Densho Digital Archive
Steven Okazaki Collection
Title: Roger Daniels Interview
Narrator: Roger Daniels
Location: San Francisco, California
Date: November 18, 1983
Densho ID: denshovh-droger-02-0012

<Begin Segment 12>

RD: Of course, the question has been asked why German Americans and Italian Americans were treated differently. And of course, the major answer is that they were white people, and the authorities thought that they could judge white people, tell the loyal from the disloyal. And of course, some German and Italian nationals were interned. But in San Francisco, for example, if you had locked up naturalized, unnaturalized Italian nationals, you'd have put Joe DiMaggio's mother and father in a concentration camp, and Joe DiMaggio, of course perhaps the most famous baseball player of his time, was a national hero. You don't put the parents of a national hero in a concentration camp. In addition, of course, there were large German and Italian American voting blocs. There were Congressmen to speak up for them. Fiorello La Guardia, for example. Finally, of course, I think that we had improved from World War I, we understood that what was going on in Nazi Germany was not the deeds of Germans, but the deeds of bad Germans. And we recognized that there were a difference between good Germans and bad Germans. We did not do so for Japan. The deeds of Nazis were viewed as the deeds of evil men. What happened in the Pacific was viewed as the product of an evil race. And if you look at the wartime movies that still pollute our television screens, you can get an idea of the same thing. There's no such thing as a sympathetic Japanese individual in most of those films. And most of the films that deal with Germany even deal with the German army or the German submarine, you know, there's the Nazi and the good people. You don't get that distinction with Japanese. So it's clearly racial and the basis, and anybody who fails to understand that the basic root cause of the relocation was racism, doesn't understand anything about it at all.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 1983, 2010 Densho and Steven Okazaki. All Rights Reserved.