Congressional Report—”Treatment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent, European Americans and Jewish Refugees during World War II”
19 March 2009 Hearing Report—”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, 111th Congress, 1st Session, including oral and written testimony by GAIC board members, John Christgau, Heidi Gurcke Donald and Karen Ebel.
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TREATMENT OF LATIN AMERICANS OF JAPANESE DESCENT, EUROPEAN AMERICANS, AND JEWISH REFUGEES DURING WORLD WAR II
HEARING BEFORE THE
SUBCOMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION,
CITIZENSHIP, REFUGEES, BORDER SECURITY,
AND INTERNATIONAL LAW
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ONE HUNDRED ELEVENTH CONGRESS
MARCH 19, 2009
Serial No. 111–13
Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
Available via the World Wide Web: http://judiciary.house.gov
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 48–322 PDF WASHINGTON : 2009
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
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Internet: bookstore.gpo.gov Fax: (202) 512–2104
Phone: toll free (866) 512–1800; DC area (202) 512–1800 Mail: Stop IDCC, Washington, DC 20402–0001
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California RICK BOUCHER, Virginia
JERROLD NADLER, New York ROBERT C. ‘‘BOBBY’’ SCOTT, Virginia MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina ZOE LOFGREN, California
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MAXINE WATERS, California
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
STEVE COHEN, Tennessee
HENRY C. ‘‘HANK’’ JOHNSON, JR.,
PEDRO PIERLUISI, Puerto Rico
LUIS V. GUTIERREZ, Illinois
BRAD SHERMAN, California
TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin
CHARLES A. GONZALEZ, Texas ANTHONY D. WEINER, New York
ADAM B. SCHIFF, California
LINDA T. SA ́NCHEZ, California
DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, Florida DANIEL MAFFEI, New York
LAMAR SMITH, Texas
F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, JR.,
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina ELTON GALLEGLY, California BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia DANIEL E. LUNGREN, California DARRELL E. ISSA, California
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia STEVE KING, Iowa
TRENT FRANKS, Arizona
LOUIE GOHMERT, Texas
JIM JORDAN, Ohio
TED POE, Texas
JASON CHAFFETZ, Utah
TOM ROONEY, Florida
GREGG HARPER, Mississippi
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY JOHN CONYERS, JR., Michigan, Chairman
PERRY APELBAUM, Majority Staff Director and Chief Counsel SEAN MCLAUGHLIN, Minority Chief of Staff and General Counsel
SUBCOMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION, CITIZENSHIP, REFUGEES, BORDER SECURITY, AND INTERNATIONAL LAW
ZOE LOFGREN, California, Chairwoman
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HOWARD L. BERMAN, California SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MAXINE WATERS, California
PEDRO PIERLUISI, Puerto Rico
LUIS V. GUTIERREZ, Illinois
LINDA T. SA ́NCHEZ, California ANTHONY D. WEINER, New York CHARLES A. GONZALEZ, Texas WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
STEVE KING, Iowa
GREGG HARPER, Mississippi ELTON GALLEGLY, California DANIEL E. LUNGREN, California TED POE, Texas
JASON CHAFFETZ, Utah
UR MENDOZA JADDOU, Chief Counsel GEORGE FISHMAN, Minority Counsel
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C O NT E N T S MARCH 19, 2009
The Honorable Zoe Lofgren, a Representative in Congress from the State
of California, and Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law ……………………………………. 1
The Honorable Steve King, a Representative in Congress from the State
of Iowa, and Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law ……………………………………. 4
Mr. Daniel M. Masterson, Professor of Latin American History, U.S. Naval Academy
Oral Testimony ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 6 Prepared Statement ………………………………………………………………………………… 8
Ms. Grace Shimizu, Director, Japanese Peruvian Oral History Project (JPOHP)
Oral Testimony ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 11 Prepared Statement ………………………………………………………………………………… 12
Ms. Libia Yamamoto, former Japanese of Latin American Descent Internee
Oral Testimony ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 14 Prepared Statement ………………………………………………………………………………… 16
Mr. John Christgau, author of ‘‘Enemies: World War II Alien Internment’’
Oral Testimony ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 25 Prepared Statement ………………………………………………………………………………… 27
Ms. Karen E. Ebel, President, German American Internee Coalition
Oral Testimony ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 31 Prepared Statement ………………………………………………………………………………… 33
Ms. Heidi Gurcke Donald, Board and Founding Member, German American Internee Coalition
Oral Testimony ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 40 Prepared Statement ………………………………………………………………………………… 42
Mr. John Fonte, Director of Center for American Common Culture and Senior Fellow, Hudson Instutute
Oral Testimony ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 48 Prepared Statement ………………………………………………………………………………… 49
Mr. David A. Harris, Executive Director, American Jewish Committee (AJC)
Oral Testimony ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 62 Prepared Statement ………………………………………………………………………………… 64
Mr. Leo Bretholz, author of ‘‘Leap Into Darkness’’
Oral Testimony ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 67 Prepared Statement ………………………………………………………………………………… 68
Mr. Valery Bazarov, Director of Location and Family History Service, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
Oral Testimony ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 70 Prepared Statement ………………………………………………………………………………… 72
Mr. Michael Horowitz, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute
Oral Testimony ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 81 Prepared Statement ………………………………………………………………………………… 83
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MATERIAL SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING RECORD
Prepared Statement of the Honorable Zoe Lofgren, a Representative in Con-
gress from the State of California, and Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International
Law ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 93
Prepared Statement of the Honorable John Conyers, Jr., a Representative
in Congress from the State of Michigan, and Chairman, Committee on
the Judiciary …………………………………………………………………………………………… 93
Prepared Statement of the Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee, a Representative
in Congress from the State of Texas, and Member, Subcommittee on Immi- gration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law ……. 94
Additional Material submitted for the Record ……………………………………………… 95 OFFICIAL HEARING RECORD
MATERIAL SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING RECORD BUT NOT REPRINTED
‘‘Last Man Out: Glenn McDole, USMC, Survivor of the Palawan Massacre in World War II,’’ by Bob Wilbanks
‘‘The Misplaced American,’’ based on the memoirs of Elsie, Karl, Henry, Marta, Lisbeth, Armin and Ursula Vogt, by Ursula Vogt Potter
‘‘We Were Not the Enemy: Remembering the United States’ Latin-American Civilian Interment Program of World War II,’’ by Heidi Gurcke Donald
‘‘From the Heart’s Closet,’’ A Young Girl’s World War II Story, by Anneliese ‘‘Lee’’ Krauter
‘‘Magic: The untold story of U.S. Intelligence and evacuation of Japanese Residents from the West Coast During WWII,’’ by David D. Lowman
‘‘Enemies: World War II Alien Internment,’’ by John Christgau
TREATMENT OF LATIN AMERICANS OF JAPA- NESE DESCENT, EUROPEAN AMERICANS, AND JEWISH REFUGEES DURING WORLD WAR II
THURSDAY, MARCH 19, 2009
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, SUBCOMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION, CITIZENSHIP,
REFUGEES, BORDER SECURITY, AND INTERNATIONAL LAW COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 12:15 p.m., in room 2237, Rayburn House Office Building, the Honorable Zoe Lofgren (Chairwoman of the Subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Lofgren, Sa ́nchez, Waters, King, and Lungren.
Also present: Representative Wexler.
Staff present: Ur Mendoza Jaddou, Majority Subcommittee Chief Counsel; Andre ́s Jimenez, Majority Professional Staff Member; and Andrea Loving, Minority Counsel.
Ms. LOFGREN. The Subcommittee will come to order. This is a hearing not on any bills, but on the issues of a part of our U.S. his- tory that many of us are unfamiliar with. Much is known about the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, partly due to the enactment of the Commission on Wartime Reloca- tion and Internment of Civilians Act in 1980, the commission’s re- port in 1983, and the subsequent Civil Liberties Act of 1988, that provided an official apology.
What is not as well-known to today is the mistreatment of thou- sands of Japanese and European Latin Americans, European Americans, and Jewish refugees prior to and during World War II. The 1980 commission did detail the mistreatment of Japanese, Ger- man, and Italian Latin Americans, but only in the appendix of the report. It also included one chapter, 13, on the mistreatment of German and Italian Americans in the United States.
Further, no recommendations were made on these populations; no apology, as was done for the Japanese internment, pursuant of the Civil Liberties Act. And I think it is time for this history to be fully heard and considered.
As I mentioned, although there are two bills that have been re- ferred to the Subcommittee concerning the issues we are examining today, this is not a legislative hearing. Before we consider specific legislation on an issue that many are very unfamiliar with, it is im-
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portant that we learn the facts and listen to the history to deter- mine whether legislation is the appropriate response. If it is, we will then turn to those referred to this Subcommittee and examine whether the specific language in the bills is appropriate or whether amendments would be needed.
I welcome comments in the bills and will consider them if we de- cide to move legislation in the area. Today, however, I am particu- larly interested in learning about the issue and whether another commission is indeed necessary to review history that has not been told in an adequate way.
Before recognizing the Ranking Member, I would like to ask unanimous consent to submit to the record a statement from our colleague, Congressman Becerra, and without objection that is made a part of the record and I would also like to note the presence of our colleague and my fellow Santa Fean, Congressman Mike Honda, who is here with us.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Becerra follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE XAVIER BECERRA, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Chairwoman Lofgren, Ranking Member King and distinguished members of the subcommittee, thank you for scheduling today’s hearing. I appreciate your efforts to examine the United States government’s treatment of Latin Americans of Japanese descent during World War II, an issue and a community whose story been over- looked far too long.
To ensure that the United States properly examined this issue, I introduced H.R. 42, the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent Act. This legislation establishes a commission to investigate and review the facts relating to the abduction and internment of Japanese Latin Ameri- cans during World War II by the U.S. government.
Before I proceed any further, I would like to thank Grace Shimizu, Libia Yamamoto, and Professor Daniel Masterson who will be testifying in the first panel of today’s hearing. Their extensive knowledge and poignant stories of the Japanese Latin American experience will provide valuable insight and a deeper under- standing of the tragedy this community endured during World War II.
I would also like to recognize and honor the wonderful men and women of the Campaign for Justice and the Japanese American Citizens League for their con- structive advice and indispensable support. These groups can be an invaluable re- source to this committee as you continue to study this issue.
Finally, I want to thank Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, a decorated World War II hero and an exemplary public servant who has been a tireless advocate in moving the Japanese Latin American issue forward in the Senate.
Nearly 70 years ago, nations of the world engaged in a battle that determined if the principles of democracy would be the predominant form of government around the world. When the Empire of Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, the United States entered World War II and led the battle to topple tyranny and restore liberty. However, in the course of this unrelenting and necessary fight, the government took extraordinary actions under the mantle of domestic security and sent 120,000 Japa- nese Americans to internment camps across the country. Even as U.S. servicemen fought in the Pacific to liberate Allied soldiers from Imperial Japanese prisons, our own government held thousands of people in camps across the country solely on the basis of their ethnic background.
It took another thirty five years for America to come to terms with and acknowl- edge its egregious actions during the war. In 1980, Congress established the Com- mission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians and charged it with the responsibility of reviewing the facts and circumstances surrounding the internment of people of Japanese descent and to recommend appropriate remedies. After twenty days of hearings, testimony from 750 witnesses, and review of thousands of govern- ment and military records, the Commission concluded that internment of Japanese Americans was the result of racism and wartime hysteria. Their findings vindicated these loyal Americans and President Ronald Reagan’s signing of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 brought closure for thousands who suffered unspeakable indignities and tremendous losses.
Unfortunately, the Commission did not fully address our government’s treatment of Japanese Latin Americans. As a result, Japanese Latin Americans who were un- justly abducted and interned by the U.S. continue to live with the painful memories of those lost years. Many remain hopeful they will one day be able to have their important accounts included in the official narrative.
Art Shibayama is one of the few remaining living Japanese Latin American in- ternee and he anxiously waits every day to share his experiences before time runs out. Art served this nation as a corporal in the U.S. Army from 1952 to 1954. Like many veterans, he was not born in the U.S. He was born in Lima, Peru to Isseis, first generation immigrants from Fukuoka, Japan. Despite uncertainty and war rav- aging abroad, Art and his family had an idyllic life. His parents had a thriving tex- tile business and he spent leisure time with his two brothers, three sisters and grandparents. That life ended when the entire Shibayama family was detained and transported to an internment facility in Crystal City, Texas. In addition to losing all their material belongings, Art’s grandparents were forcibly sent to Japan shortly after the family’s arrival in the United States. Art and his family never saw them again. After two and a half years in the internment camp, he and his family were released and they moved to Seabrook Farms, New Jersey and then to Chicago in 1949. After receiving his citizenship in 1970, Art moved to California where he con- tinues to reside today. Art was unable to travel to participate in today’s hearing, but I want him to know that he is in our thoughts at this moment.
Art’s experience is not uncommon. There are hundreds of other internees from Latin America who can tell similar stories about the fear endured while being led out of their home at gunpoint, about the trauma of a 21-day boat ride from Peru to New Orleans and of the humiliation of being forced to strip naked upon arrival in the U.S. and sprayed with insecticides. Others can share vivid accounts of living in the squalor of an internment camp barrack, the emotions of being a ‘‘stateless’’ person facing language barriers and having to traverse the federal bureaucracy to obtain legal resident status, and about the heartbreak of being permanently sepa- rated from a family member. This is the reality thousands of Japanese Latin Ameri- cans faced.
In fact, approximately 2,300 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry were abducted from 13 Latin American countries and deported to internment camps in the United States during the World War II. The U.S. government orchestrated and financed this operation with the intention of using these individuals as hostages in exchange for Americans held by Japan. Over 800 people, some who were second or third generation Latin Americans and had no familial or linguistic ties to Japan, were used in two prisoner of war exchanges. This was the ultimate fate of Art Shibayama’s grandparents. Some of the remaining detainees were held in U.S. in- ternment camps until after the end of the war.
The virtue of our nation lies in its ability to reconcile the past and come to terms with its mistakes. There is no better way to do so than to complete the historical narrative on this part of our nation’s history. In the appendix of the Commission’s report to Congress, Personal Justice Denied, the federal government’s role in kid- napping and detaining Japanese Latin Americans was recognized. However, the Commission acknowledged it had not researched documents that existed in distant archives or received official testimony from government officials or internees. Sur- viving internees must be given the opportunity to testify so they may have the clo- sure and justice they deserve.
H.R. 42, the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Latin Ameri- cans of Japanese Descent Act, would establish an official record of this tragic inci- dent in American history. Nine commissioners appointed by the President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the President pro tempore of the Sen- ate would be charged with holding public hearings and submitting a report of their findings and recommending appropriate actions to Congress.
Madam Chair, thank you for examining the issue of our government’s treatment of Japanese Latin Americans during World War II. With the advanced age of many of the remaining internees, there is an urgent need to act expeditiously. I urge this committee to promptly consider and report H.R. 42 so that surviving Japanese Latin American internees can finally have their experiences registered in the official ac- count of our nation’s history. I look forward to working with you and my colleagues to pass the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent Act.
Ms. LOFGREN. Mr. King, you are recognized.
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Mr. KING. Thank you, Madam Chair. I want to thank the wit- nesses in advance.
Congress and the Executive Branch have addressed the issue of World War II internment many times. In fact, a quick perusal of the issue finds no fewer than four pieces of legislation passed by Congress and enacted into law. Two sets of amendments made to some made some of the point that legislation at least two commis- sions established to report on the issue, at least four occasions when the Federal Government financially compensated individuals for their relocation, two apologies from the office of the President of the United States, and at least $2 billion spent investigating, re- searching, and providing compensation to individuals affected by these policies.
There is no shortage of the Federal Government’s acknowledge- ment of the World War II relocation policies. What I might point out, however, is that I could find relatively little mention of the country’s predicament at the time of the enactment of these poli- cies, and then-President Franklin Roosevelt’s issuing of Executive Order 9066, which was on February 19 of 1942.
The context is that the United States was being attacked in an all-out global war that we did not seek. U.S. citizens were being killed. The future of civilized society lay in the balance, and the President has a responsibility to protect the population from future attack and from the theft of military and intelligence secrets and acts of sabotage by our enemies.
There have been a few writings on the issue. For instance, David Lowman, former special assistant to the director of the National Security Agency, wrote about espionage tactics by the Japanese that involved soliciting Japanese Americans to spy on U.S. institu- tions. I would have liked to have invited Mr. Lowman to testify today, but he is deceased; however, he did testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee about this same topic in June 1984.
I also looked at the report of the Commission of Wartime Reloca- tion and Internment of Civilians, thinking it would surely mention the intelligence gathered by the Roosevelt administration as a rea- son for the enacting of the relocation policies, but there didn’t seem to be any mention of it in that report either. In fact, Mr. Lowman points out in his book, the commission concluded, ‘‘The commission concluded that there was no evidence of espionage by west coast Japanese residents.’’
He does go on to note that the commission overlooked the intel- ligence on the subject which was charged to—which it was charged to investigate and that this same intelligence was the reason Exec- utive Order 9066 was issued by President Roosevelt in the first place. Such a rewriting of history is indefensible and does a dis- service to good people who had to make tough decisions in trying times.
Maybe what we need is a commission on useful accounting of the espionage, sabotage, and pro-Nazi, pro-Hitler agitation that did take place on our shores before and during World War II. I under- stand that there have been some groups of people not included in the reports previously issued on the topic of treatment of civilians during World War II. But how many more times will we be forced to revisit this issue?
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To establish a commission to review how U.S. government treat- ed every person during World War II is ludicrous, yet that is ex- actly where we are heading each time this issue is raised. There is no getting around the fact that the Federal Government must take appropriate actions during times of war to protect its citizens.
In fact, our founding fathers recognized, and they recognized that when they enacted the Alien Enemies Act; that was in 1798. Not taking necessary action would be abdicating perhaps the foremost responsibility of the Federal Government: to protect its population from those who would do us harm.
Let me also discuss, briefly, where I think this is going and what kind of a pattern that we are in. We held at least one hearing in the last Congress on slavery reparations. We have had a President who apologized to an entire continent for slavery—for America’s act in slavery. And I will point out that when we judge our prede- cessors by contemporary values, we always lose something in that contextual analysis.
When a nation is under attack—well, let me just take it back to slavery. When you have a—I think that we deserve a lot of credit as a Nation and as a civilization for eradicating slavery, and yet we are wallowing in a guilt for these generations for sins that were committed by previous generations. I think we need to recognize the accurate history and do so objectively, but I don’t think that we can legitimately atone for those mistakes by rewarding the third generation of people who perhaps were disenfranchised for a time.
And I think we have to take this into the context of, President Roosevelt had intelligence; he acted on that intelligence, whether or not it was in good faith. We can’t really help the people that had their lives altered by that.
But I would also point out that we are not here talking about reparations or compensation for the descendents of those who were killed in World War II, that same war where about 450,000 Ameri- cans lost their lives—and in fact, there is a missing generation there for those children that were never born because their fathers were killed defending the freedom that we enjoy. So if we are really serious about compensating those who have suffered an injustice, it more goes to those who have had their parents lose their lives in these previous wars.
And I want to add, also, that, you know, this pattern of finding another victims group and finding a way to reach into the pocket of the American taxpayer and eventually, through this process, whether it is at not a formal hearing today, but eventually we get to this point where there is a request for reparations and a request for an appropriation. This is the process, this is the pattern, and I don’t think that America has enough to be guilty about that we ought to be wallowing in self-guilt here today, under the third and fourth generation, and that is biblical.
And if I could just conclude my statement, Madam Chair, I would do so in a sentence, and that is that it has been reported that about 645,000 slaves were brought into this country, and I would say that there is also a reference to about 1.25 million Chris- tian slaves who were also enslaved in the previous centuries, and I hear no mention of that as well. So let us get on with our future lives and stop wallowing in this thing that we would propose upon
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our ancestors that would be a request for funding from today’s pro- ducers.
I thank you, and I yield back.
Ms. LOFGREN. The gentleman’s time is expired. I am going to in- troduce the witnesses and ask unanimous consent that your full statements be made part of the official record. And we have time for 5 minutes of oral testimony; I am going to be strict on the 5 minutes because we have many witnesses today, and we want to make sure they all have a chance to be heard.
So let me first introduce the first panel. We have Professor Dan- iel Masterson, who teaches Latin American history at the Naval Academy. He has written extensively on militarism, insurgencies, immigration, race relations. He has a number of important books to his credit, and we are pleased to have him as a witness today.
We also have Grace Shimizu, who is the director of the Japanese Peruvian Oral History Project and the coordinator for the Cam- paign for Justice: Redress Now for Japanese Latin Americans. She is also the project director of a groundbreaking traveling exhibit, and we are very pleased that she is here all the way from Cali- fornia to be a witness for us today.
And finally, I would like to introduce Libia Dideko Mauki Yamamoto. Ms. Yamamoto was born is Chiclayo, Peru, at the age of seven was interned in the Crystal City Internment Camp in Texas. After release from camp, she and her family resettled in California. She is the founding member of the Japanese Peruvian Oral History Project. She is trilingual, in English, Spanish, and Japanese, and lectures often about her internment experiences. And she is a resident of Richmond, California, and we are grateful to her as well, coming all the way from California.
We have this little machine, and when the light turns yellow it means you only have 1 minute left; and when the light turns red it means your 5 minutes are up and I will ask you to cede the testi- mony to the next witness.
If we could begin with you, Professor Masterson? Could you turn on your microphone?
TESTIMONY OF DANIEL M. MASTERSON, PROFESSOR OF LATIN AMERICAN HISTORY, U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY
Mr. MASTERSON. Okay. Thank you all for inviting me and giving me an opportunity to speak on this issue. I have studied and writ- ten on this for about 20 years, but my books don’t exactly reach bestseller proportions, so I think it needs a wider audience, to say the least.
I just want to do three things today as quickly as I can: to talk about the Japanese relocation and internment issue, to speak about the nature about the Japanese in Latin America, and also to look at the question of whether or not a commission should go ahead and address this issue with wider study.
The internment issue, I think, is only known to a small number of scholars and the participants themselves, despite the fact that there are a number of books written on this topic. We obviously had a situation between 1942 and 1945 in Latin America where the United States felt compelled to, number one—this was one option— to have the Latin American governments intern their own Japa-
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nese, which they did. This was the case in Mexico; this was the case in Brazil; this was the case in Paraguay. Those nations chose not to participate in the internment and relocation process.
Twenty-two hundred and sixty or so chose—the representative governments chose to send 2,260 to the United States in the reloca- tion process, which was primarily designed not so much for inter- nal security issues, but for a prisoner exchange to Japan. Ulti- mately, about 1,400 of these ended up in Japan in a prisoner ex- change, primarily because they entered the United States as state- less citizens; their passports were taken from them upon their de- parture from Peru, in most cases, where there were about 1,800 Pe- ruvian nationals who were essentially sent over.
What this does, basically, is establish a precedent for prisoner ex- change, which, in many instances, thefts the credibility of inter- national law, at this point. Many of these people were selected not through a systematic process of identification and counter-espio- nage activity, but rather through dragnets in Lima, Peru, for exam- ple, where the Lima police, in most cases, simply selected an indi- vidual or someone who was easily available.
The third secretary of the Peruvian embassy at this point, a man named John Emerson, looked upon this situation very carefully from 1943 through 1945 and said it was a very haphazard process, one in which—it did not involve a systematic detaining of Latin American Japanese who were primarily perceived of as a difficult— I should say a possibility for espionage threats. These people even- tually ended up in war-torn Japan without recourse for the citizen- ship status, because Peru would not accept them back when the United States chose to deport them between 1943 and 1945—actu- ally through 1947.
Now, were they guilty of espionage? This is a question which has to be addressed, perhaps in the pursuit of this commission, but I have looked—and a number of other people have looked—at Fed- eral Bureau of Investigation files available at the Franklin Roo- sevelt Library in New York, and they concluded, as did John Emer- son, that there was no evidence of any espionage whatsoever with- in the realm of the Peruvian Japanese or the Japanese Peruvians during World War II. The FBI was given responsibility for counter- espionage activities in Latin America, and they pursued this quite diligently in Peru, quite diligently in Panama, where the Panama- nians in Japan were interned, and their files are available for fur- ther perusal, which would be, I think, a very good possibility for some future commission to justify this point.
Who were these Japanese Peruvians? Who were these Japanese Latin Americans? They came from the southern prefectures of Japan beginning in 1899; they went to Mexico, where they were cotton farmers; they went to Mexico and northern Mexico to work on the railroads; they worked as miners; in Brazil they worked as coffee pickers. They ended up, in many cases, in Brazil upon estab- lished colonies in the interior, in San Paulo state, and became some of the most productive agriculturalists in all of Brazil.
In Peru, they came as sugarcane cutters, where almost imme- diately they found the conditions on the sugarcane fields to be so abhorrent that they fled and ended up in large numbers in Lima, Peru. About 85 percent of all Japanese Peruvians today live in
Lima. There, they established very profitable commercial enter- prises and, in fact, became the commercial backbone of many Lima businesses.
Small numbers of these business memcores were basically just trying to survive, and I think I would be instrumental to point out one of them. He was the father of Alberto Fujimori, who was——
Ms. LOFGREN. Professor, we are going to ask you to wrap up be- cause your time is expired.
Mr. MASTERSON. Okay. I am wrapping up.
He was the father of Alberto Fujimori, who later became presi- dent of Peru. He, like many thousands of Japanese Peruvians, had his property seized during World War II.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Masterson follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF DANIEL M. MASTERSON
It is well known that the great trauma of World War II caused untold suffering for tens of millions of people throughout the world. Nearly forgotten in the context of this enormous tragedy is the fate of more than two thousand Japanese Latin Americans. Their war time experience in many ways mirrors that of the 120,000 people of Japanese heritage in the United States who were interned for most of the duration of the War in camps throughout the Western United States. But in impor- tant ways these Japanese Latin Americas were even more vulnerable and their cir- cumstances even more devastating than their U.S. counterparts. These Japanese residents of eight different Latin American nations, were arrested often without charges, briefly detained and then deported to the United States for internment in camps in the Southwest. Most significantly, before entering the United States these deportees were compelled to turn over their passports to U.S. officials. They thus entered the United States as ‘‘illegal aliens’ making them subject to deportation once their internment in the U.S came to an end. When the vast majority of their former Latin American nations refused to allow them to return after the War, these detainees became ‘‘stateless’’ and unwilling refugees who were powerless to prevent their deportation to devastated post war Japan. Over the past two decades a hand- ful of historians, journalists and activists have attempted to shed light on the story of these individuals whom one historian called ‘‘Pawns in a Triangle of Hate.’’ This committee hearing represents a very important effort to further U.S. government awareness of misguided U.S. policy during the World War II years.
JAPANESE LATIN AMERICANS
Who were these Japanese Latin Americans, why did they emigrate, and what prompted some Latin American governments to willing cooperate in their deporta- tion to the U.S. and not others? The first Japanese emigrants arrived in Mexico and Peru in the late 1890’s. Within a decade thousands more would settle in Brazil, which would become home to nearly 200,000 Japanese-Brazilians by the beginning of World War II. These emigrants came mainly from the poorest southern prefec- tures of Japan and the Ryukyu islands, mainly Okinawa. Seeking relief from in- creasing agrarian and working class unrest, the Japanese government saw emigra- tion as a ‘‘safety valve’’ that might relieve some of the suffering caused by the na- tion’s rapid modernization during the Meiji era.1
In Mexico these Japanese emigrants settled in Baja California and successfully raised cotton, They also worked in the mines and on the railroads of the Northern states of Coahuila, Sonora, and Durango. In Peru, mostly male Japanese emigrants were enlisted as contract laborers to work in coastal sugar and cotton plantations. Terrible working conditions on these coastal estates drove many of them to flee and settle in Lima where they turned to small scale commerce and the building trades with good success. By World War II, at least 75 per cent of Peru’s Japanese lived in the Lima metropolitan area where they proved vulnerable to government agents once the deportation process began.
Brazil received the largest number of Japan emigrants because it needed laborers for its huge coffee estates and because large tracts of land were available in its Southern states of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Japan heavily subsidized the es-
1 Taoke Endoh, Exporting Japan: The Politics of Emigration in Latin America (Urbana: Uni- versity of Illinois Press, 2009).
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tablishment of Japanese colonies in Brazil in the hope that it would become the principal haven for its overseas Japanese. This policy succeeded as Brazil today has more people of Japanese descent (1.2 million) than any nation outside of Japan.
Most Japanese who migrated to Latin America did so with a sojourner mentality. That is, they firmly intended to return to Japan after their hard earned savings al- lowed them to live comfortably ‘‘near the bones of their ancestors.’’ But this hope was rarely realized. Instead, the vast majority of the Japanese established tightly knit and comforting communities within the Latin American nations. Japanese cul- ture flourished within these communities, Japanese schools taught the Japanese language and Japanese language newspapers kept the news of Japan and these communities available to their readers. The vitality of the Japanese communities cultural bonds was both a great strength, and a telling weakness. The insularity of the Japanese in Latin America caused them to be accused of being unwilling to as- similate. Of course, this same accusation could have been leveled against other eth- nic groups, but it rarely was. In fact, Peru’s most prominent Japanese, Alberto Fujimori took pride in being more Peruvian than Japanese. He was educated in non Japanese Schools in Peru, France and Milwaukee and distanced himself from the Japanese community when he ran for president in 1990.
The 1930’s saw Latin America’s Japanese face increasing resentment brought on by their relative economic success in the midst of the Depression as well as Japan’s increasing militarism. Prior to World War II, for example, Japanese-Brazilian farm- ers were eight times as productive as their Brazilian counterparts.2 Still, the na- tions with the two largest Japanese populations, Brazil and Peru enacted legislation that effectively ended Japanese emigration to their countries. Brazil’s president Getulio Vargas issued decrees that severely restricted the Japanese communities’ activities. Most importantly, Japanese-Brazilian schools were closed and the use Japanese language was prohibited in public. In May 1940, the worst anti-Japanese riots to occur in the Western Hemisphere flared in the capital’s Japanese neighbor- hoods and in the agricultural centers of Chancay and Huaral. Fueled by false ru- mors Japanese military activities, two days of nearly unrestrained destruction and looting of Japanese properties ruined the livelihoods of many Japanese-Peruvians. Nearly every Japanese-Peruvian business was either completely destroyed or badly damaged. In Lima police stood by while the rioters wrought their havoc. The cap- ital’s major newspapers choose not to report on the riots.3
ARREST, DEPORTATION AND INTERNMENT:
Washington had plans for the internment of Japanese-Latin Americas a few months before Pearl Harbor. These plans called for the round up of Panama small group of four hundred Japanese and relocate them on the isthmus. The protection of the Canal was indeed the primary reason given for the interment of Japanese Latin Americans on the west coast of South America. The other primary reason: the exchange of Japanese-Latin Americans for United States citizens caught behind Japanese military lines seems to have been suggested by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, George Marshall and
Secretary of State Cordell Hull in late 1942. The U.S. citizens in question num- bered 7,000 civilians captured in China, the Philippines, Guam and Wake Island.4 Hull advocated the deportation and internment of Japanese Latin Americans for the specific
PLANS FOR INTERNMENT
purposes of exchange. The Secretary of State seemed indifferent to the fact that many of these potential deportees were second generation Nisei and had never seen Japan. Hull at one point advocated the removal of all Japanese from Latin America for security purposes, not seeming to be aware of the enormous logistical, diplomatic or legal implications of this policy. Relocating Brazil 200,000 Japanese was never even a remote policy, even if the that country’s leadership had that intention. Since the Japanese were Brazil’s most productive farmers, that hardly seemed possible. President Franklin Roosevelt even weighed in on the issue of internment. Com- menting on the supposedly delightful climate of the Galapagos Island, F.D.R. sug-
2 Daniel M. Masterson, with Sayaka Funada Classen, The Japanese in Latin America (Ur- bana, Illinois: 2003), 131
3 Ibid, 156–157.
4 George Marshall to Commanding General Caribbean Defense Command, 11 December 1942, National Archives, College Park, Md. Records of World War II, Army file AG 014.311 as quoted in Thomas Connell, America’s Japanese Hostages: The World War II Plans for a Japanese Latin America (Westport, CT. 2002), 152, and Connell, Japanese Hostages, 100–101.
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gested that the Japanese from the west coast of South America could be interned on one or more of the island off Ecuador.5
Not all Latin American nations allowed their Japanese residents to be deported to the United States for reasons of security or possible exchange. Mexico, seeking to maintain a nationalist and independent status relocated its Japanese from Baja California and it northern states to centers in the Federal District in central Mexico. Much of their property was lost as a result but most were able to rebuild their lives in Mexico City after the War. Brazil confined its Japanese to their remote agricul- tural cooperatives in the states of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro during the war but did not technically intern them. Very importantly, families were allowed to remain intact and the property of the Japanese-Brazilians remained largely intact. After the War, the large Japanese-Brazilian community thrived.
THE INTERNEES AND THEIR FATE
More than 3 of 4 of the more than 2,000 deportees from Latin American from 1942 to 1945 were from Peru. The government of President Manuel Prado saw the expulsion of the Japanese from his nation as benefit to his political popularity. He pursued this process of deportation with vigor. Additionally, some in Peru wanted to take advantage of the dilemma of the Japanese-Peruvians for their own financial benefit. U.S. officials were fully aware of this. One U.S. intelligence official noted in late 1941 that ‘‘for every Japanese owner of a hardware or price goods store or barber shop, there are at least three (Peruvian) candidates (waiting) to take over their business.’’ 6
How were these Japanese Latin America identified for deportation? In the case of most Latin American nations, F.B.I. agents assigned to intelligence work in Latin America worked with the U.S. Embassy and Latin American governments to create ‘‘Black Lists’’ of suspect Japanese for possible deportation. Since none of the F.B.I. agents in Peru, for example, spoke or read Japanese, these blacklists were largely drawn from membership lists of prominent Japanese associations. Further, when many of these suspects went into hiding or bribed Peruvian officials, Prado’s police in exasperation arrested the majority of detainees haphazardly to fulfill arrest quotas.
These injustices were compounded when the deportees reached their debarkation location at New Orleans. Their passports were taken from them and never returned. They were thus declared illegal enemy aliens and were subject to deportation when their confinement in the United States came to an end. Taken from their families, these early internees were without a family and without a country. A good number of these detainees were reunited with their families when their wives and children chose to join them in confinement. The vast majority of these nearly 2,000 Japa- nese-Peruvian never returned to Peru. The Peruvian government refused to readmit all but seventy-nine in a policy that remained firm through the 1950’s. Peru has not issued a formal apology for its war time deportation, but in the mid 1960’s the government of Fernando Belau ́nde Terry donated a sector of land in central Lima for the construction of the Japanese Cultural Center. Of the 2,200 Latin American deportees only about 15 per cent were able to remain in the United States. The case of the ‘‘stateless’’ internees was taken up by the lawyer Wayne Collins who success- fully argued for their continued residency in the U.S. The remainder of these unfor- tunate Japanese Latin Americans were deported to a Japan that lay in ruins. It was a country most had never seen and only existed in the images wrought by their par- ents or in their schoolbooks. The reality of the destruction and death they encoun- tered was a great trauma. Nearly unbelievably, some of these Japanese Latin Amer- icans were ‘‘relocated’’ to Hiroshima!
The narrative of these Japanese Latin American during World War II has been told in books, articles and movies by talented filmmakers. But it is narrative that is still not widely known. Almost every U.S. citizens knows the story of the intern- ment of our own 120,000 Japanese American. Congress needs to encourage the dis- cussion of U.S. policy toward the Latin American Japanese during World War II. U.S. archivists have diligently collected and declassified the documentation in thou- sands of pages in material in the Special War Problems Division files of the Depart- ment of State. Our full understanding of this injustice in the past, may help the prevention of this type of policy in the future.
5 Connell, America’s Japanese Hostages, 5
6 Office of Strategic Services Memo, 12294, 20 December 1941, RG 226, U.S. National Ar- chives.
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Ms. LOFGREN. Thank you very much, Professor. We are now going to turn to Ms. Shimizu.
TESTIMONY OF GRACE SHIMIZU, DIRECTOR, JAPANESE PERUVIAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT (JPOHP)
Ms. SHIMIZU. My father was born in 1906 in Hiroshima, Japan and immigrated to Peru when he was 18 years old to work with his brother in a family business. During World War II, our family charcoal business was put on La Lista Negra, the blacklist of so- called potentially dangerous enemy aliens, which affected success- ful businesses and individuals, often with no connection to the Axis powers, but who were community leaders like journalists, teachers, business owners, priests, or officers of prefectural clubs or cultural organizations. My family members and others on this list were never charged with a crime; there were no search warrants issued, no hearings held.
When U.S. transport ships came into the harbor of Callao, some men on the blacklist went into hiding, my uncle included. The first time the Peruvian authorities came looking for my uncle, who headed our family business, they took my cousin instead. My cous- in was interned in the U.S. and used in the second prisoner ex- change.
In 1944, when my father was 38 years old, the authorities de- ported him to a U.S. military camp in the Panama Canal Zone for detention and hard labor, which was in violation of the Geneva Convention. My father never shared his experience in the Panama camp, but we do have the statement of another Japanese Peruvian who recalled being put to work clearing the jungle around the camp.
One humid day the internees, many of whom were elderly, were told to dig a pit. He thought he was digging his own grave. When they were told to fill the pit with buckets of human waste from the guards’ latrines, then the older men were so tired that they could not run fast enough to please the guards, they were poked and shoved by guards with bayonets.
My father was detained in the Panama camp for several months. When the next U.S. transport arrived, the prisoners included his first wife, his brother, and his brother’s wife and children. They were taken to the U.S. for indefinite internment at Crystal City, Texas for the purpose of prisoner exchange. My father’s wife died in that camp due to the trauma of the imprisonment and lack of adequate medical care.
While interned, my father also learned that seven other members of our family who remained in Peru had been killed, and cir- cumstances surrounding their murders were never solved.
At the end of the war, my uncle and his family were deported to Japan and dumped off to find their way to the home of my grandmother in Hiroshima. My father was released on parole from camp under the sponsorship of Japanese American relatives living in northern California. His intention was to return to his home, business, and surviving relatives in Peru, but internees were not allowed reentry by the Peruvian government, initially.
He eventually remarried and started a family with my mother in Berkeley, California. In the 1950’s, with changes in the immigra-
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tion laws, he was allowed to change his status from illegal alien to legal permanent resident. I have come to understand the signifi- cance of my father’s wartime experience through the work of the Japanese Peruvian Oral History Project. We are learning that our families’ wartime experiences were part of a larger Latin American program whereby the U.S. government went outside its borders to 13 Latin American countries and seized 2,264 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry, both citizen and immigrant resi- dents of those country, forcibly deported them to the U.S. intern- ment camps without legal extradition, without due process, without charges, and deprived of legal counsel.
We are also learning that German and Italian communities in the U.S. and Latin America were also swept up in this turmoil. In total, over 31,000 so-called enemy aliens of German, Italian, and Japanese ancestry in the U.S. and from Latin America were appre- hended and detained, and thousands interned in camps, which were different from the 10 War Relocation Authority camps where Japanese American were incarcerated.
We are also learning more about the prisoner exchange program, where over 4,800 men, women, and children were forcibly thrust into the warzones of the Far East and Europe. Of these, over 2,800 were of Japanese ancestry, about half of whom were Japanese Latin Americans.
What is being uncovered is a shocking picture of how the U.S. government initiated and orchestrated a program of massive civil rights violations, crimes against humanity, and war crimes span- ning two continents before, during, and after World War II. U.S. government policies and actions and what our former Japanese Latin American and other enemy alien internees endured during World War II warrants deeper investigation.
We are here today to urge your support for passage of H.R. 42. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Shimizu follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF GRACE SHIMIZU
My name is Grace Shimizu. I am the director of the Japanese Peruvian Oral His- tory Project and the daughter of a Japanese internee from Peru. On behalf of the former Japanese Latin American internees and our families, I would like to express our appreciation to Chairperson Zoe Lofgren and members of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and Inter- national Law. It is so heartening to be able to share our wartime experiences. This hearing is very significant to us because our experiences have never been part of the mainstream historical narrative of this country, nor have our experiences been included as part of our own community’s narratives—both Japanese American and Latino communities. Our story is a hidden part of our community history and a sup- pressed part of US wartime history.
My father was born in 1906 in Hiroshima, Japan and immigrated to Peru when he was 18 years old. He joined his brother who had arrived earlier as a contract laborer and begun to develop a family business. During World War II, our family charcoal business was put on ‘‘La Lista Negra,’’ the blacklist, the informal name for what the US called ‘‘The Proclaimed List of Certain Blocked Nationals.’’ This list of ‘‘potentially dangerous enemy aliens’’ affected businesses and individuals, often with no connection to the Axis powers, like journalists, teachers, business owners, priests, or anyone who held a position in the many prefecture clubs or cultural orga- nizations. My family members and others on this list were never charged with a crime. There were no search warrants issued, no hearings held.
When the US transport ships would come into the harbor of Callao, many on the blacklist would go into hiding, my uncle included. The first time the Peruvian au- thorities came looking for my uncle who headed our family business, they took my
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cousin instead. My cousin was interned in the US and used in the second prisoner exchange. In 1944, when my father was 38 years old, he was taken by the authori- ties. He was forcibly deported from his home in Peru to a US military camp in the Panama Canal Zone for detention and put to hard labor, which was in violation of the Geneva Convention. My father never shared his experience in the Panama camp but we do have an interview of another Japanese Peruvian who recalled being put to work clearing the jungle around the camp. One humid day, the internees, many of whom were elderly, were told to dig a pit. He thought that he was digging his own grave. Then they were told to fill the pit with buckets of human waste from the guards’ latrines. When the older men were so tired that they could not run fast enough to please the guards, they were poked and shoved by the guards with bayo- nets. After three months at hard labor, the young man was taken to the US for in- ternment.
My father was detained in the Panama camp for several months. When the next US transport arrived, the prisoners included his first wife, his brother and his brother’s wife and children. They were taken to the US for indefinite internment at Crystal City, Texas for the purpose of hostage exchange. During internment, my father’s wife died in that Texas camp due to the trauma of imprisonment and lack of adequate medical care. My father also learned that seven other members of our family who remained in Peru had been killed and circumstances surrounding their murders were never resolved.
At the end of the war, my uncle and his family were deported to Japan and dumped off to find their way to the home of my grandmother in Hiroshima. My fa- ther was released on parole from camp under the sponsorship of Japanese American relatives living in northern California. His intention was to return to his home, business and surviving relatives in Peru, but he along with other Japanese Peru- vians were initially not allowed reentry by the Peruvian government. He eventually remarried and started a family with my mother in Berkeley, California. In the 1950s, with changes in the immigration laws, he was allowed to change his status from ‘‘illegal alien’’ to legal permanent resident. Despite his decision to live the rest of his life in the US, he never became a US citizen. Part of his thinking was, if the US were ever to violate the rights of persons of Japanese ancestry again, he and his family would not become stateless and would be able to find refuge in the coun- try of his birth.
I didn’t understand the significance of my father’s wartime experience until I began to work with the Japanese Peruvian Oral History Project, which was estab- lished in 1991 by six families in the SF Bay Area. Like other Japanese Americans of my generation born in the US, I was lucky to have read about the Japanese American incarceration in a US history book, even if it was just one sentence. And there was never mention about the internment of Japanese Peruvians. Also, my par- ents and I, like so many other Japanese Americans and Japanese Latin American families at that time, didn’t talk much about the war, internment or the traumatic impact that experience had on us personally, our families and community.
Through our work in the Japanese Peruvian Oral History Project, we are learning how the WWII internment history of Japanese Americans and Japanese Latin is in- tegrally linked. We share many similarities with Japanese American families, in- cluding our immigrant roots. We formed community with Japanese Americans while living side by side in Department of Justice internment camps and US Army facili- ties and being used as human pawns in hostage exchanges. During the resettlement years after the war, Japanese American and Japanese Latin American families in the US struggled to reestablish our lives, with many Japanese Latin Americans be- coming part of Japanese American neighborhoods and marrying into Japanese American families.
Through our work, we are learning that our families’ wartime experiences were part of a larger Latin American program whereby the US government went outside its borders to 13 Latin American countries and seized 2264 men, women and chil- dren of Japanese ancestry (both citizens and immigrant residents), forcibly trans- ported them to US internment camps without legal extradition, without due process, without charges and deprived of legal counsel.
We are also learning that such wartime experience of civil and human rights vio- lations was not limited to persons of Japanese ancestry. German and Italian com- munities in the US and Latin America were also swept up in this turmoil. Following the Japanese military attack on Pearl Harbor, over one million immigrants in the German, Italian and Japanese American communities in the US became ‘‘enemy aliens’’ overnight. From about 19 Latin American countries, over 200 persons of Italian ancestry and over 4,000 persons of German ancestry (including 81 Jewish refugees) were seized and deported to the US for internment. In total over 31,000 enemy aliens of German, Italian and Japanese ancestry in the US and from Latin
America were apprehended and detained. Many thousands of them were interned for reasons of ‘‘national security’’ in over 50 facilities run by the US Department of Justice and the US Army, which were different from the ten War Relocation Author- ity camps where Japanese Americans were incarcerated.
We are also learning more about the hostage exchange program. In time of war, civilians from warring nations should be allowed safe passage to their home coun- tries. But what should have been a humanitarian program became a program of human rights violations. Over 4,800 men, women and children were forcibly de- ported to war zones of the Far East and Europe in the prisoner exchange. These included US citizens who were the minor children of permanent resident aliens. For persons of German ancestry in the US and from Latin America, there were about six separate exchanges with a total of at least 2,000 people. Of them, it is unclear how many were German Latin Americans. For persons of Japanese ancestry, there were two separate exchanges with over 2,800 civilians, half of whom were Japanese Latin Americans.
It is now widely recognized that the incarceration of 110,000 US citizens and resi- dents of Japanese ancestry during WWII was one of the worst violations of the con- stitution in our nation’s history based on wartime hysteria, racial prejudice and fail- ure of political leadership. With growing knowledge of the WWII Enemy Alien Pro- gram and its Latin American component, that mass imprisonment of the Japanese American community is now put into a broader international context of relocation, internment and forced deportation of persons of Japanese, German and Italian an- cestry What is being uncovered is a shocking picture of how the US government ini- tiated and orchestrated a program of massive civil rights violations, crimes against humanity and war crimes spanning two continents before, during and after WWII.
Later review of records of these so-called ‘‘dangerous’’ enemy aliens shows there was often no specific evidence of subversive activities. Rather they lost years of their lives on the basis of ‘‘potential’’ danger. The impact of these violations has been long lasting in our communities and has current day significance for our democratic in- stitutions and freedoms.
We, former internees and our families, are here today to register our plea with you, members of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration. We ask for your support of HR 42, the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent Act, to investigate the treatment of Japanese Latin Americans during WWII.
In 1980, the Congress authorized a similar fact finding study which examined the treatment of Japanese Americans during WWII. During the course of that study, in- formation began to be uncovered about the treatment of the Japanese Latin Ameri- cans. Such information was found significant enough to be included in the published Commission report and warrants deeper investigation. The Japanese Latin Amer- ican commission bill would extend the initial investigation of the 1980 Commission.
We ask your support to get this commission bill passed.
Ms. LOFGREN. Thank you very, very much.
And finally you, Ms. Yamamoto. Thank you so much for being with us today.
TESTIMONY OF LIBIA YAMAMOTO, FORMER JAPANESE OF LATIN AMERICAN DESCENT INTERNEE
Ms. YAMAMOTO. My father migrated to Peru in 1914, at the age of 20, as a contract laborer from Japan. Through hard work and dedication, my father rose from his humble beginnings to become a successful businessperson and establish our family as one of the many respected in the Peruvian city of Chiclayo and a nearby sugar plantation of Hacienda Toman.
The period during World War II was very confusing for everyone in our community as we began to feel the effects of the war. Still, I never thought that our family would be affected. I was wrong.
On the night of January 6, 1943, the police came to our house in the Hacienda and said to my father, ‘‘Senor Maoki, we have to take you by the order of the United States of America.’’ That night they took him to jail. We did not get any explanation; everything
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happened so suddenly that my father had no time to pack any of his things.
We knew nothing of his situation until the next morning when my father was moved to the city jail, and I went with my mother to visit my father there. During this time, the mothers who were there to see their husbands in jail held their tears in and tried to be strong; some were more successful than others.
Then a truck came and our fathers were forced to get on it. That truck drove away, and we didn’t know where they were taking them, why, for how long, or if they would come back. As my father and the others waved goodbye, I remember our mothers lost their composure and collective weeping erupted into loud cries.
This was an extremely traumatic experience for me at age seven. Finally, after an entire month, we received a letter from my father in Panama. We were just so happy to hear that he was alive. Later, we learned that his passport was confiscated and he was interned in a Department of Justice camp in Texas. There my father learned that the men from Peru were going to be shipped to Japan in a prisoner exchange. My father and the others began protesting be- cause they knew this meant indefinite separation from their fami- lies.
The so-called solution to this problem was to reunite these men with their families in Department of Justice camps. I think the U.S. government did not mind this because, in effect, it provided more hostages. Still, there were some families who were never able to reunite.
We left Peru from the Port of Callao in July 1943. Boarding the ship was horrifying because there were U.S. soldiers on board pointing their big guns at us as if we were criminals. When we got to New Orleans officials inspected our baggage and some families had precious belongings thrown into the water.
The Peruvians on our ship were among the lucky ones, because I later learned from my friend that she and other women and chil- dren were let off their ship first and marched to a warehouse. They were ordered to strip and stand in line naked, and then were sprayed with insecticide. I can’t imagine the humiliation my friend felt having to strip her clothes off in front of boys who are our age. How awful this must have been for our mothers, whose modesty was violated.
Despite the physical conditions of the camps, my family was glad to be reunited with my father. At the end of the war the U.S. gov- ernment told us to leave the country because we were illegal aliens. My sister and her family were deported first to Japan. She later wrote to us in camp that many people were starving and her family had to pull out weeds from the ground just to feed themselves, and her 5-month-old baby died from malnutrition.
When it was my family’s turn to leave, my father became very ill and our deportation to Japan was canceled. Fortunately, we had Japanese American relatives in Berkeley who sponsored us out of camp in 1947, and we moved to Berkeley, California as parolees.
I am now 73 years old, and many of my friends my age who had similar experiences have passed on. I come here today to ask that you support this commission bill to study what happened to fami-
lies like mine. Please help pass this bill before it is too late. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Yamamoto follows:] PREPARED STATEMENT OF LIBIA YAMAMOTO
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Ms. LOFGREN. Thank you very much, Ms. Yamamoto, for sharing your story. I know it is difficult to speak, but it is important that your voice be heard, and we do appreciate your testimony.
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We now have a time when Members of the panel can pose ques- tions to the panel for as long as 5 minutes. Mr. King, would you have questions?
Mr. KING. I do, Madam Chair. I thank you, and I would say again to the witnesses, thanks for your testimony.
And Ms. Yamamoto, I understand that it is very difficult to relive this after all these years, and I recall you saying that you were 7 years old at the time. I appreciate you all coming, and there are things that we do to serve our countries and to serve humanity that cause us to have to rise above, sometimes, the things we might not want to do.
So I am not going to ask any questions. I will give you a little relief in that; maybe you can sigh a little. And I will direct the other witnesses, who I think maybe can illuminate this a little bit for me, too.
And I would ask Ms. Shimizu, is it your position that there should be an apology by the United States?
Ms. SHIMIZU. We are here today to urge that what happened to our parents, our families, really be investigated further. And through that investigation, as more of the information comes out and the background becomes more clear, I think our faith is put in the commissioners to make the appropriate recommendations.
Mr. KING. Then if that investigation—if there is full acknowl- edgement, then if that investigation concludes, I think, a conclusion that you have drawn, then would you, then, be asking for proper redress?
Ms. SHIMIZU. Well, I would be looking at what the recommenda- tions were, and then at that point, I mean, we would be at a better position to respond to that.
Mr. KING. Okay. Thank you, Ms. Shimizu.
I would ask Professor Masterson, and you mentioned that there was very little public knowledge about the Peruvian detainees, and I mentioned in my testimony a book—I have the copies of it—by David Lowman, called ‘‘Magic.’’ Are you familiar with it?
Mr. MASTERSON. Well, there is three books on this topic—at least three—and two more that I have written that deal with it. But what we have to be aware of is that the scholarly community is a relatively small scholarly community, and does this information get to the public?
Mr. KING. So excuse me, but are you familiar with this copy?
Mr. MASTERSON. Yes, I have heard of it, yes.
Mr. KING. Thank you. And have you had an opportunity to read
Mr. MASTERSON. No, I haven’t.
Mr. KING. Okay. I would encourage you to do that, because to
have a balance in the history that you are talking about, I think it is important for you to understand the other side of this. And I would just comment that as I listened to your testimony, one thing stood out to me, that the Japanese workers fled from fields in Peru, and, you know, I might have characterized it that they mi- grated to better opportunities; there were a lot of bad cir- cumstances during those times.
And then what I mentioned in my testimony about the historical chronology of the Christian slaves—1.25 million, which is about
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twice as many Christian slaves as there were African Americans brought here under slavery, at least by some accounts—is that is a piece of history that you have had an opportunity to study?
Mr. MASTERSON. Of course. But you are looking at two different situations.
Mr. KING. Sure I am.
Mr. MASTERSON. You really are. And what you have, of course, is a situation in Peru where individuals are taken from their indi- vidual environments, many of whom have no justification whatso- ever with regard to association with espionage, and in fact, you could argue that it wasn’t directly related to the security of the United States; it was more right directly related to the welfare of American citizens who were behind American lines, and the ex- change was being done for them——
Mr. KING [continuing]. My clock is ticking. I want to be respect- ful, but—and I think that that is true, they are different cir- cumstances, and I would go—I would ask it this way: This was a global war——
Mr. MASTERSON. Yes.
Mr. KING [continuing]. It was a world war, and there were polit- ical entities for every nation state, and there were sub-entities within the nation states, and each of them are operating for na- tional survival as well as doing a calculus off the intelligence that they had at the time.
And so we had internments that went on around the world, and there were some horrible things that took place, and I would ask unanimous consent to introduce this book, called ‘‘Last Man Out.’’ It is about the internment also of some American prisoners in the Philippines, and I think it is important to add to this scholarship as well.
Mr. MASTERSON. May I respond to that?
I would then just——
Mr. KING. Professor Masterson, you have done a thorough study
of this, and in the time we have left I would just offer back to you to conclude your statement so—respectful of your testimony.
Mr. MASTERSON. There is a parallel to this, and it is that many of the Latin American governments who were involved in counter- insurgency wars during the 1970’s and 1980’s, where substantial violations of human rights occurred, have created—reconciliation commissions. Argentina has done one, Peru has done one, and that is designed to do exactly what we are talking about today: rectify a situation, which needs to be done, with regards to the——
Ms. LOFGREN [continuing]. The gentleman’s time has expired. I am going to ask, since we have three panels, that we go to see if Mr. Lungren has questions.
Mr. KING. Madam Chair, could I just ask unanimous consent that I may just pose a brief yes or no question to the witness?
I thank you, Madam Chair, and—do you support or oppose, then, reparations?
Mr. MASTERSON. I am of the opinion that the reparations issue should be resolved by a commission which we are asking to be formed. We are not prejudging any of this until the commission does so.
Mr. KING. Thank you.
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Thank you, Madam Chair.
Ms. LOFGREN. Ms. Sa ́nchez has no questions.
Mr. Lungren, do you have questions, or can we move to the next
Mr. LUNGREN. Thank you very much.
Ms. LOFGREN. Then we will thank you, witnesses, for being here
and ask the second panel to come forward.
As the second panel is coming forward, I would like to introduce
them. First, we have John Christgau. Mr. Christgau is the author of eight nonfiction books, including ‘‘Enemies: World War II Alien Internment,’’ the first book published on the subject. For the past 8 years, he has been a member of the Enemy Alien Files Consor- tium, creators of the photo exhibit, the ‘‘Enemy Alien Files: Hidden Stories of World War II.’’
I am also pleased to introduce Karen Ebel. Ms. Ebel is the daughter of a recently deceased German American World War II internee. She is president and a founding member of the German American Internee Coalition, which was created to educate the public about and advocate ethnic German American and Latin American internees and their families. She is also a member of the multiethnic Enemy Alien Files Consortium, representing the Ger- man American community.
Next I would like to introduce Heidi Gurcke Donald. Ms. Donald and six members of her family were deported from Costa Rica for internment in the United States during World War II. A founding member of the German American Internee Coalition, she serves on their board and writes for their Web site. She is the author of, ‘‘We Were Not the Enemy,’’ a book about her family’s World War II ex- periences.
And finally, I would like to introduce Dr. John Fonte. Dr. Fonte joined the Hudson Institute in March 1999 as a senior fellow and director of the Center for American Common Culture. He has been a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, where he directed the committee to review national standards under the chairmanship of Lynne Cheney. He also served as a senior re- searcher at the U.S. Department of Education and a program ad- ministrator at the National Endowment for the Humanities.
As noted with the first panel, your full written statements will be made part of the official record. We would ask that your oral testimony consume 5 minutes. When you have 1 minute left the yellow light will go on, and we are going to be strict about the timeframe because we have still a third panel after you. We want to hear everyone.
So if you would begin, Mr. Christgau?
If you could turn on your microphone, thank you.
TESTIMONY OF JOHN CHRISTGAU, AUTHOR OF ‘‘ENEMIES: WORLD WAR II ALIEN INTERNMENT’’
Mr. CHRISTGAU. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman.
I appreciate this opportunity to talk about a piece of World War II history that has been largely ignored. At nightfall on December 10, 1941, just 3 days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, an unusual thunderstorm struck southern California. The deep booming thunder sounded like an enemy bombardment, and jittery
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citizens of Los Angeles and San Diego feared they were under at- tack.
An immediate lights out order was issued from Bakersfield to San Diego, and the coast went dark. Los Angeles residents shot out streetlights in the frenzy to black out the city. Hospitals were swamped with calls for ambulances to cover traffic accidents in- volving panicked drivers.
That panic did not disappear, especially from the west coast, and in the weeks after, long-held ethnic and racial prejudices aggra- vated by the wartime panic led to the internment of over 30,000 so-called enemy aliens of German, Italian, and Japanese nation- ality. The arrests were done under the provisions of the Alien En- emies Act, which says that whenever war is threatened or declared, all citizens of the hostile nation who shall be within the United States shall be liable to be apprehended, arrested, detained, and re- moved as enemy aliens.
For months prior to the start of World War II, the FBI had been investigating so-called enemy aliens. The FBI sent its investigative reports to the Special Defense Unit of the Justice Department. That unit created what was called a custodial detention index, or ABC lists, which classified the aliens with respect to how dan- gerous the government considered them.
Aliens on the A list were considered the most dangerous and were subject to immediate arrest and detention in case of war. Those lists were based on hearsay gathered mainly from confiden- tial informants. In San Francisco, a Jewish immigrant named Eddie Friede, who had narrowly escaped death in a concentration camp in Germany, was arrested, detained, and then interned in North Dakota. In a letter to Eleanor Roosevelt he pleaded, ‘‘Please see what you can do to get me released from internment.’’
Eventually, wartime Attorney General Francis Biddle recognized the unreliability of the lists and wrote, ‘‘It is clear to me that this ABC classification system is inherently unreliable. It should not be used.’’ Still, eight internment camps for enemy aliens were estab- lished in Texas, North Dakota, New Mexico, and Idaho. In addition to those eight camps, there were dozens of other sites, from hastily constructed detention centers to compounds run by the Army.
Those combined facilities detained and interned a total of 31,285 enemy aliens and their families between 1941 and 1948. Approxi- mately 16,000 were Japanese; nearly 11,000 were German; and 3,000 were Italian.
Beyond those who were interned, tens of thousands more, mainly Japanese but also Italians in large numbers and some Germans were forced to evacuate their homes in critical military zones on the east and west coast and relocate their families. Once the aliens and their families were detained or interned, they were given a brief hearing before an alien enemy hearing board to determine their guilt or their innocence. The hearings lasted from 5 to 15 minutes, and there was no opportunity for the internees to learn the FBI’s charges against them.
So why has so little historical attention been paid to the World War II Alien Enemy Control Program, which affected so many thousands of people from German, Italian, and Japanese commu- nities? Perhaps the answer lies in something one German internee
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chose to call ‘‘Gitterkrankheit,’’ the fence sickness. After you have been behind barbed wire for months and years, the internee ex- plained, a part of you begins to feel like a criminal even if you have done nothing wrong. When you finally get out, he said, you would rather not talk about the past.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Christgau follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF JOHN CHRISTGAU
The United States is a nation of immigrants who were drawn here by economic opportunity and the promises of democracy. The fragility of immigrants’ rights in times of war and economic stress is a global concern. An understanding of the his- tory of the WWII Alien Enemy Control Program is important to the creation of effec- tive national security policy
Italian and German immigrants began arriving in the U.S. in large numbers in the 19th century, with influx to the West beginning during the 1850s Gold Rush. Japanese immigration began in 1868 to Hawaii for plantation labor. Later, many went on to the U.S. mainland, mostly California. By 1940, Italians constituted the largest foreign-born group in the U.S., with Germans as the second largest.
In 1936, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) started compiling lists of so- called ‘‘dangerous persons.’’ The lists included prominent business, cultural, and re- ligious leaders in the German, Italian and Japanese communities. Officially known as the ‘‘Custodial Detention Index,’’ the list identified those ‘‘potentially dangerous’’ persons who would be arrested if the U.S. entered the war. The lists were the prod- uct of rumor, hearsay, gossip, and ethnic and racial prejudices gathered from con- fidential informants. The FBI also maintained a ‘‘Suspected Organizations List’’ for Italians, Germans, and Japanese in the USA.
In 1940, as fears of German and Japanese aggression escalated, the Federal Alien Registration Act (‘‘Smith Act’’) required all aliens to register, to be fingerprinted, to provide information about their membership in organizations, and to report regu- larly to designated authorities. By the spring of 1941, the Justice Department had developed procedures to detain and intern aliens and ‘‘potentially dangerous per- sons.’’
At dawn on December 7, 1941, the Japanese military attacked the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Later that day, Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Presi- dential Proclamation 2525, authorizing FBI agents to arrest without warrants any Japanese citizen fourteen years or older. On the following day, the President issued similar proclamations against German and Italian aliens, and declared war on Japan. Overnight, a million immigrants were transformed into ‘‘enemy aliens.’’
The Justice Department’s arrest and detention of thousands of Germans, Italians, and Japanese was authorized by the Alien Enemies Act of 1918—US Code, Title 50, Sections 21–24—which governs war and national defense. The Alien Enemies Act is based on the 1798 Alien and Sedition Laws, which specified that citizens (age 14 and over) of enemy nations can be ‘‘apprehended, restrained, secured and removed’’ in case of declared war, or actual or threatened invasion by a foreign nation. No distinction is made between resident immigrants and aliens in the U.S. on a tem- porary basis.
RESTRICTIONS, EVACUATION, INDIVIDUAL EXCLUSIONS
By nightfall of December 7, 1941, even before the U.S. formally declared war, FBI and other agents of the government descended upon the homes and businesses of people they had deemed to be dangerous. Three days after Pearl Harbor, 3,846 Ger- mans, Italians, and Japanese had been apprehended without being charged with any crimes. Local FBI agents especially targeted community and religious leaders, people with business, cultural, or political ties to their home country, editors/pub- lishers of German, Italian, and Japanese language newspapers, and teachers at lan- guage schools. Homes were searched and possessions seized. Many were arrested and jailed without explanation. Their families had no idea where or why their loved ones were taken.
Within a month, all German, Italian, and Japanese aliens residing in the U.S. were ordered to be fingerprinted, photographed, and to carry photo-bearing ‘‘enemy alien registration cards’’ at all times. German, Italian, and Japanese immigrants who were designated as enemy aliens were ordered to turn over ‘‘contraband’’ to local police. Prohibited items included all firearms, short-wave radios, cameras, knives, and ‘‘signaling devices’’ such as flashlights. FBI agents searched homes and
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confiscated personal property, much of which was never returned. Ownership of such property could later be grounds for internment. The Coast Guard appropriated fishing boats belonging to Italian and Japanese fishermen, depriving them of their livelihood. In addition, all German, Italian, and Japanese enemy aliens in the West- ern Defense Command were subject to a curfew between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. daily and were not allowed to travel more than five miles from home unless a travel per- mit was applied for and granted. Many aliens’ assets, such as bank accounts, were frozen, making life even more difficult for those affected.
In January of 1942, the Department of Justice designated restricted areas around military sites. By the first week of February, the Attorney General had designated 133 prohibited zones for ‘‘any person’’ around airports, damns, power plants, and military installations. In addition, the DOJ set up 88 prohibited zones in California for German, Italian, and Japanese enemy aliens. Thousands of enemy aliens living in the prohibited zones were ordered to move elsewhere. These individuals were given ten days to close their businesses and homes. Most sought out family and friends in other states who could help them relocate and find jobs. In many cases, the government advised new employers of the excludees’ circumstances, making re- settlement even more difficult. Some excludees had been U.S. citizens since the turn of the century and many had been in the U.S. for at least twenty years. To keep families together, many citizen spouses and children went with the alien head of the family, who was often the only breadwinner. Families who stayed behind were left without financial support.
Not all government officials agreed with the mass orders. U.S. Attorney General Francis Biddle, head of the Justice Department, issued a memo in July 1943 stating that the FBI should only investigate activities of persons who may have violated the law, rather than classifying persons as to dangerousness. ‘‘The notion that it is pos- sible to make a valid determination as to how dangerous a person is in the abstract and without reference to time, environment and other relevant circumstances is im- practical, unwise and dangerous,’’ he wrote. The ‘‘dangerous person’’ label should never again be used to justify arrests or internment because it was not based on valid evidence.
Biddle ordered the FBI to abolish its Custodial Detention Index, but FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover simply changed the name to ‘‘Security Index’’ and concealed its ex- istence from the Justice Department. Nevertheless, the Justice Department relied on FBI reports to support its program of arrests and detention of German, Italian, and Japanese nationals in the U.S. and Latin America, which continued throughout the war, with some Germans held in U.S. camps until 1949.
Restrictions on Italian aliens were lifted in October 1942, largely because of the impending Congressional elections that November, and because of the reported mo- rale problems among military personnel due to restrictions on their parents. The support of Italian Americans was needed for the impending U.S. invasion of Italy and for the Italian population’s own revolt against Mussolini. However, the status of Italian excludees and internees remained unchanged until late 1943 after an ar- mistice with Italy.
DETENTION AND INTERNMENT
The arrest and internment of U.S. resident enemy aliens began the evening of De- cember 7, 1941. The arrests were done on the basis of the Security Defense Unit’s ABC lists, which were in tern based largely on hearsay information gathered from confidential FBI informants. Among those arrested and detained was Eddie Friede, a Jewish immigrant in San Francisco who had narrowly escaped death in a con- centration camp in Germany. Eddie was arrested the evening of December 7, de- tained, and then interned in North Dakota. In a letter to Eleanor Roosevelt, he pleaded with her, ‘‘Please, would you see what you can do to get me released from internment.’’
By war’s end, the number of aliens arrested and detained had reached 31,275: 16,849 Japanese, 10,905 Germans, and 3,278 Italians, and some 200 Hungarians, Bulgarians and Romanians. Some were U.S. citizens. Though not all were formally interned, they were held for periods ranging from a few days to several years with- out ever learning the charges against them. After arrest, the aliens were turned over to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for detention. The detain- ees received cursory hearings, in some cases not until after months of detention. During the hearings, they were not able to have an attorney, question witnesses, or see the evidence against them. The hearing boards recommended release, parole, or internment. There were eventually eight permanent INS internment camps—in North Dakota, Idaho, New Mexico, and Texas—and over fifty additional detention
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centers and internment facilities, from small local jails to Army POW camps, that held enemy aliens.
Detainees’ families often did not know where they were for weeks. Sometimes both parents were taken and the children were left to fend for themselves until rel- atives or the local government took custody. Many women struggled to support their families and, having lost everything, sought refuge in a family internment camp. Border Patrol agents of the INS operated the DOJ camps, located at migrant worker and Civilian Conservation Corps camps, military bases, and prisons. Some housed men only, others women only, still others married couples. Camp conditions varied widely.
Many internees were shifted from camp to camp. Italian internees at Fort Meade were sent after some months to a similar facility at Fort McAlester, Oklahoma. The very first West Coast German, Italian, and Japanese internees, arrested in early December 1941, were sent to the INS internment camps at Fort Missoula, Montana, and Fort Lincoln, North Dakota, before they had hearings. After hearings, they were either transferred to army-run internment camps in Texas and Oklahoma, or pa- roled..
In May of 1943, with captured Axis military personnel coming to the United States for imprisonment, the Army asked to be relieved of its civilian internees. Thus, all internees were returned to the custody of the INS, with Italians returning to Fort Missoula, and most Germans sent to Fort Lincoln. Japanese internees were kept mainly at Fort Lincoln, Fort Missoula and Santa Fe in New Mexico, until many went to War Relocation Authority camps to join their families.
In addition, nearly 3,000 German and Italian merchant seamen whose ships hap- pened to be docked in U.S. or Latin American ports were also turned into ‘‘illegal aliens’’. Their ships impounded, these sailors were sent to internment at Fort Lin- coln, North Dakota and Fort Missoula, Montana.
RELEASE FROM CAMP: HOSTAGE EXCHANGE AND POSTWAR DEPORTATION
When the German government learned that some of its overseas citizens had been seized in Latin America and interned in the United States, it ordered the seizure of U.S. and Latin American citizens living in Europe. Complex negotiations followed, resulting in several exchanges of civilian prisoners. From 1942 to 1945, at least 2,000 persons of German ancestry and at least 37 Italians, including women and children, from the U.S. and Latin America were sent to Europe in six exchanges across the Atlantic Ocean at the height of the war.
The U.S. did not want to return any aliens who might aid the Axis war effort, and State Department policy was to exchange only harmless people of German or Japanese ancestry. Repatriates to Germany signed an oath not to perform military service. Some died as civilians, killed by Allied bombs, while others were imprisoned under suspicion of being US spies.
Japan also agreed to prisoner exchanges but did not want to accept ‘‘repatriates’’ who did not want to return. There was also difficulty in finding ships. Two ex- changes occurred in 1942 and 1943 involving 2,800 persons of Japanese ancestry from the U.S. and Latin America. Some deportees were drafted into the military service of Japan and died in combat. Others lost their lives in air raids as civilians.
The Alien Enemy Act only permitted internment for the duration of the war. After the European hostilities ended in May 1945, President Harry Truman issued Presi- dential Proclamation 2655 ordering deportation of ‘‘dangerous enemy aliens’’ who were still interned. Thus, many Germans and their U.S. citizen families were invol- untarily ‘‘repatriated’’ to war-devastated Germany and left there to fend for them- selves. Germans who did not want to repatriate remained interned and fought des- perately for years to avoid being deported. By mid-1948, the camps were empty, though some internees remained in custody on Ellis Island until 1949. Some had been interned for seven years.
IMPACT ON FAMILIES, UNCOVERING HIDDEN STORIES, BREAKING THE SILENCE
During WWII, the U.S. government assured the public that it was protecting na- tional security by publicizing arrests of enemy aliens. However, officials made ef- forts to conceal specific details of the Justice Department camps and the hostage exchange program from the American public. Guards at the alien internment camps were required to sign statements agreeing not to reveal information about the camps. The internees themselves were also warned not to talk. Some have reported signing oaths of silence with which they complied all their lives, fearing the FBI would again come to their doors.
For half a century, internees kept their stories hidden. Many felt shame and fear long after the war and refused to discuss their experiences, even with their families.
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Even today, after more than six decades, many internees are reluctant to talk to researchers or allow their real names to be used in books and articles.
Yet the emotional toll from their wartime trauma was extensive. After being la- beled as enemy aliens and incarcerated, internees conducted daily life behind barbed-wire fences, klieg lights, and watchtowers patrolled by armed guards with dogs, experiencing all the problems associated with imprisonment. Mail was re- stricted and heavily censored, with no drawings, erasures or references to move- ments of internees or to the enemy nation allowed. For those in camps far from home, visitors were rare. Most of the internees were men separated from their fami- lies and loved ones. Army restrictions for internees tended to be even more severe than those imposed by the INS. Internees were housed in tents with wooden floors, four to a tent. Most were given POW uniforms to wear. Any lapse into the ‘‘enemy language’’ was forbidden. Internees were paid 10 cents a day for chores they per- formed.
Having lost the fruits of a lifetime of labor, and facing an uncertain future, many adults suffered depression, listlessness, and despair. Many had grown children in the U.S. military, fighting overseas for a country which had locked up their parents. Many internees spent their days appealing to the government for release. Their pleas for rehearings were generally ignored. When the government persistently asked whether they wanted to repatriate to Germany or Japan, some grudgingly ac- cepted this alternative to indefinite internment. Some were offered the chance to work outside the camps, such as on railroad construction. Most preferred the hard labor to incarceration.
There were also tensions and violence in some camps. A few hard-core German loyalists in the camps occasionally quarreled with and intimidated those with whom they disagreed politically. Jewish internees, unaccountably placed near pro-Nazi prisoners, were harassed and sometimes beaten. Pro- and anti-fascist factions among the Italians occasionally scuffled.
Most internees had a very difficult time reentering society after their long incar- ceration. They had lost their homes and belongings and could not go back to their old jobs. Many were stigmatized, particularly in the communities where the arrests and internment were well publicized. Others, particularly children, had their edu- cational and economic opportunities seriously curtailed. Most internees never com- pletely made the transition back to life before the FBI first knocked on their doors. Deportees trying to return to the United States had an even more difficult time ad- justing.
LEGACY OF THE WORLD WAR II EXPERIENCE
The Alien Enemy Act of 1918, which authorized internment of ‘‘enemy aliens’’ dur- ing WWII, remains intact. It permits arrests, evacuation, internment and other ac- tions against ‘‘enemy aliens’’ if the United States becomes involved in a war, or a foreign country threatens invasion. Resident aliens who have not become natural- ized citizens are still vulnerable any time their birth-country is perceived as a threat to U.S. interests.
All of the communities affected by the wartime treatment of enemy aliens agree that public education about the past is vital to preventing future mistreatment of immigrants. As former Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes wrote during his term from 1930–42:
‘‘You may think that the Constitution is your security—it is nothing but a piece of paper. You may think that the statutes are your security—they are nothing but words in a book. You may think that [the] elaborate mechanism of govern- ment is your security—it is nothing at all, unless you have sound and uncorrupted public opinion to give life to your Constitution, to give vitality to your statutes, to make efficient your government machinery.’’
An understanding of the history of the Alien Enemy Control Program can help policy makers avoid the mistakes of World War II.
What were those mistakes?
First, we relied on weak intelligence to help us separate the very few who were truly dangerous from the many who were innocent.
Second, we assumed that aliens are the enemy. The very title of the Alien En- emies Act weds the two ideas. It led to a dragnet approach in which a net was thrown over entire German, Italian, and Japanese communities in the hopes of catching a few spies or saboteurs.
Finally, in dealing with our immigrant population, we ignored the very due proc- ess provisions of the Constitution that bought those immigrants here seeking free- dom and opportunity.
So why has so little historical attention been paid to the Alien Enemy Program which affected so many thousands of people from German, Italian, and Japanese communities? The simple answer is historical neglect and governmental shame. But perhaps the answer also lies in something one German internee chose to call ‘‘Gitterkrankheit,’’ the fence sickness. After you’ve been behind barbed wire for months and years, the internee explained, a part of you begins to feel like a crimi- nal. When you finally get out, he said, you would rather not talk about the past.
Ms. LOFGREN. Thank you so much. And I didn’t know the Los Angeles storm story; it is fascinating.
Ms. Ebel, I would like to hear from you.
TESTIMONY OF KAREN E. EBEL, PRESIDENT, GERMAN AMERICAN INTERNEE COALITION
Ms. EBEL. My father, Max Ebel, a German internee, died in May 2007.
Ms. LOFGREN. Could you turn on your microphone, please?
Ms. EBEL. I am sorry.
Ms. LOFGREN. Very good.
Ms. EBEL. My father, Max Ebel, a German internee, died in May
2007. I am sitting where my father should be. One of the last times we talked, he told me how sad he was that the Wartime Treatment Study Act had not passed. He said, ‘‘Karen, this is important. Don’t give up.’’ Moments after he died, all I could think of was that I had failed. Almost 88, Dad still didn’t live long enough to hear his gov- ernment acknowledge his internment. He didn’t even talk about it until he was 80, and then only with much prodding.
Only 17, Dad arrived in New York Harbor in 1937. He left Ger- many because he had had a dangerous knife fight with local mem- bers of the Hitler Youth. They were angry because he wouldn’t join in their activities. Following his father to America, Dad boarded the ‘‘SS New York’’ with a nickel in his pocket, new woolen knick- erbockers, and hope. He once told me ‘‘I was an American right from the beginning, and I always will be. I appreciated my freedom as much as a fish let out of a bowl.’’
On December 5, 1941, Dad learned that his citizenship applica- tion was accepted. Two days later, he and a million Germans, Jap- anese, and Italians became the enemy with a stroke of FDR’s pen. Our country was in grave danger, and America had to protect itself. Most escaped the internment disaster and some deserved what they got, but thousands didn’t. My father was one of them.
Dad was arrested and detained in September 1942, his adver- sarial hearing board recommended parole, but the Department of Justice deemed him potentially dangerous to the public peace and safety of the United States. Internment was ordered. After 3 months in a Boston detention center, he was sent to Ellis Island, where he joined hundreds of other internees living in squalid condi- tions.
Then, by blacked out railcar under guard, it was on to Army fa- cilities at Fort Meade, and later Camp Forrest in Tennessee. Fi- nally, he landed at Fort Lincoln, in Bismarck, in May 1943. The only descriptive note in his calendar says, ‘‘Arrived. North Dakota. This is Hell.’’
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Dad was back in the fishbowl he thought he had left behind. He had no idea why or how he would get out. This was not his Amer- ican dream.
He eventually found a way out that he was happy helped his new country, too. That fall, about 100 trustworthy internees marched out of Fort Lincoln. For several months they lived in boxcars, still under guard, replacing rails on the North Dakota plains.
In April 1944, he was drafted into the Army. Now my dangerous father was trustworthy enough to fight, but he flunked his pre-in- duction physical and remained interned. Because the railroaders’ good work helped the U.S. war effort, he got a rare rehearing.
Dad really never knew why he was interned, but the release rec- ommendation he got years later implied it was because he didn’t want to fight in Europe and made pacifist remarks. He apparently once said Hitler builds good roads. It states that Dad was in no sense disloyal, that his further internment was unjustifiable and recommends unconditional release. He was paroled.
Back in Boston, he was not allowed near railroads. Three years after his arrest, he was finally free. One day in the ’80’s listening to the news about Japanese Americans, Dad said, ‘‘You know, something like that happened to me.’’ I didn’t pursue it; he didn’t either.
Ten years ago, we did. We learned about the enemy alien laws, the camps, the exchanges, and the Latin American Program. I think my country is better than this. The internees deserve rec- ognition, and the public should know what happened. Progress has been made, but slowly and not enough.
Many still don’t believe Germans and Italians were interned. Others think there really weren’t enough to care about, that the in- ternees were mostly only aliens, and that they must have been guilty of something to be there in the first place. Many internees are still afraid to speak.
Eight years ago, the Wartime Treatment Study Act was intro- duced for the first time. It was a wonderful, miraculous day for the internees. The bill was just introduced for the fifth time. We are so grateful to Representative Wexler, Senators Russ Feingold and Charles Grassley, for their diligence.
The advanced age of the remaining internees weighs heavily on my mind. Acknowledgment is long overdue. Sadly, my dad can’t be here to see it. You can help make sure the remaining internees do. Please make the study commission a reality. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Ebel follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF KAREN E. EBEL
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Ms. LOFGREN. Thank you very much. Before we ask Ms. Donald to give her testimony we would note that we have been joined by Congressman Robert Wexler, a Member of the Committee.
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Ms. Donald, we would love to hear from you now.
TESTIMONY OF HEIDI GURCKE DONALD, BOARD AND FOUND- ING MEMBER, GERMAN AMERICAN INTERNEE COALITION
Ms. DONALD Libia Yamamoto, from the last panel, and I are sis- ters, sort of, since she came from Peru and my family came from Costa Rica. Seven members of my family were taken from Costa Rica for internment in the United States in 1943: my parents, my aunt and uncle, my cousin, my sister and I were all—and thou- sands of others—lost our livelihoods, our homes, our personal prop- erty, our countries, and our freedom.
Over 3,000 ethnic Germans of Latin America were also deported through the United States to war-torn Germany. Some of them lost their lives. So when I tell you my story, realize that my story is one of the least terrible of the stories.
In World War II, my father was labeled by the United States as one of Costa Rica’s 35 most dangerous enemy aliens. After the war, in a U.S. governmental review done in 1946, they found that there were no facts to that claim. Our family’s whole ordeal hinged on unsubstantiated allegations by anonymous informants with one true fact: My father had been born in Germany.
By mid-1941, the U.S. Proclaimed List had ruined my father’s business. He and my mother, who had barely ever gardened, tried to figure out a way to eke their way through the war years. They ended up with the idea of a farm, and for about a year they were semi-successful. By mid-1942, though, my father and my uncle were thrown into a dirty, vermin-filled, overcrowded prison. My mother, Starr, who was a United States citizen, born and raised in San Jose, California, wrote this anguished letter to her brother:
‘‘July 17, 1942. Since the day before yesterday, Werner has been in the local penitentiary. We haven’t the remotest idea why they arrested him or what is going to happen to him and the many oth- ers there, and they won’t let me see anyone to find out the charges against him or to do any explaining. Heidi wakes up at night screaming, ‘Papi, Papi,’ and today is Ingrid’s first birthday.’’
My father also wrote desperately to the United States officials. On the 8th of September, ‘‘In a last effort to solve the situation of my family, I, Werner Gurcke now interned in the concentration camp in San Jose, Costa Rica, sincerely ask to consider the fol- lowing points: There does not exist a real motive for my internment otherwise than that I am German. Even if you do think so, there must be a mistake, and I am sure to convince you of it if you will have the kindness to present to me the reasons.’’
But there was no kindness. There were no hearings; there were no legal proceedings; there was nothing.
So in January 1943 we were loaded onto the United States Army Transport Puebla for deportation to the United States. We sailed on January 26 and arrived in San Pedro, California on February 6. There, we were declared to have entered the country illegally be- cause our passports and our visas had been confiscated on ship- board.
We were given tags to tie to our clothes—these are my family’s tag. Imagine: tagged like a piece of baggage—loaded onto a train to the Crystal City Alien Detention Station, which later
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euphemistically has been called a family camp. There, public health officials found that of our group of 131 people, 66 people re- quired immediate medical attention. Two children required imme- diate hospitalization, and 55 of us children were sick with whoop- ing cough, including my sister and me.
Then finally, over 11⁄2 years after my father was arrested, in Jan- uary 1944, he was finally given a real hearing, and by May of that year we were allowed to leave camp, although we were forbidden to go home to Costa Rica. My uncle, Karl Oscar, and his Costa Rican wife and daughter were sent to Germany that same year.
Did our experience leave scars? Consider these facts and draw your own conclusions: My parents lived with uncertainty and fear for almost a decade. My father was barely 61 when he died of lung cancer caused or exacerbated by chain-smoking begun during the long ordeal. And more than 50 years later my mother, at age 83, finally tried to tell me the story. It took me a month of daily visits, collecting her memories through her tears.
Our suffering, our pain, our loss of civil rights has never been ac- knowledged by Congress. Thousands of lives were damaged; enor- mous amounts of money, which could be better spent somewhere else, were spent with no tangible results except broken families and destroyed lives. Without a commission we are being written out of history. I think we, as a people, can and should do better than that.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Donald follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HEIDI GURCKE DONALD
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Ms. LOFGREN. Thank you very much. And finally we will turn to you, Doctor.
TESTIMONY OF JOHN FONTE, DIRECTOR OF CENTER FOR AMERICAN COMMON CULTURE AND SENIOR FELLOW, HUD- SON INSTUTUTE
Mr. FONTE. Thank you, Madam Chairman and Ranking Member King.
Many historical facts cited in the Feingold-Wexler legislation are wrong. It is charged that the actions of the U.S. government during World War II had a devastating impact on Italian American com- munities. Now, I am an Italian American, and for decades have vis- ited many little Italys, but there is no evidence offered in this bill of any devastated Italian American communities.
The FBI rightly picked up pro-fascist, pro-Nazi aliens and citi- zens, including members of the German American Bund, and the blackshirts. Those interned were a relatively small number of peo- ple compared to the huge German American and Italian American populations in the United States who were overwhelmingly loyal.
It is significant, there is not reference in any of this legislation to pro-Nazi, pro-fascist, and pro-Imperial Japanese activities by residents of the United States, including aliens and citizens. Why not?
Distinguished historian Robert Abzug, in a review of Mr. Christgau’s book in the Holocaust Review, wrote that, ‘‘One is struck’’—this is from Mr. Christgau’s book; reading the book, Abzug said, ‘‘One is struck by the benign treatment of the aliens and the extraordinary access they had to the legal system and to appeal procedures.’’ He said even pro-Nazi German aliens were given all of these rights. Professor Abzug noted that most German aliens returned home or became American citizens and, ‘‘few emerged with permanent scars.’’
In 2007 the Department of Justice sent a letter to Senate Judici- ary Chairman Leahy. The DOJ letter stated that Justice had con- tacted the senior historian at the U.S. Holocaust Museum. The his- torian said that the bill’s intended depiction of the treatment of Axis citizens and European American citizens were, ‘‘outrageously exaggerated.’’ The Holocaust Museum historian, when asked about the bill’s accusations that the U.S. government violated the civil rights of European American citizens, said that he is aware of no historical facts to support these conclusions.
Now, the facts concerning the Jewish refugees in this bill are ac- curate, whereas the facts in the rest of the bills are not. So the Jewish refugee section could be made into a separate bill, perhaps.
The bill’s very terminology is fraudulent. It defines German American as American citizens and resident aliens of German an- cestry. But a German alien living in the United States in 1941 is not a German American, but a German national, a citizen of the Third Reich living in the United States.
The bill establishes an independent commission, but there is nothing independent about it. The commission includes two mem- bers representing the interests of the Italian American community, two representing the interests of the German American commu- nity. Italian American community—am I going to be represented,
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or millions of other people? Who is going to be representing the in- terests of the American community?
The activists will have four of the seven seats on the commission. They will recommend appropriate remedies, which, as the Justice Department letter noted, could include financial compensation, rep- arations.
There is nothing in this bill that would prevent the commission from making recommendations for financial compensation for former supporters of the Nazi and Fascist regimes. The commission is also charged with making recommendations for public education programs. These public education programs could become the prop- aganda of moral equivalence: they did bad things in the war, we did bad things in the war. They had concentration camps, we had concentration camps. That term has been thrown around today.
In fact, we heard in the earlier panel a direct reference to the language used in the Nuremburg Trials in describing the actions of the U.S. government during World War II. I quote—earlier, on the first panel—‘‘war crimes and crimes against humanity. This is the level of severity of the human rights violations for which the United States has not been held accountable.’’
This phrase is the exact charge brought against the major Nazi war criminals at Nuremburg. The use of the term suggests simi- larity between the behavior of Franklin Roosevelt’s America and Adolf Hitler’s Germany.
If this commission goes into effect, we, as a Nation, have moved from honoring the greatest generation to trashing it. The commis- sion is supposed to make recommendations affecting American na- tional security, protecting the civil liberties in wartime. The agenda is clear. The implicit logic of this bill says that there can be no spe- cial scrutiny under any circumstance for any group at any time.
During World War II, my Italian American relatives were subject to special scrutiny. And they should have been. Today, we are in a conflict with radical Islam. Common sense tells us that there should be, in some cases, special scrutiny for some Muslims.
If there is a conflict with China, then common sense would tell us there should be special scrutiy for some Chinese nationals. If there is a conflict with Iran, or Serbia, or Luxembourg, the prin- ciples of common sense, special scrutiny should apply for resident aliens and American citizens connected to this foreign power.
This bill is not only historically inaccurate, it will teach us the wrong lessons of how best to protect our country in the future. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Fonte follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF JOHN FONTE
Thank you Chairman Lofgren and Ranking Member King.
To begin with many historical facts cited in the Wartime Treatment Study Act are wrong. It is charged that the actions of the government of Franklin D Roo- sevelt’s during World War II had a ‘‘devastating’’ impact on Italian-American com- munities whose ‘‘detrimental’’ effects ‘‘are still being experienced.’’ I am an Italian American and for decades visited many relatives in a lot of ‘‘little Italys’’ through our country. There is no evidence that Italian-American communities were ‘‘dev- astated.’’ No proof has been offered in this bill of any ‘‘devastated’’ Italian American community.
The FBI rightly picked up those Italian aliens and Italian-American citizens, who were pro-Fascist and those German aliens and German-American citizens who were
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pro-Nazi, like members of the German American Bund, the German-American Set- tlement League and participants in the pro-Nazi Camp Siegfried in New York state. They were a relatively small number of people. My grandparents and hundreds of thousands of other resident aliens (at that point, enemy aliens) were not disturbed. About 11, 000 people of German ancestry (mostly aliens) and about 1, 500 people of Italian ancestry (mostly aliens) were interned, The numbers are disputed, but, in any case, they are small compared to the huge German-American and Italian American populations in the United States that were overwhelmingly loyal and deeply involved in the wartime struggle.
It is significant that there is no reference in this legislation to pro-Nazi, pro-Fas- cist, and pro-Imperial Japan activities by residents of the United States including aliens and citizens during the period from the late 1930s through the Second World War. This certainly existed and was successfully combated by the Roosevelt Admin- istration. Why isn’t pro-Axis activity by residents of the United States discussed or examined in this legislation?
History Professor Robert H. Abzug of University of Texas (who is an expert on Jewish studies) in a review of John Christgau’s book, Enemies wrote that, ‘‘one is struck by the benign treatment of aliens and the extraordinary access they had to the legal system and to the appeal procedures.’’ This included ‘‘even pro-Nazi Ger- man aliens.’’ He notes most of the German aliens returned home or became Amer- ican citizens and ‘‘few emerged with permanent scars.’’ [source: Holocaust and Geno- cide Studies, Vol., I, No. 2, pp 330–31 (Washington: US Holocaust Memorial Mu- seum, 1986)]
The inclusion of the issue of Jewish refugees to this bill was not part of the origi- nal concept of the bill and is an obvious fig-leaf, added later. On May 8, 2007 the Department of Justice sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Leahy on the Wartime Treatment Study Act signed by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney Gen- eral, Richard A. Hertling. The DOJ letter stated that in 2001 Justice had contacted the Senior Historian at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and the historian said ‘‘that the bill’s identical depiction of the treatment of Axis citizens and European Americans [US citizens] was ‘‘outrageously exaggerated.’’ The Holocaust Museum historian when asked about the bill’s accusation that ‘‘the United States Govern- ment violated the civil rights of European-American citizens’’ stated that he is ‘‘aware of no historical facts to support those conclusions.’’
The facts concerning the Jewish refugees are accurate, whereas the facts in the rest of the bill are not. Therefore, if this issue is going to advance further, it would make sense to separate the Jewish refugee section into perhaps another bill and not include it in the issue of wartime treatment of German and Italian nationals.
The bill’s terminology is fraudulent. It defines ‘‘German-American’’ as US citizens and resident aliens of German ancestry. But a German alien living in the United States in 1941, that is to say, a citizen of Nazi Germany who is not a citizen of the United States is clearly not a ‘‘German-American,’’ but a German national living in America. The same fraudulent terminology is used in the term ‘‘Italian-American.’’ Italian Americans should be defined as American citizens of Italian ancestry, not citizens of Italy living in the United States. This misuse of terminology comes from the earlier Japanese American legislation and this also should be corrected.
For the most part, the Roosevelt Administration was not dealing with American citizens (except for those who had shown an affinity for Fascist Italy and Nazi Ger- many. We have heard complaints that American born children of German nationals (who would be American citizens by birth) were returned to Germany with their parents. Under the circumstances what was the administration of Franklin D Roo- sevelt supposed to do: separate the children from their parents?
It is charged by the activists for this legislation that, for example, Italian resident aliens and Italian-American fishermen were unfairly prohibited from fishing in cer- tain areas. Stephen Sulejman Schwartz, a moderate Muslim-American journalist discussed this issue in the Weekly Standard as follows:
‘‘Venturing into restricted waters was forbidden to all vessels of every kind, whether commercial or pleasure boats, without regard for their owner’s citizenship. Allegations that Italian-American fishing boats were confiscated also turn out to be a hoax. Boats were requisitioned by the federal authorities through charter or pur- chase, and the only craft confiscated belonged to owners who had repeatedly made incursions into prohibited waters.’’[source: The Weekly Standard, December 10, 2001]
There are complaints by the activists supporting this legislation about loss of civil liberties because of travel restrictions and the requirement to carry an identity card, and the like. But, as the same Weekly Standard article notes:
‘‘What American’s freedom was not restricted during World War II? A draft was instituted, and evaders of it were imprisoned; consumer goods were rationed, wages,
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prices, rents, and other transactions were controlled . . . travel was limited and or- dinary people were regularly stopped and interrogated. . . . Wars are by definition unfair and uncomfortable. Loyalty tests may be especially uncomfortable to some, but should not trouble those whose loyalties are clear.’’ [source: same Weekly Stand- ard article as above]
The bill allegedly establishes a so-called ‘‘independent’’ commission. But there is nothing ‘‘independent’’ about it. As the Justice Department letter stated, the results are already ‘‘predetermined.’’ We have already been told in the bill that the adminis- tration of Franklin D. Roosevelt was guilty of gross human rights violations. The commission is to include ‘‘two members representing the interests of the Italian American community’’ and ‘‘two members representing the interests of the German American community.’’ How is that going to be determined? As an Italian American are my interests going to be represented? Remember the fraudulent definition of German American and Italian American communities means that we are not nec- essarily taking about the interests of American citizens when using these terms. Who, one wonders, is going to be representing the interests of the ‘‘American com- munity.’’
In short, the activists are going to be in charge with four of the seven seats on the commission. They are supposed to recommend ‘‘appropriate remedies,’’ which, as the Justice Department letter notes, ‘‘could include financial compensation.’’ In other words, they could recommend ‘‘reparations.’’ Certainly, there is nothing in the bill that would prevent the commission from making recommendations for financial compensation for former supporters of the Nazi and Fascist regimes, whether the beneficiaries are American citizens or German or Italian citizens. Clearly, there is nothing to prevent the commission from making such recommendations as the legis- lation is currently written.
The commission is also charged with making recommendations for ‘‘public edu- cation programs related to the US Government’s Wartime Treatment of European Americans.’’ Is there any doubt that these ‘‘public education programs’’ will be the propaganda of moral equivalence: ‘‘they did bad things, so did we; they interned peo- ple in camps, so did we.’’ For example, one activist who is testifying here today used the direct language of the Nuremberg Trials in describing the actions of the United States government during World War II in a speech five years ago:
The activist declared: ‘‘War crimes and crimes against humanity—this is the level of the severity of the human rights violations for which the United States has not been held accountable.’’ The phrase, ‘‘War crimes and crimes against humanity’’ were the exact charges brought against the major Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg, many of whom were found guilty and executed. The use of the terms ‘‘war crimes and crimes against humanity’’ cannot be accidental, but an attempt to suggest simi- larities of behavior between Franklin Roosevelt’s America and Adolf Hitler’s Ger- many during World War II. [source: http://www.campaignforjusticejla.org/resources/ speeches/dor2004lgracelshimizu.html
If this commission goes into effect, we, as a nation, will have moved from honoring the ‘‘greatest generation’’ to trashing it. The generation that through tremendous sacrifices defeated the totalitarian axis of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and the mili- tarists of Imperial Japan.
Worst of all, this stacked commission of activists and special interest pleaders is supposed to make recommendations for the future affecting American national secu- rity such as ‘‘assessing the continued viability of the Alien Enemies Act’’ and pro- tecting ‘‘civil liberties in wartime.’’ There is, of course, nothing in this legislation about how to combat internal subversion in wartime from residents (aliens and citi- zens) of our country whose loyalty is not to the United States.
What recommendations for the future will be forthcoming from this commission? One of the activists, who is a majority witness here today declared:
‘‘The necessity for this [public] education has been underscored in the aftermath of 9/11 and the unfolding of the global and domestic ‘war on terrorism.’ ’’
What happened during World War II ‘‘is history repeating itself in the govern- ment’s current racial profiling.’’ [source, same as previous web listing on Campaign for Justice website]
The agenda here is clear and it weakens American security. The implicit logic of the bill says that there can be no special scrutiny for any particular group at any time, as, for example, occurred was during World War II. However, we should imple- ment common sense special scrutiny actions where appropriate. For example, it makes sense for security at our nation’s airports (TSA) to examine special scrutiny
measures used by other liberal democratic nation—states such as Israel and Spain in dealing with potential threats.
In fact, if we are serious about protecting lives, we need at different times to exer- cise a particular type of special scrutiny. During World War II it made sense to treat the communities of German and Italian aliens and citizens differently from other citizens and residents of the US. It certainly made sense to treat those who had expressed an ideological affinity with Nazism, Fascism, and Japanese impe- rialism differently from other residents and citizens of the US.
My relatives as Italian Americans during World War II were subject to special scrutiny and they should have been. Today, we are in conflict (whether admitted or not) with radical Islam. This means that common sense tells us that there should be, in some cases (not blanket, but in some cases), special scrutiny for Muslims (residents and citizens) in America. If there is a conflict with China, say over Tai- wan, then common sense would tell us that there should be special scrutiny for Chi- nese nationals (and some other residents, including citizens) living in the US. Like- wise, if there is a conflict with Venezuela, Iran, Serbia, Somalia or Luxembourg, the same principle of common sense special scrutiny should apply for resident aliens and American citizens connected with the foreign power.
The Wartime Treatment Study act is not only historically inaccurate, most impor- tantly, it will teach us the wrong lessons on how best to protect our country in the future.
Ms. LOFGREN. Thank you. The gentleman’s time has expired.
Now we will turn to Members of the Committee to see if there are questions for any of the panel members.
First I will turn to you, Mr. King.
Mr. KING. Thank you, Madam Chair.
Again, I thank all the witnesses for their testimony. A series of
questions arise for me, but I would—before I ask them, I have an article here that is the ‘‘Campaign for Justice,’’ dated February 22, 2004, an article written by Grace Shimizu, that I ask unanimous consent to introduce into the record.
Ms. LOFGREN. Without objection. [The information referred to follows:]
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Mr. KING. Thank you, Madam Chair, and all. That is direct con- tradiction to the earlier testimony. And I wanted to point out that ‘‘Hill or Bill’s good rules by all account, I think so,’’ on a statement made that turned out to apparently be the lead of our pejorative.
But some of the questions that come to mind to me would be, as I listen to Mr. Christgau, this tone of America. And I am just ask-
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ing myself as I listen to your testimony, if you were to list the countries in the world and in order of their morality, or their rel- ative morality, where would you put the United States with——
Mr. CHRISTGAU. Number one.
Mr. KING. As the most moral Nation?
Mr. CHRISTGAU. Yes.
Mr. KING. Very good. That really helps me put your testimony
on a different perspective, and I just appreciate that.
And I would ask also of Ms. Ebel this question, and I know that this gets focused on the family history and the things that you know because of personal experience, et cetera, but have you rolled over the thought about how everybody’s destiny is changed by a war? And I know that your testimony reflects upon how your fam- ily’s destiny was changed because of the actions that took place
within the context of this war.
Have you speculated on how different it might be if the internees
had been drafted rather than interned? A certain percentage would have gone into combat and been put at great risk. Would that have been an injustice to draft them into the military rather than in- tern?
Ms. EBEL. It is true that they could have been interned or they could have been drafted and gone into the war. In my father’s case, he objected to it because he had family in Europe, and he was con- cerned about fighting against his brother and his cousin, and so that is why he objected to it. In his release recommendation, they also noted that he was disappointed that he had flunked his pre- induction physical, and that he was willing, then, to go and fight.
But are you asking me whether it would be better to draft enemy aliens and have them fight in the war than intern them?
Mr. KING. I would like to ask you a more general question, and less specific. But, if there was a conscientious objections, or as going back to Germany where my uncles went even though my grandmother came from there the previous generation, there was another theater in Japan, which we have heard about, so from that perspective, I would just ask if you have contemplated about, as you speak for many others, I believe, here as a witness, how the destiny might have changed had some of them been sent into the front and perhaps been captured by the enemy and put through those camps instead? Wouldn’t we have had more fatalities—some fatalities among this group that you are representing today that wouldn’t have lived through the war?
Ms. EBEL. Yes, I think we would have.
Mr. KING. And would that have been a worse atrocity?
Ms. EBEL. For them to go in and fight in a war and die for their
country? Yes. But I also wanted——
Mr. KING. And many of our contemporaries and many of our par-
ents were engaged in that in a noble patriotic effort and lost their lives. So I raise that at the beginning. I just am having trouble get- ting past that comparison.
I think I should turn to Mr. Fonte and ask if you would comment on that?
Ms. EBEL. Well, I just want to say that my father was willing to go to the Pacific, but he had objected to going to Germany. And I also want to add that there were many internees who had family
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members fighting in Europe and in the Pacific while they were sit- ting in internment camps.
Mr. KING. I agree. Thank you.
Mr. FONTE. Well, in fact, my uncle was involved—and fought
against the Italians and Sicilians during a war, too, so as many Italian Americans did.
Mr. KING. I thank you.
Madam Chair, I yield back.
Ms. LOFGREN. The gentleman yields back.
I would ask Ms. Sa ́nchez if she has a question.
Ms. SA ́NCHEZ. I just very briefly wanted to follow up on some-
thing that Ms. Ebel said regarding the fact that many aliens who were interned during this period had grown children that were fighting for the U.S. military effort, and I wanted to ask—our first witness, were there—how often that happened that they had family that was fighting for the United States while their parents while their parents were sitting in interment camps.
Mr. CHRISTGAU. It happened frequently.
Ms. SA ́NCHEZ. And that was never taken into consideration when they were deciding who would be interned.
Mr. CHRISTGAU. No, it was not.
Ms. SA ́NCHEZ. Ms. Ebel, you stated that your father, while he was being interned, was called up to be drafted by the Army. Don’t you find it kind of ironic that they would be drafting a so-called dangerous person to serve in the military for the United States?
Ms. EBEL. Well, I thought it was a great irony that he was so dangerous that he couldn’t be free in the United States, but he could go and fight on behalf of the United States. And then when he flunked his physical, he went right back into the internment camp again.
I just want to add one interesting anecdote in response to your earlier question, was that during the Jimmy Doolittle Raid, one of the navigators for Jimmy Doolittle was a German American-born man, and his father was an alien internee in Washington State.
Ms. SA ́NCHEZ. A wonderful way to treat patriots.
Last question for you: Those who were allowed to go home after the end of the war in 1945 had to sign an oath of silence not to talk about their internment. Do you know what the penalty was for speaking out against what had happened?
Ms. EBEL. My understanding is that the penalty was possible de- portation and possible internment, and that was the precise reason why many who signed the oath never spoke. I have heard of sev- eral stories where there were deathbed confessions of internment, and the family was just around, they couldn’t even believe what they were hearing. So the devastation to the individuals who were interned continued long after the internment.
Ms. SA ́NCHEZ. Thank you all for your testimony, and I yield back. Ms. LOFGREN. The gentlelady yields back.
The gentleman from California wishes to ask a question.
Mr. LUNGREN. Yes, thank you, Madam Chair.
As you may know, during my prior service in Congress I was se- lected to serve on the Commission on Wartime Relocation, and the civilians always know me, sitting Member of Congress who served
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on that panel. I did that because I grew up in southern California and was completely unaware of the treatment of Japanese Ameri- cans and Japanese nationals.
My home area, I lived not too far—I grew up not too far away from Federal Island, unaware that prior to World War II there was—Japanese American village there—fishing village—that was never returned after the war. And I grew up with the Japanese Americans in my community that had never heard about that. So when this was brought to my attention in the first Congress—the first time I was in Congress—I supported the effort to establish a commission.
I did so by getting sufficient Republican votes to make sure that we could pass it, but I did so at that time by promising Members that it was not a simple excuse for granting reparations; rather, it was a commission—study the record and establish what the history was. But I do recall at the very first meeting that we had of the commission, one of the commissioners turned to us assembled and said, ‘‘Okay, how much money are we talking about?’’ which, frank- ly, put off alarm bells in my head because I had promised Members that was not the purpose of it. Rather, I had thought it was impor- tant for us to investigate that period of time, since it was fairly well unknown about the treatment of fellow citizens and people who were here legally at that time.
I still think it is important for us to have historical records so that we know. I don’t think we know enough about how we—what the decisions were with respect to the Japanese Latin Americans here, and there is a lot of lack of knowledge with respect to Ger- mans and Italians.
But I would say that—and I am a co-sponsor of legislation to look at the question of Japanese Latin American treatment, but I would say this: I think we ought to be careful about how we handle this.
I hear about members of your family who were reluctant to talk about their experiences. My dad was drafted into World War II as a doctor. He was a battle—he was a physician who was within one block, as I was told by someone who called me just a year ago, within one block of the front lines in Normandy. He received a Pur- ple Heart there.
He never spoke in any detail about his experiences in World War II. It wasn’t because he signed some oath. Because that experience was so horrendous. He told me he did not—he tried not to make friends, because he lost them so fast. He described to me one time one friend he did make who was blown up in front of his eyes, and there were just pieces of flesh and that was all that was left.
So there are many who suffered, and many who, in that genera- tion, sacrificed. I would hope that if we move on these bills, and the bill in which I have cosponsored, that we would, I hope, look at establishing a proper historical record as being the prime reason we are doing this, not that we are looking at making amends by reparations or something like that.
Let me just say this: It is awfully easy for a generation 60 years later to say, ‘‘God, you were terrible, and we wouldn’t have done this.’’ My hope is that if you have a historical record established, we learn from those experiences, try and adopt some perspective
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and some policies which prevent us from making some mistakes that were made.
But just to set a little record, because there was some talk about the FBI. There was one person in the higher positions of the Fed- eral Government who disagreed with Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s decision to round up Japanese Americans and nationals from the east and west coast. You know who that person was? J. Edgar Hoo- ver, who said that based on the best information he had he thought he could limit the number of people we are talking about to the ones that he thought were suspicious. Now, in retrospect, we prob- ably know that he was wrong on some of the people they would have rounded up. Wouldn’t that have been a better process than what we did do?
And in fact, if you want to look at the historical record, it was in Hawaii that we did not impose that same order because the mili- tary commander in Hawaii said if we had that same order that was imposed in Hawaii we wouldn’t have enough workers, and we wouldn’t have an opportunity to be able to maintain the economy there. And so there we used J. Edgar Hoover’s approach, and we only rounded up a few people of Japanese American ancestry.
The only point I am trying to make is as one who has been through this, who has been through the commission, sat on it, the only sitting Member of Congress who was willing to sit on that commission, I know the emotion that goes into it, and I know the possibilities of utilizing language. For anybody to say that we had concentration camps, and therefore equate what we did with what the Germans did, it is historically incorrect and casts a dispersion upon that generation.
And to suggest that we engaged in war crimes or crimes against humanity, frankly, I think, is more than exaggeration. It upsets the historical record and frankly, it is not the way to gain support in the Congress of the United States and for a commission to look at any of this. I hope we would understand that——
Ms. LOFGREN. The gentleman’s time has expired, and we have given extra time because of your service on the first commission. And we would thank this panel for your testimony.
Ms. Ebel, I was particularly touched by your commitment to your father. As someone who has lost her father, I know that those obli- gations are important ones indeed, and I think you are living up to your promise.
Ms. EBEL. Thank you.
Ms. LOFGREN. Thank you very much, and we will ask our next panel to come forward.
I will introduce them as they step forward. First, Valery Bazarov. Mr. Bazarov was born in Russia in 1942, immigrated to the United States in 1988. He holds two graduate degrees from Odessa State University and Hunter College. He joined the Hebrew Immigrant Society in 1988 and currently is committed to finding and honoring the heroes of Jewish and non-Jewish descent who rescued Euro- pean Jews during the Holocaust.
Our next witness is David Harris. Mr. Harris has been the exec- utive director of the American Jewish Committee since 1990. He travels the globe meeting with world leaders to advance the wellbeing of Israel, combat anti-Semitism, monitor the condition of
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Jewish communities, and promote intergroup and inter-religious understanding. He is a prolific author and commentator, and his insightful weekly AJC radio broadcasts are heard by an estimated 35 billion listeners nationwide on the CBS radio network.
Next, I am pleased as Mr. Leo Bretholz is here. Mr. Bretholz was in France in 1940, and by the summer of 1941, HIAS had assisted his aunt and uncle in the U.S. to apply for a visa for their nephew. However, in July 1941, just a day after the bombing of Pearl Har- bor, his visa was delayed. Mr. Bretholz spent the next 6 years run- ning from city to city around Europe barely escaping death several times. Finally, in 1947, he obtained a visa to the United States. He has published a book, ‘‘Leap Into Darkness,’’ that describes his life between 1941 to 1947.
And the final witness is Michael Horowitz. Mr. Horowitz is the director of the Hudson Institute’s project for civil justice reform and project for international religious liberty. He served as general council for the Office of Management and Budget under the Reagan administration and has taught law at the University of Mississippi and at Georgetown. He has also practiced law as a partner at sev- eral national firms.
Now, before I ask you to testify, I would like to note the presence in our audience today of Ira Crispen, who is a pretty famous immi- gration lawyer and author of immigration text that is used as a sourcebook throughout the United States.
So Ira, we are very happy to have you here today, and honored, actually, by your presence.
Ms. WATERS. And he is my friend.
Ms. LOFGREN. And also, Ms. Waters’ friend, so also to your cred- it.
We would ask, as you have heard before, your full statements will be made part of the official record. We would ask your testi- mony to consume about 5 minutes, and then we will have an oppor- tunity to ask questions.
So if we could begin with you, Mr. Bazarov?
Mr. BAZAROV. Madam Chair, may I ask your permission to tes- tify after Leo Bretholz, and you will understand why——
Ms. LOFGREN. That would be fine.
Mr. BAZAROV. Thank you.
Ms. LOFGREN. Then we will go to Mr. Harris.
TESTIMONY OF DAVID A. HARRIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE (AJC)
Mr. HARRIS. Do I get his 5 minutes too? [Laughter.]
Madam Chairwoman, distinguished Members of the Sub- committee, my name is David Harris. I am the executive director of the American Jewish Committee. Thank you for holding this hearing on the topic of immense historical importance that reso- nates to the present day.
Time does not permit more than a brief discussion of U.S. immi- gration policy during the years of the Third Reich. Fortunately, there are many scholarly works and personal testimonies to fill out the picture. They make clear that as a Nation we did far less to rescue Jews who were targeted for extinction by the Nazi jug- gernaut than we could and should have.
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Allow me to cite just three examples that I believe encapsulate the larger story. In May 1939, a passenger liner, the ‘‘St. Louis,’’ set sail from Hamburg with over 900 Jewish refugees. It was des- tined for Cuba, but on arrival Cuban officials canceled the pas- sengers’ transit visas and refused to let all but a handful dis- embark.
The ship then headed for the coast of Florida, coming so close that the refugees could see the lights of Miami, but U.S. officials refused to let it enter a port. The ship was sent back to Europe, and more than a quarter of the passengers, we know, were killed by the Nazis. Imagine, Madam Chairwoman, our country could find neither the compassion nor the legal basis to admit 900 Jews flee- ing Hitler who were within sight of our shores.
The next year, 1940, Assistant Secretary of State Breckenridge Long wrote his now legendary words, ‘‘We can delay and effectively stop for a temporary period of indefinite length the number of im- migrants into the United States. We could do this by simply advis- ing our consuls to put every obstacle in the way and to require ad- ditional evidence and to resort to various administrative devices which would postpone and postpone and postpone the granting of the visas.’’
Imagine key State Department officials, when they were not sup- pressing information coming from Europe about the fate of the Jews—and that is its own story—were seeking ways to block entry into the United States. In so doing, they failed even to meet the strict immigration quotas operative at the time. From 1933 on- ward, and I would wish to stress this point, the annual country quota for immigrants from Germany was only filled once—exactly once—even though, as you can well imagine, there was no shortage of applicants. The obstacle was a lack of compassion.
And the refugees had few other places to turn: Britain, which itself took in 70,000 European Jews, succumbed to Arab pressure and tightened still further entry into Mandatory Palestine when, tragically, there was no sovereign Israel to offer safe haven. The vast majority of Europe’s Jews, feeling the Nazi noose tightening around their necks, were trapped—literally trapped—even when they could still leave countries like Germany and Austria. Too many had nowhere to go; they were the unwanted flotsam of the Second World War.
And third, on January 16, 1944, Henry Morgenthau, the sec- retary of the treasury, wrote his now famous cri de coeur to Presi- dent Roosevelt. He quoted a Senate Foreign Relations Committee report recommending a commission to formulate plans to save Eu- rope’s Jews. The Committee report said, ‘‘We have talked; we have sympathized; we have expressed our horror; the time to act is long past due.’’
At the conclusion of Morgenthau’s admirable letter, with anger and anguish he wrote to the President, his friend, referring to the State Department—our State Department—‘‘The matter of res- cuing the Jews from extermination is a trust too great to remain in the hands of men who are indifferent, callous, and perhaps even hostile.’’ Morgenthau’s intervention resulted in the creation of the U.S. War Refugee Board, which protected an estimated 200,000 Jews from otherwise certain death.
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It was a stark reminder of what this country was capable of when it resolved to act. If only we had acted sooner. But alas, the government spent little time considering ways to rescue Jews, slow down the transport trains to the camps, bomb the machinery of death, or warn the Nazis of sever retribution for their genocidal policy.
Madam Chairwoman, ladies and gentlemen, I cannot end this testimony without a personal word. Even with the falures of omis- sion and commission in American policy, an estimate 200,000 Jews were able to enter the United States from 1933 to 1945. That num- ber may have been a mere pittance compared to those who sought and were eligible for entry, but nonetheless, those 200,000 Jews were saved.
I would not be here today were it not for that group of 200,000. My mother and maternal grandparents were among them, arriving in New York in November 1941. Their entry into the United States, though, was not easy, I assure you. But in the end, having crossed the Iberian Peninsula to Lisbon, the boarded the ‘‘SS Exeter’’ and found a safe haven and new start in this country.
If only more leaders had had the capacity not only to grasp the genocide at had, but also to identify with the anguish of the victims who, until the very end, wanted to believe that their plight would not, could not, go neglected. Then there would have been no need at least for my part of the panel. And yes, there would be many more people like myself, today proud to call America home.
Thank you, Madam Chairwoman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Harris follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF DAVID A. HARRIS
Madame Chairwoman, Distinguished Members of the Subcommittee,
My name is David Harris. I am the executive director of the American Jewish Committee.
Permit me to thank you for holding this hearing on a topic of immense historical importance that continues to resonate—and haunt us—to the present day.
Time does not permit more than a brief review of U.S. immigration policy from 1933 to 1945, the years that coincide with the rule of the Third Reich. Fortunately, there are many scholarly works on the subject, as well as personal testimonies, which fill out the picture.
Upon assuming office in 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was immediately confronted with two daunting challenges—one domestic, the other foreign.
At home, President Roosevelt faced the devastating impact of the Great Depres- sion and the pressing need to rebuild the economy and restore confidence in the na- tion.
Abroad, President Roosevelt took office just weeks after Adolf Hitler ascended to power in Berlin.
From the start, the President showed courage and sagacity in dealing with the domestic challenge, while, over time, recognizing, to his everlasting credit, that a country unenthusiastic about the prospect of once again rescuing Europe from its own demons, as it had in the First World War, needed to be prepared for that even- tuality.
But the Roosevelt era included one great failing. As a nation, we did far less to rescue Jews, who were targeted for extinction by the Nazi juggernaut, than we could and should have.
Who was to blame? Frankly, it would be easier, and much shorter, to list who was not to blame.
The reasons, excuses, and defenses for those who failed to act could fill volumes.
However sensitive President Roosevelt might have been to the Jews’ plight, and there is reason to believe that he was, domestic politics at the time made it difficult for him to act.
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He was fearful of inciting the fertile ground of domestic anti-Semitism and facing the wrath of widespread nativist sentiment, both attested to by public opinion polls at the time. Moreover, he was convinced, once the U.S. entered the war, that the best way to help Europe’s Jews was to vanquish the Nazis as quickly as possible, without any so-called distraction or diversion of resources.
The Congress, while including some Members who desperately wanted to help be- leaguered Jews, could not overcome the resistance of restrictionist colleagues, who, reflecting the popular mood, were unwilling to revisit strict immigration laws adopt- ed in 1924, leaving those laws intact throughout the period under discussion here.
The State Department, plagued by the bureaucratic instinct for inertia and legal- ism at its worst, not to mention a tissue-thin facade that barely concealed the anti- Semitism of some of its key decision-makers, was the last place in Washington to look for help.
The general public was certainly not clamoring for the gates to be opened. Fearful of more newcomers, who were seen as threats to scarce jobs, and influenced the hysteria wrought by demagogues like Father Charles Coughlin, who railed against the Jews in his popular radio broadcasts, the American people exerted little pres- sure on elected officials to do something dramatic to help Europe’s embattled Jews.
In fact, a 1942 survey, cited by Leonard Dinnerstein in Antisemitism in America, found that Americans rated Jews as the third greatest ‘‘menace’’ to the country, be- hind only Germans and Japanese, the country’s sworn wartime enemies. By 1944, Jews had moved to the top of the list, with 24 percent of Americans believing that Jews posed the greatest danger.
With notably few exceptions, the media did not experience its proudest moment, either. In such leading newspapers and opinion-molders as the New York Times, sto- ries about the plight of Hitler’s victims were often brief and buried, and editorials were few and far between. They hardly contributed to an understanding of, much less a popular outrage against, what was taking place in Europe, even as the grisly facts of the Nazi eliminationist plans emerged.
Jewish agencies, including my own, were alarmed by the trajectory of develop- ments and sought in their various ways to raise consciousness and reach decision- makers, though, it must be said, their clout was severely limited. Indeed, as histo- rian Henry Feingold despairingly notes in The Politics of Rescue:
Much of their formidable organizational resources were dissipated in internal bickering until it seemed as if Jews were more anxious to tear each other apart than to rescue their coreligionists.
I could go on. Suffice it to say that this was not our country’s finest hour.
In the interests of time, let me cite just three examples that, I believe, encap- sulate the larger story.
In May 1939, a passenger liner, the St. Louis, set sail from Hamburg with over 900 Jewish refugees. It was destined for Cuba, but, on arrival, Cuban officials can- celled the transit visas that had been issued to the passengers and refused to let all but a tiny handful disembark. The ship then headed for the coast of Florida, coming so close that the refugees could see the lights of Miami, but U.S. officials callously refused to let it enter a port and discharge its passengers. Rather, the ship was sent back to Europe. More than a quarter of the passengers, it is known, were subsequently killed by the Nazis.
Imagine, our country could find neither the compassion nor the legal basis to admit 900 Jews fleeing Hitler who were within sight of our shores.
The next year, Assistant Secretary of State Breckenridge Long, no friend of Eu- rope’s Jews, to say the least, wrote his now legendary words: ‘‘We can delay and effectively stop for a temporary period of indefinite length the number of immi- grants into the United States. We could do this by simply advising our consuls to put every obstacle in the way and to require additional evidence and to resort to various administrative devices which would postpone and postpone and postpone the granting of the visas.’’
Imagine, key officials in the State Department, when they were not trying to sup- press information coming from Europe about the fate of the Jews, were actively seeking ways to block entry to the United States. In so doing, they failed even to meet the strict immigration quotas operative at the time. Shockingly, from 1933 on- ward, for example, the annual country quota for immigrants from Germany was only filled once.
In 1939, for example, there were over 300,000 applicants for the 27,000 German slots alone. The failure to do so was not for any shortage of applicants, cumbersome though the process was—including, hard as it may be to believe, a Certificate of Good Conduct from German police officials and, as of September 30, 1939, proof of permission to leave Germany. Rather, the problem was a total lack of compassion.
Nor were the refugees excluded in the knowledge that, if the United States did not resettle them, other nations would. Indeed, few other countries did.
Apropos, Britain, which itself took in 70,000 European Jews, succumbed to Arab pressure and tightened still further entry into Mandatory Palestine, another theo- retical escape route, when, tragically, there was no sovereign Israel to offer safe haven to Jews in desperate need.
Two major intergovernmental conferences, Evian in 1938 and Bermuda in 1943, were touted as venues for discussion of the refugee crisis, but the U.S. and other participants seemed more far interested in the politics of symbolism than in sub- stance.
In other words, the vast majority of Europe’s Jews, feeling the Nazi noose tight- ening around their necks, were literally trapped, even when they still had the chance to leave countries like Germany and Austria. Too many had nowhere to go. They were the unwanted flotsam of the Second World War.
And on January 16, 1944, Henry Morgenthau, the Secretary of the Treasury, wrote his cri de Coeur to his friend, President Roosevelt.
In it, he said:
The best summary of the whole situation is contained in one sentence of a report submitted on December 20, 1943, by the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, recommending the passage of a Resolution (S.R. 203), favoring the ap- pointment of a commission to formulate plans to save the Jews of Europe from extinction by Nazi Germany. . . . The committee stated: ‘We have talked; we have sympathized; we have expressed our horror; the time to act is long past due.’
Concluding his admirable letter to the President, Morgenthau wrote, referring to the State Department:
The matter of rescuing the Jews from extermination is a trust too great to remain in the hands of men who are indifferent, callous, and perhaps even hostile.
Imagine, the Secretary of the Treasury felt compelled to resort to such language about governmental colleagues in a letter to the President, so angry and anguished was he about U.S. refugee policy.
Importantly, the result of Morgenthau’s intervention was the creation of the U.S. War Refugee Board, which, through sheer ingenuity and audacity, was successful in rescuing an estimated 200,000 Jews from otherwise certain death.
It was a stark reminder of what this country was capable of when it resolved to act. If only we had done so sooner—but, alas, the government spent little time con- sidering ways to rescue Jews, slow down the transport trains to the extermination camps, bomb the machinery of death, or warn the Nazi regime of severe retribution for its genocidal policy.
Madame Chairwoman, I cannot end this testimony without a personal word.
Even with the grievous failures of omission and commission in American policy, an estimated 200,000 Jews were able to enter the United States in the 12-year pe- riod from 1933 to 1945.
That number may have been a mere pittance compared to those who sought entry and, indeed, were eligible for admission under the existing quota system, but none- theless those 200,000 Jews were saved.
I would not be here today, Madame Chairwoman, were it not for that group of 200,000. My mother and maternal grandparents were among them, arriving in New York in November 1941.
Their entry into the United States was not made easy, I assure you, but in the end, having crossed the Iberian Peninsula to Lisbon, they were able to board the SS Exeter and find a safe haven, and new start, in this country.
But if only more leaders had had the capacity not only to grasp the genocide at hand, but also to identify with the anguish of the victims—the victims who till the very end wanted to believe that their plight as human beings would not, could not, go neglected—then there would have been no need for this hearing. And, yes, there would be many more people like myself today proud to call America home.
Thank you, Madame Chairwoman.
Ms. LOFGREN. Thank you, Mr. Harris.
Mr. Bretholz, we will be pleased to hear from you. Could we get a microphone?
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TESTIMONY OF LEO BRETHOLZ, AUTHOR OF ‘‘LEAP INTO DARKNESS’’
Mr. BRETHOLZ. Madam Chairwoman, it is a pleasure to be here and a privilege to have been invited to share my story with you. I am not an angry man. I am a disappointed man. I am sad be- cause what Mr. Harris just said spells it all out. In addition to Breckenridge Long, there was a man at the State Department by the name of Robert Borden Reams, and Robert Borden Reams was informed by a man in Geneva by the name of Dr. Guerhard Reidner—he was the representative in Geneva of the America Jew- ish Congress—that he had just learned that the Final Solution has
been decided on the the Wannsee Conference.
Robert Borden Reams notified the American consulates overseas
not to pay attention to Dr. Reidner’s report, because for your infor- mation, Reidner is Jewish. And Robert Borden Reams was in charge of the Nazi Jewish desk at the time at State Department.
My story is one very personal of survival during the Holocaust. I was living in Vienna in Austria in March 1938 when Hitler and the German army entered the city and—the annexation of Austria, and at the encouragement of my mother, I fled Austria. In April 1941, I had an aunt and uncle in Baltimore who prepared affida- vits hoping to obtain a visa of immigration to the United States. That autumn, deportations from Vienna began.
During this time, I was in France dreaming of immigrating to the United States, and every day I went to the post office hoping to find good news somewhere beyond so much awfulness. One day my eyes fell on a red, white, and blue bordered envelop from Amer- ica. The postal clerk knew.
For weeks I had been sighing disappointedly when no mail ar- rived from the United States, and now my aunt in Baltimore was writing to me. And with the help of the HIAS Hebrew Immigration Aid Society, my affidavit was accepted by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. In the near future, my aunt wrote I should receive notification from a U.S. consulate to appear at its office for my visa.
In November, I received notification that stated, ‘‘Present your- self at the U.S. consulate in Marseilles on December 8, 1941.’’ Early in the morning December 8, I stopped at the newspaper kiosk on my way to the U.S. consulate in Marseilles. I saw a head- line. For those who know French, ‘‘Le Japon Attaque La Flotille Americaine A Pearl Harbor’’—Japan has attacked the American fleet in Pearl Harbor.
Now, I didn’t know who this Pearl, was, you know, an unknown person to me, of course. I stood transfixed. Never had I heard of Pearl Harbor, and now it was the fulcrum of my entire life. At 9 o’clock I presented myself at the receptionist—to a receptionist at the consulate and saw more than a dozen visa applicants.
We waited at the consulate for someone in authority to enter the room to tell us our pleas would be answered, that an exception would be made for us. No one came. As I left, the consulate seemed a descent into doom, because the consulate had notified, no visa ap- plications are going to be examined.
After being denied a visa to the United States, I spent the next 6 years on the run, barely escaping death—as I like to say, trying
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to be one step ahead of those who wanted me dead. And that was in Vichy, France. I escaped Germany by swimming across the River Sauer into Luxembourg; I escaped the French camp at St. Cyprien near the Pyrenees Mountains; I crossed the Alps by foot into Swit- zerland, hid into attics; I was sent back to Vichy, France from Switzerland—by the way, I was arrested; I escaped and leapt from a train at night that was bound for Auschwitz—that was on the 6th of November, 1942, and were it not for this night of November 6, 1942, I would not be sitting here talking, because in that train, 20 cattle cars, 50 each, 1,000 people, only five survived, and I am one of them. I had escaped from the train with a friend on the night of November 6, 1942.
I wanted to find myself in the United States, and from Baltimore I received a letter from my aunt telling me to be patient. She had prepared another affidavit of support with the help of the HIAS Hebrew Immigration Aid Society. But at the time, there were thou- sands like me trying to immigrate to the United States. The proc- ess was slow.
Almost a year later, on March 18, 1946, I received a letter from the American consulate in Bordeaux saying that I had been given a low case number, number 531. Receiving the low case number made me feel very important.
In December 1946 I received my French exit visa. A week later I was booked passage on the steamer ‘‘John Ericsson.’’ I departed for the United States in January 1947; I arrived here 62 years ago.
I reached America in 1947 and hid my story for the next 14 years. Why had my life been spared when so many had been taken? Would some miracle arrive in the mail telling me that my mother and sisters were still alive somewhere in the wreckage of Europe? However, I do know that if I and many others had re- ceived visas to immigrate to the United States in 1941, many of us would have been spared the horrific experiences we endured, and many more people would have survived.
My mother and sisters were murdered in a death camp, and 20 more family members. In addition to the story of the ‘‘St. Louis,’’ there is also one other story that has to be mentioned, that while 10,000 children were admitted to England in 1938 and 1939, at that time there was a bill introduced in the United States Congress to admit several hundred children and it was voted down in the United States.
I want to end, Mrs. Chairwoman, with a quote from George Fantayana, and this is all the exercise here, but this is not recrimi- nation because we are changing the past. That is the past. That cannot be changed. But George Fantayana said, ‘‘If we do not re- member the lessons of history, we are condemned to repeat them.’’ And this exercise here is to make sure that that will never get re- peated.
Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Bretholz follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF LEO BRETHOLZ
I was living in Vienna, Austria in March 1938 when Hitler and the German army entered the city. At the encouragement of my mother, I fled Austria.
In April 1941, I had an Aunt and Uncle in Baltimore who prepared affidavits, hoping to obtain a visa of immigration for me to the United States. That autumn,
deportations from Vienna began. An Aunt and cousin of mine were shipped to a Lodz ghetto en route to Auschwitz. An Uncle of mine was already there. During this time, I was in France, dreaming of immigrating to the United States. Every day, I went to the post office, hoping to find good news somewhere beyond so much aw- fulness. One day, my eyes fell on a red-white-and-blue bordered envelope from America.
‘‘Enfin, ca y est,’’ the postal clerk said. At last, it’s here.
The postal clerk knew. For weeks, I’d been sighing disappointingly when no mail arrived from the United States. Now, my Aunt in Baltimore was writing to me. With the help of the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society, my affidavit was accepted by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. In the near future, my Aunt wrote, I should receive notification from a U.S. Consulate to appear at its office for my visa.
In November, I received the notification that stated: ‘‘Present yourself at the U.S. Consulate in Marseilles on December 8, 1941.’’
Early in the morning of December 8th, I stopped at a newspaper kiosk on my way to the U.S. Consulate. I saw a headline: Le Japon Attaque La Flotille Americaine A Pearl Harbor.’’
I stood transfixed. Never had I heard of Pearl Harbor, and now it was the fulcrum of my entire life. At nine o’clock, I presented myself to a receptionist at the con- sulate, and saw more than a dozen other visa applicants.
We were told by the consulate that, ‘‘In view of the hostilities, the consulate has been instructed to cease all visa-processing formalities until further notice.’’
A woman standing with her small children began to cry, so the children also cried. A dreadful wailing commenced. A mistake, we proclaimed. People are waiting for us, we moaned. Yes, yes, we were told by the consulate, but this is war and we all must make sacrifices.
We waited at the consulate for someone in authority to enter the room, to tell us our pleas would be answered, that an exception would be made for us. No one came. As I left the consulate it seemed like a descent into doom.
After being denied a visa to the United States, I spent the next six years on the run, barely escaping death. I had escaped Germany by swimming across the River Sauer; I escaped a French camp at St. Cyprien; I crossed the Alps by foot into Swit- zerland; hid in attics and ceiling crawlspaces; I escaped and leapt from a train at night that was bound for Auschwitz; I was arrested by French gendarmes, beaten by prison guards, and escaped again; and I joined the French resistance until the War in Europe was over.
The end of the War in Europe in 1945 was not like the end of a winning ballgame or the beginning of a new year. Instead, it felt like the winding down of an endless era of exhaustion, and the beginning of a great unknown.
I wanted to find myself in the United States. From Baltimore, I received a letter from my Aunt telling me to be patient. She had prepared another affidavit of sup- port with help from the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society. But, at the time, there were thousands like me, trying to immigrate to the United States. The process was slow.
Almost a year later, on March 18, 1946, I received a letter from the American Consulate in Bordeaux, saying that I had been given a low case number, 531. Re- ceiving the low case number made me feel important.
In December of 1946, I received my French exit visa. A week later, I was booked passage on the steamer John Ericsson. I departed for the United States in January of 1947.
Early on the morning of January 29, 1947, I saw seagulls gliding through the air. An airborne welcoming committee, I thought. Our steamer was approaching the coastal waters of the United States. In the afternoon, the steamer entered New York harbor, moving past a fog-enshrouded Statue of Liberty. Many of us stood on the deck of the steamer and gaped, not quite believing we had finally arrived. Spontane- ously, we applauded her welcoming figure.
I reached America in 1947 and hid my story for the next fourteen years. Why had my life been spared when so many had been taken? Would some miracle arrive in the mail, telling me that my mother and my sisters were still alive somewhere in the wreckage of Europe? However, I do know that if I and many others had received visas to immigrate to the United States in 1941, many of us would have been spared the horrific experiences we endured and many, many more people would have sur- vived.
Ms. LOFGREN. Thank you, Mr. Bretholz.
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Mr. Bazarov, you have reserved the time for after, and then we will go to Mr. Horowitz.
TESTIMONY OF VALERY BAZAROV, DIRECTOR OF LOCATION AND FAMILY HISTORY SERVICE, HEBREW IMMIGRANT AID SOCIETY (HIAS)
Mr. BAZAROV. Thank you.
Madam Chairwoman, Ranking Member King, Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for inviting me to testify before this Com- mittee which addresses the issue long time overdue.
If somebody asks, ‘‘Why address the matters which lost urgency a long time ago and with not many witnesses left who can testify their own experience?’’ the answer is, we must address the matters which happened in the past just not to allow them to happen again. It could be argued that nobody learns from history. That is true. But there is always hope that the next time it will be different. I hope that this time it will be different.
I have the honor to represent here, at this hearing, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, HIAS, which opened its doors in 1881, and since then until this day, assists Jews and other people whose lives and freedom are in danger. The objective of this statement is to show that the numbers of Holocaust survivors would have been far greater were it not for the policies of the U.S. State Department toward the immigration of European Jews.
From 1933 through 1941, Germany permitted immigration. The problem was finding safe haven for the desperate refugees. It was only in the end of 1941 that the Nazis instituted the infamous Final Solution and the fate of millions of Jews was sealed.
Immigration in the time of peace was not an easy assignment. During the war, with the rules set by the State Department, it be- came almost mission impossible. To leave France, for example, a refugee needed an exit visa, a transit visa, an entry visa for the country of destination, affidavits of support—laural and political af- fidavits, certificates of good behavior, and paid tickets for the ship destined for the United States or other country of immigration. Documents with expiration dates had to be valid on the day of de- parture. Just one document had expired and the refugees needed to start all over again.
In addition, visas were valid only for up to 4 months, and the tickets overseas were sold out for many months ahead. Moreover, the tickets would be not sold without issued entry visas, and of course the United States consulate would not issue a visa without a ticket. It is not surprising that the majority of the refugees could not make it.
Sometime ago, I interviewed Hellen Katel, who worked for HIAS in France in 1940 and 1941. She remembered that she and her col- leagues wept when they were obliged to choose from among the thousands of applicants only a few who met the requirements of the State Department.
In 1941, FBI, through the State Department, reviewed allega- tions against HIAS, which allegedly was bringing the Gestapo agents under power of the refugee status. The answer of the con- sulate was straight and left no doubt that HIAS’s integrity was in- tact.
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However, 3 weeks after the positive reports, State Department addressed the consulate with the following document: The Depart- ment received information from reliable confidential sources indi- cating that the Gestapo is using the Jewish refugee organization, HICEM—it is another name of HIAS in Europe—in getting their agents into the United States and other western hemisphere coun- tries. It is suggested that any application for visas of persons to whom this information applies be examined in the light thereof. The only plausible reason for the State Department to issue such decree was an attempt to restrain lifesaving Jewish immigration.
Now, I asked for permission to testify after Mr. Bretholz because his testimony is not complete. He doesn’t have in his documents, and I was able to procure them from our archives. He was denied the entry to the United States for the first time in June 1941, long before Pearl Harbor happened. That is when he received the letter from the consulate that the rules of the—again, and his visa was canceled. Now remember, David Harris quoted this quotation from Breckenridge Long, ‘‘Postpone, and postpone, and postpone.’’
According to the Jewish tradition, to save a life is to save the world. We will never know the exact number of those who might be saved were it not for the U.S. State Department policies in effect at that time. What we do know is that the loss is incalculable as millions of universes were extinguished forever.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Bazarov follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF VALERY BAZAROV
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TESTIMONY OF MICHAEL HOROWITZ, SENIOR FELLOW, HUDSON INSTITUTE
Mr. HOROWITZ. I am Michael Horowitz. I am a fellow at the Hud- son Institute. I have spent my career fighting racism, dealing with human rights. I was a professor of civil rights law at the University of Mississippi teaching the first integrated classes and had my share of run-ins with the Ku Klux Klan. I have been deeply in- volved over the last 10 years with right-left coalitions that have passed laws like the International Religious Freedom Act, the Traf- ficking Victims Protection Act, the Sudan Peace Act, the North Korea Human Rights Act, the Prison Rape Elimination Act, and other such laws.
I deeply believe that American interests are only strong when American values are honored, and so I am pleased and honored to be here today. I have got a wife who is a doctor; I have been a little under the weather, but I am here. If it were my deathbed I would be here, because I think that importance of this hearing is so crit- ical.
How can it be said to be critical? I mean, you are dealing with billion, trillion dollar bailouts and collapses of economies. My judg- ment is, how a nation defines itself, how it sees its own history— if it gets it right, if we get it right—it will do more to solve the toxic mortgage problem than all of the bailouts. History is how we understand ourselves and how we move on in the future.
And so let me say that I am on this panel with men that I am just so honored to be with, and I agree with everything they have had to say, because a great nation needs to learn from its mistakes. If we are blind to our mistakes, we will not remain a great nation. And I would say as a Republican, my last appearance before a Ju- diciary Committee came when I opposed with all I had in me Bush administration policies that defined material support in ways that would require—that treated as terrorists women who were forced to wash the clothes of terrorist rapists.
I come here in context of H.R. 1425, and I think it is very, very important to indicate that we learn from history only if there is balance, not prejudgment; if there is scholarship, not anecdotal work. And that is why I am here to talk about Section 101 of the bill, the one that deals with the German, Italian, European Com- mission.
I would get off my sacred deathbed to ask this Committee to de- lete or oppose that provision, and here is why: That provision pro- foundly ignores context. You read the findings, it is as if we never fought World War II; it is as if we were never vulnerable to lose World War II.
Doctors talk about a retrospectoscope; everyone is perfect when they have one, but there is no balance there. And there are no facts as one looks at that hearing—at that provision. The bill ignores, it blurs the treatment between enemy alien citizens of Germany and Italy and the United States citizens.
Its numbers are wildly skewed. One looks at numbers like 300,000. We don’t know what the numbers are but we can, I think,
Ms. LOFGREN. Thank you. And finally, Mr. Horowitz.
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fairly be confident that the numbers in the findings section are not accurate.
The bill also ignores the fact that in context, we were looking at, as I am sure John Fonte has indicated, brownshirt and blackshirt and Bund organizations that were rampant throughout the United States. I grew up in the Bronx, and I have got to tell you that my Italian friends—and most of them were Italian—would not have given hearings, however imperfect they may have been, and ap- peals to many of the people who were interned; they would have had them executed. And I note that the bill talks about that they love this blessed land, and they hated the kinds of people who were actively intimidating in support of the Fascists and Nazis who had taken over their own home country.
And so I think that that bill ignores that. It ignores the hearing rights that were present. It ignores the spy networks. And frankly, having sat on this panel and been moved by it, it just offends me so deeply that this bill, inadvertently or otherwise, ties America’s treatment, imperfect as it was, of the enemy aliens with what we did to immigrants seeking to come into the United States. Every one of those immigrants would have given anything to have been treated twice as badly as we treated those enemy aliens.
Now, the main point I want to make about that commission is, its—I will wrap it up—not only its lack of balance, but its call for membership. It calls for four members who are involved in, who are active in the Italian American and German American affairs.
What we need if we are going to do it right is scholarship, and we have talked about Professor Abzug. Let me just close. There are two things I want to say.
One, I don’t have the chance to talk about its impact on the crisis we now confront with terrorism, but Professor Abzug, just before this hearing, asked me—authorized me to say something about the scholarship, and Mr. Christgau who—he cares—but here is what he had to say, this Regents professor: ‘‘As my review stated, the Christgau book is lightly researched, anecdotal, and in no way de- livers compelling evidence of widespread abuse that can be com- pared to the situation of Japanese Americans during the war. In fact, I came away from reading the book with the distinct impres- sion that abuses were present, but not widespread, on the basis of the author’s lack of evidence, lack of research and rigor, especially when one considers the security context of the time.’’
So if you are going to do it, insist that scholars like the kinds of scholars who research what Abraham Lincoln did during the Civil War, who can provide balance——
[The prepared statement of Mr. Horowitz follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF MICHAEL HOROWITZ
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Ms. LOFGREN. Mr. Horowitz, your time is expired. We do appre- ciate your testimony, and we appreciate the testimony of all of the witnesses.
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At this point we have time for questions, and I would turn first to the Ranking Member, Mr. King, to see if he has questions for the panel.
Mr. KING. Thank you, Madam Chair, and as I listen to the testi- mony, something occurs to me, was a statement made in the Judi- ciary Committee 2 years ago by one of our Members, who said, ‘‘Nazis predominantly were Christians and the Holocaust was a Christian tragedy.’’
I would ask first Mr. Harris, would you agree with that?
Mr. HARRIS [continuing]. That is going to require a separate hearing. I would put it this way, sir: I would say that European soil for centuries was tilled by Christian anti-Semitism. And when the pagan philosophy of the Nazis, however they were born, what- ever their baptismal certificate said, came, and they pursued the notion of a final solution, they found very fertile ground largely be- cause of the result of centuries of the teaching of contempt and the imposition of everything from forced conversions to inquisitions, and so forth. So I would be a little more careful in the wording than the question presented, but nonetheless there is a connection.
Mr. KING. And it is a cultural connection rather than religiously based. Would you agree with that?
Mr. HARRIS. I would agree that the Third Reich did not act in the name of Christian faith. To the contrary, there were many Christian clergy in countries like Poland who themselves were tar- geted, who were incarcerated in concentration camps, and in many cases killed as Christian zealots and others.
Mr. KING. And you had described it as a pagan philosophy. Is Nazism a pagan philosophy?
Mr. HARRIS. That is the way they themselves would describe it.
Mr. KING. As I would too, and I think that point of clarity needed to be brought, Mr. Harris. And then, have you in your studies— first, I have got great sympathy for this argument that here, and I can’t put myself into the context of the history back in that time, but, you know, I would think that bringing the ‘‘St. Louis’’ into the United States would be something I would like to think I would have approved in a heartbeat. This one really is stark, and it stands out to me.
But I don’t think I am hearing the other side of this—the bal- ance, the historical balance in this. And that is, the end that was put to Nazism by the free world, would you say that—I don’t want to put words in your mouth, I just wondered, do you have a specu- lation on how many Christians gave their lives to end the Nazi Holocaust?
Mr. HARRIS. First of all, in my full written testimony, Congress- man King, I speak about the dramatic issues that Franklin Roo- sevelt faced as President of the United States, including a country that itself was largely unwilling to go to war after rescuing Europe in the First World War. I give him credit for leading this Nation to the realization we would have to fight again, and you men par- ticularly—young women as well, but primarily young men on the battlefield, and I would add not just Christians, but people of all faiths including many Jews—500,000 American Jews served in the military—and yes, we should never lose sight of the fact that at the end of the day the Allies, lead by the United States together with
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Great Britain, and I have to add the Soviet Union, vanquished the Nazi dream of a 1,000-year reign; there is no question about it.
Mr. KING. I thank you, Mr. Harris, and I think it does take an- other hearing to flesh this out. Myself, I feel the urge to go way deep into that history and lay out a lot more of the foundation of it.
I wanted to ask Mr. Bretholz that—I would think there would be a bond there, but have you read Victor Frankl’s writings?
Mr. BRETHOLZ. Yes.
Mr. KING. And I just, as I listened to your testimony, his——
Mr. BRETHOLZ. He was Viennese, by the way. He was Viennese,
just like I.
Mr. KING. Yes.
Mr. BRETHOLZ. I like to say, I am from Vienna, but nothing is
perfect in life, you know.
Mr. KING. The delivery and the tone in your testimony brought
that to mind as I listened to you today, and I wanted to reference that and ask if you learned anything from his search for meaning.
Mr. BRETHOLZ. If I had what?
Victor Frankl’s search for meaning. Well, it is a text in schools now, just like my book has been taken and also is a text recently, but it has confirmed everything that I had experienced myself. And of course, Victor Frankl had a different reaction and he made something positive out of his life, while—from Italy, what is the fel- low that came—Primo Levi was a destroyed man after the camp. Frankl did something positive and Primo Levi could not exist after that.
Mr. KING. Thanks, Mr. Bretholz.
I thank you all for the witness. Mr. Horowitz, if I could——
Mr. BRETHOLZ. One more thing about Christians.
Mr. KING. Yes.
Mr. BRETHOLZ. Do you know the late historian, Professor
Halebrook, said that Hitler’s plan to annihilate the Jews was the culmination—this comes back to the point of Christians—was the culmination of what had happened for centuries. There is a book written by a Jesuit priest, Edward H. Flannery, he called it ‘‘The Anguish of the Jews’’—23 centuries of anti-Semitism. But the early missionary said you may not live among us as Jews, so the Jews converted. They may be allowed to live.
Then came the secular Christians, and they said later on in the Middle Ages, they said, ‘‘You may not live among us.’’ So, you may not live among us, so they went into shtetles, in the first shtetle in Venice, is an Italian town, and then came Hitler and he made it a very simple, short—, ‘‘You may not live,’’ you know? And this was the culmination of it all.
Ms. LOFGREN. Thank you, Mr. Bretholz. The gentleman’s time has expired, and we are about to be called for votes, so I am going to ask Ms. Sa ́nchez if she has a question before hearing from Mr. Lungren.
Ms. SA ́NCHEZ. Well, in the interest of time, because we are going to be summoned for votes shortly, I will submit written questions for our panelists and some of our previous panelists. I just really want to commend all of you for your testimony and your bravery in coming forth and sharing your stories, and I think that abso-
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lutely those that don’t study history are doomed to repeat it, and I think your stories show that, you know, and idealized version of history does nobody any good. We really need to examine the good and the bad in the hopes that in the future the bad won’t be re- peated.
And with that I am going to yield back my time.
Ms. LOFGREN. The gentlelady yields back.
I would turn to Mr. Lungren to see if he has a question.
Mr. LUNGREN. If I could just make a comment, and some may
think this is a little off, but one person that we don’t recognize for his greatness during this time is a fellow, Dwight D. Eisenhower, for the great contributions he made to make sure that we knew that there was a Holocaust and that there were concentration camps. He was a Midwestern raw-boned American who—justice did his job as he thought he should, and we don’t give him enough credit for the enormous job he did.
But secondly, it was his innate goodness and his—horror that he found with the concentration camps that lead him to make sure that we documented that so that the non-believers and the dis- claimers would be put to a lie. I know that is not the subject of this hearing, but he happens to be one of my heroes, and we just don’t mention it often enough.
Ms. LOFGREN. At this point, the bells are going to ring any mo- ment. So I would just like to not ask questions but really thank, once again, the witnesses, from Mr. Masterson and Ms. Shimizu and Ms. Yamamoto, especially those of you who came all the way from California to talk about your stories and to inform us, this is on the Web. So not only are we looking at your testimony here in this room; I think people all over the world have had the benefit of what you have said. And hopefully this will inform us as we move forward. I am enormously grateful for your presence and also the extra efforts that you have made over the years.
For our second panel, I know Mr. Christgau and Ms. Ebel and Ms. Donald and, of course, Dr. Fonte, we appreciate your approach on the bill, but the personal stories are hard to tell. I know that. And that you would share them with us to inform us as we proceed means a lot to me and, I think, to all of the panel.
And finally this last panel. Mr. Bretholz, as you were speaking I leaned over to Mr. King and said, what a tremendous feat of sur- vival and bravery that you were able to share with us. And really the history that we have learned, you are right, is to inform our future.
And that is really what we are talking about with all of this. We can’t undo the past, but we can try to understand our history, to acknowledge when mistakes were made—only a big country can do that—and to learn so that we can be a better country going for- ward.
So I want to thank each of you for being here today and for your tremendous efforts. We will keep the hearing record open. If Mem- bers have additional questions we would ask that they would be submitted to you and that you respond to them within the—saved by the bell, yes, those bells there are to let us know that our pres- ence is required on the House floor, so we will adjourn this meeting
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asking Members to submit additional questions within 5 days. And thanks to all of you.
This hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 2:15 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
A P P E ND I X
MATERIAL SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING RECORD
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE ZOE LOFGREN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, AND CHAIRWOMAN, SUBCOMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION, CITIZENSHIP, REFUGEES, BORDER SECURITY, AND INTERNATIONAL LAW
I would like to welcome the Subcommittee Members, the public, and especially our witnesses, many of whom have come from all over the country to share a part of U.S. history that many of us are unfamiliar with. Some of our witnesses will tell us deeply personal stories that are very difficult to share and I would like thank them for being here today to provide this important part of history for us.
Much is known about the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, partly due to the enactment of the Commission on Wartime Reloca- tion and Internment of Civilians Act in 1980, the Commission’s report in 1983, and the subsequent Civil Liberties Act of 1988 that provided an official apology for the internment of Japanese Americans. What is not as well known today is the mis- treatment of thousands of Japanese and European Latin Americans, European Americans, and Jewish refugees prior to and during WWII.
The 1980 Commission did detail the mistreatment of Japanese, German, and Italian Latin Americans, but only in the appendix of their report. It also included just one chapter of thirteen on mistreatment of German and Italian Americans in the U.S. Furthermore, no recommendations were made on these populations and there was no official apology, as was done for Japanese internment, pursuant to the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.
It is time for this history to be fully heard and considered.
I would like to note that although there are two bills that have been referred to this subcommittee concerning the issues we are examining today, this is NOT a leg- islative hearing. Before we consider specific legislation on an issue that many are very unfamiliar with, indeed, our general history books are sparse in this area, it is important that we learn the facts and listen to the history to determine whether legislation is the appropriate response. If it is, we will then turn to the bills referred to this subcommittee and examine whether the specific language in the bills is ap- propriate or whether amendments are needed. I welcome comments on the bills and will consider them if we decide to move legislation in this area. Today, however, I am particularly interested in learning about the issue and whether another commis- sion is indeed necessary to review history that has not been told in an adequate way.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE JOHN CONYERS, JR., A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MICHIGAN, AND CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
Reconciliation and justice can only come after the truth is known, and as commis- sions of inquiry have played important roles in the United States and abroad. Today, we are going to look at how the US Government undertook broad sweeps against perceived ‘‘enemy aliens’’ after an attack on our country. But unlike hear- ings we’ve held on rendition, detention, and mass round-ups in the wake of the Sep- tember 11 attacks, today we’re going to look at the government’s actions during World War II. Let me lay the playing field as I see it:
First, there is a consensus that the Commission on Wartime Relocation and In- ternment of Civilians in the 1980s was particularly effective in confronting the histor- ical record of the arrest and internment without due process of Japanese Americans
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during the Second World War. The work of that commission which led to an official apology and some measure of restitution for the victims of internment.
Second, despite the good work of that commission, there is additional history in- volving other populations that were also mistreated during World War II that have not been sufficiently examined. This history involves the rendition of thousands of Japanese and European Latin Americans to the United States for incarceration, the internment of at least 1,500 German and Italian-Americans, and the callous rejec- tion by consular and immigration officials of Jewish asylum seekers seeking to flee Nazi oppression.
There are several bills being circulated in Congress for commissions of inquiry into these matters, and today’s hearing will help us weigh those proposals.
Third, what we do today will not substitute for sustained study that grapples with the hard questions of what America does with minority communities in a time of war. While we can shine a little bit of light today on these unfortunate chapters in our history, one hearing is just part of the historical conversation.
We have seen this in other areas—the Committee’s oversight hearings on ren- dition, torture, surveillance, and racial profiling of Arab communities have had an impact on American policy, but they are no substitute for a truth and reconciliation inquiry into abuses in the name of the war on terror.
So too, legislation that we passed in the 110th Congress commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Slave Trade Act and to provide new tools to enforce the 13th amendment’s guarantee of freedom do not take the place of a commission that would help us confront the ongoing effect of chattel slavery on this nation.
So I am looking forward to hearing from our witnesses today, and participating in the ongoing conversation about how we can preserve the rights of ethnic minori- ties and refugees in wartime, so that these tragic episodes are not repeated.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE SHEILA JACKSON LEE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS, AND MEMBER, SUBCOMMITTEE ON IMMI- GRATION, CITIZENSHIP, REFUGEES, BORDER SECURITY, AND INTERNATIONAL LAW
Thank you Madam Chairwoman for convening today’s very important hearing where we will consider, ‘‘The Treatment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent, European Americans, and Jewish Refugees During World War II.’’ This hearing ex- plores the treatment of Latin Americans of Japanese descent. In addition, there are other populations mistreated during WWII whose histories have not been fully ex- amined by the Federal Government in a similar manners as the histories of the Jap- anese and Italian Americans mistreated during WWII.
The Japanese, German, and Italian American communities have advocated for an official government study of the mistreatment of their communities in Latin Amer- ica by the U.S. government in a similar manner as was completed for Japanese Americans interned during WWII.
The mistreatment of Japanese Latin Americans is the subject of H.R. 42, a bill that has been referred to this subcommittee. H.R. 42 establishes a fact-finding Com- mission to extend the study of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Intern- ment of Civilians to investigate and determine facts and circumstances surrounding relocation, internment, and deportation to Axis countries of Latin Americans of Jap- anese descent from 1941 to 1948, and the impact of those actions by the U.S., and to recommend appropriate remedies. The mistreatment of German and Italian Latin Americans is the subject of H.R. 1425. In addition, the mistreatment of Jewish refu- gees during WWII is the subject of H.R. 1425.
Today we have distinguished panelists on three separate panels. I look forward to hearing today’s testimony and hearing from each of the witnesses on this topic.
Chairwoman, thank you, again. I yield the balance of my time.
ADDITIONAL MATERIAL SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD
Note: Due to the voluminous amount of material submitted, only a portion is being published in this hearing. All material submitted is on file with the Subcommittee.
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