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The whole story of World War II Internment hasn't been told... They lived behind the same barbwire, order no rx lipotrexate 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, order no rx lipotrexate Assistant Editor Published June 1, order no rx lipotrexate 2007 in the Pacific Citizen In the small dusty town of Crystal City, order no rx lipotrexate 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. Order no rx lipotrexate officials came to his high school in Cincinnati to arrest him in front of his friends. He was taken to Crystal City, order no rx lipotrexate a vast "family" internment camp 120 miles south of San Antonio, order no rx lipotrexate where he lived with his family for over four years. Like his fellow Japanese American internees, order no rx lipotrexate Fuhr's crime was his ethnicity. Crystal City marker"It was a time of abrogated human and civil rights, order no rx lipotrexate" said Fuhr, order no rx lipotrexate 82. Order no rx lipotrexate "A subscription to a German magazine usually lead to jail." About 15, order no rx lipotrexate000 Germans and German Americans were interned in the U.S. Order no rx lipotrexate during WWII under suspicion of being Nazi sympathizers. At Crystal City, order no rx lipotrexate German Americans made up the second largest ethnic community, order no rx lipotrexate 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, order no rx lipotrexate but he takes every opportunity to talk about his experience. "I just got back from speaking to some children at a school in Chinatown, order no rx lipotrexate" said Fuhr, order no rx lipotrexate who lives in Palatine, order no rx lipotrexate Illinois. Among some other memorabilia, order no rx lipotrexate he brought his arrest warrant, order no rx lipotrexate passport and other legal documents to "present a factual situation." about his little known history. One Camp, order no rx lipotrexate Different Experiences At its peak, order no rx lipotrexate Crystal City was a bustling mini city with diversity: Japanese Americans, order no rx lipotrexate German Americans, order no rx lipotrexate Germans from Latin America, order no rx lipotrexate 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, order no rx lipotrexate 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, order no rx lipotrexate 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, order no rx lipotrexate" he said. At Crystal City there were no walls separating ethnic groups, order no rx lipotrexate 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, order no rx lipotrexate as well as a German and a Japanese school. "The German Americans lived in their own side of the camp. Order no rx lipotrexate The Japanese Americans stuck to their own group, order no rx lipotrexate" said Sumi Shimatsu, order no rx lipotrexate a Nisei who lived at Crystal City for two years. Order no rx lipotrexate "We got along, order no rx lipotrexate 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, order no rx lipotrexate baseball and eventually soccer. "It was a friendly rivalry, order no rx lipotrexate" said Fuhr. "They are very big! It made it awfully tough for us to beat them, order no rx lipotrexate" said George Kodama, order no rx lipotrexate 79, order no rx lipotrexate with a laugh. Order no rx lipotrexate "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, order no rx lipotrexate lives further diverged. Order no rx lipotrexate 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, order no rx lipotrexate" 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. Order no rx lipotrexate citizenship, order no rx lipotrexate but he couldn't shake the feeling that he was never qualified for a job. Unlike the JA community, order no rx lipotrexate which actively organizes internment camp reunions, order no rx lipotrexate 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, order no rx lipotrexate said Shimatsu, order no rx lipotrexate who had just returned from a Crystal City reunion in Las Vegas. Order no rx lipotrexate "Their anger is much stronger." It's more a feeling of resentment, order no rx lipotrexate said Fuhr for being left out of history despite their shared experiences. In 1988, order no rx lipotrexate JAs won the long-fought battle for an apology from the U.S. Order no rx lipotrexate government and redress, order no rx lipotrexate while the narratives of other ethnic communities languished in obscurity. "The German experience is not well-known, order no rx lipotrexate because myths were spread by so-called scholars, order no rx lipotrexate who knew little or nothing of the truth of internment, order no rx lipotrexate" said Arthur D. Order no rx lipotrexate Jacobs, order no rx lipotrexate a retired major of the U.S. Order no rx lipotrexate Air Force and researcher of WWII internment history. Fuhr attributes the lack of awareness to the lack of a coalition. Building Bridges, order no rx lipotrexate 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, order no rx lipotrexate which seeks to establish a commission to review the facts surrounding injustices suffered by European Americans, order no rx lipotrexate European Latin Americans, order no rx lipotrexate and European refugees during WWII, order no rx lipotrexate is currently up for debate in Congress. And a "bus-eum" exhibit sponsored by Traces, order no rx lipotrexate a non-profit educational organization, order no rx lipotrexate 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. Order no rx lipotrexate internment cannot be limited to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, order no rx lipotrexate" said Grace Shimizu of Campaign for Justice, order no rx lipotrexate an advocacy group working for redress for Japanese Latin Americans. Order no rx lipotrexate "If we want to look to our past to draw lessons for today, order no rx lipotrexate we need history that is based on truth and accuracy. What is at stake is the defense of our Constitution, order no rx lipotrexate application of international human rights to the U.S., order no rx lipotrexate and upholding rule of law and our democratic process." Mending the divide between JAs and other former internees is simple, order no rx lipotrexate some argue. "The divide can easily be mended first by including all civilian victims of internment in discussions, order no rx lipotrexate in meetings, order no rx lipotrexate in bills, order no rx lipotrexate and in proposals on the subject of internment and second by insisting that our textbooks be corrected, order no rx lipotrexate followed by an insistence that the social studies curriculum of our schools be required to include a section on the internment of German Americans, order no rx lipotrexate" said Jacobs. JACL National President Larry Oda was born in Crystal City in 1945 and although he has no memory of the desolate camp, order no rx lipotrexate he remembers his mother talking about the separate areas for the JAs, order no rx lipotrexate JLAs and Germans. "Just as we fought to have the injustice inflicted on us acknowledged and corrected, order no rx lipotrexate 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. Order no rx lipotrexate The JLA and German internees were concurrent with us and should be afforded the same justice as we've achieved." Original piece by Ms. Order no rx lipotrexate Lin can be found at:    http://www.traces.org/buseum_2_tour/Eberhard-Furh.html