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Remembering Executive Order 9066 and Efforts to Protect Japanese Children From Internment

Released 19 February 2012

 

Executive Order 9066: The Salvation Army Remebers Attempt to Protect Japanese Orphans

SAN FRANCISCO (February 19, 2012)  This year marks the 70th Anniversary of Executive Order 9066, the order which lead to the relocation of Japanese Americans to internment camps. On this anniversary, The Salvation Army pauses to remember the thousands of Japanese Americans whose lives were changed by this WWII declaration and also honor those brave individuals who fought to protect the lives of innocent Japanese children.  During that time of fear and uncertainty, The Salvation Army tried to protect the children at The Salvation Army's Japanese Children's Home from living in an internment camp environment.  Unfortunately, after numerous attempts, The Salvation Army was forced to surrender the children.

 

When the evacuation of Japanese was ordered after Pearl Harbor, The Salvation Army refused at first, hoping to save its Japanese orphans from the internment camps.  Requests were denied.  The Army tried another solution -- moving them from the orphanage in San Francisco to Lytton Springs in Marin County.

Approximately 22 children moved to Lytton on December 26, 1941.  Within the first few days, some left to go to relatives.  Then Lytton was declared to be the Priority I area and the Army was ordered to transfer the children again. The superintendent evidently did all he could to keep them, but many appeals were denied.  Some children left January 12th.  The last group left March 21, 1942.

In a 1973 memo to Colonel Lawrence Smith at [Salvation Army] Territorial Headquarters, Lt. Colonel Margaret Cox said it had been her responsibility to see to an orderly transfer.  She remembered that they tried to find relatives living outside California and in some cases were successful.  Other children had to be returned to the Public Welfare Department responsible for them.

"We had no alternative," she said, "but were given a deadline, which had to be met.  It was a most difficult time, especially for the children." Many of them had lived at The Salvation Army's Japanese Children's Home for years.

-Excerpt from "The Bells of San Francisco: The Salvation Army With Its Sleeves Rolled Up" by Judy Vaughn.

Many orphans evacuated from The Salvation Army's Japanese Children's Home were relocated to Children's Village at the War Relocation Authority Center at Manzanar, to join other children who were evacuated from two other Japanese Children's Homes in Los Angeles.

Over 40 years later, The Salvation Army hosted a reunion of people who were once residents of The Salvation Army's Japanese Children's Home.  Many recalled positive times and memories from their time at the Children's Home.  More importantly, the event reunited many people whose lives had drifted apart. 

 

Evacuee orphans of Japanese ancestry were photographed by Dorothea Lange on July 1, 1942 at the Children's Village at the War Relocation Authority Center at Manzanar. Photograph by Dorothea Lange | Dorothea Lange, UC Berkeley, Ban

 

 


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