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 (594)
Living conditions (986)

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

986 items
Portrait (ddr-hmwf-1-619)
img Portrait (ddr-hmwf-1-619)
"Mrs. Suski, 24-22-C June28-1944, f6.3 1/10 SuperpanPress D76-41' G3" as described on back
Woman and Child (ddr-hmwf-1-630)
img Woman and Child (ddr-hmwf-1-630)
"Ono, April 30-1944, l19 f12.7 1/50 G3, SuperXX DK20 36' D76 10"as described on back
Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-313)
img Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-313)
"Dianne Oki 24-21-E, Feb 2 1944 7:00 PM" as described on back, l6 f2.8 1/25 SuperIkontaB, SuperXX Roll DK20-50 D76-25
Collecting coal (ddr-hmwf-1-68)
img Collecting coal (ddr-hmwf-1-68)
"2 men collecting coal with baskets and wagons"
Woman Posing (ddr-hmwf-1-457)
img Woman Posing (ddr-hmwf-1-457)
"Michiko Yamada at depot, Dec 30-1944, f9 1/25 PlusX, DK20-47' D76-15' " as described on back
Gardening (ddr-hmwf-1-87)
img Gardening (ddr-hmwf-1-87)
"Yoshio Okumoto gardening, back yard, Aug. 17 1943 10am, (potato, green onion, radish, corn, celery, daikon, carrot, cucumber, tomato, peanut)" as described on back, l20 f19 1/50 G3, Super xx DK20-27min
Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-298)
img Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-298)
"Dianne Oki (Birthday 10/30/1943) 24-21-F, Dec. 12 1943" as described on back, l4 f6.3 1/2 SuperXX DK20-40' D76-15'
Children posing (ddr-hmwf-1-303)
img Children posing (ddr-hmwf-1-303)
"Tsunenaga, 29-24-AB Aug 21 1944" as described on back, l10 f6.3 1/25 SuperpanPress D76
Gardening (ddr-hmwf-1-90)
img Gardening (ddr-hmwf-1-90)
"Aug 17, 1943, 9:55am" as described on back, woman standing in garden, l19 f16 1/50 G3, Super xx DK20 27 min
Man & Child (ddr-hmwf-1-416)
img Man & Child (ddr-hmwf-1-416)
Man squatting with a young child looking at rocks and dirt together, Heart Mountain in the background
Camp Landscape (ddr-hmwf-1-201)
img Camp Landscape (ddr-hmwf-1-201)
"View of hospital complex with chimney"
Woman Posing (ddr-hmwf-1-631)
img Woman Posing (ddr-hmwf-1-631)
Young woman posing beside road and large rock
Mess Crew (ddr-hmwf-1-136)
img Mess Crew (ddr-hmwf-1-136)
"Mess 29-27 crew, April 9, 1944" as described on back, Flash Jim
Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-306)
img Baby (ddr-hmwf-1-306)
"Chikami 24-6-F, Jan 4 1944" l5 f5.6 1/5 SuperXX Dk20-50' D76-25'
View of camp (ddr-hmwf-1-467)
img View of camp (ddr-hmwf-1-467)
View of camp with Heart Mountain in background
Girl posing (ddr-hmwf-1-275)
img Girl posing (ddr-hmwf-1-275)
"April 11 1944, Leica" as described on back
Woman Posing (ddr-hmwf-1-484)
img Woman Posing (ddr-hmwf-1-484)
Young woman standing along edge of camp
Coal Rush (ddr-hmwf-1-469)
img Coal Rush (ddr-hmwf-1-469)
"Coal rush, 29-28 Jan 7-1944 2:30pm, f12.7 1/100 SuperIkontaB SuperXX Roll, DK20-50' D76-20' "as described on back
Apartment room (ddr-hmwf-1-238)
img Apartment room (ddr-hmwf-1-238)
"Oki apt 24-21-F, Sept 24 1943" as described on back, l7 f12.7 1/2, SuperXX D76 24 min