Living conditions

The "assembly centers" were hastily erected quarters located throughout the West Coast at fairgrounds, racetracks and other similar facilities. Conditions at these locations were appalling. People were housed in animal stalls and barracks with communal bathrooms and mess halls. Privacy was next to nonexistent. Most families lived in a 20-by-20-foot room separated from the next "apartment" by wood partitions that did not reach the ceiling. Shortages of food and deplorable sanitation were common. Overcrowding, uncertainty, and stress created tension in the "assembly centers," even as the demoralized camp inmates tried to improve living conditions.

World War II (66)
Temporary Assembly Centers (97)
Living conditions (334)

334 items
Shosuke Sasaki Segment 14 (ddr-densho-1000-78-14)
vh Shosuke Sasaki Segment 14 (ddr-densho-1000-78-14)
Memories of Puyallup Assembly Center: a "sea of mud" and a sobbing woman
Harry Kawahara Interview Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1000-368-5)
vh Harry Kawahara Interview Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1000-368-5)
Vivid memories of camp at age ten: "that made an impact"

This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department …

Sue Takimoto Okabe Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1000-74-5)
vh Sue Takimoto Okabe Segment 5 (ddr-densho-1000-74-5)
Puyallup Assembly Center, mother struggles to adjust, and teenagers learn the latest dances
Marian Asao Kurosu Interview Segment 50 (ddr-densho-1000-118-50)
vh Marian Asao Kurosu Interview Segment 50 (ddr-densho-1000-118-50)
Trip to Pinedale Assembly Center, California; heat and dehydration

During this interview, Mrs. Kurosu alternately speaks in both English and Japanese. As a result, the English translation of the transcript contains [Jpn.] and [Eng.], which indicate whether the original dialogue was spoken in Japanese or English.

Rae Takekawa Segment 21 (ddr-densho-1000-89-21)
vh Rae Takekawa Segment 21 (ddr-densho-1000-89-21)
"An aimless type of existence": Pinedale Assembly Center
Fumiko Hayashida Segment 21 (ddr-densho-1000-15-21)
vh Fumiko Hayashida Segment 21 (ddr-densho-1000-15-21)
Arrival at Manzanar concentration camp, stuffing mattresses
Yosh Nakagawa Interview Segment 17 (ddr-densho-1000-172-17)
vh Yosh Nakagawa Interview Segment 17 (ddr-densho-1000-172-17)
Memories of Puyallup Assembly Center as a child: having fun, selling newspapers
Hank Shozo Umemoto Interview Segment 17 (ddr-densho-1000-294-17)
vh Hank Shozo Umemoto Interview Segment 17 (ddr-densho-1000-294-17)
Living conditions in camp: better than farm at home

This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the …

Tokio Hirotaka - Toshio Ito - Joe Matsuzawa Segment 26 (ddr-densho-1000-23-26)
vh Tokio Hirotaka - Toshio Ito - Joe Matsuzawa Segment 26 (ddr-densho-1000-23-26)
Working at Pinedale Assembly Center, California, a makeshift fire department
Rae Takekawa Segment 20 (ddr-densho-1000-89-20)
vh Rae Takekawa Segment 20 (ddr-densho-1000-89-20)
Organized activities for youth at Pinedale Assembly Center, California
George Morihiro Interview Segment 18 (ddr-densho-1000-182-18)
vh George Morihiro Interview Segment 18 (ddr-densho-1000-182-18)
Life in Puyallup Assembly Center: talking with the guards, being warned away from the fence
George Morihiro Interview Segment 16 (ddr-densho-1000-182-16)
vh George Morihiro Interview Segment 16 (ddr-densho-1000-182-16)
Entering Puyallup Assembly Center: "the day you walked through that gate, you know you lost something"
Kara Kondo Interview Segment 27 (ddr-densho-1000-139-27)
vh Kara Kondo Interview Segment 27 (ddr-densho-1000-139-27)
Early memories of life in assembly center: "You're in a daze for a while until you get your bearings"
Kara Kondo Interview Segment 28 (ddr-densho-1000-139-28)
vh Kara Kondo Interview Segment 28 (ddr-densho-1000-139-28)
Life in the North Portland Assembly Center, Oregon: cramped living quarters, working for the camp newsletter
Jim Akutsu Segment 18 (ddr-densho-1000-2-18)
vh Jim Akutsu Segment 18 (ddr-densho-1000-2-18)
Conditions at Puyallup Assembly Center

Interview was conducted over two days because of delays caused by technical difficulties.

Bob Suzuki Segment 3 (ddr-densho-1000-452-3)
vh Bob Suzuki Segment 3 (ddr-densho-1000-452-3)
Childhood memories of the Portland Assembly center and Minidoka concentration camp
API