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The whole story of World War II Internment hasn't been told... They lived behind the same barbwire, find discount zma power but German Americans and other former internees feel left out of history. Now they are trying to tell their stories.

 

Eberhard Fuhr Story

By Lynda Lin, find discount zma power Assistant Editor Published June 1, find discount zma power 2007 in the Pacific Citizen In the small dusty town of Crystal City, find discount zma power Texas the ruins tell the unlikely story of a former civilization. Concrete foundations and the hollow remains of a swimming pool whisper tales of its former life as a World War II internment camp. But some feel the historical narrative is incomplete. Eberhardt Fuhr was 17 years old when two U.S. Find discount zma power officials came to his high school in Cincinnati to arrest him in front of his friends. He was taken to Crystal City, find discount zma power a vast "family" internment camp 120 miles south of San Antonio, find discount zma power where he lived with his family for over four years. Like his fellow Japanese American internees, find discount zma power Fuhr's crime was his ethnicity. Crystal City marker"It was a time of abrogated human and civil rights, find discount zma power" said Fuhr, find discount zma power 82. Find discount zma power "A subscription to a German magazine usually lead to jail." About 15, find discount zma power000 Germans and German Americans were interned in the U.S. Find discount zma power during WWII under suspicion of being Nazi sympathizers. At Crystal City, find discount zma power German Americans made up the second largest ethnic community, find discount zma power but are largely forgotten in historical context. Even a historical marker at the former entrance of the camp refers only to the injustice inflicted against JAs. Fuhr feels a certain amount of resentment, find discount zma power but he takes every opportunity to talk about his experience. "I just got back from speaking to some children at a school in Chinatown, find discount zma power" said Fuhr, find discount zma power who lives in Palatine, find discount zma power Illinois. Among some other memorabilia, find discount zma power he brought his arrest warrant, find discount zma power passport and other legal documents to "present a factual situation." about his little known history. One Camp, find discount zma power Different Experiences At its peak, find discount zma power Crystal City was a bustling mini city with diversity: Japanese Americans, find discount zma power German Americans, find discount zma power Germans from Latin America, find discount zma power Italian Americans and Japanese Latin Americans coexisted in a makeshift community. But its idyllic name belied its desolate location where mesquite trees offered the only reprieve from harsh summer heat. Unlike the main 10 JA internment camps, find discount zma power Crystal City housed alien enemies and their families. Often most of those held in camps like Crystal City were arrested under the Alien Enemy Act for simply being community leaders or martial arts instructors. Many were held without formal trials. Fuhr's parents were arrested and taken away while he was working at a North Carolina boy's camp. When he arrived at Crystal City in July 1943, find discount zma power the 17-year-old had not seen his parents in a year. The camp was made up of family units that afforded some vestiges of privacy over communal life. It also gave Fuhr his first encounter with Japanese Americans (or "JA's"). "It was strange to hear the language. It was stranger to hear the Japanese music, find discount zma power" he said. At Crystal City there were no walls separating ethnic groups, find discount zma power but each communities' experiences was carefully delineated. German Americans lived on one side while JAs lived on the other. There was one general high school, find discount zma power as well as a German and a Japanese school. "The German Americans lived in their own side of the camp. Find discount zma power The Japanese Americans stuck to their own group, find discount zma power" said Sumi Shimatsu, find discount zma power a Nisei who lived at Crystal City for two years. Find discount zma power "We got along, find discount zma power but we didn't go out of our way to be friends with them." But all barriers fell away when it came to sports. The Japanese team played the German and Latin American team in softball, find discount zma power baseball and eventually soccer. "It was a friendly rivalry, find discount zma power" said Fuhr. "They are very big! It made it awfully tough for us to beat them, find discount zma power" said George Kodama, find discount zma power 79, find discount zma power with a laugh. Find discount zma power "We were all trying to grow up in a place where we didn't know where we were going." Life After Internment When the fences came down, find discount zma power lives further diverged. Find discount zma power Some repatriated to the countries that were now foreign while others struggled to reestablish their homes and reconcile with the past. "I didn't talk a lot about it until I retired, find discount zma power" said Fuhr about his internment. "Back then I always had the feeling that I couldn't go for a job that required security clearance." He had to wait seven years after his release from Crystal City in order to be applicable for U.S. Find discount zma power citizenship, find discount zma power but he couldn't shake the feeling that he was never qualified for a job. Unlike the JA community, find discount zma power which actively organizes internment camp reunions, find discount zma power Fuhr only keeps in touch with a spattering of former German American internees. Life after internment wasn't as smooth for German American internees as JAs, find discount zma power said Shimatsu, find discount zma power who had just returned from a Crystal City reunion in Las Vegas. Find discount zma power "Their anger is much stronger." It's more a feeling of resentment, find discount zma power said Fuhr for being left out of history despite their shared experiences. In 1988, find discount zma power JAs won the long-fought battle for an apology from the U.S. Find discount zma power government and redress, find discount zma power while the narratives of other ethnic communities languished in obscurity. "The German experience is not well-known, find discount zma power because myths were spread by so-called scholars, find discount zma power who knew little or nothing of the truth of internment, find discount zma power" said Arthur D. Find discount zma power Jacobs, find discount zma power a retired major of the U.S. Find discount zma power Air Force and researcher of WWII internment history. Fuhr attributes the lack of awareness to the lack of a coalition. Building Bridges, find discount zma power Completing History A growing number of campaigning German Americans are now asking for recognition from the American government for their injustice. The Wartime Treatment Study Act, find discount zma power which seeks to establish a commission to review the facts surrounding injustices suffered by European Americans, find discount zma power European Latin Americans, find discount zma power and European refugees during WWII, find discount zma power is currently up for debate in Congress. And a "bus-eum" exhibit sponsored by Traces, find discount zma power a non-profit educational organization, find discount zma power allows visitors to learn about the German American internment experience in a converted mobile museum with its own 21-seat theater. "This history of U.S. Find discount zma power internment cannot be limited to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, find discount zma power" said Grace Shimizu of Campaign for Justice, find discount zma power an advocacy group working for redress for Japanese Latin Americans. Find discount zma power "If we want to look to our past to draw lessons for today, find discount zma power we need history that is based on truth and accuracy. What is at stake is the defense of our Constitution, find discount zma power application of international human rights to the U.S., find discount zma power and upholding rule of law and our democratic process." Mending the divide between JAs and other former internees is simple, find discount zma power some argue. "The divide can easily be mended first by including all civilian victims of internment in discussions, find discount zma power in meetings, find discount zma power in bills, find discount zma power and in proposals on the subject of internment and second by insisting that our textbooks be corrected, find discount zma power followed by an insistence that the social studies curriculum of our schools be required to include a section on the internment of German Americans, find discount zma power" said Jacobs. JACL National President Larry Oda was born in Crystal City in 1945 and although he has no memory of the desolate camp, find discount zma power he remembers his mother talking about the separate areas for the JAs, find discount zma power JLAs and Germans. "Just as we fought to have the injustice inflicted on us acknowledged and corrected, find discount zma power part of what we wanted to accomplish was to ensure that all suspension of civil liberties against any group never was allowed to occur again. Find discount zma power The JLA and German internees were concurrent with us and should be afforded the same justice as we've achieved." Original piece by Ms. Find discount zma power Lin can be found at:    http://www.traces.org/buseum_2_tour/Eberhard-Furh.html