The recent quibbling about the description of the Internment Camps has strained my patience for remaining quiet.
From age 16 to 18, I was a Topaz internee. The sudden upheaval and being relocated to a barren desert land for well over 8,000 people was numbing and took stamina and great effort to adjust.
Gradually, we made friends and attended hastily put-together schools and churches, all with few resources. Groups and clubs were formed to make bearable these trying circumstances.
Being a teenager, there were enjoyable moments but that did not alter the fact that we had been forcibly removed from our homes, moved to a confined area bordered by barbed wire and overlooked by sentry posts with weapons. One very unhappy memory is of an elderly man taking a walk, who was shot and killed. It was said he was too close to the barbed wire.
It is fortunate that Mr. Yoshinaga’s experiences at Heart Mountain were agreeable. That camp may aptly be termed Relocation Center. As for Topaz, in my opinion, this was most definitely a Concentration Camp. I do not reminisce fondly about memories there.
While I enjoy the “Horse’s” column, I ask him to please not assume that internees at other camps had as favorable experiences as he enjoyed.
Relocation Center? At Topaz, for me, no way. Definitely Concentration Camp!