First Taken, Last Released

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It must be spooky to those aware of WWII internment when would-be politicians speak today of locking up some other group of people because of their looks, culture, nationality or religion.

Really? Could we make the same mistake? Was George Santayana correct when he wrote more than 100 years ago that, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”? Let First Taken fill in missing parts of the internment history as it serves as a memory-jogger.

Here are samples from the pages ahead.





Do we want internment again?

The internment of more than 100,000 people behind barbed-wire fences during World War II simply because of their nationality has not been forgotten by their hundreds of thousands of offspring. Dozens of books have been written, websites devoted, many organizations, even a TV documentary carry on the dark memory.

They mention places called Manzanar, Topaz, Tule Lake, Heart Mountain, but not Missoula, Livingston or Santa Fe.

First Taken, Last Released assembles accounts previously written in Japanese to add a narrative to the highly detailed government records of the internment odyssey of Shinri Sarashina, an innocent Buddhist priest arrested by the FBI as one of the first 160 Japanese men taken and among the last 42 released four years and two days later.