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Camps a Grim Reminder

October 09, 1987

I read with fascination and sympathy Betty Cuniberti's article on the Japanese internment camps ("Internment: Personal Voices, Powerful Choices," Oct. 4). The mental and physical cruelties perpetrated on these citizens were not worthy of a great democracy. In some respects, they are reminiscent of some of the cruelties perpetrated by our enemies of that time. After all, these people came to our shores for freedom and were learning the principles of democracy.

The article reminds me of my own past. After the United States entered World War II at the end of 1941, all "enemy aliens" were required to register. We received a pink card marked "enemy alien." We could not leave town without receiving permission and then only to stay within a restricted radius from the place of residence, Boston in my case.

My family and I were German Jewish refugees. We had applied for U.S. citizenship. We had found asylum. Yet we were treated as outcasts.

We could not understand it. Those who would want to hurt the United States would certainly not obey and register. Some of us went to have the word "enemy" stricken from the pink card. I also went to have that hateful word stricken by the issuing official. The tears were streaming down my face as I went to catch the subway. I was then a high school senior, having arrived in Boston in 1938.

I hope that our citizens and government will show justice and mercy. A good place to start is the amnesty program.

MARION S. SICILIANO

Beverly Hills

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