Contact: Lale Mamaux
Phone: 202-225-3001

October 1, 2003

Wexler Calls For Commission to Study Injustices Suffered by Italian and German Americans During WWII
(Washington, DC) - Today, Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL) introduced the Wartime Treatment Study Act of 2003. This legislation will establish two commissions to review the injustices suffered by German and Italian Americans as well as Jewish refugees during World War II (WWII). The first commission will review the US government's policies regarding Italian Americans and German Americans who were resident aliens and citizens of the United States, as well as Latin Americans of European heritage. The second commission will review the government's refusal to allow Jewish refugees fleeing persecution entry to the US. The civil liberties violations by the United States included internment camps and the repatriation of some to post-war Axis Power members from these ethnic groups. Senator Russell Feingold has introduced a companion resolution in the Senate (S.1691).

"Italian Americans, such as Marine Gunnery Sergeant "Manila John" Basilone, and German Americans, such as General Dwight Eisenhower and Admiral Chester Nimitz, served valiantly during World War II, while others in these same ethnic groups suffered horrible injustices. An official inquiry into what occurred is long overdue. As Congress grapples with various civil liberties issues during the war on terrorism, it is especially timely to look into how individual freedoms have been historically curtailed in the past during wartime," Wexler said.

Congressman Wexler serves on the House International Relations Committee and the House Judiciary Committee.

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