Densho Digital Archive
Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community Collection
Title: Brooks Andrews Interview
Narrator: Brooks Andrews
Interviewer: Joyce Nishimura
Location: Bainbridge Island, Washington
Date: October 7, 2006
Densho ID: denshovh-aemery-02-0008

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Male voice: I have a question. How did the hierarchy of the church treat your dad? Because, was that, did they...

BA: I know a little bit about that, yeah. The hierarchy of the American Baptist denomination, actually was very difficult in, in being supportive of the evacuation -- I mean of, supportive of the Japanese that were evacuated. And in the local Seattle area, really the only support they, that we had from any of our denomination was from the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Seattle. That was, at that time was Dr. Harold Jensen, and he was very much an advocate for the Japanese in trying to stop this internment situation. So there wasn't much support. The... I know my dad wanted to be the chaplain for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. And his denominational hierarchy turned that down because -- and this is puzzling too -- if they didn't support the internees, why would they say, "Well, you need to stay with your people"? So... but I know it was very much a desire for him to be a chaplain for the 442nd. So we just lived in Idaho and we continued ministry in, in Minidoka there. Usually... I was in school, grade school, so usually I went into the camps on the weekend. But -- and this may sound like a strong statement -- but knowing, remembering the camp, seeing pictures of the camp, if we were to juxtapose a picture of Minidoka next to a picture of a concentration camp maybe in Dachau, Germany, you'd be hard put, hard pressed to see which was which. Because they had the similarity. Row on row of tarpaper shacks, high barbed-wire fence, guards and searchlights, guns, machine guns, all pointed inward. So, I, I call it the, the American concentration.

One thing about the Bainbridge people who went down to Manzanar, I know for, for the Northwesterners, Japanese, Manzanar was a harsh existence, very hot, very dry. It was in the desert. And I know Dad went down there and talked to them down there, to, I assume, some officials down there. And there, I think he was accompanied by some other people, I don't know who they were, but were able to get them moved from Manzanar back up to Minidoka, which was more their climate, but also being with, with friends and people from this area.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.