Japanese-Americans internees hold reunion

Tuesday, July 1, 2003

TWIN FALLS, Idaho -- Japanese-Americans who were interned at the government's World War II Minidoka relocation camp returned to southern Idaho this weekend.

More than 200 people were estimated to have showed up at the Japanese-American Citizens League's conference, making it the largest reunion of internees ever at the Minidoka site. Many are still bitter.

"All of us put in concentration camps during World War II were ethnically cleansed," said Jefferson Itami, who now lives in Salt Lake City. "We were put in camps, and none of use saw the inside of a courtroom."

The site of the Minidoka Relocation Center in Jerome County has been designated a national monument. The National Park Service is developing a management plan that could include a facility telling the center's story and those of the 13,000 people who were interned.

There were 10 internment camps in seven states, including Utah, that held 120,000 American citizens of Japanese ancestry after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

On the Net:

Friends of Minidoka Internment National Monument: http://www.friendsofminidoka.org/

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