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 (231)
Concentration camps (1434)
Living conditions (1750)

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

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1750 items
Scrap lumber conflict (ddr-csujad-26-17)
doc Scrap lumber conflict (ddr-csujad-26-17)
Report utilizing journal entries to describe competition and conflicts between incarcerees over scrap lumber leftover from camp construction. Describes lumber usage by incarcerees includes construction of furniture and porches, creation of partitions in the barracks for privacy, and accumulation for use during winter. The report includes observations of inequality, disorganization, and the lack of administrative oversight …
Woman and young men (ddr-csujad-26-82)
img Woman and young men (ddr-csujad-26-82)
A Caucasian woman and three young Japanese American men pose in front of a barracks building. From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_019
Women and dog (ddr-csujad-26-114)
img Women and dog (ddr-csujad-26-114)
Four women and a dog pose in front of an automobile while Robert Billigmeier points toward the camera. Barracks are in background. Additional photos in sequence include: ucsb_mei_0109, ucsb_mei_0111, ucsb_mei_0113, ucsb_mei_0115. From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_078
Tule Lake monograph (ddr-csujad-26-1)
doc Tule Lake monograph (ddr-csujad-26-1)
Unpublished manuscript includes a collection of diary entries, letters, and essays written by school students incarcerated at the Tule Lake camp and collected through the Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Study (JERS). The writings include first-person descriptions of travel to the Tule Lake camp, adapting to camp, limitations of camp, day-to-day camp life, family life, community …
Chapter 6 and 7 personality cards (ddr-csujad-26-34)
doc Chapter 6 and 7 personality cards (ddr-csujad-26-34)
Journal entries written by high school students discussing their observations and perspectives on a variety of topics including living in barracks, block noise, lack of privacy, mess hall dining, nosy neighbors, jobs, leisure time, sports, movies, church attendance, the Young Buddhist Association (YBA), family dynamics, social changes, dating, and rumors. Each entry includes the full date …
Cooperatively owned canteen (ddr-csujad-26-130)
img Cooperatively owned canteen (ddr-csujad-26-130)
Photo of people working and shopping inside a canteen. Goods are seen divided by type. Verso reads "cooperatively owned canteen." From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_100
University of California, evacuation and settlement study: case history I (ddr-csujad-26-26)
doc University of California, evacuation and settlement study: case history I (ddr-csujad-26-26)
Correspondence regarding a profile of incarceree Harry Osaka written by Robert Spencer. The profile was taken during a trip to Fresno for Harry's mother's funeral with Spencer as the escort and includes Harry's life and family story, farm business before incarceration, religious practices, holiday practices, description of funeral. Profile included as part of the Japanese American …
View of the camp showing Castle Rock (ddr-csujad-26-102)
img View of the camp showing Castle Rock (ddr-csujad-26-102)
Photo of camp buildings and road down the middle backed by hilly landscape. Caption on back of photo reads, "View of the camp showing Castle Rock. A Nisei objected to this picture because the daisies in the corner relieve the dusty monotony of the camp." From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the …
Nobie Masaki (ddr-csujad-26-140)
img Nobie Masaki (ddr-csujad-26-140)
Photo of a young Japanese American woman posing in front of a barracks buildings. Handwriting on the photo reads, "Dear Mrs. Billigmeier, Always, Nobie Masaki." From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_110
Landscape with barracks building (ddr-csujad-26-121)
img Landscape with barracks building (ddr-csujad-26-121)
Photo of the desert landscape with a portion of a barracks building. Leftover wood crates are stacked next to the building while the camp border fence can be sen in the distance. From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_090
Group photo with dog (ddr-csujad-26-113)
img Group photo with dog (ddr-csujad-26-113)
Robert Billigmeier, a Japanese American man, and two Caucasian woman pose with a dog, an automobile, and barracks in the background. Additional photos in sequence include: ucsb_mei_0109, ucsb_mei_0111, ucsb_mei_0114, ucsb_mei_0115. From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_077
Chapter 2, 3, 4, 5 personality cards (ddr-csujad-26-32)
doc Chapter 2, 3, 4, 5 personality cards (ddr-csujad-26-32)
Journal entries written by high school students discussing their observations and perspectives on a variety of topics including weather, social interactions, barracks noise, the desire to leave camp, prospect of discrimination, reflections on "one year since 'evacuation,'" and the journey to camp. Each entry includes the full date and student name. The entries were part of …
Tule Lake scrapbook (ddr-csujad-26-53)
img Tule Lake scrapbook (ddr-csujad-26-53)
Scrapbook created in Tule Lake camp by Japanese American students. Contents include drawings, art, holiday greeting cards prints, poetry and signatures of student groups. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_03_20_001
Camp buildings with dust cloud (ddr-csujad-26-69)
img Camp buildings with dust cloud (ddr-csujad-26-69)
Camp barracks buildings line a road with dust cloud. People can be seen in front of the buildings in distance. From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_006
Personality cards (ddr-csujad-26-44)
doc Personality cards (ddr-csujad-26-44)
Journal entries written by high school students discussing their observations and perspectives on a variety of topics including social and cultural differences, personality conflicts, friendships, social interactions, school, dogs, memories, reflections on camp life, weather, a friend in the military visiting his parents in camp, hobbies, and opinions about other people and daily life. Each entry …
Fire department of Tule Lake (ddr-csujad-26-14)
doc Fire department of Tule Lake (ddr-csujad-26-14)
Description of the establishment, structure and operations of the fire department at Tule Lake. The report includes accounts of fires, what firemen do while waiting for fires, schedules, issues with wardens and administration, and ethnographic observations of "social status" in the camps. Report compiled as a portion of the Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Study (JERS). …
Group photo by car (ddr-csujad-26-111)
img Group photo by car (ddr-csujad-26-111)
A group of five women and one man poses in front of a car with barracks in the background. Additional photos in sequence include: ucsb_mei_0109, ucsb_mei_0113, ucsb_mei_0114, ucsb_mei_0115. From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_075
Young women (ddr-csujad-26-123)
img Young women (ddr-csujad-26-123)
A group of young Japanese American women poses with a Caucasian woman in front of a barracks building. From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_092
Chapter 8, 9, 10 personality cards (ddr-csujad-26-35)
doc Chapter 8, 9, 10 personality cards (ddr-csujad-26-35)
Journal entries written by high school students discussing their observations and perspectives on a variety of topics including movies, dances, dissatisfaction with recreation, family dynamics, desire to leave camp, cultural and generational differences, and weather. Each entry includes the full date and student name. The entries were part of a class assignment and collected for the …
Four women and two men (ddr-csujad-26-117)
img Four women and two men (ddr-csujad-26-117)
Four women and two men pose together in front of barracks buildings. All but one person is Japanese American. From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_086
Outline of University of California study of evacuation and resettlement (ddr-csujad-26-2)
doc Outline of University of California study of evacuation and resettlement (ddr-csujad-26-2)
Outline for an academic social science study, the Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Study (JERS), led by the University of California of the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Outline highlights area of administrative, social, political and personal areas to be studied by a team of researchers encamped with incarcerees. See this object in …
Personality cards (ddr-csujad-26-43)
doc Personality cards (ddr-csujad-26-43)
Journal entries written by high school students discussing their observations and perspectives on a variety of topics including family interactions, memories, homesickness, friendships, social interactions, school, self-reflection, juvenile delinquency, peer behaviors, death, religion, opinions, and worldviews. Each entry includes the full date and student name. The entries were part of a class assignment and collected for …
Group photo in front of barracks (ddr-csujad-26-136)
img Group photo in front of barracks (ddr-csujad-26-136)
Three Japanese American women and one man pose together in front of a barracks building. An automobile and additional barracks can be seen in the background. From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_106
Barracks row (ddr-csujad-26-86)
img Barracks row (ddr-csujad-26-86)
A man walks toward a row of barracks lining a dusty road. From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_023
Group photo in front of barracks building (ddr-csujad-26-81)
img Group photo in front of barracks building (ddr-csujad-26-81)
Posed group photo in front of a barracks building of eighteen Japanese Americans and Caucasian adults, one baby, and one dog. From photo album of Robert Billigmeier. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: mei_05_018
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