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
Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-30)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-30)
Excerpt: "I hope you got my last letter that I wrote on saturday & also had sent on saturday." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his brother (ddr-densho-153-39)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his brother (ddr-densho-153-39)
Excerpt: "Received the soldering iron and solder today." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-68)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-68)
Excerpt: "Thank you for the post card. We are all well." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois
Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-84)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-84)
Excerpt: "Thank you for the letters that are coming in so frequently." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-81)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-81)
Excerpt: "Thank you for the letters that are coming in continually." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, to Chicago, Illinois.
doc "Minidoka: Preliminary Report in a New Frontier Community" (ddr-densho-155-18)
Full title: "Minidoka: Preliminary Report in a New Frontier Community. Administrators, Colonists Strive to Solve Immediate Problems of Dust, Crowded Barracks. The Faces of Minidoka Reflect the Determination of Its Residents to Meet the Challenge of Arid Sageland, Wind and Sun on the Idaho Desert"
API