A “concentration camp” is a place where people are imprisoned not because of any crimes they committed, but simply because of who they are. Although many groups have been singled out for such persecution throughout history, the term “concentration camp” was first used at the turn of the century in the Spanish American and Boer Wars.During World War II, America’s concentration camps were clearly distinguishable from Nazi Germany’s. Nazi camps were places of torture, barbarous medical experiments and summary executions: some were extermination centers with gas chambers. Six million Jews were slaughtered in the Holocaust. Many others, including Gypsies, Poles, homosexuals and political dissidents were also victims of the Nazi concentration camps.In recent years, concentration camps have existed in the former Soviet Union, Cambodia and Bosnia.Despite differences, all had one thing in common: the people in power removed a minority group from the general population and the rest of society let it happen.
Government-created euphemistic language led to some people actually believing that the Japanese Americans were being protected and even pampered in the camps. The use of inaccurate terms can, and too often does, distort facts into outright fantasies.
- Evacuation/Relocation versus what it really was a forced removal.
- Assembly Center/Relocation Center versus what it really was a prison.
- The idea of a non-alien as referred to in the evacuation order versus the more common term citizen.
All Japanese persons, both alien and non-alien, will be evacuated from the above designated area by 12:00 o’clock noon Tuesday, April 7, 1942.