Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Charles Olds Interview
Narrator: Charles Olds
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Klamath Falls, Oregon
Date: July 3, 2000
Densho ID: denshovh-ocharles-01-0006

<Begin Segment 6>

AI: Well, looking back on that experience now, what do you think now about the camps and the whole incident of the removal of the people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast?

CO: Well, obviously, first of all, I, I think that it was a gross mistake on the part of our government to order it, that kind of removal of people from the war zone. They didn't do it in Hawaii, except for a few. They could have selected a few people in the West Coast, well, to put into maximum security camps. But I disagreed with it from the very start, of course. And, but having done so, I, I have great admiration for the people that went to the camps, the conditions that they went through, and their tremendous ingenuity in fixing up their physical arrangements. Had gardens, and made furniture and all kinds of things that made life more livable. I think most of the camps had a better experience than Tule Lake. Tule Lake had a pretty bad, they had a very reactionary local camp administrator, and then, that caused more and more dissension, which sort of piled up and increased as time went on so that life was pretty tough for everybody there. Anyway, that's my experience.

AI: Well, I appreciate you relating this information. Is there anything that you think can be learned from this historic situation?

CO: Well, I think that all of us on the, who worked in the program realize what can happen in a national emergency such as the war, and that to, the administration happened to be very much, very wrong in what they did to combat it. But, we've got to be careful that it doesn't happen in other circumstances or other times. If, for example, I heard that there was the thought of, of putting some Iranians into protected custody or something like that. Well, that would be just about the same kind of a thing that was done to the Japanese. And of course, the things that happened in Latin America to the Japanese who were in Peru and other Latin American countries was equally bad. It was, brought out some pretty nasty things that you could say about the U.S. policy of needing hostages to get our own prisoners from Japan back, which, it was eye for an eye kind of philosophy, which is ridiculous. So I think that we all should learn something about this whole experience, that would prevent it from happening again.

AI: Well, Mr. Olds, thank you very much.

CO: Okay. You're welcome.

AI: Really appreciate your sharing this with us.

CO: I appreciate doing it.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2000 Densho. All Rights Reserved.