LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Mistreatment of Italian Americans During WWII

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Dear Editor:

Two congressional bills, H.R. 4146 and H.R. 4147, have been introduced to Congress: 1) To apologize for the mistreatment of 600,000 Italian Americans during World War II, and 2) To authorize the secretary of education to provide grants for education programs on the history of the mistreatment of Italian Americans during World War II.

"Una Storia Segreta: The Secret History of Italian American Evacuation and Internment During World War II" (2001, Heyday Books)

“Una Storia Segreta: The Secret History of Italian American Evacuation and Internment During World War II” (2001, Heyday Books)

During World War II, 120,000 loyal Americans and permanent residents, all of Japanese ancestry, living primarily on the West Coast in 1942, were wrongly imprisoned up to four years in America’s 10 concentration camps scattered in seven states. When my family was released in 1945 from the Poston concentration camp in Arizona, and returned to California, we faced anti-Japanese hostility. No one would rent to us. We were forced to live in dilapidated makeshift lodging. When I entered high school I had to work as a live-in maid.

My classmate Elsie Frontani invited me to live with her family every weekend, throughout high school and two years of college. Mr. and Mrs. Attilio Frontani treated me like a member of their family. They restored my faith in humanity. I owe a debt of gratitude to this Italian American family.

I urge every American who believes in doing the right thing to join me in writing our congressional representatives, Jim Costa (D-Fresno) and Devin Nunes (R-Clovis), to support these two bills. Thank you.

Marion I. (Nakamura) Masada, Fresno

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