Japanese Americans testifying on "assembly" and "relocation" camps to which they were confined:
Tsuyako Kitashima, about the Tanforan Assembly Center in California: "My mother, three adult brothers and I were assigned one horse stall. There was manure on the floor, and hair from the horse's tail was stuck on the rough walls.
"For our mattress, we were given mattress ticks and told to fill them with hay. We washed the floors, but we soon found the stench of the manure under the stable unbearable. I could hear babies crying, family arguments and the sick coughing throughout the night. The surrounding area was always so muddy we used planks to get to it.
"I got sick with diarrhea during the night and was too scared to be walking two blocks to the toilet for fear the military police would shoot me, thinking I was trying to escape. The only alternative was to use a gallon can."
Elsie Hashimoto, about Merced Assembly Center in California: "The latrines were primitive. Many holes were cut out of pine boards for our seats, water gushed below, no partitions were provided for our privacy and we had to sit in a long row. The timid suffered constipation."
Taeko Okamura, about the "maximum security" Tule Lake Camp in California: "The double barbed wire fence was just beyond the next barrack from our compartment. A guard tower with uniformed men and weapons were in view at all times. Searchlights were beamed onto the campgrounds at night. Uniformed men with weapons, driving around in jeeps, was a common sight. As a result . . . I used to be afraid of any white adult male for a very long time."
Yasuoko Ito, about Topaz Camp in Utah: "My mother was a person who believed strongly in the preservation of the family as a unit. In spite of the difficult situation of seven people living in crowded quarters, she desperately tried to maintain a sense of the family staying together by going to the mess hall to get the family's portion of food so that we could all sit down and share a meal. . . .
"My younger brothers and sisters could not understand why we had to eat by ourselves. We couldn't we eat in the mess hall like the other families? It was very difficult to be 'different' from our friends and caused many awkward moments at mealtimes. She finally relented, and we all had our meals with our friends, and we no longer took meals as a family. This saddened my mother very much, and she cried."
Peggy Misai Mitchell, about Minidoka Camp in Idaho: "A tragic incident occurred that was the talk of the entire camp. A youth was killed by one of the guards for climbing over the fence.
"It seems the boy was playing ball with some friends, and the ball flew over the fence to the outside. He was climbing over the fence to retrieve the ball, and evidently the guard thought he was trying to escape and shot him. This furor discouraged a lot of people from even enjoying a walk or venturing near the fence for quite a while."