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The whole story of World War II Internment hasn't been told... They lived behind the same barbwire, find protonix online 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 protonix online Assistant Editor Published June 1, find protonix online 2007 in the Pacific Citizen In the small dusty town of Crystal City, find protonix online 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 protonix online officials came to his high school in Cincinnati to arrest him in front of his friends. He was taken to Crystal City, find protonix online a vast "family" internment camp 120 miles south of San Antonio, find protonix online where he lived with his family for over four years. Like his fellow Japanese American internees, find protonix online Fuhr's crime was his ethnicity. Crystal City marker"It was a time of abrogated human and civil rights, find protonix online" said Fuhr, find protonix online 82. Find protonix online "A subscription to a German magazine usually lead to jail." About 15, find protonix online000 Germans and German Americans were interned in the U.S. Find protonix online during WWII under suspicion of being Nazi sympathizers. At Crystal City, find protonix online German Americans made up the second largest ethnic community, find protonix online 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 protonix online 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 protonix online" said Fuhr, find protonix online who lives in Palatine, find protonix online Illinois. Among some other memorabilia, find protonix online he brought his arrest warrant, find protonix online passport and other legal documents to "present a factual situation." about his little known history. One Camp, find protonix online Different Experiences At its peak, find protonix online Crystal City was a bustling mini city with diversity: Japanese Americans, find protonix online German Americans, find protonix online Germans from Latin America, find protonix online 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 protonix online 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 protonix online 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 protonix online" he said. At Crystal City there were no walls separating ethnic groups, find protonix online 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 protonix online as well as a German and a Japanese school. "The German Americans lived in their own side of the camp. Find protonix online The Japanese Americans stuck to their own group, find protonix online" said Sumi Shimatsu, find protonix online a Nisei who lived at Crystal City for two years. Find protonix online "We got along, find protonix online 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 protonix online baseball and eventually soccer. "It was a friendly rivalry, find protonix online" said Fuhr. "They are very big! It made it awfully tough for us to beat them, find protonix online" said George Kodama, find protonix online 79, find protonix online with a laugh. Find protonix online "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 protonix online lives further diverged. Find protonix online 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 protonix online" 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 protonix online citizenship, find protonix online but he couldn't shake the feeling that he was never qualified for a job. Unlike the JA community, find protonix online which actively organizes internment camp reunions, find protonix online 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 protonix online said Shimatsu, find protonix online who had just returned from a Crystal City reunion in Las Vegas. Find protonix online "Their anger is much stronger." It's more a feeling of resentment, find protonix online said Fuhr for being left out of history despite their shared experiences. In 1988, find protonix online JAs won the long-fought battle for an apology from the U.S. Find protonix online government and redress, find protonix online while the narratives of other ethnic communities languished in obscurity. "The German experience is not well-known, find protonix online because myths were spread by so-called scholars, find protonix online who knew little or nothing of the truth of internment, find protonix online" said Arthur D. Find protonix online Jacobs, find protonix online a retired major of the U.S. Find protonix online Air Force and researcher of WWII internment history. Fuhr attributes the lack of awareness to the lack of a coalition. Building Bridges, find protonix online 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 protonix online which seeks to establish a commission to review the facts surrounding injustices suffered by European Americans, find protonix online European Latin Americans, find protonix online and European refugees during WWII, find protonix online is currently up for debate in Congress. And a "bus-eum" exhibit sponsored by Traces, find protonix online a non-profit educational organization, find protonix online 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 protonix online internment cannot be limited to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, find protonix online" said Grace Shimizu of Campaign for Justice, find protonix online an advocacy group working for redress for Japanese Latin Americans. Find protonix online "If we want to look to our past to draw lessons for today, find protonix online we need history that is based on truth and accuracy. What is at stake is the defense of our Constitution, find protonix online application of international human rights to the U.S., find protonix online and upholding rule of law and our democratic process." Mending the divide between JAs and other former internees is simple, find protonix online some argue. "The divide can easily be mended first by including all civilian victims of internment in discussions, find protonix online in meetings, find protonix online in bills, find protonix online and in proposals on the subject of internment and second by insisting that our textbooks be corrected, find protonix online 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 protonix online" 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 protonix online he remembers his mother talking about the separate areas for the JAs, find protonix online JLAs and Germans. "Just as we fought to have the injustice inflicted on us acknowledged and corrected, find protonix online 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 protonix online 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 protonix online Lin can be found at: