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
Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-58)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-58)
Excerpt: "How are you? We are all in good health." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his brother (ddr-densho-153-37)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his brother (ddr-densho-153-37)
Excerpt: "Well, here it is my usual friday spending an hour or so with you." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to two Nisei brothers from their sister (ddr-densho-153-95)
doc Letter to two Nisei brothers from their sister (ddr-densho-153-95)
Excerpt: "The days are gradually changing more & more." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-73)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-73)
Excerpt: "Thank you for the post cards that come continuously." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to two Nisei brothers from their mother (ddr-densho-153-103)
doc Letter to two Nisei brothers from their mother (ddr-densho-153-103)
Excerpt: "I received Towru's present at few days ago." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to two Nisei brothers from their sister (ddr-densho-153-101)
doc Letter to two Nisei brothers from their sister (ddr-densho-153-101)
Excerpt: "Sorry I did not write to you but so many things have happened to keep me to be a very busy gal." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his brother (ddr-densho-153-28)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his brother (ddr-densho-153-28)
Excerpt: "Being a very poor correspondent, it has taken all this time to write you again." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his brother (ddr-densho-153-31)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his brother (ddr-densho-153-31)
Excerpt: "We got your letter two days ago and were relieved to know that the glasses weren't broken in the mail." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-85)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-85)
Excerpt: "Trying to study with the P.A. going on its terrible so I have to wait until he finishes." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to two Nisei brothers from their sister (ddr-densho-153-117)
doc Letter to two Nisei brothers from their sister (ddr-densho-153-117)
Excerpt: "Yes, yes, yes, a picture of a professor with glasses came." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-40)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-40)
Excerpt: "Thanks for the letter. We just received it yesterday." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to two Nisei brothers from their sister (ddr-densho-153-97)
doc Letter to two Nisei brothers from their sister (ddr-densho-153-97)
Excerpt: "Last night I went to see Donald O'conner in "It up comes Love" with Gloria Jean." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-88)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-88)
Excerpt: "Here I am, I just ate supper, & heres what we had." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to two Nisei brothers from their sister (ddr-densho-153-98)
doc Letter to two Nisei brothers from their sister (ddr-densho-153-98)
Excerpt: "Thank you for the letters." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-67)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-67)
Excerpt: "This morning I finished ironing." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-53)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-53)
Excerpt: "This morning I got up at 6:05 and got dressed and washed up." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to two Nisei brothers from their sister (ddr-densho-153-102)
doc Letter to two Nisei brothers from their sister (ddr-densho-153-102)
Excerpt: "Sorry I haven't been writing to you but I really was busy." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to two Nisei brothers from their sister (ddr-densho-153-104)
doc Letter to two Nisei brothers from their sister (ddr-densho-153-104)
Excerpt: "Tonight I started to write because I just happened to remember that this week is "national brotherhood" week." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-45)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-45)
Excerpt: "Just got your letter. Glad to hear that your in good condition as we are in the same conditions." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his brother (ddr-densho-153-32)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his brother (ddr-densho-153-32)
Excerpt: "Well, here it is friday, my usual day writing to you." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his father (ddr-densho-153-38)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his father (ddr-densho-153-38)
Excerpt: "Dear Joe I am so glad you send letters to us so many times." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-65)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-65)
Excerpt: "We received your letter this morning and also one yesterday." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-69)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-69)
Excerpt: "Here it is Monday with Towru going to summer school." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-55)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-55)
Excerpt: "We are all well and hope the flu's okay." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
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