December 16, 1941
Proclamations 2525, 2526, and 2527 authorized the arrest of Japanese, German, and Italian aliens during World War ll.
Thank you, Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez and Councilman David Ryu, for helping to bring this dark past to light, to help descendants heal and to educate the current and future generations.
The Los Angeles City Council approved the following Resolution introduced on November 14, 2018.
WHEREAS, the United States government had concerns about internal security during the 1930s and up to the outbreak of World War II; and
WHEREAS, these concerns lead to the creation of lists by various government agencies of German, Italian, and Japanese aliens who might be arrested at the outbreak of war with Axis nations, the best known of these lists being the custodial detention lists of the FBI and Special Defense Unit; and
WHEREAS, such lists were not compiled in a careful manner and consisted mostly of innocent immigrant community, business, and religious leaders; and
WHEREAS, on December 7, 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Presidential Proclamations 2525, 2526, and 2526 authorizing the arrest and imprisonment, without trial, of Japanese, German, and Italian immigrants; and
WHEREAS, under the authority of the Presidential Proclamations, the FBI and other government agencies arrested thousands of German, Italian, and Japanese aliens using their custodial detention lists and other sources; and
WHEREAS, these aliens were suddenly torn away from their families, homes, and businesses and initially held in local jails and Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) detention stations before most were sent to INS and Army internment camps; and
WHEREAS, on December 7, 1941, INS commandeered a former Civilian Conservation Corps camp located within the City of Los Angeles, in Tujunga, and began converting this into the Tuna Canyon Detention Station with a ten foot perimeter fence and guard towers; and
WHEREAS, on December 16, 1941 the Tuna Canyon Detention Station began receiving prisoners and would over the next six months become one of the primary confinement sites for arrested German, Italian, and Japanese aliens in Southern California; and
WHEREAS, over 2,000 individuals were processed at the Tuna Canyon Detention Station from December 16, 1941 until it closed on September 30, 1943, and most were transferred to INS internment camps at Ft. Missoula (MT), Ft. Lincoln (ND), Santa Fe (NM), and Kennedy (TX); and
WHEREAS, the Tuna Canyon Detention Station detainees also included 207 Latin Americans, primarily Japanese from Peru, who were forcibly brought here by the U.S. government; and
WHEREAS, this unfortunate part of Los Angeles as well as American history was primarily motivated by unfounded fear and prejudice that targeted specific groups; and
WHEREAS, the significance of the Tuna Canyon Detention Station has been recognized by the Los Angeles City Council, which unanimously designated it on June 25, 2013 as Historical-Cultural Monument #1039; and
WHEREAS, the mission of the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition is to preserve the story of this confinement site and its detainees and to use this story as a basis for educating others about the importance of preserving basic rights, especially in times of national crisis; and
WHEREAS, the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition has constructed a Traveling Exhibit, with funding from the National Park Service, the final panel of which reads, in part:
“….the civil and human rights of over 2,000 people were violated at Tuna Canyon Detention Station…For all of the groups involved, what happened during World War II was preceded by histories of prejudice and discrimination–factors which contributed to public and political support for the government’s actions.”
“Civil and human rights are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and other documents, but these rights can be empty promises. They become real only to the degree that people are willing to uphold these principles.”
“In today’s world, there are increasing threats to internal security. And unfortunately, many people are fearful of groups with which they are not very familiar. This can easily lead to misunderstandings.”
“…Lessons from the past, including those from Tuna Canyon Detention Station, are important to prevent abuses of power against specific groups, such as those that occurred during World War II.”
“We should never repeat these mistakes.”
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, with the concurrence of the Mayor, that by adoption of this resolution, the City of Los Angeles commemorates December 16, 2018 as the 77th Anniversary of the opening of the Tuna Canyon Detention Station; designates this date as the “Tuna Canyon Detention Station Day of Remembrance”; and resolves to fight for the civil and human rights of all people in the United States.
Thank you Council members Monica Rodriquez and David Ryu and all who helped adopt this Resolution.
I’m Donna Sugimoto—granddaughter of Shinsuke Sugimoto, who was taken from his family and incarcerated without a trial in the Tuna Canyon Detention Station. Our government deemed him a “dangerous enemy alien” because he was a martial arts teacher, AND he was Japanese.
When I discovered a box of his letters and artifacts, I was shocked to learn that the golf course just over the mountain where I grew up in Burbank had a dark history as a WWII incarceration camp.
Replicas of my grandfather’s letters, and his handkerchief signed by men incarcerated at Tuna Canyon are now travelling in the exhibit: “Only the Oaks Remain” teaching current and future generations Tuna Canyons’ story. A story so important, one of these letters is now show
n in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
These exhibits bring history to light, as does this Resolution—serving as a deep reminder why something like this should Never Happen Again.
I never knew my grandfather, as he later died in another camp, before ever returning to freedom.
Nothing changes the injustices of Tuna Canyon, but this Resolution will honor those forced behind its barbed wires and help descendants, like myself, heal from its dark past.
For this, I thank you.
Marc Stirdivant’s Tribute to Lloyd Hitt
Dr. Lloyd Hitt, is a resident of Sunland, CA, a combat veteran of the Korean War, and a graduate of the USC School of Pharmacy in 1959. After graduation he began to manage Hober’s Pharmacy as chief pharmacist and store manager until 1995.
After retirement he noticed that the local historical society, Bolton Hall Museum, needed a little help. So with a little encouragement from his wife, Marlene, he volunteered there. And rest as they say was history.
Soon he became President of the historical society and served as such for over 10 years. During that time he participated in many of the function and events of the society which included including handy mat, and preservation. Several local historical sites were saved as historical cultural monuments including Weatherwolde Castle, Blarney Castle, and the Stonehurst neighborhood of rock houses in Sun Valley which were saved as a Los Angeles Historic Preservation Overly Zone.
Part of Lloyd’s preservation issue was his interest in protecting the Tuna Canyon from disappearing into a quiet secret. Starting in 2006 with Paul Tsuneishi and the Japanese American community he has spent close to 10 years compiling information and advocating for the site. Two years ago Lloyd and the community supported the Los Angeles City Council who voted to preserve a one acre oak tree site at the TCDS as Historic-Cultural Monument No. 1039.
Together with the Tuna Canyon Detention Coalition he has been working to erect a monument of importance on the site of the Detention and the creation of a traveling exhibit featuring the forgotten stories than unfolded there.
My name is Russell Endo and I am a retired professor of sociology and Asian American studies at the University of Colorado.
In April 1942, the FBI arrested my grandfather, Heigoro Endo, who was a San Pedro fisherman. He was imprisoned at the Tuna Canyon Detention Station. The rest of his family was incarcerated at Santa Anita and Jerome.
After the war, my family talked a lot about their World War II experiences. By the time I started elementary school, I had heard of Tuna Canyon. I grew up in Tujunga, and I lived less than five miles from the former detention station. So Tuna Canyon has been part of my memories for almost seventy years.
I commend the Los Angeles City Council for commemorating the 77th anniversary of the opening of the Tuna Canyon Detention Station. Such public recognition of this injustice and tragedy will help ensure that such events never happen again.
My name is Kanji Sahara.
I want to thank the Los Angeles City Council, The Mayor and especially Council Member Monica Rodrigues for this fine Resolution.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, people of Japanese Ancestry were expelled from California. On April 29, 1942, our family assembled at St. Mary’s Church, which is in an area now called Koreatown, and got on a long caravan of yellow buses to Santa Anita Assembly Center. In October of 1942, we were sent to Jerome Concentration Camp in Arkansas. These Camps were chosen in the most desolate places in America to give the Japanese a feeling of isolation, insignificance and despair. After our release from Camp, we said Never Again.
But this year it happened again. Along the Mexican border, immigrant children were separated from their mothers. Young boys were placed in cages inside abandoned Walmart stores and forced to sleep on the floor.
In order to prevent this type of behavior by the government, we must teach the public of what happened during WWII. We can do this by building a memorial at the Tuna Canyon Detention Station site.