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 (278)

278 items
Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto Interview Segment 23 (ddr-densho-1000-148-23)
vh Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto Interview Segment 23 (ddr-densho-1000-148-23)
Dealing with the difficulties of living in the Puyallup Assembly Center, new responsibilities as the oldest child at age fourteen
Mary Hirata Segment 14 (ddr-densho-1000-22-14)
vh Mary Hirata Segment 14 (ddr-densho-1000-22-14)
Trying to pass the time in the Puyallup Assembly Center
Rae Takekawa Segment 20 (ddr-densho-1000-89-20)
vh Rae Takekawa Segment 20 (ddr-densho-1000-89-20)
Organized activities for youth at Pinedale Assembly Center, California
George Morihiro Interview Segment 16 (ddr-densho-1000-182-16)
vh George Morihiro Interview Segment 16 (ddr-densho-1000-182-16)
Entering Puyallup Assembly Center: "the day you walked through that gate, you know you lost something"
George Morihiro Interview Segment 18 (ddr-densho-1000-182-18)
vh George Morihiro Interview Segment 18 (ddr-densho-1000-182-18)
Life in Puyallup Assembly Center: talking with the guards, being warned away from the fence
Lillie McCabe (ddr-csujad-29-19)
img Lillie McCabe (ddr-csujad-29-19)
Photo of Lillie McCabe. Oral history audio and transcript are found in csufccop_jaoh_0030, csufccop_jaoh_0031, and csufccop_jaoh_0032. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: 1949_P03
Oral history of Morris and Cherry Abe (ddr-csujad-28-3)
av Oral history of Morris and Cherry Abe (ddr-csujad-28-3)
Oral history Interview of Morris and Cherry Abe. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: csuci_vcc-jic_0005
Dr. George Suda (ddr-csujad-8-65)
doc Dr. George Suda (ddr-csujad-8-65)
Oral history interview with Dr. George Suda. Information on the oral history project is found in: csuf_stp_0012A; Glossary in: csuf_stp_0014. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: FCPL Suda, Dr George
Letter from June Harino to Rev. Miller, 1942 June 9 (ddr-csujad-20-20)
doc Letter from June Harino to Rev. Miller, 1942 June 9 (ddr-csujad-20-20)
A letter sent to Mr. Wendell L. Miller. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: WLM_01-46_20
Letter from T. Takahashi and Family to Rev. Wendell L. Miller, May 14, 1942 (ddr-csujad-20-5)
doc Letter from T. Takahashi and Family to Rev. Wendell L. Miller, May 14, 1942 (ddr-csujad-20-5)
Personal letter written from the Santa Anita Assembly Center; thanks Miller for his "kind treatment and wonderful assistance in our evacuation" and mentions that his or her mother is now recovering with them after suffering from worry and tiredness. Takahashi states that their life was previously too materialistic, and that this is a "God-given opportunity ... ...
Comic Strip, 1943 December 26 (ddr-csujad-20-12)
av Comic Strip, 1943 December 26 (ddr-csujad-20-12)
Clipped comic strip of "Little Joe." See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: WLM_01-45_02
Letter from L.W., circa 1942 (ddr-csujad-20-25)
doc Letter from L.W., circa 1942 (ddr-csujad-20-25)
A letter from L.W. Addressee is not known. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: WLM_01-44_04
Japanese American receiving lunch (ddr-densho-36-42)
img Japanese American receiving lunch (ddr-densho-36-42)
The assembly center was composed of blocks, each with its own kitchen and dining area.
Arrival at the Puyallup Assembly Center (ddr-densho-36-32)
img Arrival at the Puyallup Assembly Center (ddr-densho-36-32)
The Puyallup Assembly Center, which many camp inmates called "Camp Harmony," was on the site of the annual Western Washington Fair. The center was constructed in only seventeen days. Barracks were erected in converted livestock stalls near the parking lots and under the grandstand. Japanese Americans remained at the fairgrounds from April 28 to September 23,1942, ...
Heart Mountain concentration camp, Wyoming (ddr-densho-37-796)
img Heart Mountain concentration camp, Wyoming (ddr-densho-37-796)
Original WRA caption: Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Heart Mountain, Wyoming. Looking west over the Heart Mountain Relocation Center with its sentry name sake, Heart Mountain, on the horizon.
Salinas Assembly Center (ddr-densho-37-576)
img Salinas Assembly Center (ddr-densho-37-576)
Original WRA caption: Salinas Assembly Center, California. Panorama of Salinas Assembly center. Persons of Japanese ancestry evacuated from coastal areas were held first in assembly centers before being assigned to relocation centers further inland.
Japanese Americans out on a walk (ddr-densho-37-582)
img Japanese Americans out on a walk (ddr-densho-37-582)
Original WRA caption: Salinas, California. Evacuee girls out for a stroll at the Salinas Assembly center.
Barracks interior (ddr-densho-37-578)
img Barracks interior (ddr-densho-37-578)
Original WRA caption: Salinas Assembly Center, Salinas, California. Evacuees of Japanese descent enjoy a moment of relaxation before setting up housekeeping at this assembly center. They will be transferred to War Relocation Authority centers for the duration.
Letter from Kikuye Matsuda to Mrs. Charles Gates (ddr-densho-211-1)
doc Letter from Kikuye Matsuda to Mrs. Charles Gates (ddr-densho-211-1)
Letter from Kikuye Masuda to Mrs. Charles Gates about a house Mrs. Gates is occupying.
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