If you’ve ever read the novel Snow Falling on Cedars or seen the movie, perhaps you remember the scenes that took place in a Japanese internment camp. I recall David Guterson’s prose about the dust and wind that whipped through the camp where one of the main characters and his family were taken during WWII. The internment camps that were set up in the United States to house 120,000 Japanese-Americans after the Pearl Harbor attack are still evident in the buildings and barbed wire that remain. Most of the buildings are gone, however.
When I read about the Topaz Internment Camp becoming a National Historic Landmark, I thought about those scenes. Because of its national historic status, what’s left of the camp will remain as a witness to this piece of American history. The dedication ceremony was on June 30 and now the camp is a museum. Here’s a news clip of the dedication day. The footage includes interviews with former detainees and historic film clips. If you click on the photo you’ll go to normaltoilet’s Flickr page where other photos and descriptions are posted. You’ll also be able to read the sign better.
Six of the other ten internment camps are designated as National Historic Landmarks as well.
- Manzanar Relocation Center, California
- Rowher Relocation Camp Cemetery, Arkansas
- Granada Relocation Center, Colorado
- Tule Lake Relocation Center, California
- Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Wyoming
The Minidoka Relocation Center in Idaho is part of the National Park System.