enemy combatants

Soon after the Japanese attack on our naval fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor, Sunday morning December 7, 1941 all persons of Japanese ancestry, living near the coast in California, Oregon and Washington state, were evacuated and held in internment camps until the war had ended in 1945.

They were removed from their homes and businesses --- their homes and property sold with little or no accounting. All they were allowed to take was what they could carry.

I painted this from a composite of black and white photos by Dorothea Lange. Lange was hired by the government to document the process. The two young girls in a park in Hayward, California are awaiting an evacuation bus with their grandmother, each with an ID tag. The child on the right is holding a sandwich given to her by a local church group. May 8, 1942.

The Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco was established to "aid the aliens." However there was enormous loss of property that was never regained and the loss of freedom took an immeasurable toll on these U.S. citizens. It wasn't until 1988 that Congress passed the Civil Liberties Act and issued a formal apology.

Snow Falling on Cedars is an excellent film depicting the mood of the country and the prejudice and fear that existed.

Another book: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Watch a government video about the relocation

Learn more


"How could such a tragedy have occurred in a democratic society that prides itself on individual rights and freedoms? ... I have brooded about this whole episode on and off for the past three decades..."
--Milton S. Eisenhower, The President Is Calling

Enemy Combatants?
20 X 24
Oil on canvas

SOLD at the Mercy Center Show

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