on the Judiciary House of Representatives, One Hundred Eleventh Congress, First Session
Feb. 1942 Tolan Committee Report issued following the Tolan Committee Hearings (Select Committee Investigating National Defense Migration)
Other Congressional Actions
Senate Bill 790—In the 103 Congress, 1st session, Senator Inouye introduced this bill to award Bertha Berg, a U.S. citizen in Hawaii, the same compensation internees of Japanese descent had been given. The bill failed to pass. More on her story
Senate Bill S.658—In the 81 Congress, Senator Langer introduced this bill to prevent the deportation of Adolf Max Schmitz, a former internee, from the U.S. Mr. Schmitz was eventually declared a legal resident. More on his story
Other Documents—United States
Departments of Justice and State Memos and Reports
Bendetston to Keely, 16 Dec 1941, letter from Secretary of War to Secretary of State about applying the Geneva Convention to alien enemies
1942 “Regulations Controlling Travel and other Conduct of Aliens of Enemy Nationalities;” United States Government Printing Office, Washington, DC: 1942.
Schofield to Attorney General, 27 Mar 1942, 740.00115 EW 1939/2426, RG 59 Central Decimal File, 1940-1944; Box 2822—250/32/18/07 — arrangements for shipping, guarding, housing diplomatic and non-diplomatic prisoners
On July 15, 1942, the S.S. Drottningholm left Pier F, Jersey City, New Jersey bound for Gothenburg, Sweden, where internees were sent on to Germany and Italy, to be exchanged for U.S. citizens. An assortment of papers related to that exchange are listed here, courtesy of Shelby and Stephen Concepcion.
—partial passenger lists for this third voyage of the Drottningholm, as well the itinerary and a list of the country where each passenger from Latin America lived. NARA RG 59, State Dept, General Records, 1763 – 2002, Identifier 2530886, Box 157. (The file is large and takes time to download.)
—four page memo from the legation of Switzerland, tasked with overseeing German interests in WW II. The memo lists which internee groups the German government most wanted to those they were least interested in. NARA RG 59, State Dept, General Records, 1763 – 2002, Identifier 253088, Box 157
— partial lists of prisoners and the camps in which they were held. NARA RG 59, State Dept, General Records, 1763 – 2002, Identifier 253088, Box 157
—plans of federal agents to pick up prisoners at the various camps and transport them to Jersey City for embarkation and internee exchange on the Drottningholm. NARA RG 59, State Dept, General Records, 1763-2002, Identifier 2529528, Box 66
Department of State memo, Aug 1942, Cordell Hull to FDR Franklin D. Roosevelt Library’s Digital Collections, Series 2:Confidential File, Box 9, State Department, 1941-1942—discusses continued repatriation of enemy aliens in U.S. and Latin America in exchange for citizens held behind enemy lines
Hull to Biddle, 9 Nov 1942, 740.00115 EW 1939/4570, RG 59 Central Decimal File, 1940-1944; Box 2835—250/32/19/02 — discusses problems with repatriation process.
George Marshall Memo, 12 Dec 1942 Box 71, Subject Files, 1939-1954, Box 7; Accession Job No. N3-59-87-15, Records of the Special War Problems Division, Department of State, NA (?) — shipping of Latin Americans/exchange with Axis nations
Feb 1943 letter exchange between Jewish internees being held at Camp Kenedy, Texas and W. Bruppacher, Department of German Interests, Legation of Switzerland, charged with camp inspection and oversight of internees of German ethnicity. They express concerns about finances, censorship, and the difficulties of living “close to our worst enemies.” NARA RG 59, State Dept, Special War Problems Division, Entry 1352, Inspection Reports on War Relocation Center, 1942-46, Box 20, Kenedy 1942-1944 (courtesy of Martin Huwart, with independent researcher Satu Haase-Webb)
Raymond Ickes, Memorandum to the Minister, 30 Mar 1943: RG 84; Costa Rica; U.S. Embassy, San Jose; Classified General Records; File 711.5; UD 2353; Box 25 [Old Box 26]—350/53/27/05 — discusses procedures to decide whom to imprison, intern, repatriate
16 July 1943 memo Francis Biddle, Attorney General to Hugh B. Cox, Assistant AG and J.E. Hoover, FBI, declaring custodial detention lists “inherently unreliable” and stating they should not be used.
Department of State memos, (Wright, Bonsal, Cabot, Knapp) Nov 1943 JM Cabot to Wright and Bonsal, 15 Nov 1943 and JM Cabot to Special Division, 24 Nov 1943, in folder “Important Papers,” Name Files of Enemy Aliens 1942-8, Box 31, Special War Problems Division (SWP), RG 59, NA— exchange about keeping U.S. role in fingering Latin Americans for deportation untraceable
Bannerman to Fitch, 28 March 1944 USAT Cuba Memo, March 28, 1944; Box 71, Subject Files, 1939-1954, Box 7; Accession Job No. N3-59-87-15, Records of the Special War Problems Division, Department of State, NA — arrival and treatment of Latin Americans in Algiers, LA
Department of State memo, Nov 1945 to Latin American countries—requests Latin American countries with citizens or residents held in U.S., let U.S. officials know whether they want to resume responsibility for these individuals, or allow the U.S. to continue the task. (provided by an internee family)
30 Aug 1993 “Office of Redress Administration Announces Two New Eligibility Categories for World War II Internees”—press release authorizing redress payments for Japanese Americans born in internment camps to “volunteer internee” mothers
June-July 1940—a series of reports by the FBI, the Department of Justice, and the Office of the Solicitor General about the handling of the S.S. Columbus crew. On January 19, 1939, having scuttled their boat off Cuba to avoid its capture by the British, they were brought to Angel Island, CA March 1, 1940. National Archives Identifier: 16618915 Container Identifier: 57 Creator: President (1933-1945: Roosevelt). 1933-1945
J. Edgar Hoover to Major General Edwin Watson, 10 Dec 1941; Archival Document package “FDR and World War II,” Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library — FBI report on number of Japanese, German, and Italian aliens in custody as of 9 December, 1941.
22 Dec 1941 memo, FBI to Attorney General discusses request of General DeWitt that police provide surveillance of enemy aliens in entire west coast area
Notice to FBI Field Office (San Francisco), 19 Mar 1942, from J. Edgar Hoover re: “final disposition of alien enemy cases”
2 Jun 1942, FBI memo, Pieper (San Francisco Special Agent in Charge) to Hoover — report on meetings with General John DeWitt of the Western Defense Command and Edward Ennis, Director, Alien Enemy Control, Department of State
4 Jun 1942, FBI memo, Edward Tamm to Hoover — reports on N. J. L. Pieper meetings with Ennis and DeWitt
6 Jun 1942, Memorandum between War and Justice Departments on Enforcement of Contraband, Curfew and Travel Regulations in the Western Defense Command; signed by Ennis and Assistant Chief of Staff, War Department
FBI Bulletin No. 69, 25 November, 1942, part IA-Custodial Detention Records of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; First Series 1942; http://foia.fbi (website with specific bulletin no longer found) — orders families interned, if they wish to join family members
Feb 1944 Agents’ lists of Kenedy, Texas internees in transit, to be repatriated on the Gripsholm, anchored in Jersey City, New Jersey (courtesy of Martin Huwart, with independent researcher Satu Haase-Webb)
Feb 1944 Agents’ lists of diplomats and Crystal City, Texas internees in transit, to be repatriated on the Gripsholm, anchored in Jersey City, New Jersey (courtesy of Martin Huwart, with independent researcher Satu Haase-Webb)
Internment Camp Documents
Crystal City, Texas
Crystal City, Texas Family Internment Camp map annotated by former internee Werner Ulrich—includes plot plans, drawings of building types, and location of work areas, as well as lists of internees held in the camp, births, and deaths. Staff, including teachers and medical personnel, are listed. Which cottage each interned family lived in is also shown.
29-31 Jan 1943 Report on Crystal City Internment Camp by W.C. Bruppacker, Representative of the Swiss legation, Department of German Interests, and P.W.Herrick, Special Division, Department of State. (courtesy of Martin Huwart, with independent researcher Satu Haase-Webb)
11-12 July, 1943 Report on Visit to Alien Detention Station at Crystal City, TX by Jose M. Garay, representing the Spanish Embassy at Washington, DC, in charge of Japanese interests in the continental U.S. and Ralph J. Blake, Special Division, Department of State. (courtesy of Martin Huwart, with independent researcher Satu Haase-Webb)
26 Jan 1944 letter from J. L. O’Rourke, Officer in Charge at Crystal City to W. F. Kelly, Assistant Commissioner for Alien Control, listing the German internees’ desires regarding repatriation to Germany or Latin America
1944 Crystal City, Texas Camp Census (German American and Latin American prisoners plus one Italian family from Honduras)
1945 Crystal City, Texas Camp Census (German American and Latin American prisoners)
Crystal City, Texas Internment Camp List of Births—courtesy Anita O’Brien, whose parents Johann and Hilda Schmeelk, had a daughter, Evelyn, while interned there
Crystal City, Texas Internment Camp List of Deaths—courtesy of Werner Ulrich, a former internee, from information provided by Carmen Sanchez Diaz and Jose F. Cazares, residents of Crystal City, Texas.
1947 Immigration and Naturalization letter offering thirty day parole to internees who leave the U.S. on their own (provided by an internee)
1942-1943 photographs show men of German and Japanese ethnicity arriving at the Camp or getting ready to leave, on a special train taking them to New Jersey for “repatriation” to Germany or Japan. (courtesy of Martin Huwart, with independent researcher Satu Haase-Webb)
4 May 1942 two reports evaluate buildings, security, medical and recreational facilities and morale of detainees at Camp Kenedy and Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio, Texas. NARA RG 59, State Dept, Special War Problems Division, Entry 1352, Inspection Reports on War Relocation Center, 1942-46, Box 20, Kenedy 1942-1944 (courtesy of Martin Huwart, with rndependent researcher Satu Haase-Webb)
6 June 1942 list of twenty Germans from Guatemala transferred from the SS Florida to Camp Blanding and on to the Alien Detention Camp Kenedy.
Feb 1943 letter exchange between Jewish internees being held at Camp Kenedy, Texas and W. Bruppacher, Department of German Interests, Legation of Switzerland, charged with camp inspection and oversight of internees of German ethnicity. They express concerns about finances, censorship, and the difficulties of living “close to our worst enemies.” NARA RG 59, State Dept, Special War Problems Division, Entry 1352, Inspection Reports on War Relocation Center, 1942-46, Box 20, Kenedy 1942- 1944 (courtesy of Martin Huwart, with independent researcher Satu Haase-Webb)
13-14 Oct 1942 follow-up report on the state of the camp—buildings, security, medical and recreational facilities, and detainee morale, written by P. W. Herrick, Department of State (courtesy of Martin Huwart, with independent researcher Satu Haase-Webb)
31 Oct 1942 Camp Kenedy census (courtesy of Martin Huwart, with independent researcher Satu Haase-Webb)
Fort Lincoln, Bismarck, North Dakota
Ft. Lincoln Internment Camp Rules, in English and German, Bismarck, ND (provided by an internee’s family)
Fort Sam Houston, Texas
4 May 1942 two reports evaluate buildings, security, medical and recreational facilities and morale of detainees at Camp Kenedy and Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio, Texas. NARA RG 59, State Dept, Special War Problems Division, Entry 1352, Inspection Reports on War Relocation Center, 1942-46, Box 20, Kenedy 1942-1944 (courtesy of Martin Huwart, with independent researcher Satu Haase-Webb)
May 1942 list of internees held at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Although the report mentions prisoners of war as well as internees, all men are identified with internment serial numbers, indicating they were civilian internees. Fort Sam Houston report begins on page 15. NARA RG 389, Prov Marsh, Alien Enemy Info Bur, Rec of Alien Civ Int WWII, Box 3, Kenedy (courtesy of Martin Huwart, with independent researcher Satu Haase-Webb)
1942 map of Stringtown Internment Camp, by Army Corp of Engineers, laying out water distribution (courtesy Bill Streifer)
The Special War Problems Division, Latin America
Arrest Warrant, 2 February 1947 — warrant accusing an internee of illegal entry into U.S. (provided by an internee family)
Bell to Ennis, 7 Dec 1943 “711.5,” Costa Rica,” San José Embassy Confidential File, Box 26, RG84, stack 350, 53/27/5NA — discusses evaluation of internees’ “dangerousness.”
Department of State Press release, Nov. 1945 (provided by an internee family)
Donovan to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 26 Mar 1942—report from head of Office of Strategic Services, (precursor to the CIA), about “secret map of South America,” dividing Latin America into five sections, “which will be conquered or come under complete Nazi control.” NARA: Collection FDR-FDRPSF: President’s Secretary’s File (Franklin D. Roosevelt Administration), 1933-1945, Subject Files 1933-1945, Office of Strategic Services Reports, March 26, 1942-April 13, 1942.
German Nationals Deported by the Other American Republics Who Were Deported Via the United States, 25 April 1946 25 Apr 1946, folder 711.5, Ecuador: Quito Embassy Confidential File, Box 35, RG 84, NA — Lists 3317 individuals, mostly in family groups, sent to Europe to be exchanged for individuals being held in Germany. Dates and ships used are listed on the last page.
“German Nationals Repatriated from South and Central America” and “German Nationals Repatriated Direct from South and Central America” Records of the Special War Problems Division: Subject Files, 1939-1954; Entry A1 1357, Boxes 116 and 120, NA — Lists 1813 individuals deported directly to Europe from Latin America. Partial list of dates and ships used is on last page.
Latin American Association letter, 21 Feb 1944 — enumerates the Latin American German civilians and wounded German soldiers on board the Gripsholm on the 1944 repatriation voyage (in German)
Memorandum regarding the Activities of the United States Government, 3 Nov 1942, 3, RG 59, Subject Files, Box 180, location 250/49/23/7, Records of the Special War Problems Division, NA — discusses policies of deportation to U.S. and repatriation/how to determine “dangerousness”
Name Files List, Special War Problems Division, 1942-1948 found in “INS Records Related to the Detention of Enemy Aliens during World War II,” Historical Reference Library and Reading Room Section, Informational Service Branch, 1991
Notice to Internees from Latin America (provided by an internee family)
Report on traveling conditions of group of German citizens from Costa Rica, 22 Feb 1943: from folder 383.7, Camp Crystal City, NARA (exact location is being investigated) — Mention is made of “Negro members of the ship’s personnel” on page 2; that description was not considered a racial slur at the time. (provided by Frances Ott Allen/Art Jacobs)
Resolution Concerning Detention and Expulsion of Dangerous Axis Nationals, Approved by the Committee: May 21 1943, Transmitted to the Government June 5, 1943; (Montevideo, Uruguay), RG 84 Costa Rica; U.S. Embassy, San José; Classified General Records; File 711.5; UD 2353, Box 25 [Old Box 26]—350/53/27/05
Roster of Internees; Internees (German) Picked Up in Central America During 1943; Records Relating to German Civilian Internees During World War II, 1941-1946; entry A1 466J; Records of the Office of the Provost Marshal General, RG 389, NA.
Copy of signatures of 117 Guatemalan deportees, 1942. From S.S. Drottningholm, a Swedish ship used in exchanges of Latin American civilians to Germany — Los alemanes en Guatemala, 1828-1944, by Regina Wagner, Guatemala, 1996.
White to Lafoon memo, 30 Jan 1946 “Statistics,” Subject Files 1939-54, Box 70, Special War Problems Division, RG 59, NA — gives numbers and ethnicities of Latin Americans brought to the U.S.
Letters from Internees and Family Members
Letter to Senator William Langer from a group of Ft. Lincoln internees, Jan 1946—requests help to avoid forced repatriation (provided by an internee family)
Letter to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 31 December 1942—Theodor Graber
Letter to Francis Biddle, Attorney General of the United States, 9 February 1942—Arthur and Margarethe Mayer
Letter to family, San Jose, Costa Rica, 17 July 1942—Starr Pait Gurcke
Post-war Report on Total Number Held in Alien Enemy Control Program
Kelly to Vulliet Letter 7 August 1948 W. F. Kelly to A. Vulliet, 9 Aug 1948, reprinted in The World War Two Experience, The Internment of German-Americans, vol. IV, German-Americans in the World Wars, Arthur D. Jacobs and Joseph E. Fallon, eds. (Münich: K. G. Saur, 1996),1513 — lists total number of internees held in Alien Enemy Control Program
Documents on Other Websites
“German Clandestine Activities in South America in World War II” by David P. Mowrey (NSA) “…presents a thorough account of German intelligence organizations engaged in clandestine work in South America and a well-researched, detailed report of the U.S. response to the perceived threat. This perception was, as Mr. Mowry alludes to in his conclusions, far greater than any actual danger.”
“Agreements with enemy countries for the exchange of officials and non-officials.” United States Department of State/Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1942. General; the British Commonwealth; the Far East (1942); p 285-449. University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.
18 Aug 1942, Report on Visit to Detention Stations for Civilian Internees in the United States of America (25-28 Jun 1942); Dr. Max Habicht, Delegate for the War Prisoners of the Legation of Switzerland, Washington, D.C.
The Proclaimed List of Certain Blocked Nationals: July 17, 1941. Contains Presidential Proclamation 2497 authorizing a Proclaimed List and includes information for the press. Found on Fraser Federal Reserve Archive website.
The Proclaimed List of Certain Blocked Nationals: Revision II, May 12, 1942. United States Printing Office, Washington, 1942. Found on Fraser Federal Reserve Archive website. (The list begins on page 3.) Also see Blacklists provided by internee families under The Special War Problems Division, Latin America.
The Internment of German and Italian Aliens Compared with the Internment of Japanese Aliens in the United States during World War II: a Brief History and Analysis. Peter B. Sherman, analyst in American National Government, Government Division. 24 Nov 1980.
These are only a few of the many ships carrying Latin Americans to U.S. internment facilities. Some are large documents and may take additional time to download. All manifests were found on-line. New Orleans Passenger Lists, 1820-1945 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2006. Original data: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New Orleans, Louisiana, 1903-1945. Microfilm publication T905. 189 rolls. RG 85, and California Passenger and Crew Lists, 1893-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: varied; Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85; NA.
SS Ernest Hinds, January 1942, docked in New Orleans, Louisiana
SS Etolin, April 1942, docked in California
SS Florida, April 1942, docked in New Orleans, Louisiana
SS Atlantida, June 1942, docked in New Orleans, Louisiana (note written comments in column 12)
USAT Evangeline, June 1942, docked in Tampa, Florida (two of six pages)
USAT John T. Clem, June 1942, docked in New Orleans, Louisiana
SS Florida, July 1942, docked in New Orleans, Louisiana
USAT Cuba, October 1942, docked in New Orleans, Louisiana (pgs. 5, 6–Note line 2: Leo Friedman; line 5: Eric Joseph; and line 6: Leo Keiles, are listed as Jewish)
USAT Puebla, February 1943, docked in San Pedro, California
USAT Cuba, November 1943, docked in New Orleans, Louisiana
USAT Colonel Frederick C. Johnson, October 1944, docked in New Orleans, Louisiana
These photographs show a few of the vessels used to transport internees to the U.S. or to Axis countries during WW II. Found on-line through Ancestry.com. Passenger Ships and Images [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009. Original data; various reference sources.