Densho Digital Archive
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Title: Henry Miyatake Interview I
Narrator: Henry Miyatake
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: March 26, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-mhenry-01-0021

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TI: What impact did this have on this Jewish immigrant as he watched this thing happen before his eyes in the United States?

HM: We wouldn't talk about the fact that Bainbridge Island people were being evacuated. I didn't say anything to him. I don't know how much newspaper stuff he read, but he knew something was going on. But all this thing about the evacuation was kept quiet and Mr. Sears said, "If anything happens, don't talk about it in the school. You could talk about it amongst yourselves but don't talk about it in school." That's when we had the assembly. So none of us talked about any of this. But the day before we were... next to the last day, the teachers all said that, "Tomorrow will be the last day for some of the students here." He didn't identify who they were but you know, everybody knew by that time.

TI: So they were able to keep it that quiet? I would think it would go through the whole school.

HM: In fact the next to the last day was kind of an interesting day, because I think a lot of people already had an understanding, they just didn't want to discuss it openly, my Caucasian friends. But the last day was a very pitiful day, yeah.

TI: Now that your Jewish friend heard about this, sort of the second to the last day or the day before, were you able to talk with him about it or did he say anything to you?

HM: No, he was very quiet. In fact, in the homeroom class, he was emotionally distraught. And he stood up and said, "I didn't come to the United States to see this kind of thing happen. I don't know what's happening here but this is not what I came for." And he made a very, it was an impassioned speech. He was very disturbed. But that's the way things were going at that time. But he was more perceptive than I was. But he was planning ahead of time so in case nothing happened it would still be okay.

TI: Were you ever able to, did you ever see him after that?

HM: No, I never saw him... when we came back after the war, when I came back to Seattle the war was still going on, but I tried to find him in the phone book and other places but I never did find him and I don't know what happened to him. One of Jewish friends I have said that they went back to New York. But that's the last I saw him. But the last day I was there he did have an envelope for me. He put it into my pocket and said, "Well, maybe you could use this one of these days."

TI: What was in the envelope?

HM: Money.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.