“Only the Oaks Remain: The Story of Tuna Canyon Detention Station” will remain on display through Sunday, April 16, at the Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave. in Little Tokyo.
The traveling exhibit, which opened in December, was scheduled to close on April 9, but was extended for the benefit of participants in the Santa Anita Reunion, to be held on April 15 at JANM.
“Only the Oaks Remain” tells the true stories of those targeted as “dangerous enemy aliens” and imprisoned in the Tuna Canyon Detention Station, located in the Tujunga neighborhood of Los Angeles, by the U.S. Department of Justice during World War II. Photographs, letters, and diaries bring the experiences of the prisoners to life.
During the decade before the war, the government compiled lists of people seen as potential risks to national security. When the war began, Presidential Proclamations 2525, 2526, and 2527 authorized the FBI and other agencies to arrest such individuals — mostly spiritual, educational, business, and community leaders from the Japanese, German, and Italian immigrant communities. The government also rounded up Japanese and other individuals who had previously been forcibly removed from Latin America.
Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the Department of Justice took over a vacated Civilian Conservation Corps camp in Tujunga and converted it into a detention station by installing 12-foot-high barbed wire fences, guard posts, and floodlights. Targeted individuals were quickly arrested in their homes, leaving behind confused and frightened families; most detainees were later sent to Department of Justice or Army internment camps.
The exhibit includes profiles of notable detainees, an Honor Wall with names of all detainees, a model of Tuna Canyon and a virtual tour of the camp. The title refers to the fact that although the camp was razed to make way for a golf course, a grove of oak trees from that period remains on the site.
The next stop for the exhibit is Manzanar National Historic Site, where it will be on view during the Manzanar Pilgrimage on April 29.