Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Art Abe Interview
Narrator: Art Abe
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: January 24, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-aart-01-0018

<Begin Segment 18>

TI: Okay, so let's go from Puyallup. After Puyallup you then went to Minidoka, Idaho. So describe Minidoka for me. And what time of year did you guys go to Minidoka?

AA: It was August. I still remember that trip --

TI: This is August 1942, you're going to Minidoka, go ahead.

AA: I remember that train ride. I think we went from Seattle, or from Puyallup down to, through Portland and up the Columbia River. And the, I don't know where they picked up all those cars, it was old vintage, seemed like from the Civil War days, had potbelly stoves for heating. And of course, we had all the shades drawn. I remember on a hot day we were on a side track for hours. And we'd look down and we'd see all the freight trains going by. And I see cattle cars going by, and they were given preference over us. And we had sentries aboard to make sure we didn't have the shades up, but anyway, we'd peek out through the cracks, and we could see that. I was getting bitter, it was hot, hot, and we didn't have anything to eat.

TI: And did you know where you were going at this point, when you were in the, when you got on the train?

AA: Yeah, I knew we were going to Minidoka, because they had recruited advance crew, a bunch of 'em went out to set up the, set up the camp.

TI: Now, did you ever talk to your parents about what was going on and how they felt about first Puyallup and then going to Minidoka?

AA: No. They kind of accepted what was, what their, they figured they didn't have any control over what was going on, so they accepted what was going on.

TI: And then just that little story you told about waiting sort of on a side rail. So generally, the railroads would give preference to passenger cars over freight cars, but in this case, the freight cars had preference over, over what you were...

AA: Yeah. The railroads were all single track, and so we had to go on the side. I guess the government gave preference to freight, freight moving.

TI: So when you got to Minidoka, tell me what that was like.

AA: Gee, I looked out and I saw that desolate, desolate place on the side tracks of Eden, I couldn't believe what, where we were at. And the buses came and hauled us in, and the camp was not completed, it was still in the construction stages. And Block 1 was completed, that's where the original volunteer advance crew was, living, and then Block 3, I was assigned to Block 3. They had just been completed. There was dust and it was ankle-deep all over, it was... and the wind was blowing and it was hot, no shade.

TI: And what were you thinking while you were going into all this?

AA: I was just trying to keep the dust away, and trying to get settled down. We had had our luggage, I still remember our luggage was in a big heap and we had to look around. Several hundred pieces of luggage were out there in pile on the ground where we had to scramble to find our luggage.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.