November 16, 2002
Zavala County Sentinel
With 150 German and Japanese Peruvian internee families, we attended Crystal
City's first multiethnic National Reunion of World War II Internment Camp
Families, aptly entitled "...And Justice for All." Words cannot begin
to describe the experience.
For many German American and Latin American "children of the camps," this
was the first return to their childhood internment camp home. They returned
with mixed feelings because many recalled happy times in the camp with family
and friends. As children, some thought the barbed wire fenced others
out, when, in fact, they were imprisoned. Over time, however, these
children fully comprehended the destructive effect of internment on their
parents. Many internees, feeling stigmatized and traumatized, never spoke
of their internment. For all, the return to the camp was cathartic
This was only possible because of the tremendous regional warmth, hospitality
and support, which all felt constantly. All internee families were
so touched by their honorary Grand Marshall status and by the fabulous community
welcome they received in the Spinach Festival Parade.
On behalf of the approximately 80 German internee families with whom it was
our privilege to attend this pilgrimage, we wish to thank--profusely--Richard
G. Santos and the Zavala County Historical Commission and all those that
made the event possible from Uvalde to La Pryor, Crystal City to Eagle Pass.
Looking ahead, may the spirit of this reunion weekend encourage the creation
of a national park at the Crystal City Internment Camp and acknowledgment
of the internment of 11,000 persons of German ancestry during World War II
through federal legislation. Most importantly, may this spirit strengthen
our nation's determination to uphold our Constitutional freedoms in this
time of turmoil.
Muchos gracias to you all!
Karen Ebel, New London, NH and Eberhard Fuhr, Palatine, Illinois