Escape from US & Canadian Internment camps during WWII?
July 28, 2015 10:09 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to find out if anyone successfully escaped from a Japanese-American or Japanese-Canadian Internment camp during World War II.

I'm aware that some people found legal ways to leave and others fought in court for their right to stay at home. (I also know that some people were killed trying to escape.)

My (Japanese-American) daughter would like to know this.
posted by Margalo Epps to Society & Culture (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I remember this article from the LA Times about people "escaping" all the time to go fishing in nearby rivers, after which they'd return to camp. It also mentions people escaping for real, but no real detail there.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:18 AM on July 28, 2015

Best answer: I don't know much about what happened in the states, but here in Canada they weren't exactly prisoners. They could leave if they liked at any time, but (and it's a pretty damning but) all their possessions had been confiscated and they couldn't legally own anything or work outside the camps. So there really was nowhere for them to go. The handling of this was definitely not one of Canada's prouder moments.
posted by cirhosis at 11:22 PM on July 28, 2015

Like this one from Angler Camp?
posted by wenestvedt at 12:35 PM on July 29, 2015

Best answer: From what I have read, in both USA & Canada the Japanese sense of obedience was exploited by the government to help keep the internees from leaving. Fiendish, ingenious, awful.

There were also Italian and German POWs held in real POW camps in the continental US, and also placed on farms to provide labor (to replace men sent to fight). There is a lot that has been written on that, and I recall some long threads on either the H-WAR mailing list or the (very good) WWII list a few years ago about this topic.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:42 PM on July 29, 2015

Response by poster: Okay, well clearly I will have to do more reading about this. The fishing expeditions from Manzanar are really interesting. I'm curious about the different handling in the US and Canada now -- in the US people were shot if they tried to leave without permission. I'm looking to see what books I can get about Japanese-Canadian history from the library...
posted by Margalo Epps at 12:04 PM on July 30, 2015

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