U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY PUBLIC AFFAIRS, USAF ACADEMY, CO 80840 www.usafa.af.mil (719) 333-7731
Release #223, June 21, 2002
WORLD WAR II INTERNMENT COLLECTION AT ACADEMY
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - While many Americans know about the thousands of Japanese Americans interned during World War II, many are unaware that German and Italian Americans were also detained. Now a collection of research material gathered for a book about the internment of German Americans in detention camps in the United States is in the Academy’s Special Collections Branch at the Cadet Library.
In the late 1930s and early 1940s, Arthur D. Jacobs was a young boy growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y. By the end of April 1945, having already been detained at Ellis Island, NY, Jacobs, his younger brother and parents were on a train, escorted by Immigration and Naturalization officials, to an internment camp at Crystal City, Texas. For seven months he and his family were detained there with hundreds of other German American internees. In December 1945, Jacobs and his family, along with 97 others, were transported back to Ellis Island, N. Y., and then to Germany. In Germany, the family was detained in two American Army camps—Hohenasperg and Ludwigsburg.
Eventually, after proving their American citizenship, Jacobs and his brother, with the help of an American couple, eventually returned to the United States in November 1947. They lived with a family in southwestern Kansas until graduating from high school. The boys didn’t see their parents again until 1958. Jacobs later spent 22 years in the Air Force, retired as a major, and now lives in Tempe, Ariz.
Col. Peter Heinz, director of International Programs here, invited Jacobs to speak to his class, and during the visit, Heinz and his staff learned that a Canadian university was interested in Jacobs’ collection about his life and internment. Heinz thought the collection should be at the Academy. Military POW collections are at the library, so it made sense that civilian internment records should also be included. Duane Reed, Archivist and Chief of Special Collections at the Cadet Library, agreed.
Jacobs’ collection, said Reed, “is the most comprehensive collection of documentation that relates to the internment of German Americans and alien residents by the U.S. Government during World War II. Due to its significance, it will be made available to cadets and scholarly researchers.”
For more information about the collection, call Art Jacobs at (480) 968-0572. To view the collection, call the Academy Public Affairs office at (719) 333-7731.
The Arthur D. Jacobs’ collection housed at the Special Collections Department of the McDermott Library at the US Air Force Academy. An abstract of this collection follows: Arthur D. Jacobs Collection, OCLC Number 435654413, 11 linear feet.
This collection contains materials that pertain to Arthur D. Jacobs' personal experiences as a civilian internee during and after World War II, along with documentation of legislation instituted by Major Jacobs seeking restitution from the American government for German-American internment camps during World War II. Included are original newspapers published in various internment camps along with correspondence, legal pleadings, and legislative documents used by Major Jacobs in his research on the history of the internment of German Nationals and German-Americans. Other documents include official records, memoranda, photographs, manuscripts and printed matter gathered by Jacobs in conjunction with the publication in 1999 of his book entitled "The Prison Called Hohenasperg: An American Boy Betrayed by his Government during World War II".
The Academy’s listing of the Arthur D. Jacobs Collection is as follows: JACOBS, ARTHUR MS 52
Contact information for the McDermott Library:
2354 Fairchild Drive, Suite 3A10
USAF Academy CO 80840-6214
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