The Japanese-American community remembers a painful past – CBS Sacramento

WEST SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A black-and-white video documents a dark day in United States history. The images are decades old, but not forgotten. Saturday marked 80 years since tens of thousands of Japanese-Americans were incarcerated and interrogated in wartime concentration camps.

“We were able to carry on the legacy, a lot of things that happened to us,” Christine Umeda said.

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Umeda shared her story in West Sacramento as Mayor Martha Guerrero proclaimed Saturday, Feb. 19 a “Day of Remembrance.” Umeda was one of approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans driven from their homes and sent to internment camps to be held in solitary confinement during World War II because of their ties to the enemy. Many of them were American-born citizens.

“Two weeks after our incarceration, I was separated from my family. I caught pneumonia and this facility had no doctor,” Umeda said.

Janice Luszczak is president of the Sacramento chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League.

“It hurts. I saw it at my parents’ house,” Luszczak told CBS13. “They rarely talked about it, but when they did, I could see the fear. don’t take it out on them.

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Fear led to perseverance for many now determined to share their stories so history won’t repeat itself.

“A four-year-old child separated from his parents. It’s pretty bad and I’ve been through it. It left a lasting impact on me and my life,” Umeda said.

Luszczak says that although it is difficult to talk about it, it is essential that generations are informed of the atrocities, otherwise they will happen again.

“If people don’t talk about it, we forget about it,” Luszczak said.

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It wasn’t until forty years after the internment camps that a congressionally appointed committee discovered that the reasons behind the executive order were racial prejudice, wartime hysteria, and failed political leadership.


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