Thursday, October 19, 2006
"Vanished: German-American Civilian Internment, 1941-48" is the subject of a traveling exhibit housed in a bus that will stop Saturday at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt. The bus, which also holds a 21-seat theater, will be located outside the library's east entrance from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
It is widely known that thousands of Japanese-Americans were held in internment camps following the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. What is less well-known is that during World War II the U.S. government registered some 300,000 Germans in America as "enemy aliens" and interned approximately 11,000 German resident aliens and German Americans. More than 4,000 German Latin Americans - including German and Austrian Jews who had fled Nazi terror - were brought to this country in the holds of ships. From 1941 to 1948, Ellis Island served as a prison for German- and Italian-American internees, and the United States shipped back to Germany more than 2,000 of the 15,000 German Americans it had imprisoned, in exchange for German-held U.S. nationals; more were deported after the war.
The exhibit is presented by TRACES, a non-profit educational organization in St. Paul, Minn.