Retracing the Painful Past at an Internment Camp

This is why two Japanese-Americans decided to go back to the Wyoming internment camp where they were imprisoned as children.

Redress and Remembrance for Internees Life at Heart Mountain

Ken Kitajima has returned to Heart Mountain — the internment camp where he and other Japanese Americans were forced to live nearly 80 years ago. This time, he’s traveled to rural Wyoming with his grandkids to retrace a painful period in their family history. Kitajima was 12 when the U.S. government forced his family to leave their home in Campbell, California. As a child, Kitajima didn’t understand what was happening — he first saw it as an escape from bullying at school.

During World War II, people of Japanese descent from Oregon, Washington and California were incarcerated at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Park County, Wyo., as the result of an executive order of President Franklin Roosevelt. Residents were at the camp from Aug. 12, 1942 to Nov. 10, 1945, two months after the end of the war with Japan. When the camp was at its largest, it held more than 10,000 people, making it the third largest town in the state. When the people first arrived, a barbed-wire fence to surround the camp was not yet complete. The internees protested the construction of this barrier and caused further work to be delayed. In November 1942, they submitted a petition containing 3,000 signatures to WRA Director Dillon Meyer.

Nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans were imprisoned in these camps during World War II. At the end of 1942, the Kitajima family was transferred to an internment camp in Colorado where they lived until August 1945. Kitajima went on to serve in the U.S. Air Force as a surgical nurse during the Korean War. Despite what was done to his family, Kitajima says he doesn’t hold resentment. But he is sharing what life was like in the camps with his grandkids, so history isn’t forgotten.


11/02/2019 10:19 AM


  • Polo I.
    04/28/2020 16:26

    Where tf is our reparations? 🤔🤔

  • Marty C.
    11/30/2019 21:10

    Once more example of the democratic socilist Nazis of America! Of course it was the republicians that put it right.

  • Lee B.
    11/30/2019 21:03

    That’s white America for y’all! Evil as always!

  • George G.
    11/30/2019 16:08

    Yes, by a US President. A Democrat President. The very reason we need the Second Amendment

  • John C.
    11/30/2019 10:09

    Well maybe you shouldn’t bomb Pearl Harbor

  • Kevin R.
    11/30/2019 08:57

    executive action by a democrat. surprised /s/

  • Sofía M.
    11/30/2019 04:32

    Lo siento mucho.

  • Arlecia W.
    11/29/2019 23:44

    So Ronald Racist Reagan, can pay them reparations, but the Government, doesn't want to pay the descendants of slaves reparations. And my Ancestors built the WH, and America! FOH

  • Stephen S.
    11/29/2019 19:44

    Everybody getting in on this white guilt

  • Robert C.
    11/29/2019 17:34

    Lies lies and more lies. They were allowed to leave the camps once a week to go to towns to buy things. History does not buy the liberal lies when you are educated

  • John P.
    11/29/2019 16:23

    It was a necessary move....and it should be done with Muslims today.

  • Eric C.
    11/29/2019 03:35


  • Sherlock B.
    11/29/2019 02:37

    Them pilgrims showed h8 towards everybody no matter any verison of history.😒😒😒

  • Timothy J.
    11/28/2019 17:10

    And not on gun owner stood up to the government to stop this

  • Eric D.
    11/28/2019 14:42

    American soldiers were cannibalized. Kept alive while parts of their body were removed to feed Japanese soldiers. Sorry you were forced to sleep in a hotel during a world war.

  • Eric D.
    11/28/2019 14:39

    Get over it

  • Corey S.
    11/28/2019 14:00

    Lots of people openly admitting they didn't pay attention in social studies... Guys, this is taught in public schools. You were just bad students.

  • Frankie P.
    11/28/2019 13:45

    The Japanese just attacked us and probably more than half of the people in these camps were still loyal to Japan. The same today of all the "immigrants" today. Most of them aren't loyal to the U.S. .

  • Darrell D.
    11/28/2019 05:55

    Didn’t this guy molest a kid?

  • Jeffrey H.
    11/28/2019 03:28

    What do u think will happen if we r attacked by a Muslim country. People worry about sleeper cells