Living conditions

All of the camps were constructed according to the War Department's specifications, which included barbed-wire fences, guard towers, and armed guards around the perimeter. The camps were organized in "blocks" consisting of twelve to fourteen barracks, a mess hall, communal showers and toilets, laundry facilities, and a recreation hall. Each barracks was divided into four or six rooms with each room housing one family, no matter how large, and there was no running water. The furnishings that Japanese Americans found on their arrival were canvas cots, a potbellied stove, and a single bare light bulb. The thin walls offered little protection from the harsh weather, which ranged from 110 degrees in the summer to 25 degrees below zero on winter nights. The flimsy construction allowed no privacy and made normal family life difficult. Camp inmates improved their own living conditions by creating interior walls and partitions, constructing furniture from scrap lumber, and planting gardens.

World War II (66)
Concentration camps (592)
Living conditions (974)

Related articles from the Densho Encyclopedia :
Arts and crafts in camp, Community analysts, Manzanar Children's Village

974 items
View of camp (ddr-hmwf-1-574)
img View of camp (ddr-hmwf-1-574)
"Dec 27-1944" as described on back, View of camp with Heart Mountain in background, Heart Mt. Block 24,25,29,30 intersection
Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-257)
img Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-257)
"Nellie Yamamoto (Furumura) baby, 29-3-CD, Dec. 19 1944" as described on back, f8 1/10 Verichrome D76-45'
Christmas Party (ddr-hmwf-1-464)
img Christmas Party (ddr-hmwf-1-464)
"Christmas Party 29-30 Mess Hall, Dec 25-1943" as described on back
View of camp (ddr-hmwf-1-562)
img View of camp (ddr-hmwf-1-562)
"Heart Mt. from 29-5, Jan 3 1945 10:00am, l19 f12.7 1/10E PlusX DK20-45, 76-12" as described on back
Men in Barracks (ddr-hmwf-1-459)
img Men in Barracks (ddr-hmwf-1-459)
Two men resting on couch in barracks room
Heart Mountain (ddr-hmwf-1-230)
img Heart Mountain (ddr-hmwf-1-230)
"Edge of camp view of Heart Mountain with guard tower and barracks"
Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-267)
img Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-267)
"Ono baby, 29-19-A, Sept 23 1943 3:30 PM" as described on back, l5 f6.3 1/5sec SuperXX DK20 30min
Apartment room (ddr-hmwf-1-235)
img Apartment room (ddr-hmwf-1-235)
"Apartment room with clothes and furniture, 29-5-B, Jan 12 1945" Flash f8 1/100
Collecting coal (ddr-hmwf-1-75)
img Collecting coal (ddr-hmwf-1-75)
"Men and women collecting coal between barracks" Jan 11, 1944
Girl Skating (ddr-hmwf-1-477)
img Girl Skating (ddr-hmwf-1-477)
Girl ice skating with barracks in background
Lunch in Mess Hall (ddr-hmwf-1-134)
img Lunch in Mess Hall (ddr-hmwf-1-134)
"Mess Hall - lunch, 29-27 Jan 16 1944" as described on back" Men eating lunch, Speed Graphic-Flash, f11 1/100
Ice Skating (ddr-hmwf-1-479)
img Ice Skating (ddr-hmwf-1-479)
Children ice skating together with barracks in background
Gardening (ddr-hmwf-1-89)
img Gardening (ddr-hmwf-1-89)
"Aug 17, 1943 9:50am" as described on back, woman gardening behind barracks, l18 f12.7 1/50 G3 Super xx, DK2-27 min
Flowers (ddr-hmwf-1-93)
img Flowers (ddr-hmwf-1-93)
"Flowers mess 29-27, May 3 1943, Geveart cut" as described on back, l5 f5.6-1sec, DK20-20min, #2- 200 counts
Woman and baby (ddr-hmwf-1-308)
img Woman and baby (ddr-hmwf-1-308)
"Woman with glasses holding a baby in her lap"
Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-274)
img Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-274)
"Harada 29-22-D, Mar 17 1944" as described on back, l5 f5.6 1/10 PlusX DK20 45 76 5
Collecting coal (ddr-hmwf-1-47)
img Collecting coal (ddr-hmwf-1-47)
"Coal- 29-27, Jan 11, 1944 morning" as described on back, Super xx Super Ikonta B, DK20-45', D76 70'
Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-291)
img Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-291)
"Isao Nakaishi 29-24-D, Aug 31 1944" as described on back, f8 1/50 Verichrome G3
Woman and Child (ddr-hmwf-1-418)
img Woman and Child (ddr-hmwf-1-418)
Young woman walking with child, Heart Mountain in the background
Men Sitting (ddr-hmwf-1-514)
img Men Sitting (ddr-hmwf-1-514)
"Nov 27-1943, l4 f5.6 1/2 PlusX DK20 35min, D76 10min, En 1 #4 30" as described on back, 2 men resting on sofa in barracks room
Collecting coal (ddr-hmwf-1-41)
img Collecting coal (ddr-hmwf-1-41)
"Men and women collecting coal between barracks"
Collecting coal (ddr-hmwf-1-76)
img Collecting coal (ddr-hmwf-1-76)
"Men and women collecting coal between barracks" Jan 11, 1944