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Remembering a Camp's Survivors

Tule Lake Segregation Center, which housed Japanese Americans during World War II, is designated a national historic landmark.

February 19, 2006|From Associated Press

NEWELL, Calif. — A site that at one point housed more than 18,000 Japanese American internees during World War II has been named a national historic landmark in recognition of the camp's survivors.

Tule Lake Segregation Center, off California 39 near the California-Oregon border, was designated a relocation center for Japanese Americans in 1942. It was converted into the nation's only segregation center a year later, meaning that it housed internees who refused to swear an oath to the United States or caused problems at other camps.

The 7,400-acre camp was closed March 20, 1946.

A 42-acre portion of the camp received the landmark designation by the Bush administration Friday.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) had pushed Interior Secretary Gale Norton to make the designation before Feb. 19, the anniversary of President Roosevelt's 1942 executive order to place more than 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry in the camps.

Feinstein praised the designation Friday, saying it would help ensure that aging survivors of the camp would be honored before they die.

The designation will help the site receive more federal money to encourage tourism. The House of Representatives already has authorized up to $38 million in federal funds to restore 10 internment camps, including Tule Lake.

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