Crystal City Internees in Their Own Words
Since the book launched in January, I’ve met extraordinary people with direct ties to the Crystal City Internment Camp — child internees, their children, their grandchildren, people who worked in the camp or whose parents worked there. I would like to share their stories here. If you were an internee, or you were exchanged out of Germany and Japan in the trades from Crystal City, or you had a parent who worked in the camp, please join me on my Facebook and tell us all your story.
You are welcome to write letters to me and with your permission I would like to post your letters on my website for others to read. The book has become a community of people whose lives were forever changed by the camp in Crystal City.
If you would like for me to come to speak to your communities — either in libraries, bookstores, historical associations, museums or universities, please let me know by contacting me here.
The first letter is by Arthur Jacobs, who was born in Brooklyn on February 4, 1933, was interned with his German-born parents in Crystal City when Arthur was only eleven years old. On December 1, 1945 — after the war was over — the Jacobs family along with 97 other internees from Crystal City were taken on trains under armed guard to Ellis Island where they were repatriated to Germany. When they arrived in Germany, U.S. occupying forces treated Arthur, his brother, and his father as if they were Nazis. In the dead of winter the three of them were transported to a notorious prison in Hohenasperg. Arthur was separated from his father and brother and put in a prison cell. He tried to tell the U.S. Army guards that he was born in America but they called him “little Nazi” and ignored him. His memoir “The Prison Called Hohenasperg” is a chilling account of American betrayal. For years Arthur and large numbers of Germans and German Americans who interned during World War II. They have not asked for repariations but have sought recognition and an apology from the the U.S. government. The following letter from Arthur movingly makes that case.