Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Nobu Suzuki Interview I
Narrator: Nobu Suzuki
Interviewer: Dee Goto
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: June 3, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-snobu-01-0020

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DG: So now, you had a couple children by then.

NS: Yes, uh-huh.

DG: Your oldest one was?

NS: Let's see, what is this, 1941?

DG: Uh-huh.

NS: Yes. I had the oldest son, and then the second son died not too long -- I think it was before Pearl Harbor. That was part of my illness too. And so...

DG: And then you had your third son.

NS: And I had the third son. So we had two at home, you see, with the one that died and then we had the two. So my husband was home after Pearl Harbor. And I knew that I'd have to work someplace or go someplace to find help for some of the people that were laid off and had nowhere else to go. So I think I went to the Japanese Chamber of Commerce to see what they could do to help. And they could get -- I think they were doling out rice and a few groceries at that time, but there wasn't very much that could be done. The welfare department helped in the very direst of circumstances, and I think that's about it. That was '41, wasn't it? And then...

DG: Well, now this is where your experience as a social worker comes into play?

NS: Mostly. And being the only one...

DG: Now, were you already on the YWCA board at that time?

NS: I think so. Yes, I was.

DG: Right. Well, you had to be. So you had been active with that already?

NS: Yes. And so I don't know how much involvement...

DG: Well, seeing the needs then, sounds like you...

NS: There was more -- I mean, it wasn't YWCA work or group work that I needed to do, it was more family-oriented work that needed to be done. Like those families who lost their jobs right away and didn't have -- some people who had no resources and had to find someplace to get their groceries and such. And so I think I went to...

DG: Was the Japanese Consul involved at all?

NS: No. The Japanese Consul, I think, closed their offices...

DG: Okay.

NS: ...at Pearl Harbor time. And, besides, they -- I don't know that they ever helped destitute Japanese families.

DG: Oh, really?

NS: I don't think so. They were more interested in community relationships than actual monetary help of any...

DG: Did the FBI come to your place then, since your husband was an alien?

NS: No.

DG: They didn't bother you.

NS: No, they didn't bother me. I guess they did some places, didn't they?

DG: Right.

NS: If they did, I wasn't aware of it.

DG: I guess he didn't quite have the right connections to be bothered.

NS: I guess not.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.