Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Frank Hiratsuka Interview
Narrator: Frank Hiratsuka
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Skokie, Illinois
Date: June 15, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-hfrank_2-01-0013

<Begin Segment 13>

TI: So earlier you talked about how after a while you left Poston and you left kind of early, so where did the family go?

FH: Morton Grove.

TI: I'm sorry, went to...

FH: Morton Grove.

TI: Morton Grove. And whey there?

FH: That's where they got hired. They were hired by somebody that has a place in Morton Grove. He also had one in Chicago, but they were hired for Morton Grove.

TI: And do you know how your family, your parents got his job? When they were hired, I mean, how did...

FH: Well, they, they applied for, some people sent in things asking for people to come out and work for them, and they would give their references and they'd ask for references from the people that were, and then they'd choose who they would take and they would accept them and have 'em come out. So then that was your guaranteed job. Then you could leave camp, at the earlier stages.

TI: So describe what Morton Grove was like. Where, so what was it like for you?

FH: Well, it was away from there. It was nice. It was a nice, it was a farm. It was technically a farm, but he just raised horses, so it was like a gentleman's farm. It was a nice place. It's not there anymore, but it was a nice place. He had forty-eight acres, I think, in town, which is unusual.

TI: And what, when you went to Morton Grove, what did, did you have to work, or were you just in school, or what did you do?

FH: Just go to school. I helped a little bit, like mow the grass with the tractor or something like that.

TI: Now, when you went to school, did the teachers or the administrators know where you had come from?

FH: Yeah. It was very nice. They accepted me right away. They mentioned it in class.

TI: And were, was anyone curious? Did anyone ask you about what it was like in Poston?

FH: No. No one ever asked me how it was like in Poston.

TI: Now why is that? I would think that someone would be, would ask.

FH: Well, it was not really advertised that we were in camp. It wasn't that well-known, I don't think, because even now a lot of people never knew that we were interned, even still.

TI: Now how about the fact that you were of Japanese ancestry? Was there any kind of, 'cause the war was still going on, right? The war was --

FH: No.

TI: Oh, this was after the war.

FH: Well, it was still going on when we came out. No, because it was a German community, German and Italian community, so there was not too much anti Japanese. There must've been some.

TI: Interesting. Now, the people that your parents worked for, were they --

FH: Jewish.

TI: They were Jewish.

FH: He had a fur and wool wholesale business.

TI: So I'm curious, the family's Jewish, did, were there any discussions or did it ever come up in terms of what was happening to the Jews in Europe, in terms of the Holocaust or anything like that?

FH: No, they didn't talk too much about that.

TI: Or the fact that they were receptive to having Japanese from the camps work for them because of just being, perhaps, more, I don't know, sensitive to what was going on? I'm thinking if you're Jewish and you knew about the camps in Europe, for instance, and you heard about the camps, say, in --

FH: Oh, there was nothing brought up.

TI: So nothing like that.

FH: No. They never mentioned anything about that. Only thing I remember is that they were taking French lessons from some Frenchman that came out to the house, and he'd go over a lot. I remember one time Admiral Gallery came up to the house. He's the one that they captured that submarine. And then I know they knew [inaudible] before, 'cause they had a summer camp up in Canada where they'd go fishing, and he'd go up there once in a while. So that was sort of interesting.

TI: Good. So I'm curious, when you went to Morton Grove, did you play in the band or orchestra?

FH: Oh yeah.

TI: So, again, that was, that was...

FH: Yeah, band and orchestra.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.