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-1-578)
img View of camp (ddr-hmwf-1-578)
"Heart Mt. Block 24,25,29,30 intersection, Dec 27-1944, l20 f19 1/25-K2, Verichrome D76-50' "as described on back
Collecting coal (ddr-hmwf-1-80)
img Collecting coal (ddr-hmwf-1-80)
"Coal Rush 29-28, Jan 7 1944" as described on the back, Super Ikonta B
Portrait (ddr-hmwf-1-632)
img Portrait (ddr-hmwf-1-632)
"July 9-1944" as described on back, young woman posing with barracks in background
Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-304)
img Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-304)
"Baby sitting in chair, Aug 25 1944" f4.5 1/25 SuperpanPress G3
Apartment room (ddr-hmwf-1-226)
img Apartment room (ddr-hmwf-1-226)
"Apartment room with clothes and furniture"
View of camp (ddr-hmwf-1-570)
img View of camp (ddr-hmwf-1-570)
"Dec 27 1944" as described on back, view of camp with Heart Mountain in background
Apartment room (ddr-hmwf-1-227)
img Apartment room (ddr-hmwf-1-227)
"Apartment room with clothes and furniture"
Collecting coal (ddr-hmwf-1-48)
img Collecting coal (ddr-hmwf-1-48)
"Coal Rush 29-28, Jan 7 1944 2:30pm" as described on back
Baby Bathing (ddr-hmwf-1-546)
img Baby Bathing (ddr-hmwf-1-546)
"Dianne, 24-21-F Oct. 2 1944, f8 1/25 Superpan Press" as described on back, baby bathing in metal washtub
Couple on Steps (ddr-hmwf-1-455)
img Couple on Steps (ddr-hmwf-1-455)
"Hospital, July 31-1943, l20 f11 1/50 G3, Agfa Superpan Supreme, DK 20 21 min, C#2 4 An 27" as described on back, couple sitting on steps
Portrait (ddr-hmwf-1-624)
img Portrait (ddr-hmwf-1-624)
"Sachi Sugimura 27-14-C April 27-1944" as described on back
Group Picture (ddr-hmwf-1-476)
img Group Picture (ddr-hmwf-1-476)
Group picture of children with Christmas decorations
Collecting coal (ddr-hmwf-1-42)
img Collecting coal (ddr-hmwf-1-42)
"Coal Rush 29-29, Jan 7-1944" as described on back, Super Ikonta B
Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-311)
img Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-311)
"Dianne Feb 5 1944 7:00 PM" as described on back, f2.8 1/25 SuperIkontaB SuperXX Roll, DK20-50 D76-25
Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-259)
img Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-259)
"Oki 24-21-F Nov 14 1943 11:15AM" as described on back, l5 f5.6 1/5 SuperXX DK-20 40min
Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-290)
img Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-290)
"Isao Nakaishi 29-24-D, Aug 31 1944" as described on back, f8 1/50 Verichrome G3
Christmas Party (ddr-hmwf-1-462)
img Christmas Party (ddr-hmwf-1-462)
"Christmas Party 29-30 Mess Hall, Dec 25-1943" as described on back, children's Christmas party
Portrait (ddr-hmwf-1-618)
img Portrait (ddr-hmwf-1-618)
"Rose 29-3-D, Jan 12-1945 Flash f12 1/100" as described on back
Girl posing (ddr-hmwf-1-282)
img Girl posing (ddr-hmwf-1-282)
"Feb 12 1944 Leica" as described on back
Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-636)
img Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-636)
Young boy standing in entrance to barracks building
Family Posing (ddr-hmwf-1-432)
img Family Posing (ddr-hmwf-1-432)
"at depot, Dec 30-1944, f6.3 1/25 PlusX" as described on back, family posing together