Living conditions

The "assembly centers" were hastily erected quarters located throughout the West Coast at fairgrounds, racetracks and other similar facilities. Conditions at these locations were appalling. People were housed in animal stalls and barracks with communal bathrooms and mess halls. Privacy was next to nonexistent. Most families lived in a 20-by-20-foot room separated from the next "apartment" by wood partitions that did not reach the ceiling. Shortages of food and deplorable sanitation were common. Overcrowding, uncertainty, and stress created tension in the "assembly centers," even as the demoralized camp inmates tried to improve living conditions.

Living conditions (267)

267 items
Hideo Hoshide Interview I Segment 41 (ddr-densho-1000-184-41)
vh Hideo Hoshide Interview I Segment 41 (ddr-densho-1000-184-41)
Impressions of Pinedale Assembly Center; working for the newspaper, the Pinedale Logger
May Ota Higa Interview Segment 18 (ddr-densho-1000-174-18)
vh May Ota Higa Interview Segment 18 (ddr-densho-1000-174-18)
Restrictions after the bombing of Pearl Harbor; first impressions of Puyallup Assembly Center
Yae Aihara Interview Segment 8 (ddr-densho-1000-221-8)
vh Yae Aihara Interview Segment 8 (ddr-densho-1000-221-8)
First impressions of Puyallup Assembly Center, having a graduation ceremony
Rudy Tokiwa Interview II Segment 16 (ddr-densho-1000-92-16)
vh Rudy Tokiwa Interview II Segment 16 (ddr-densho-1000-92-16)
Learning to cook in the Salinas Assembly Center, California

This interview was conducted at the 1998 Americans of Japanese Ancestry Veterans National Convention, held in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Joe Yamakido Interview Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1000-167-5)
vh Joe Yamakido Interview Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1000-167-5)
Unpleasant memories of Santa Anita Assembly Center, California, working as a trashman
June Takahashi Segment 19 (ddr-densho-1000-88-19)
vh June Takahashi Segment 19 (ddr-densho-1000-88-19)
"Visitors" wanting to see an "Eskimo" in Puyallup Assembly Center
Mutsu Homma Segment 22 (ddr-densho-1000-24-22)
vh Mutsu Homma Segment 22 (ddr-densho-1000-24-22)
Husband uses own money to buy equipment after being assigned as an official dentist of Santa Anita Assembly Center
Frank Miyamoto Interview III Segment 12 (ddr-densho-1000-52-12)
vh Frank Miyamoto Interview III Segment 12 (ddr-densho-1000-52-12)
Comparing conditions in Wartime Civil Control Administration assembly centers to War Relocation Authority concentration camps
Peggie Nishimura Bain Interview Segment 30 (ddr-densho-1000-170-30)
vh Peggie Nishimura Bain Interview Segment 30 (ddr-densho-1000-170-30)
The train ride to Pinedale Assembly Center: "we were being treated as enemies"
Letter from Mrs. L. [Lester] Suzuki to Rev. [Wendell L.] and Mrs. [?] Miller, May 5, 1942 (ddr-csujad-20-4)
doc Letter from Mrs. L. [Lester] Suzuki to Rev. [Wendell L.] and Mrs. [?] Miller, May 5, 1942 (ddr-csujad-20-4)
Personal letter written from the Santa Anita Assembly Center. Suzuki thanks Reverend Miller and Mrs. Miller for their kindness; mentions friends among the "dear Caucasian ministers such as you"; and discusses the importance of religious services, housing in a new barrack vs. in the stables, making furniture from scrap wood, an impending increase in number of ...
An Oral History with Lillie Y. McCabe, Part I (ddr-csujad-29-16)
av An Oral History with Lillie Y. McCabe, Part I (ddr-csujad-29-16)
An oral history with Lillie Y. McCabe, an incarceree at the Santa Anita Temporary Assembly Center and the Granada (Amache) incarceration camp. This interview was conducted for the Japanese American Oral History Project by California State University, Fullerton. The interview covers her childhood in Hollister, California, her family background; moving to Los Angeles, California in 1920 ...
Postcard to Molly Wilson from Haruko Nagahiro (May 20, 1942) (ddr-janm-1-53)
doc Postcard to Molly Wilson from Haruko Nagahiro (May 20, 1942) (ddr-janm-1-53)
Postcard to Molly Wilson from Haruko Nagahiro (May 20, 1942). It is postmarked May 20, 1942 from the Pomona Assembly Center in Pomona, California.
Letter to Molly Wilson from Chiyeko Akahoshi (May 9, 1942) (ddr-janm-1-101)
doc Letter to Molly Wilson from Chiyeko Akahoshi (May 9, 1942) (ddr-janm-1-101)
Handwritten letter to Molly Wilson from Chiyeko Akahoshi (May 9, 1942) from the Owens Valley Assembly Center in Manzanar, California.
Letter to Molly Wilson from Chiyeko Akahoshi (April 28, 1942) (ddr-janm-1-100)
doc Letter to Molly Wilson from Chiyeko Akahoshi (April 28, 1942) (ddr-janm-1-100)
Handwritten letter to Molly Wilson from Chiyeko Akahoshi (April 28, 1942) from the Owens Valley Assembly Center in Manzanar, California.
Letter from Ishi Morishita to Mrs. Charles Gates (ddr-densho-211-5)
doc Letter from Ishi Morishita to Mrs. Charles Gates (ddr-densho-211-5)
Letter explaining the sudden relocation of the Masuda family to Poston, Arizona. Four stamps that match the ones on letters from the Morishitas.
Mother and children outside of barracks (ddr-densho-151-258)
img Mother and children outside of barracks (ddr-densho-151-258)
Original caption: Stockton, California. This family of Japanese ancestry has just arrived in the center this morning. The mother and the children are waiting at the door of the room in the barracks to which they have been assigned. The father is at the baggage depot where their bedding and clothing are unloaded and inspected for ...
View of barracks (ddr-densho-151-346)
img View of barracks (ddr-densho-151-346)
Original caption: San Bruno, California. Shown here is one type of barracks for family use. These were formerly the stalls for race horses. Each family is assigned to two small rooms, the inner one with no outside door nor window. The center has been in operation for about six weeks. 8,000 evacuees are now assembled ...
View of Stockton Assembly Center (ddr-densho-151-7)
img View of Stockton Assembly Center (ddr-densho-151-7)
Original WRA caption: Stockton, California. Part of the Stockton Assembly center as seen at noon on a hot day. This center has been open to evacuees of Japanese ancestry for one week.
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